How to have an excellent first overnight passage

At least, here’s how it went for us:

  • Wait for a weather window. Wait and wait and wait. When people start to make fun of you a little for not going anywhere, wait some more.

    It's not nice to mention the wrinkles in a person's sail, people.

    It’s not nice to mention the wrinkles in a person’s sail, people.

  • Head out in drifter conditions while you finish stowing things around your boat, rigging up safety equipment and prepping some food.
  • Make some sort of deal with the wind gods that keeps the wind right on the beam, between 8-12 knots, but keep the water nice and flat. Best to have the breeze from the south, so it’s not too chilly.
  • Feed everyone well.

    Kids learn about the pleasures of passage ramen.

    Kids learn about the pleasures of passage ramen.

  • Plan for the moon to be full. Being able to see the horizon will make you less nervous about heading out into the dark.
  • Don’t be fooled by the line of lights blinking in unison right in front of you. That’s a wind farm way on shore, not some kind of new oil platform or a bunch of tankers rafted up together. You won’t hit it.
  • Furl up the genoa as you approach–you’ve crossed too fast, and need to wait for the sun to come up. As the wind dies, actually, you should probably just bob around outside the harbor entrance while your family sleeps. You’re not in any hurry to fire up the engine

    Pentwater entrance

    Pentwater entrance

That’s how we did it, anyway. It was such a lovely crossing, and the boat sailed so well–not a single person had the slightest twinge of seasickness. We motored in to Pentwater and dropped the hook in a very protected anchorage, and spend the day recovering, swimming, fishing and cleaning up.

Lest you think it's all fun and games, we've been driving through some big alewife die-offs; the lake Michigan flies have been big fans of our boat, as well.

Lest you think it’s all fun and games, we’ve been driving through some big alewife die-offs; the Lake Michigan flies have been big fans of our boat, as well.

The wind today is keeping us in Pentwater–big breakers from the west make the canal out a bit too shallow for our deep draft, but tomorrow we plan to head up to Manistee. We wouldn’t mind too much spending more time here in Pentwater, but we’ve got friends to meet farther north, and tomorrow should be another nice reach up the lake.

Father's Day water battle royale

Father’s Day water battle royale

 

4 Comments on “How to have an excellent first overnight passage

  1. Excellent to see the “rice blanket” being put to use to keep two lovely children nice and toasty!

  2. S/V Clairvoyant looking forward to seeing you up north, look for the Zephyr dog and you’ll find us!

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