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It’s Spring at Last!

The ice is finally out and launching has begun around here despite the unusually cool temperatures.  I am looking forward to pulling our boat home from the shed and starting the spring maintenance routine.  This year, the focus is on teak.  It’s time to do a bit of sanding and revarnishing, but otherwise, Sarah’s in pretty good shape.  It’s still way too cool to varnish, but it’s a good time to start the prep work and be ready for warmer weather.  Once the temperature is right, I won’t want to have sanding to finish.  Last fall, I sent our sails to Sailcare for some professional cleaning and a little repair. They haven’t arrived yet, so I think I’d better give them a call.  I’m looking forward to seeing how well Sailcare’s cleaning process works.

Speaking of warmer weather, we just returned from a short trip to San Francisco where we took some time to attend the Strictly Sail Pacific show at Oakland’s Jack London Square.  It was a nice show with lots of vendors and plenty of boats to look at.  The good thing is that I didn’t see anything I like better than our Quickstep 21.  That’s been the case for 26 years now, and I’m sure most Quickstep owners feel the same way.  What I did see were plenty of boats that are a lot more expensive than our Quickstep- or our entire home, plus the Quickstep, the Lyman, and both cars.  My granddaughter picked one out.  It was marked down $33,000- a boat show special.  Just for the fun of it, here are a few photos of the show.  Click on any image to see the pictures full size.

Let me know when your season gets underway.  I’d enjoy posting a few pictures of your boats as they begin the new year.

The Winter Fleet Is In!

I am beginning to think about the chores I have to complete before I launch Sarah this spring. This is the year I’ll be varnishing teak and spending some quality time on cosmetic issues. Technically she’s in fine shape, but her brightwork is looking a bit tired.  As soon as it warms up, I’ll get at it.  But- it’s a little too early to be working on the boat right now.  It’s cold in Wisconsin.  As you can see below, Hobie cats aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and some of the Great Lakes freighters have arrived for their annual refits at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.  There are several of the 1000 foot fellows in for maintenance and more boats have arrived since I snapped this shot. Winter isn’t so bad, and a group of us sailors is staying active during the cold.  We gather and hike- and then meet for a bite to eat and drink.

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This is so typical.  Here is a fishing shack out in the shipping channel in Sturgeon Bay.  There are dozens and dozens of these scattered across Green Bay right now.  Some are out a mile or more.  Most guys use four-wheelers or snowmobiles to get out to them.  A few very brave (or remarkably foolish) ones drive their suv’s and trucks out on the ice.  My neighbor says the ice is nearing 20 inches thick two miles out where he fishes.  But he assures me he’s not one of the guys driving the F-150 out there!

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The shipping channel.

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IMG_8864The view to the west- toward Green Bay.

As you can see, a hearty group of sailors won’t be stopped by a little cold weather.  We’ll hike, enjoy a fire in one of the state park pavilions, and then find a welcoming pub like Waterfront Mary’s to enjoy a little good food, some tasty cocktails, and great conversation.

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That’s ice fishermen, of course.

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IMG_8875The porch is great all year round.

Beating the Polar Vortex

Well it’s the middle of another Polar Vortex and snow-blowing has replaced sailing for the time being.  In that the -35 degree wind chill makes it hard to think about being out on Green Bay, I have found other boat-related activities to help pass the time.  For me, one of the best is to log in to a website called Off Center Harbor.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.

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I have an old wooden Lyman that I maintain myself for those days when there’s no wind and I can’t sail the Quickstep.  She’s a fun old boat, a 1955 plywood lapstrake runabout.  As you can guess, an old wooden boat has to be properly maintained, so to make sure I have some of the skills I need, I joined a boatbuilding class at the Door County Maritime Museum a couple of years ago and worked to build a nice little sailing skiff, a Pooduck, designed by Joel White. The class was great- a terrific confidence builder and consequently my interest in building and my skill in maintaining small wooden boats took off.

 M3300014My 1955 Lyman

  DSC04077The Pooduck Skiff

I read Woodenboat magazine regularly and count on the internet for research, so I joined Off Center Harbor when the site first opened a couple of years ago.  What a terrific website!  Not only are there super detailed step-by-step tutorials for building small wooden boats, but there are a myriad of articles on everything from small boat camping to outboard boat handling.  There are videos of some of the neatest classic boats and all kinds of great photographs.  The authors’ blog is very informative, and the guys who put this together really know their stuff.  You are probably familiar with their work.  There is historian Maynard Bray, photographer Benjamin Mendlowitz, boatbuilder Eric Blake, the writer Bill Mayher and videographer Steve Stone.  The site isn’t free and although they offer a decent sampler, you can’t view it all without subscribing.  But it is more than worth the few bucks it costs per year. You can spend hours learning and having a great deal of fun at the same time. Our Quicksteps are traditional boats and it seems to me that this site is a perfect match for us. So if you are tired of fighting the cold, pour yourself a nice smokey Scotch, grab the laptop, stoke the fire, and settle in with this site.

www.offcenterharbor.com

Happy Holidays!

 

Winter is here.

Winter is here.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!  Winter has arrived in Egg Harbor and we are making the rounds of some terrific holiday parties.  In fact, we have four this week!  We will have to try hard not to over-eat, as our friends are all great cooks, and so the offerings are usually hard to avoid.  I think we’re up to the challenge, but we’ll see.

The boats are wrapped up for the winter and the only boating news is that we’ve sent our sails (our second set) off to SailCare in Pennsylvania for a good cleaning, new telltales, and a proper Quickstep insignia.  When we purchased this set the sailmaker didn’t quite get the “Q” correct and I decided that the boat had to start its second 25 years with the correct insignia on the sail.  Pure vanity, I know.  Our current sailmaker, Dorsal Sails (www.doorsail.com) in Sturgeon Bay tells me that he’s had several customers use SailCare and they expressed complete satisfaction with the firm.  We didn’t need any repairs and aside from missing telltales the sails are in pretty good shape.  I hope the good cleaning will help us get a few more years out of them.  When they arrive, I let you know how SailCare did.

Looking southwest toward the Alpine Lodge.

Looking southwest toward the Alpine Lodge.

As you can see, Egg Harbor is beginning to freeze over and soon we’ll see ice fishermen out on the bay.  Yesterday I snapped a few photos of the marina and the Egg Harbor public beach and noticed a Bald Eagle watching me from a nearby tree.  As soon as I pointed my camera his way, he took off.  I managed to get him anyway, even if it was from behind.  (click on any photo to enlarge it)

Looking west at the marina from Harbor View Park.

Looking west at the marina from Harbor View Park.

Our swimming beach.  The eagle is in the tree.

Our swimming beach. The eagle is in the tree.

Looking back toward the marina.

Looking back toward the marina.

There he goes!

There he goes!

We often see a pair from the marina.

We often see a pair from the marina.

As I said above, I hope you have happy holidays and that you get to spend time with your families and friends.  I also hope you’ll continue to be part of our Quickstep group in the coming year.  Any time you want to contribute, either with an article or some photos, just send your news along to me at Quickstep21@gmail.com.  I’d like to share your news with the rest of our Quickstep family.  Cheers!IMG_5397

Season 25 Ends

It's Pumpkin Patch Festival time in Egg Harbor!
It’s Pumpkin Patch Festival time in Egg Harbor!
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Egg Harbor's signature Milepost.
Egg Harbor’s signature Milepost.

The 25th sailing season for Sarah has come to a close with the marina here at Egg Harbor officially shutting down on October 19th.  The fall season was spectacular with great color, decent wind, and seasonally cool temperatures. We took advantage of the good weather.

Sarah's name pennant flying from the masthead.
Sarah’s name pennant flying from the masthead.
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Green Bay is chilly this time of year.
Green Bay is chilly this time of year.
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The Alpine Lodge seen from Sarah.
The Alpine Lodge seen from Sarah.
That's Chamber's Island in the distance.
That’s Chamber’s Island in the distance.

As usual, we avoided trying to sail during the Pumpkin Patch Festival when the marina grounds are full of folks enjoying a few beers and brats.  But both before and after, we had a few great sails to finish the season, daysailing just off Egg Harbor, circumnavigating Hat Island and tooling along the shore enjoying the fall color.   The weather turns quickly here, so we took advantage of a lull in the winds and pulled Sarah from the bay on the 16th.  It was rainy, but fairly warm.  We prefer to drop the mast when the wind isn’t going to complicate the maneuver.

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After getting her home, we did our usual fall cleanup, moving gear to the house and garage, power washing the bottom, waxing the hull, and cleaning the interior.   We always put her away clean and empty.  Then we drove her to her winter home in the shed at Eames Farm up in the village where she’ll spend the snowy months dry and safe.  We’re busy cleaning the gear now and making a few repairs here and there so that we’ll be ready when spring arrives.  I imagine we will get another year out of the bottom paint, but spring will bring quite a bit of varnishing and teak work.  I will also have to track down a couple of small leaks around fittings and replace the wiring to the mast.  The insulation is cracked and dry.  We were very pleased with the new Schaefer furler we installed this summer.  It worked great and proved easy to deal with when it was time to drop the mast.

Ready to go.
Ready to go.
Home for a cleanup.
Home for a cleanup.

Blue Moon’s Season Ends

IMG_1927Tom and Kristen Siebenhuhner send along a few photos of Blue Moon whose season on New York’s Lake Seneca has come to an end.  Blue Moon enjoyed some terrific fiberglass work on her flag blue hull earlier this year and she certainly looks great.

IMG_1929Here you see her under her winter cover, which by the way, I think looks first-class.  Tom and Kristen are already looking forward to next year’s sailing aboard number 33.   Thanks for sharing the photos and the news.IMG_1930

No Wind- Fire up the Lyman.

The week ended with a beautiful but dead-still day.  Sailing wasn’t in the cards, so we decided to take another fall tour aboard our old 1955 Lyman.  Once again down the coast to see the sights.  M3300002 M3300003

After the cruise, we enjoyed a terrific sunset at the Egg Harbor Marina.  With the Lyman tucked in near the ramp, we could enjoy watching both our boats as the sun took its leave.M3300007

It was also fun to take another look at our friend’s new Marsh Cat.  He spent 10 years building her and there’s no doubt she’s the prettiest boat in the marina.  Her name is Li’l Boat and I can say from personal experience she’s a joy to sail.M3300008

We hope to sail again this weekend.  After the Packers beat the Bears, of course!M3300013 M3300016

The Fall Sailing Has Been Great!

photo 4Beautiful weather has settled in over the Door Peninsula bringing 8 to 10 knots of breeze from the southeast, calm seas, sunny days and the first of the brilliant fall color.  We’ve had a couple of really nice sails up and down the coast.  Yesterday we sailed roughly five miles down the shore to Murphy County Park to see the shoreline restoration from the water.  The new beach is going to be very nice.  On Tuesday we sailed out to circumnavigate Hat Island about 4.5 miles northwest of Egg Harbor.  The picture shows us returning from that sail.  You can barely make out Chambers Island in the distance.  Hat Island is very low and hidden behind Sarah.

New Updates- Finally!

Hello Everyone!  The fall gales have arrived in Egg Harbor, and the miserable weather has given me time to work on this site.  I’ve updated the Fleet Rosters, and I hope to post a few new pictures.  If you have pictures or stories to share with your fellow Quickstep owners, please send them to me and I’ll work to get them posted.  Hope you had a great summer of sailing.

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