I left Little Current yesterday with the intent of having a fast run down to Parry Sound or thereabouts. But gybing out through the islands I got a wrap and tore my heavy Spinnaker.

It was windy enough that I didn’t want to use the light (and bigger!) chute so I decided to jib reach over to Tobermory. I was trying reaching with the genoa, but a couple of hours after that the wind picked up and I broke a running backstay.

So I ended up doing the last half under main alone. That was fine. It was blowing about 20 knots from abeam. I took a brief video sailing towards Flowerpot Island. Got into Tobermory around 8:00. Today is a lay day, and Sarah and Samantha are going to pick me up tonight and I’ll get the sail repaired and new runners made this week. Back up here this weekend for some more cruising.

I like it here. Lots of cruising folks coming and going.

Weather is perfect, I’m drying things out today.

Little Current

I’m tied up at the downtown boardwalk. Love this place.

I slept in this morning and got underway about noon. Had a nice jib reach all day, traveled about 60 nm. Overcast and heavy rain for about an hour. It cleared up as I got into Little Current about 8:30.

It’s beautiful around here. There are still lots of spots I want to stop and visit. Another time. I’m enjoying the sailing and the nice weather, so decided to head down Georgian Bay tomorrow.

About the only thing on my provisioning list is a new hat. I left mine in Thessalon. Mallory has it, but that doesn’t help with my immediate need.

Some pics from today. No video.

Lake Michigan, done

Well, this has been fun. Great sailing all week.T

Tuesday I made a brief video sailing north from Chicago.

I finally packed up and got underway Tuesday morning into a dying northeast wind. Basically one long starboard beat up the shore until it got very light just off Kenosha. I pointed the bow out into the lake and napped for about 3 hours starting at 4 am.

Wednesday was calm until a SW breeze slowly started filling in late in the morning. I motored slowly 5-6 hours towards Frankfort. Finally when the following breeze reached our 5 knot boat speed I started sailing.I was watching the wind forecasts and the prediction was for the wind to gradually increase to 12-25 knots over the next couple of days. Same direction. Nice sailing conditions. But I had nagging doubts about sleeping when sailing at speed. So when a big shift allowed me to speed towards Ludington about 20 miles away I took it.I made a brief video while heading for Ludington. Didn’t tie up but went up to the head of the inlet and dropped anchor and had a nice sleep.

Thursday I got underway late morning, and had a spectacular 24 hour sail up the shore to the Straits of Mackinac, where I took down the spinnaker and reached over to Cheboygan. Tied up at the municipal marina mid morning. I should keep a better log. Not sure how far or fast, but it was about 160 mm straight line distance.

Friday was a lay day. I wondered into town, had a meal out, chatted with some J35 folks and crashed. It stormed a bit overnight, with some pretty good gusts.

Saturday I sat around drinking coffee for an hour or two – a luxury when cruising Tin Lizzie – while waiting for the winds to moderate a bit. I keep this aboard but it’s not the same.I had a spectacular spinnaker sail across to Canada. Video here. Sailed into Thessalon and met by chance a boat from Chicago with a crew that I knew and enjoyed their hot food and cold beer. Nice way to end the day.

Sunday (today) I had lunch out with Mallory. She had the day off from the camp and drove about an hour to the boat. Nice. I got underway mid afternoon and in light winds sailed down to East Grant Island where I’m now anchored here. Nice spot.

Sailing, twice

I had two lovely sails Sunday and Monday, both solo. Sunday was 10-15 knots NE with 3-4 ft waves. Monday was 5-10 knots.

The boat sails beautifully in those conditions. Fast and responsive to tweaking. I let the AP steer always, and it performed brilliantly apart from a few hiccups on my side. I need to get more comfortable with the controls and capabilities for maneuvers like tacks and gybes, but it got better each time. I used the water ballast and it makes a big difference. The new valve system works perfectly.

The armored tablet is brilliant. I keep it on and mirroring the MFD, and hang it from my neck or over a winch or in the rope bin.

At this point I’m done with electronics, safety, and sail handling. Interior is clean and decluttered and I’m making lists of provisions needed to set out for a month. I’m going to try to get some bins to keep things aft. Maybe milk crates. I’ve been seriously thinking about a beanbag chair for sleeping. Lotta hard edges on this boat.

After I took the sunset selfie I shot a brief video while reaching with the spinnaker. Boat was sailing itself at 6-7 knots in 5-8 knots of wind and I was just enjoying the ride.

I did get a little queazy on Sunday, but only for a few minutes. It’s hard to go below when it’s rough. But I have a few great spots to hang out in the cockpit. After I perched on the high corner for a few minutes and got busy tweaking I felt fine.

I feel like we’re ready – me and the boat – to hit the high seas.

Pulling it together

I launched Tin Lizzie Saturday

All is in good order. There’s very little left to do. I finished installing the new wind and speed instruments, and everything is on the network and appears to be functioning well.

As I discussed earlier I really want to get sailing before I start mounting instruments. After I removed the big Ockam Matrix display I was left with a rectangular hole. So I temporarily mounted the heads over the hole.

That’s rigid pink foam. I used 4200 to mount everything. The only new hole was 1″ for the lower head.

I took advantage of a the time ashore and the nicer weather to dry everything out, clean the interior, and start to get the inside organized. Thinking about what I need to take when I leave here and how to store it. I think most of the stuff is going to end up aft in the quarter berths.

After much fussing with the ballast system everything is perfect. I replaced the line driven valve controls with 3 push/pull cable controls. Here’s one of the handles in the cockpit. They’re normally closed (in) and are well protected by the line bins.

The rudder blade was easy to patch up. There is a slight binding in the top bearing and I suspect the shaft is not perfectly straight between the bearings but it will be OK.

Now to get some sailing in!

Rudder Woes

I started a long shaggy dog story about the rudder. If anyone wants more details let me know.

The short version is that I hauled TL two days before the Chicago – Mac solo race start and discovered that the rudder shaft was bent.

We managed to straighten it the next day, thanks to the crew here and John Lamonica, a friend of the yard who took me and the rudder to his shop where we worked with a press from 1941 University of Chicago. But I was troubled by the root cause and only marginally ready to go before losing a day. So I bailed on the race and went home for a visit. I’ve been living pretty rough in the boat yard and was ready for some family and greenery.

After extensive consultation with a bunch of smart experienced people it seems pretty clear that the stock bent during our wipout(s) when trying the autopilot in fast spinnaker conditions.

The rudder has survived the trauma. Sarah and I reviewed the construction and dye tested the shaft, and it appears to be as good as original. There is no obvious way to strengthen it without going to a new rudder and likely replacing bearings to accommodate a larger shaft. Sarah assures me that it’s unlikely to snap off, which was a fear earlier.

I’m now back in Chicago. Spent today touching up the rudder, installing the new wind instruments, and cleaning up. Will be back in the water this week.

Note the new boom cover. Price was right :-). The old name and the beneteau seahorse have got to go…