Day 2: After a fairly uneventful 1st day of sailing, we got up the next day and started laying out our next sail plan. The forecast was the same as the day before – sunny skies and light winds. My hope was that the “light winds” would be at least enough to get us sailing.
We decided the best option would be to plan a fairly short trip and try sailing under the Mackinac Bridge. After all, I’ve only driven over it once or twice, so why not look at it from a different perspective? After doing that, the plan would be to find a nice anchorage and spend the night on the hook. With that, we stocked the boat with some fresh water, food, and of course beer and Canadian Club. You know. Just the essentials.
Once again, I repeated some of the lessons from the day before, and went over the various lines, boat parts, and the plan for leaving the dock. Again, I gave the order to undo the spring line, put the engine in reverse, and backed out of the slip. This time though, it was flawless. Dad had learned from the day before, and loosely secured the bumper to a hand rail on the deck to keep it from rolling off into the water.
We then motored out of the marina once again and headed into the Lower Straits of Mackinac. When the boat was right, I gave the order to “raise the halyard”. Again, unlike the day before, the main sail went up. After that, he also prepped to unroll the jib! (He was becoming a pro.) So, I told him to go ahead. I turned the boat to let the main sail fill up and assist in unrolling the jib and cut the engine.
We were sailing! This time though, the sailing was great. The wind was still pretty light, but it was enough to get us some momentum and keep us going at a nice gingerly speed of about 3 knots or so. We weren’t going to break any speed records, but at least we had wind. Besides, it was enough for me to continue on with his lessons and teach him a bit about tacking.
We completed a couple of tacks along the way to the bridge. Again, our speed was slow, but we were making progress. My major concern was that we wouldn’t make it to our anchorage in time with the slow pace we were keeping. Then, a couple of hours into our journey, the winds completely died down again. This sort of put the nail in the coffin (so to speak) in regards to making it to our anchorage before dark. Mackinac Island was just to our north, and the bridge to the west. With no wind, there would be no way to make it to the bridge without motoring the entire way. After a quick calculation, even under motor power we wouldn’t make it to the anchorage before dark.
I then brought up the possibility of going up to Mackinac Island and just staying there for the night in the marina. We could make it there on engine power in about an hour and be safely docked by nightfall. Having never stayed there in the marina, I thought it would be fun. Dad agreed, so we turned on the engine, brought down the sails, and headed for the island. I hailed the marina and secured a slip for the evening. Seeing the bridge from underneath would have to wait.
My hope was to get a good nights sleep, leave early the next morning, sail under the bridge, and then return to the marina in Cheboygan. Sounds like a good plan, hey? Well, unfortunately, things once again didn’t go as planned…. (The Learning Experience Continues)…