sailing log: 2011-06-18

so Saturday was like a trifecta for sailing – it was Father’s Day weekend and my wife was encouraging me to go sail, the weekend also happened to be the Summer Sailstice, and it was going to be my 1st chance to test out the new (to me… it is a 2000, so 11 years old or so) Sunfish I had picked up off of craigslist.  the weather report was for a chance of showers and light winds, but after doing a few things in the morning and afternoon, the rain hadn’t started, so I took off for the lake to get out on the water.

I decided to try Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark again, which has been pretty hit or miss with me, and even though I’ve been frustrated with the weeds there before.  this time, I was going to try out the west boat ramp, which would put me closer to the wider and deeper portions of the reservoir (for hopefully a less weedy experience). I was looking at some stuff on the Michigan DNR website about lakes and public boat access points, and saw they are warning about spreading these weeds (called Eurasian milfoil) to other lakes.

after scoping the boat launch area out a bit, I decided the light winds were hanging around enough to get me moving across the water some, so I backed up the trailer near the boat ramp, and started to rig my boat up.  the first thing I noticed was a strong odor of rotting fish.  sure enough, as I started sailing, I kept seeing huge dead carp floating in the water.  I’m not sure what caused it, but they seemed to be everywhere.

and once again, I had trouble with the weeds at Kent Lake.

here is a screen shot from the video I took – I had just hit a nasty weed bed, and the boat had come to almost a dead stand-still, but the back end was still swinging around to the right. I noticed that the camera shows the weeds really well, but sitting down at the boat level, I couldn’t always see them (until too late).  also note the nice floating dead carp off to the right side of the boat, towards the little island in the upper left.

trapped in the weeds with a dead carp floating nearby

the light winds didn’t help either, as I had trouble building up enough speed to plow through the weeds when I did encounter them.  I got stuck again, and drifted up near that little island, and had to break out my collapsible paddle to push away from shore, and paddle the boat a ways out.

it wasn’t all for naught, as I did have a few stretches of nice sailing. I was testing out the GoPro video camera mounted on the back of the lower Sunfish boom, and am pretty happy with that location – I’ll try to edit out some of the rough parts from the day and get it down to a manageable file to upload soon.  here’s another screen shot from the video when things were going a bit better.

the other thing I found out is that the wooden daggerboard from my old Sunfish doesn’t fit down completely into the daggerboard slot on the new Sunfish!  it is about as deep as it can go in the picture above.  the fiberglass daggerboard I bought will fit just fine, but I didn’t want to drag the new daggerboard through the muck and weeds of Kent Lake.

I got frustrated with the light winds and weeds slowing me down, and called it after about an hour of sailing.  I headed back to the boat ramp, and packed everything up to head home.  once I got there, I re-set up the whole boat, and washed it all down with soap and water – hoping to get the weed scum and dead carp juices off as best I could.

I was pretty annoyed with the whole thing – and am pretty much done trying to sail on Kent Lake anymore.  Michigan has so many lakes, I just need to find one nearby that will work out better (with some type of public access).  still it was nice to try out the new(er) Sunfish, and great to get out on the water (even though it stunk a little bit).

UPDATE: okay, here is a short video from the sailing on Kent Lake.

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