Sunday, September 25, 2011

Heading South

We departed Mackinaw City at 7:30AM for Lake Michigan & south. Got to cruise under the "Mighty Mac" Mackinac bridge heading west, quite a sight from the water. Cut through Gray's Reef Passage and made the turn south. There are plenty of reefs scattered all over this part of the lake. The Garmin chartplotter with GPS makes picking your way through very easy. Wind & waves were non existent. That is fine for a while but we never got any favorable winds the entire trip.
We reached the Manitou Passage at sunset & were able to see Sleeping Bear sand dunes in the fading light after sunset. Red Sky At Night, Sailors Delight, and we had a very clear, red sky. The saying held true for us all night. But it is still a bit disconcerting to be out on the open water all night long.
We've not run the engine for 36 straight hours before. There is a bit of roughness on the alternator crankshaft pulley and after 18 hours, it was really wearing down. I decided I should change it before it broke so we put up sails and altered course about 30 degrees to be able to sail while the engine was off. Sailing keeps the boat much steadier in the 2' waves we were in. It didn't take long to swap out with a spare belt & we were on our way again. Now I need to take some time to sand the pulley smooth. If you're keeping score, that's 3 repairs. The anti-siphon loop, the battery combiner and the alternator far!!! That's the nature of long range cruising.
And that provided the only pure sailing we could do the entire trip. I was expecting to sail at least part of the way. So our fuel burn was much greater than expected. That meant a quick fuel stop before we could continue on to Holland. I think we could have done much better in the fuel consumption department. I'm still looking for the optimum speed to motor for best efficiency.
We made Holland just before sunset and Tim, a sailing friend, met us in his dingy out in the channel. We had a great visit, good to see him again.
So here we sit at anchor in Lake Macatawa relaxing and waiting for a storm front to move through. Then it's up anchor and on the move again.
I've edited a new video, but I'll need a strong wifi connection to upload it. Should be able to do that in St. Joe's Monday or Tuesday night. Stay tuned!!

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