Things looked a little iffy from the beginning. The night before the sail, I started getting calls from people who had heard about the small craft advisory. One of our two boats and a good portion of the crew backed out of the sail. I rather assumed that the rest would as well. But, Rich Kingdon is not easily daunted and he and the Dravers wanted to sail. They left Montrose on Impetuous and met me in Monroe. When we left, the skyline was half shrouded in fog.
The sail, however, was lovely. We had a great trip down with the winds at our backs. At one point, both Bill and Peggy took a turn at the wheel as we went wing-on-wing. Our sails, of course, were reefed for the conditions. Rich has a neat set-up on his foresail where the reef points are marked, so he knows whether he is sailing a 100, 110 or 120.
It was a surprisingly quick sail. Less than three hours after leaving Monroe, we were secure on the dock at Hammond. Peggy had brought along sandwiches and some pretty excellent cookies, which we all enjoyed (given the chance, you really want to bring the Dravers on your boat.)
A few additional members showed up for dinner and we all ventured into the casino. You can’t take pictures in the Horseshow, a security guard made very clear to Peggy, but we were all impressed. It’s a nice place, more Vegas-esque than the other casinos in the area. We had dinner at one of the casino restaurants and spent a good deal of time on the casino floor. I lost a bit at roulette. Bill Draver had better luck at the blackjack table. Everyone who sat down at the slots seemed to lose (again, it wasn’t a very lucky weekend).
The next morning we had breakfast at the Hammond Yacht Club. We left Hammond about noon, heading out into heavy seas. We were all, with the possible exception of Bill, a little trepidatious. The seas were high, with six footers punctuated by rouge 10 foot waves. But, Impetuous is a solid boat and were enjoying ourselves. Sadly, we ran into engine problems. We were sailing NW and the wind, coincidentally, was coming straight out of the NW. Sailing home was not going to happen, so we returned to Hammond. A two-hour trip beating north, took twenty minutes to sail back in.
Rich, however, handled his boat beautifully, coming into the harbor under sail in heavy winds and rough seas. I drained the water separator on the engine and we were able to get it running again. Yet, it was decided to stay in the harbor for an evening.
We put a call into Marilyn Olson who drove us back to the city and, the next day, Bill and Rich took impetuous into Rich’s marina to have a torn sail repaired and the engine looked at by people who know a bit more about these matters.
If you tally all of the things that went wrong on this sail, you would initially think it was a disaster. However, we all had a really good time. In the face of rough weather and bad luck, we handled ourselves and the boat well.
– Karl Olson