Wednesday, August 13, 2014
We woke this morning in Harrisville to more high winds but sunny skies were expected.
The talk of the sailors around the docks was of the weather and travel plans. Rick and I planned to travel the 37 nm to Port Austin. One of our dock mates who lives in this area advised us that Saginaw Bay, which we would have to cross to get to Port Austin, may get uncomfortable with the strength and direction of today’s winds. We decided to give it a try but we were open to changing our route on the fly if necessary.
We left Harrisville at 8:30 a.m. The NOAA weather forecast called for 10 to 15 mph winds with gusts to 25 mph. It was cool, in the low 50’s and we both wore our toques.
Right away, we were able to turn off the motor and travel really fast with only our jib up. The actual winds were more like 17 to 20 knots with gusts that sustained themselves for long periods of 24 to 25 knots and we even saw gusts up to 28 knots.
To get to Port Austin we had to travel quite a distance out from shore and we would also have to eventually cross the Saginaw Bay. With open water between us and the shore, the wind was able to pick up speed by fetching over the water. The wind was northwest, at our back quarter so it was very choppy but we could almost surf down the big waves. With the jib being our only sail, at one point we saw our speed reach 9 knots. Too fast and rocky!
We decided to change our course and head for Tawas State Harbor Marina which would allow us to move closer to shore and stay on the north side of Saginaw Bay for today. This took us way out of our way so that in the big picture of our travels south we didn’t make much headway today.
I have to admit that, although I was at my personal limit of sailing adventure, it was an exciting day of travel. Rick did an amazing job of sailing and navigating. He ended up bringing in the jib to halfway and we were still speeding along. For the first time I can see how sailing is not just a means of travel but a sport. The sailor is fully occupied in the task of sailing. It takes every bit of concentrated effort to do the job.
Rick patiently talked me through how to handle the boat in these conditions. I hesitantly agreed to try steering and I was at the helm for about 20 minutes. I saw the wind speed indicator reach 26.6 while I was maneuvering her. Keep in mind that Rick was never too far from my side.
We made great time and we were docked at East Tawas State Harbor Marina by 1:45 p.m. We had traveled 33.2 nautical miles.
We had time to check out the town on our bikes. It is a nice little harbour town that caters to the boaters and cottagers. There is also a campground at the beach.
We tried with no success to get internet at a tea shop. The library was closed so we are going back there in the morning. I’m having trouble staying connected with my family and posting my blogs. Rick’s phone is still not able to pick up T-Mobile service.
Tonight will be an early night for us. The weather forecast is basically the same for tomorrow as it was today so we will not be sailing. I’m ready for adventures of a different sort in town tomorrow.
Note: I have no photos of our travel adventures today. For once, picture taking was not on my mind. Sailing was.