My First Love

Back in 2004, we got a decent tax return. Unsure of what to spend it on, we turned our eyes to boats. We looked at a dilapidated power boat in Bay City, but decided that we weren’t in a position, financially, to pay for a slip and storage. Then, driving home, we saw it. A blue O’day 20 with a swing keel. Our Jeep could pull it, and it came with sails, in good shape.

We ran into trailer issues, so the boat sat for a year. During that time, we tried to think of a name, as it had none. We considered “Grub,” because that was kind of how it looked. Or, perhaps, “W-2,” but that really wasn’t a name befitting of a sailboat.

At the beginning of the summer of 2006, we launched it in the Alpena and sailed across to Ossineke, where we anchored out.

This freighter is called The Alpena.

Note the hull number…

We don’t have pictures of what happened next, as we never seem to catch our disasters on camera. On the day we were planning on leaving, there was no wind. So we decided to drive to Alpena to pick up the trailer, then pull the boat at the boat launch on the Devil’s River. When we got back, we found the boat demasted, pushed up against a break wall. It turns out that our Danforth anchor was defective and had dragged. We had learned a lesson and had our first taste of the devastation that seems to inevitably occur when one tries to take on mother nature.

The repair was surprisingly easy, although our mast was slightly bent. It looked like a racing “bendy mast,” even though this boat was no racer. We went on to explore the Inland Waterway.

Then we hauled out and trailered over to Northport, to enjoy the 4th with Rob’s parents.

The Amphicar drove past us while we were launching, and the driver asked us for directions!

On Robs parents boat, the Fanta-Sea

The marina was full. We were rafted to the Fanta-Sea the first night, then we got a spot on the wall. Moonraker would look funny on the wall–this boat was hilarious!

After that, we went home. A few weeks later, we returned to Grand Traverse Bay for a week long cruise. Keep in mind, we couldn’t stand up in our living quarters.

Kitty was living it up in the V-berth!

That stove looks familiar…

We started our journey in Sutton’s Bay.

After that, a very slow sail to Elk Rapids.

Mission Point Light–by far the ugliest lighthouse Ive ever seen!

Exhausted after 4 hours of sailing…How far weve come!

On the way to Elk Rapids, we put the letters on the boat, so it would be named “Sonnet.” The boat was never properly christened, although I think being named while underway in Grand Traverse Bay is quite respectable. Elk Rapids is very shallow. This wasn’t a problem for us, as we had a swing keel. Moonraker, with her full keel, will also be able to dock there. We saw a sailboat run aground, however, in their desperation to get into a slip and go to Pearl’s, the local Cajun restaurant. The dockhands pulled the boat in, while shaking their heads, and the couple got their food. (How they got out, I can only guess…)

After that, we made for Traverse City. Before that day, Rob had taken the helm and had tried to teach me to trim the sails. We never found our rhythm with this, and Rob often single-handed the boat, the best he could.

Finally, we realized that wasn’t where I belonged.

Rob picked up a toy boat as we rounded Mission Point. (Now, the Bean plays with that boat in the tub).

After we rounded the point, we went straight downwind, wing-and-wing. The sky darkened, and we surfed on 6-8 foot waves. The bay was filled with sailboats, enjoying the wind. These waves wouldn’t be so big on Moonraker, but they were huge on the Sonnet.


All was fine, until we turned upwind to drop the sails. (We now continue downwind, even though you’re not “supposed to.”) The boat chopped through the water, and Rob dropped the main on my head. When I could finally see where we were going, there were people on the pier, laughing at us.

Traverse Citys outdoor dishwashing station.

The tunnel to downtown.

There was a concert that night, so they were towing ALL the cars parked downtown.

It was on this trip that we got our first taste of marina life. Everywhere we went, strangers would strike up conversations with us, and offer us drinks. We met a couple in Traverse City who was sitting at a table with a bottle of wine and 3 glasses, wondering if we could help them finish it. Everyone wanted to look at our boat, remembering when they owned one that size. While the Sonnet didn’t turn heads like Moonraker does, it got a lot of smiles.

We have no pictures of our return trip to Sutton’s Bay, as that was another adventure. There was thunder in the distance, and rain. We got to use our foul weather gear for the first time. While we were under sail, the mast began crackling. We suspect that this was St. Elmo’s fire, even though we couldn’t see it in the daylight. We dropped the sails and motored back, although that probably did little to help us. By chance, we weren’t struck by lightening. We pulled out that day, in Sutton’s, and returned home.

The Bean was born in May 2007, so we didn’t cruise on the Sonnet again. The thought of sleeping in that small v-berth, with a crying reflux baby, was too much to consider. A year later, a Craig’s List ad led us to Pottersville, to look at an I29 in somebody’s yard.

And the rest…is history.

One thought on “My First Love

  1. Pingback: A Bit of Luxury | Journey to Ithaca

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