I'm sailing!

Jeff Ilse bio photo By Jeff Ilse

With the mast raised and the boat not quite ready to go, I was planning on taking my sweet time putting the finishing touches on the running rigging, but as it turns out going slow wasn’t in the cards. A couple marina friends, who were scheduled to depart in the morning on their own long distance adventure, stumbled by after their local good-bye party. It was late in the evening and I was just hanging out on the dock looking up at the universe. They easily convinced me I should be ready to go by mid morning and we would sail north together. They wandered back to their boat and I jumped into action with the excited thought that I could actually sail in the morning. I don’t remember what I still had to do, but I stayed up until 4am doing it. Another marina friend with a car took pity on me and drove me to the grocery store so I could avoid the 10 miles of bike ride with a heavy load. I dropped the bags in the cabin, hollered over at the other boat, and we shoved off our respective docks. Getting out of the harbor onto the big lake was comically crowded with 4th of July boaters, but I pulled the head-sail up anyway. I wasn’t going to wait another minute to sail instead of motoring. That lasted about 10 minutes and due to the congestion I dropped the sail and motored through the busy canal.

After that, it was game on. I solo sailed from Muskegon to Leland with a few stops between and had some wicked good times. I only used the motor to get in and out of harbors and was able to make great time with excellent conditions. I couldn’t believe how much fun it was to be under sail. When I hit speeds around 10knots, the boat makes this amazing sound like the engines of a strafing TIE fighter. Later, the designer reassured me it’s likely coming from the aft end of the keels under water and it’s normal. I was, and am still convinced it’s just Meadowhawk giving a big scream of woo-hoo!

sails bent on and ready to rock for the first time

following my 'buddy boat' out to the big lake

going for a dingy ride with friends and their pooch

coming into Frankfort

I stayed in Frankfort to get some job work done and to wait for better wind to continue. It was a nice protected harbor with an easy to access town. I was anchored right here for a number of days and had some fun times meeting local sailors. Meadowhawk is an easy conversation starter since everyone wants to know her story.

another reason I stuck around is to wait for their weekly farmers market. It turned out to be more of a craft sale, but I did find some fresh strawberries and some greens.

After a very nice stay in Frankfort, it was time to meet up with Heather and Ethan, so I had more sailing to do. Here, I'm passing the 450ft high Sleeping Bear sand dune.