Rattlesnake and Shimmering Chutes

(Clicking on the photos will bring them up full screen)

See where we are sailing with http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/14844.shtml

sailing out of PIB harbor

The third day around the Lake Erie Islands during Bay Week and the regattas found Mindy and I getting under way around ten in the morning.  Paying our respects to those crews who’s boats we needed to cross over and board Lifeline, we hauled the Donate Life foresail out of the peak and hanked it onto the forestay.  Getting out of the out-breast tie-off was made a bit more challenging as the water taxi was running full to get people off their buoy moorings, a couple of power yachts coming into get fuel (a ‘yacht’ by definition is 36’ or longer), and some early jet ski activity for the same reason.  Ever watched bees around a hive?

north shore westward from harbor

The wind blew in this morning from the Northwest and it was steady.  We used Gibraltar Island as a windbreak and set the sails between the channel and the last row of mooring balls.  We hauled both sails up taut and steered across the channel.  It was as if the channel buoys were funneling the breeze.  Passing the markers the sails on Lifeline filled and billowed out.  Off went the ‘auxiliary’ motor.  We are a sailboat again!!

I steered Lifeline for Middle Bass and the old winery-turned-Ohio-State-park and we eased by Perry’s monument off to starboard.  The breeze was gentle enough but the waves told a different story.  We rode up and down a bit as they rolled down from the Detroit area across Lake Erie.  The mission, of course, was to have fun and show off the Donate Life logo.  The goal today was to get out and see the performance fleet flying spinnakers and come back and circle the multi-hull fleet again.  Then to port and ‘liberty call’!

Mindy was working her new camera, but was limited to a 55mm lens.  She took some shots of Gibraltar as we passed.  This huge piece of limestone juts out of the water and gives Put-In-Bay harbor the protection that made it the staging point for Perry’s fleet of ships two-hundred years ago.  We beat upwind for a good hour past South Bass Island on a gentle close reach.  The sun rose higher in the sky.

closing the fleet

We approached the perf fleet from the east just as they were beginning a down-wind run.  It was perfect for taking pictures, though as you can see we were still quite far off.  My task was to get Mindy close enough and still stay off their course.  Not knowing how far out they would come on their runs I gave a very wide berth.  It was too wide a berth to make Mindy’s shots come out very well.  This did not diminish the thrill for us to be out and watching this race and see those ‘chutes’ shimmering in the light.  The wind was from the NE and the sun still in the east.  That put the sun right on the sails and they shown as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers.

colors flying 3colors flying 2colors flying 4colors flying

Coming about set us up for the photos shown on my log for the Donate Life logo on the sail.  The maneuver put us on a NNE course and the wind off our port beam.  I rode on the high side for balance, as normal.  This let Mindy ‘go low’ with her camera and have some fun.  She clicked the shutter like she was in a modeling photo shoot and was having a ball doing so.  In the end we picked two shots shown in my articles to use in continuing promotions.

logo bright

Rattlesnake Island bit me while we were doing this, though.  I sailed in the lee of this private resort island and got caught in the swirls and dancing that the wind does in areas like this.  I guessed with the sun rising higher the wind was just abating as it might with the heating of the surface of the water.  But then when I looked over my shoulder and saw the island I knew better.  Off to the NE where we were heading and just off the East tip of the island boats were having no trouble filling their sails.  Just me, and just light swirling wind.  It all came back as Lifeline cleared the lee shadowing and off we went again toward the multihull fleet, Mindy’s camera clicking again.

hobies from the west hobies with monument

We rounded this fleet and the jubilant colors of its sails and headed back to Put-In-Bay.  Mindy’s camera still clicking as Perry’s Monument eased ever closer in her view finder.  We secured the sails in the anchorage area and motored over to A Dock and tied off again in our breasted out position.  It was a good day on the water.  It was time to continue it as a good day on the beach!

Monumnet and 'the Keys'

(1) Lifeline Sailing is not related to Lifeline of Ohio Organ Procurement Organization, except that I am a volunteer for the OPO.  There are no financial arrangements between the two entities.  Lifeline Sailing is fully funded from our personal budgets and the sale of ‘From Tampa to the Cape – Eight Days Around the Florida Peninsula’ at www.iuniverse.com under the pseudonym John Louis.

(2) The ‘Donate Life’ logo is flown on Lifeline’s foresail with permission from DonateLifeAmerica.  The inclusion of their web address www.donatelifeamerica.net on the sail is part of that agreement.

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