Posts Tagged 'gopro hd surf hero'

sailing log: 2011-09-09 (Lake Michigan)

while up north for a long weekend at Camp Arcadia, I got in a bit of sailing Friday afternoon on Lake Michigan. the wind was pretty strong from the north/northwest (bringing the cold water with it), and waves were medium-sized – enough to be fun on the Sunfish, but troublesome for my brother-in-law on his windsurfer.

my brother-in-law tried windsurfing for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but gave up as the water temperature was only 53 degrees, and even with a shorty wetsuit on he was just too cold.  so I sailed in towards shore and picked him up, and he and I sailed together on the Sunfish for a while.  I had on a long-sleeved rashguard under my shorty wetsuit, so other than the 1st couple minutes of cold legs while getting the boat started at the beach, it was really comfortable.

here’s a screenshot from my GoPro HD Hero camera as we are heading back in towards shore.  North Bluff is to port and Arcadia is to starboard.

here’s another shot as we run south parallel to the beach, giving you a nice view (ahead of the sail) of Camp Arcadia‘s setting right on the waters of Lake Michigan.

sunfish sailing with my son [video]

here’s a short video from my evening sailing the other day with my oldest son, T2.  the winds were very light, so it was really more of paddle a little…. drift a little… turn around… and paddle back to shore before it got too dark.  but the sun was slowly setting, and it was gorgeous and so peaceful out on the water… a great way to spend some time with my son.

video is taken with a GoPro HD Surf Hero.  music is by Cloud Cult, the last portion of their song “Son is Watching”, taken from their live Lounge Act session on

sailing log: 2011-07-26 (walled lake)

last week, I tried something new for me – I trailered the Sunfish to work, and stopped by an area lake after work for some weeknight sailing.  Walled Lake has a small public beach on the north side of the lake, and although I hadn’t been there, a few friends seemed to think I should be able to launch from that beach.  parking was limited, so I had to park across the street, and use my Sunfish PVC dolly to go across the road.

after that, I pulled the boat on the PVC dolly down a sidewalk that turned into some kind of foam walking surface that led almost to water’s edge.  this actually was a blessing – my PVC dolly’s wheels don’t always work well in soft sand, but there wasn’t really any other area for me to roll the dolly and boat down to the water other than this path right through the middle of the beach and swimming area.

after making it to the shallow water, I walked the boat out from the middle of the beach and swimming area to set up the sail (you can see my PVC dolly sitting on top of the boat).

I left the dolly off to the side a short distance from the beach area, and took off sailing.  I hadn’t gotten very far, when I tried to tack over, and the old mainsheet snap that holds my mainsheet to the bridle at the back of the boat somehow came undone, and went flying forward following the boom and sail!  you can see the blue rope flying with the mainsheet snap at the end of the rope in the picture below.

after I pulled the sail back in, and reset the mainsheet up as it should be, I sailed for maybe an hour in lighter winds, with a lot of shifts in wind speed and direction.

after that, I came back in to shore to pick up my friend Tyler, who joined me on the Sunfish.  he had sailed on a much larger sailboat before, but never a Sunfish – it was fun to talk about sailing and life in general.

sailing with 2 adults can be sort of cramped on a Sunfish, but it wasn’t too hard to manage – before we started, I had shifted the halyard position on the upper boom to raise the sail up some, and I adjusted the gooseneck on the lower boom as well, to raise the back end of the sail up a bit, so we didn’t have to duck as much to get under the boom when we were tacking.

overall, Walled Lake was a pretty nice place to sail, at least on a weeknight… I’m not sure how busy it would be on a weekend.  the lake is fairly shallow, but I think I heard that they actively control the weed growth, so I didn’t notice any stalling due to weeds (although I frequently raised the daggerboard to make sure it was clear).  launching from the middle of the beach is a little awkward, but manageable – and it gives me a nice sailing option for days with good wind forecasts during the middle of the week.

all pictures are screenshots from the video I took with my GoPro HD Surf Hero video camera while I was sailing.  I’ll try to edit it down to a short video clip to share later.

sailing log: 2011-07-23 (lake erie)

after the major frustration I’ve been having with sailing at Kent Lake, I decided to try out a new option.  I realized that driving down to Sterling State Park on Lake Erie near Monroe, Michigan, would only be maybe 10 or 15 minutes farther of a drive than I had been making up to Kent Lake.  that was a short enough increase in driving to make it worth checking out.

the weather forecast for the weekend was a chance of rain on and off.  I got a little worried as I was driving down – there were pockets of rain (some light, some a little heavier) as I was driving, and I thought I might have to skip out on the sailing.

the state park has a boat launch, but it is located back in one of the lagoons, and you’d have to motor out into the main waters of Lake Erie.  so instead, I was planning to launch from the beach, but the parking lots are set off quite a ways from the beach, so I parked and walked down to scope things out.  there was a gravel access road that went down to the beach (I think the state park uses it to re-grade the beach).  the water looked pretty shallow, and fairly calm, but there was a bit of wind.  as I was walking in the parking lot back to the truck, there was a strong wind blowing at my face and towards the water – I was hopeful for some good sailing.

it took me 20 or 30 minutes to get all my gear around, and stacked nicely in and on the Sunfish.  this was the 1st time I’d be using my Sunfish PVC dolly to haul my boat a considerable distance, and I needed to get everything, as I didn’t want to make multiple trips.  the PVC dolly did great through the parking lot, across the grass and gravel path, and even some in the hard-packed sand, but it gets bogged down in the softer sand, so it made it maybe 25 to 30 feet from the waterline.  I had to drag the Sunfish the rest of the way across the sand.

I got everything all set up and started out on the calm waters of Lake Erie.  but that beautiful wind out of the west I had felt up in the parking lot had completely died off, and I drifted and had to use my paddle for the first 20 minutes or so.  it was plenty hot, though, so after a while I stuffed my life jacket in the storage cubby, and sat down in the cockpit and let the sail all the way out to try to let the boat run in the light breeze.  right about then, the wind started picking up a little bit (and coincidentally, that’s when my GoPro Surf Hero camera quit on me – the memory card was too full of old videos!).  I did get this screen-grab, but the rest of the video isn’t very exciting as I drifted/paddled in the calm water.

the wind stayed pretty light, but I was at least able to sail a few nice reaches back and forth as the wind came and went, and then finished up with a nice easy run back to the beach after maybe an hour and a half on the water.  the PVC dolly worked great hauling the boat back up to the truck and trailer, where I packed it all up and headed back home.

so, now I’ve sailed a Sunfish on Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan – 3 of the 5 Great Lakes.  I think the last 2 will be a bit harder to accomplish… both would require a serious drive: probably 6 hours to Lake Superior, and Lake Ontario would be 4 hours if I drove through Canada and dealt with the hassle of customs at the border(s) or 7 hours if I drove entirely in the US to avoid Canada.  maybe I can plan some camping trips for next summer at one, or the other, or maybe even both!



sunfish sailing on Kent Lake [video]

here’s a short video I put together from my sailing adventure a few days ago on Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark in Michigan.  you can see the frustration I was having with the weeds, see a few dead fish go floating by, but also at least a decent bit of sailing that afternoon.

this is my 1st time mounting the GoPro HD Surf Hero video camera out on the lower boom – I kind of like the perspective it gives.  watching the video, I can also see that the camera angle/view gives more of an idea when I was getting into the weeds, as there were times out on the water that I didn’t even realize I was getting close to a weed cluster.

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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