Birthday Party, First Adventure, and a Victory

All right, I probably should have written a post about our first day here, but I was relaxing, detoxing from a rather stressful school year. But here we are, on slip A-12 for the time being (yes, somebody took our old slip, but they’re really cool, so it’s OK). We can stay here free of charge for up to 2 weeks, but we’ll leave before that. We had originally planned to leave tomorrow, but we might wait until Tuesday. We’ll see.

The first excitement we had was Beanie’s birthday party yesterday. I’ve been a mother for 5 years now! That’s hard to believe. We wanted to have a simple party, with her 4 best friends (well, she has another friend who would fit into that category, but we’ll be seeing him on Beaver Island later this summer). She shares a birthday with one of those friends, and that girl’s mother didn’t want to do a big party either. So this was a party for both of them. Rob’s dad donated 4 tiaras and I bought 4 princess wands and cupcakes. We played around at the marina, while the dads were occupied with something else.

Remember the friends who met up with us in Tawas? Well, they got their homemade boat, the Proteus, ready and launched it in the river. The marina manager said they could have a free slip for the weekend, so they’re parked right next to us. This obviously meant that we should go out sailing together. I told the other people on the dock that they should place their bets. I would have placed my bet on the catamaran, but I really don’t know Moonraker well enough (keep in mind that our previous boat was horribly underpowered, and I’m still thinking of that).

Well, catamarans draw a LOT less water (they only need inches) than a monohull, even with a full keel (we take at least 6 feet). So our friends played around along the shoreline, while we went out the second marker. We were flying our main and running the motor still, when the wind blew us out of the channel, to the right. We weren’t worried, because we’d left the channel before. There are sandbars, but the worst of the is to the left of the channel, before the second marker. I kept feeling that sickening rumble, but that happens at the trough of waves, regardless. Then we stopped. I told Rob to get us out of there, and when we turned, our boat tipped, freakishly, because our keel was sitting on the sandbar. At that point I shamelessly flipped out, remembering Thunder Bay last summer. There was no way we could be done before we started this year!

My friend, Rosie, who doesn’t have a boat, brought me back down and Rob got us off the sandbar, using the sail to tilt our keel up. He lectured me about panicking, but I caught him checking the bilge, in the place that the water came in last year.

We turned out of the channel after the second marker, and I took the helm while Rob used the bathroom. I was happy that I could feel the tiller, in all the wind, and Rosie and I were chatting. Then we slowed down. A lot. Something was definitely wrong, as the wind had now decreased. Rob couldn’t come out soon enough. There was no sand bar to worry about after the second marker, but the troughs of the waves were bringing us close enough to the bottom to get stuck. When there are waves, we’ll have to be careful with the depth. Usually, there is 100+ feet of water below us, but in bays, it is significantly less. I knew by now that sand was less of a problem than rocks, and Rob used the same method as before to bring us about and get us off the sandbar.

We sailed into the river on a very comfortable beam reach, and the Proteus met up with us (we tried contacting them by radio, but they were having technical difficulties). On the river, they raised their jib, which we found to be odd. Then we realized what they were doing, and we raised ours as well. Unfortunately, it was our working jib and not our genoa, which does better in light wind (which is what we had in the river). Proteus was able to go in the shallow water, which allowed them to keep going past the wind-blocking power plant, but we have a very long boom, which allows us to have more sail area. We would be a close match in an actual race, which would be fun to do. Here are the results from yesterday:

Before we were out of the marina, the wind blew us inward, so I had to be ready to fend us off…

Beanie played with her new paper dolls. She later fell asleep.

Rosie, our passenger and photographer…

Up the river, with Proteus approaching….

Raising our jibs on the river (and look at their gorgeous main!)…

We’re still in this!

And there you have it. That’s Proteus, seeing the name of our boat…

Well, we didn’t exactly expect to overtake a catamaran, and I’m sure there will be a rematch later on this summer. But it was a definite reminder, that Moonraker is more than meets the eye…

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