Monday, September 19, 2011

North Bay

North Bay is on the Lake Michigan side of Door County WI.

We all made it through the 1st crazy week of school with our sanity! Now what?…get outside!…Wednesday I had paddled to Chambers Island in the evening, returning to shore about dusk. Today feels like a sail…light winds, go somewhere new…so North Bay sounds good. 20 years ago I had sailed here. It was so shallow I had to pull the rudder and steer with a paddle. That incident is why I now have a kick up rudder, that when up, doesn’t hang down below the Skeg of the Blue Jay. All we need is 6 inches to launch or sail…just about what is at the ramp at the end of North Bay Road.

Left home about 3 pm with the Jay in tow. Stopped in Bailey’s Harbor to say Hi to Lucille and get a Waffle Cone of goodness at the Yum-Yum-Tree
The Weedy Shallow Launch at North Bay

After filling my belly with some sweetness I continued up County Q, to Woodcrest, to Old Stage Road, to Cty RD ZZ and on to North Bay Rd, to THE WATER.

Shallow…I had to break the trailer and let it hinge so I could gently slide the boat off. Not much wind, about 10 mph from the N, NE…but enough.
The launch from the water side
It was just the right amount of wind for some unique sailing and too shallow to lower the centerboard or the rudder. I headed off from the dock, following the shoreline west, then south and back east…During the next 2 hours I made one large circle around the perimeter of North Bay.

The wind was perfect. Light, but we still moved at 2 mph +-. I sheeted off the Main and Jib onto a broad reach, tied down the tiller and just let her go, standing up in the bow while she steered herself.

I could carve turns like a kayak by holding the mast and by leaning the boat one way or the other, she would do a gentle turn…had an hour of rudderless steering until we had to beat into the wind…the light wind, the dying wind. Across the mouth of the bay and to the edge of Lake Michigan. The soft, sandy bottom giving way to the rocky, green weed bottom near the lake’s beginning. I could have walked back and followed the line the skeg had left in the sandy white mud, back to the launch. Now we sailed past an old fisherman, wading in the shallows, and were in 10 feet of lake water beating to the North Shore toward some kayakers playing around near their home on Marshals Point. As I reached the yakkers and the North shore, the wind just about completely died. One of them paddled…ah, peddled over…he had a Hobie with its unique Mirage fin drive . We talked for awhile about the great weather and his fin drive system. I’m sure the boat and fin drive are great to fish with, but I wonder how comfortable the boat is when the wind is 20 and you are broadside to a 4 foot sea with an open boat and 50 degree water? For now, I’ll keep my enclosed, traditional sea kayak
Our Shadow in the shallow sea

I get many compliments on how pretty the lines of a Blue Jay are. Not many people recognize her type or know what a Blue Jay is when I tell them. Most know what a Lightning is, when I mention that a Blue Jay is the Lightning’s smaller sibling and designed by the same person, they see the resemblance. A Blue Jay is a training boat. Designed to carry an adult and 2 children. It was a perfect boat for us to have while the kids grew up. Launching at the nearest boat ramp, we had her loaded with beach toys and would just sail up to the beach, play on shore for a few hours and sail back. The kids could play in the sand and water and I would enjoy their company on land and sea.

The wind is Dead now. The fin powered kayak brought bad luck, no wind, so I sat on the bow, feet hanging over the side and paddled, not long…15 minutes or so and the wind was back enough to let the boat carry me home
Heading the rest of the way Home

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