Posts Tagged 'lake michigan'

is it spring?

warm (45°F) and sunny February day in Michigan has me thinking sailing thoughts…. even though we just had ~18” of accumulated snow and a 3-week period when daily high temps didn’t even get above freezing.

I was scrolling through some old photos and found some great Sunfish sailing memories. these are from vacationing at Camp Arcadia on Lake Michigan, probably 2009 or so.

a common theme to the photos: I like taking people (adults and kids) for rides on my Sunfish so they can experience the thrill of it, even on some of the calmer wind days.

sunfish assisted capsize recovery

sailors at the North Shore Yacht Club on Lake Michigan in Highland Park, Illinois have developed some new techniques to help Sunfish sailors assist nearby sailors that have capsized their Sunfish sailboat and are having difficulty righting the boat or getting back out of the water into the boat.  Alan Cohen is an American Canoe Association certified Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor, an experienced Sunfish sailor, and former Commodore of the North Shore Yacht Club, and he prepared an article discussing these methods and helped with the re-enactment to make the video below to help explain the methods.  Alan’s article can be found here or here (.pdf file).

a few of the reasons this method might be beneficial are highlighted in the article and video, including the following:

  • Sunfish has capsized and/or fully turtled
  • the daggerboard has fallen out, or won’t stay in the daggerboard slot to assist with flipping the Sunfish back over
  • sailor fatigue
  • help getting in the boat

there’s often discussions over on the Sunfish Forum about various ways to help with one or several of the above list, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them summarized so nicely in a written article, and now a video demonstration as well.  the article and video highlight (4) basic techniques to help a nearby Sunfish sailor recover from a capsize:

  • getting a fallen daggerboard back into the boat
  • helping to right a capsized boat
  • using a rope foot sling to assist with reboarding
  • steadying a Sunfish to assist during reboarding

North Shore Yacht Club has been a leader in putting together great videos to help Sunfish sailors, I’ve highlighted some of their previous videos on my blog already:

neither out far nor in deep

a poem by Robert Frost

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be—
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

duck duck sunfish

a GoPro video screenshot from Sunfish sailing in the rain the other day.

sunfish sailing in the rain

it was an interesting afternoon: winds seemed light and shifty at times and the sky out on the horizon looked dark and cloudy. radar showed a big storm coming across Lake Michigan, but it seemed like it might pass up to the north of Camp. my son T2 and I decided to try sailing on our Sunfish and Minifish despite the chance of rain.

as we started rigging our boats the first rain drops started to fall. but I didn’t see anything to dark on the horizon and had not heard any thunder. we figured let’s try it out and see if we could at least get a quick sail.

I sent him off in the Minifish and then raised the sail on my Sunfish. winds were mostly from the south and had picked up some. rain continued to drip down on me, just a nice gentle rain.

as we sailed, the wind and waves both kept increasing as the rainstorm kept coming from the west and across Lake Michigan. I was able to snap a few pics before it got too intense.

T2 sailing behind me, Camp Arcadia on the shoreline of Lake Michigan behind him.

the cool rain was awesome and as the wind and waves kept picking up it just got better. we were both flying across the water, mostly just reaches east and west, as I didn’t want to wander to far north or south up the shoreline with the storm close.

it was an awesome afternoon of sailing!

my 1st sunfish (a newer picture)

Camp Arcadia is a family tradition with us, but my wife and I have made it an “every other year” tradition.  some of my other family members still go up every year.  it’s a charming and beautiful place, nestled in a quiet town in norther Michigan, and just an amazing beautiful setting right on the shores of Lake Michigan.

this year was an off year for us, as we took the trip to Cancun with some college friends (and sailed the Hobie) –  but my sister took her family and my parents went this year as well.

this afternoon, within minutes of each other, my dad and sister both texted me the same photo, with a text like “is this you?” or “wish you were here!”

it’s funny how things work.  I recognize the Sunfish by that particular sail color/pattern – that happens to be the 1st Sunfish that I ever sailed on, now almost 20 years ago.

I’ve posted about this 1st Sunfish before: my 1st ever sail on a Sunfish, another picture here, and my 1st post ever here!

it was the start of it all.


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