Subject: Fw: Bringing Toucan Home.
Kees and Gerda had purchased a 1999 Catalina
380 sailboat in Waukegan(Chicago) and are tempting to bring her home to Bayfield Ontario Canada
The boat is new to us and never sailed one this big.
Heading home on a small budget
Day one, June 2 of our Toucan Tour around the great lakes
Thanks to Rien and Betty for donating there time and help getting our boat ready your friendship and help is really appreciated..
was pretty bad and lots of wind
, we could not work on the sails
and the alternator
was not working.
Slept on our very noisy and rocking boat.
Next morning we decided to take it the alternator
of and have it rebuild
locally, fortunately we found a loose wire and fixed it.
It was time for Rien and Betty to return home and we are glad they arrived home safe.
The next day a man ( Tom ) walked up to our boat and asked if we needed any help ( Did Rien send him over ? )
Tom was a very knowledgably sailor and without his help we could not have rigged our boat, the Dutchman system was a nightmare to figure out.
Tom also had a car and we needed supplies and parts
for the boat, had dinner with Barb and Tom that night and had a great time.
We decided to cross the Lake together with Tom and Barb we left in the morning at 5 A M from Waukegan to South Haven it took 12 hrs. motoring as there was no wind
Never the less it was a long but good day on the water
I asked Tom why he spend the time and effort to help us and his answer was to “pay it forward” we will do the same one day Thanks again Tom.
Tonight ( Tuesday ) we are heading to bed
at 9, we are tuckered out.
Tomorrow Wednesday June 3 we stay on the West coast
of Michigan and try to reach Pentwater approx. 75 miles.
Day 2 Wed June 3
Left South Haven at 6 am and missed the harbour master, we were really impressed with the town and the marina a far cry from Bayfield although we love Bayfield.
No wind and we motored and motored we needed some fuel
so we were headed for Holland
, but somehow we missed the port, so we decided to go to the next port, Grand haven, a long narrow river.
We were told fuel
was at the end of the harbor, very shallow when we got there no diesel
, great! turn around in a narrow shallow river was fun?
headed back out to the lake lost
well over an half hr.
Finally found some fuel in Muskegon a very pretty place wide canal entry and diesel
, up to the next port Pentwater, about a hr. or 5 in the last leg we noticed a big black object in the water
and a Coast guard vessel approaching it as well
it turned out to be a black dock
box as we floated by we watched them load it, they came and followed us and inspected our boat for safety
and asked questions of ownership
Would you believe we got a yellow copy of good behaviour and passed the safety
test with flying colours.
Now it is 9 Pm and getting a little darker, we found Pentwater at 10 Pm and were very tired and docked in Snug harbour very nice as well. the Coast guard followed us in and came on board again to check things out again.
They were curious about us having a Canadian boat with all the U.S stickers still on it.
Crashed and slept great until 6 am, got to go we need to beat the Harbour master.
Heading to Frankfort about 65 miles should be a short day as we need to do laundry
and get supplies.
Loved being on Toucan Catalina
380 and on the open water.
Day 3 Thursday June 4
Started at 6 am to beat the harbour master heading for Frankfort warm weather
no wind as the day progressed the wind picked up and we put up the Jib
and with the motor
on we did about 7 knots.
At one point I decided to raise the mainsail
and at that same moment the wind picked up to 26 knots and turned us around like a turd in a pot, it was scary and then the boom came loose and hit me in the head
I was almost knocked out and fell fortunately on a fender
lying on deck
, in the mean while Gerda had to hold on to the wheel
and could not help me.
I think I almost passed out, it took me a couple of minutes to regain my bearings and helped Gerda to stable the boat.
Most of that day waves as high as 8 ft and rocking and rolling, one hell of a day.
I am all right and have a little headache.
We arrived in Frankfort at 4 PM and fuelled up and had a very nice ( heated ) shower
, just came back from a really nice dinner with a great bottle of wine.
As it turned out it is the best harbour and the best restaurant we had on our trip, we were happy to pay for our stay.
Gerda is doing some laundry
and I will have a drink and will pass out I am sure.
This is quality time for us and can do some bonding as well.
Tomorrow we head
for Charlevoix, a short day about 65 miles, the weather is going to be warm and no wind.
We still having a good time despite a rough day.
Day 4 June 5
Left Frankfort 8 am after a great night, dinner and a good sleep.
Woke up to light fog
about 100 ft. sight
Decided to leave anyway relying on our instruments, first time for us to do so it was a little unnerving but it worked O.K.
got thicker and thicker by the minute.
No wind to speak of, more motoring and very COLD and damp I had a T shirt and 2 big sweaters and jeans and a foul weather outfit on, gloves and a hat and still got the chills.
Waves 2 to 3 feet and choppy did not see land or anything else for 6 hrs.
We missed the spectacular Sleeping Bear State Park dunes.
Fog cleared and we were on our way to Leland, missed it and headed for Charlevoix hit it at 6 PM
Absolutely a magnificent harbour, worth coming back for.
Had a pizza in a good bar and did some groceries, tying to keep my eyes open it is now 9 and bed
Tomorrow we are aiming for Mackinaw Island, should be a shorter day.
Got to leave early to beat the Harbour master.
All and all a good travel day.
Day 5 June 6
Reached Mackinaw City at 2.30 PM and had a good day on the water, did some sailing but are a little confused about some of the sheet lines not in the right place,
The boom is continuing to come free from its locking's it appears the line is to thick for the gripper and no cleats
to tie of on.
7 to 8 knots of speed on the jib
only as the wind is picking up, we came around the point to turn towards the Mackinaw bridge, the wind started to twirl and we were in irons immediately
One of the jib line wrapped it self around a fender
and now I have a fender partly stuck in the air and stuck on the safety rail in 28 knots of wind the sail is flapping and I am trying to loosen the fender.
I used some choice words and it helped.
Gerda is hanging on to the wheel
keeping the nose in the wind, managed to get the job done and all returned to normal.
Again the wind right on the nose with 3 to 5 ft. waves in 25 knots wind the motor
is working overtime and it is getting real cold again.
The Mackinaw bridge from below is a spectacular site and we were impressed by its size, we are fortunate people to have this experience.
Met our friends Joe Rocca and lovely Catherine for dinner and had a wonderful time it is good to have good friends and we realised that Joe and I have been friends for 22 years, he does not seems to age and is still full of energy.
Today Day 6 June 7 is not looking so good to be out there high winds rain and thunderstorms are forecasted, it is now 7.30 AM and we might stay here for the day.
We can use a day off for some R&R.
9.30 am Gerda made a nice breakfast and soon we have coffee, if the rain stops we might go for a walk, the Town is very pretty.
Had pancakes for lunch, not so good, the whole town in full of fudge store and sweets( obesity comes to mind )
Very pretty town it was worth it to stay the day.
For the people not familiar with the term beating the harbour master, the Harbour master goes home at 5 and will come back to work at 8 AM( remember our small budget
Day 7 June 8
A new day and a new adventure coming.
Leaving in light fog again very early in the morning.
Soon the fog was as thick as Dutch pea soup, kept going anyway and tried to stay close to shore to stay out of the commercial shipping
lanes we were actually doing really well and even had all the sails
28 to 30 ft. of water under us no problem doing 7 knots.
Suddenly boom we ran aground and got really stuck. battling getting the sails down in a healing boat is fun, got stuck close to Lighthouse point about 15 miles out South of Mackinaw City
The fog started to lift
and we realized the mistake we made.
Fortunately nobody got hurt and we called the coastguard who assisted us with calling a tow boat they came a hour later and pulled and pulled but not budging an inch.
Then we hooked the tow line to the halyard
and he tried to pull us out sideways that did work however the sounds we heard were grinding and scraping the bottom of the lake.
Interesting to see what the keel
will look like coming out of the water in the fall.
No damage to the rudder
( we thought ) or the propeller
, although we developed a slight vibration in the boat.
We had to pull in Cheboygan port to settle up with the tow guy, now we know why we have insurance
a fat $ 1600.00 US Bill later we are on our way again.
Heading to Rogers City and reached it without any problems at 7.30 Pm, had a quick hamburger and crashed.
Woke up at 5.30 and showered and left before the Harbour master came in.
Day 8 June 9
On our way to Harrisville, the weather is really nice and maybe we can get some sailing done today.
Light wind and a perfect day on the water we could see the shoreline and the lighthouses and it was a leisure day in the sun.
Had the Jib out for a while it helped a little.
Came in Harrisville at 4.30 the place looks deserted, nice town/harbour and the showers were great. had a guest room with a TV and we watched part of a soccer game
place for docking
Day 9 June 10
We are trying to make Port Austin and leave at 7 AM the weather forecast
is not great but we cannot wait for the perfect days, hope for the best.
The Westerbeke engine
getting its work out, wind right on the nose and shifting continuously at 20 to 25 knots rocking and rolling Gerda got a little queasy.
Gerda wanted to show me something after she made me a coffee and leaned over a little and accidently ( I hope ) pressed the air horn and I was about 2 ft. from my face, after a few scary days I am a little jumpy I spilled my coffee and experienced the feeling someone gets getting a heart attack.
Gerda laughed so hard I thought she wet herself and after a few minutes so did I, you should have been there.
All and all a good day we made Port Austin at 2.30 and had a chance to leisure and do some reading and went for supper in an Italian restaurant that forgot to look at the calendar, they thought it was still 1950.
was at best O.K the wine was cheap
and tasted great.
Winds are nasty right now and we are hoping it will be quiet tomorrow as we are trying to make Port Sanilac.
Day 10 June 11
Had a good night sleep in our queen size bed, the facilities and the harbour are very nice and priced reasonable ($ 47.00 a night )
The weather is calm right now and after breakfast we will be heading out at 8 AM.
On our way to Sanilac, wind right on the nose but light, coming around the thumb of Michigan the wind was more favourable and had the Jib up for a while.
Listening on the weather station we heard the weather was getting rough up in the Sanilac area, after Gerda’s calculations we decided to cross lake Huron to Goderich.
Wind was good for a few hrs. but died halfway up the lake and light fog came in, did not scare us any after our trip. crossed the commercial
channel without a problem.
The fog lifted and Goderich was in sight at about 4.00, after some more calculations we realised we could make it to Bayfield at about 8.00.
We did pulled in at 7.30 and made it HOME SAFE.
I remember somebody saying once, that when it is rough out on the water it is the crew that fails but not the boat, our Catalina 380 can take a lot of rough water and we were impressed with the 110 hrs. we put on the motor
8 ft. waves banging and crashing, getting stuck on the ground, bumping in to a channel marker and us farting around with the sails did not budge the boat.
I am also proud of Gerda to put up with me and a sore back to boot, we survived each other as well and have become even stronger together.
Day 11 Friday June 12 6.30 AM we are up and it is raining the main sail needs to be realigned and put under the cover, this might have to waited until tomorrow.
Started to pack up our stuff and are heading home at about noon.
It sure was a great adventure, Kees always said “it will never be dull when you’re with me” truer words were never spoken, and I love him for it.
After telephone discussions with the insurance
company, they thought it was a good idea to hoist Toucan out of the water and asses the damage to the keel
Friday June 26 was the day and due to the previous stories there were about 15 curious people watching.
My personal though was not to bother taking her out as we sailed it home for about 200 miles after our accident
without any issues.
How wrong was I that day!!!!
Toucan emerged out of the water and we all were in a bit of a shock, the rudder
was more than half gone!!!
left and only about half of the rudder had a bit foam left on the frame, how did we steer this boat is a mystery but we made it home.
The keel was dented and scraped and was crying for TLC.
I was told not to go anywhere with Toucan at least 10 times by the adjuster and Ed Prezcator our boat repair man.
Maybe I should listen to good advice this time.
We now have a floating cottage and are waiting for a new rudder and Ed to commence the repairs
I am impressed by the Catalina 380 holding up in all this rough and abusive owners and environment
Summer is here and we might get some sailing in later in the year.
In the meanwhile we drink some beer
and wine and wait.
Bayfield Harbour light Marina