Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday 12/20/15– in Pensacola Florida
Weather/Sea   Sunny, Windy, temp 40 to 65
   Captain - John C. Kwak crew C├ęcile Delannes
Well now, you have not heard from me because I am still in Pensacola.  Since Nov 18 until yesterday I was here alone. I have toured most of downtown Pensacola on my bicycle and you really learn a city if you tour it on a bike. I went for a 5 mile ride to the hospital to have my heart checked, my pacemaker was fine. I do all my shopping on the bike, there is a milk crate mounted on the stern carrier which can carry two shopping bags or a propane cylinder. I sent an email to the Mid-Hudson Power Squadron copied below;
Hello Mid-Hudson PS
I am in Pensacola waiting for crew to go to Destin, Panama City, Apalagicola, and Carabella . Then an overnight trip too Coral Springs. If any one is interested in sailing offshore, contact me at johncsykwak@gmail.com. It looks like I will have Xmas here not a white Xmas of course! Unless I find volunteers to go sooner I will stay here. My crew will be back in early January and we will proceed then. I had Thanksgiving with my sister Tonia near Tampa after an 8 hr ride. I rented a car for 6 days and got back today.
The above, was sent by Susan Ryan to Cecile Delannes who is a member of the Greenwich Power Squadron, who emailed me that she was interested. After a few emails and exchange of references she arrived last night at 2100 at Pensacola Airport where I met her with a French Flag. Oh, she is French and has a beautiful accent. She has cooked dinner and it is now time to eat so more later!!!!!!

It was delicious, Italian mild sausage with fennel that we bought today and salad. I don’t know fennel from fromage but Cecile says it is fennel. I think I am being spoiled. So far we agree on almost everything, religion, science, politics, but don’t get any ideas she is 30 years younger than me. That would be my daughter’s age if my sons had an older sister. We plan to head East when the weather lets us. In January Charles Stewart will join us and in February Paul Berthe will also join us. Paul is the French Canadian who traveled the Erie Canal with me. He and Cecile can converse in French. Then Ross Pollard is also planning to join us in February for 2 weeks that will make a full crew. Cecile says she will cook for that crowd. She is a trained foody person, and used to be the French Cheese Ambassador. Since Cecile has the Vee berth to herself, I will have to share the stern cabin with one of these gentlemen. I am still planning to go to Cuba from Key West if all the legalities can be overcome.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Monday 11/18/15– in Pensacola Florida
Weather/Sea   Cloudy then Cloudy, Rain, Windy, temp 50 to 75
   Captain - John C. Kwak crew None
Dutchess and I are in Pensacola Florida; yes we made it to Florida, in the Palafox Pier Yacht Harbor. This is on the end of Palafox St. which is a reconstructed city shopping street with boutique stores and restaurants of all flavors. Chuck and I tried to sail East on Sunday Nov. 15 to Destin FL. and then try to get to the Florida West Coast. The weather was to be 10 knot winds out of the East but turned into 15 to 20 knots with 6 to 8’ waves. We were looking up to the bow and then down to the bow with waves crashing over. After 2 hrs of this we turned around and headed back to Pensacola and the same slip that we had left. We had left the Marina at 0615, thru the inlet for Pensacola Bay at 0730 and then up the coast. The inlet was very rough with outgoing tidal current but I thought it would be better close to the coast but it was not to be. There was a slight westerly current along the coast and with waves it slowed us to 4.8 to5.5 knots. Chuck saw something orange floating and at first we thought it was a life raft, but it was a mooring buoy for a dredge that was steel and 3’round and 6’ long. It would have done damage to the boat had Chuck not seen it because it was right in our path and not on the charts. At 0920 we had enough, I was sea sick, and we were both tired of the pounding so turned around rolled out the jib and surfed back  at 7 to 9 knots to the inlet and back at the slip at 1230. The weather and sea state did not look favorable for at least 2 weeks which let Chuck to decide to go home now for the Holidays. He left this morning at 0715 with a cab to the Pensacola International Airport. He is flying up to Muskegon, Michigan by way of Dallas and Chicago, a long flight. He is planning to come back to the boat after New Year. I will stay in Pensacola until I find help and a weather window to get the boat to Destin then Panama City, then Carrabelle, and the across the Gulf of Mexico to Clearwater and then down to St Petersburg. If any of you sailors reading this are interested, come down for some weeks and enjoy the tropical climate and ocean sailing! They charge $16.00 per foot for the month plus $3.50 for electric.
My last blog was from Columbus MS mile 335.0 on 10/29/15 we left for Pirate Cove Marina at mile 307.4. A very run down and small marina with broken wood docks. The owner says he is getting new docks but he has been saying that for a number of years according to other loopers who know the place. For the privilege of staying here he charged us $40 which includes the 10% discount for loopers. This was a short run of only 28 miles and we were tied up by 1208. Chuck and I took the courtesy car for shopping and went to the “Tom Beville Visitor Center” where they have a new building but in the style of a plantation house and the steamboat “Montgomery” which is a snag boat that was used to clear snags, sunken trees, from the Tenn Tom Waterway. Then back to the boat where I made bean soup with ham beans and smoked turkey legs and vegetables, it was found to be acceptable by the crew.
On 10/30/15 we left for Sumter Recreation Anchorage. We passed thru the “Tom Beville” lock at 0755 with three other loopers; “Velomer”, “Blue Heron” and “Chasing 80”.  We got to the anchorage at mile 269.9 and anchored at 1325. Blue Heron and Velomer where already anchored so we passed them and found a suitable spot dropped the hook and only 25’ of chain. I checked the depths around the boat for 50’ by dinghy and my portable depth meter and we had at least 6 feet. This was a small inlet and no wind or current so 25’ was ok. In fact we hung by only the chain all night because the chain was vertical from the bow.
On the next morning we pulled anchor at 0735 and left for Demopolis Yacht Basin at mile 216.7. At 0820 we passed thru Heflin Lock with “Velomer”, “Blue Heron” and “Alison Leigh” fellow loopers. They all go faster than us but we catch them at the lock. We stayed 2 nights in Demopolis YB at a cost of $122.10. There is a live aboard in Demopolis “Ron” who will drive you to town for gas money and a courtesy car which we both used and went to dinner and shopping. We stayed 2 days because the nice weather had ended and it was pouring rain.
On 11/2/15 we left Demopolis for Bashi Creek anchorage at mile 145.0. The night before we had a very civil captains meeting, to decide which boats where leaving in the first group for the Demopolis Lock.  If we had all left at the same time we would not fit in the lock. Dutchess was in the first group but last in the lock and had to raft up with “Something Special” other boats were “Pearl”, “Iconic”, “Valhalla”, “Allison Leigh”, “Melinda B”, “Sea Venture”, “Adagio”. I always want to be last in the lock because all the power boats have to pass us otherwise. Bashi Creek is a small inlet off the river and only holds a few boats, luckily all the fast boats passed it by. When we arrived only Something Special was anchored in the creek. We pulled up next to them and rafted up. I then took my Bow anchor and chain in the dinghy and dropped it about 40’ from my bow and the crew pulled up on the chain. I then took my stern anchor out about 40 from the stern and dropped it in and the crew pulled the nylon rode in. We now had 4 anchors out for 2 boats and we slept peacefully. Two more boats anchored behind us and also rafted together.
On 10/3/15 we left at 0735 and had a short run to Bobby’s Fish Camp at mile 118.9 and arrived at 1106. This is simply a dock along the river with room for 3 boats. They charge $1.50 per foot or $66.00 for Dutchess for poor facilities but it is the only game in town. Bobby’s will cook a cat fish dinner if more than 6 guest show up. Three more boats came with one rafted to a large catamaran which made for 9 guests. This very friendly black lady came down and started to set up for dinner. Then there was a power failure and we all waited for an hour until it came back on. She cooked a great catfish dinner for each person. I had the “all you can eat fried catfish” and she brought out 5 cat fish with hush puppies and vegies, it was all I could eat and delicious.
On 11/4/15 we left late at 0725 because of fog and proceeded slowly to the last lock Coffeeville Lock where we were joined by “New Life”, “Encore”, and “Adventure 3” . We ran for 9 hours to Alabama Cut Off anchorage at mile 52.8. Anchored at 1612 with 50’ of chain on the bow anchor, there is a slow current here which kept us nicely lined up in the stream. We were joined by “Beach House”, and “Camelot”.
On 11/5/15 we hoisted anchor at 0630 with light fog but when we entered the Tombigbee River the fog closed in and we were on RADAR  until 0830. The AIS also helps because you can see the location of the Tows and call them by name. We waited for one tow at a wide spot and called him and told us that he was not coming up the river. We went downriver and found him working barges at a depot and passed with no problem. The river is all oxbows here so passing a barge takes all your care. We followed the Mobile River to Mobile Bay which is a very busy ship harbor and ship construction area. We saw 4 Navy vessels under construction. Carefully following the channel buoys we entered Turner Marine  and tied up at 1518. We were done with the rivers, from now on it will be the Gulf Intercostal Waterway or off shore in the Gulf of Mexico. At Turners we stepped the mast which had been shipped there from Hammond Indiana. We also hauled the boat and checked the zincs which were perfect but the bow thruster plastic propeller had only one blade left out of the 6 originals. I knew that the prop maybe damaged because twice we heard it chopping thru something hard. The marina ordered the new propeller which arrived 2 days later we hauled out again and the prop was installed. On Sunday I rented a car from Enterprise and drove Greg Murphy to New Orleans train station where he took the “City of New Orleans” to Chicago and then on to Michigan.

On Nov 13 we left Turner and headed to Pensacola.  We crossed Mobile bay under Jib and power and were doing 7 to 8 knots Dutchess is a sail boat again.  As we entered the GICW we rolled up the jib and motored  all the way to Palafox Pier and tied up at 1629 an 11.3 hour run.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wednesday 10/28/15– in Columbus MS
Weather/Sea   Cloudy then Sunny, Calm, temp 50 to 75
   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Stuart and Greg Murphy
Dutchess and crew are in Columbus MS on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway. We are in the Columbus Marina at mile 335 and staying 2 nights to take care of business and regroup. The cost is only $98.16 for the 2 nights. I needed to stop in good size town to replenish my pharmaceuticals. I was worried about getting them here but I called my Doctor in Modena NY and she emailed prescriptions to Walgreens in Columbus MS and it all took about an hour. We got the courtesy car from the marina and went to Walgreens and picked them up. That is how things work in the computer age, wonderful. Tomorrow we go to Pirate,s Marina Cove in Pickensville Alabama.
Tennessee River portion.
We left Green Turtle Bay Marina in Kentucky on the 19th and went to Paris Landing Marina in Tennessee. We tanked diesel ay GTB only 24.48 gallon at a cost of $67.89. GTB is of off Barkley Lake on the Cumberland River from which we took the Barkley Canal which connects Barkley Lake to Kentucky Lake. Kentucky Lake is a TVA dam and lake on the Tennessee River.  The Canal enters the Tennessee River at mile 25.4 and then we have to travel up the Tennessee to mile 215.1. Parish Landing is at Mile 66.1 and is a State Marina. The cost is only 1.00 per ft so $44.00 for Dutchess, no tax.
On the 20th we traveled for 8 hrs to Cuba Landing Marina at mile 115.5. We called them on the phone and VHF no answer but we entered anyway. The trawler “Crossroads” entered before us and left because the marina appeared closed. We proceeded slowly and tied up to what appeared to be the transient dock. We asked some fishermen about the status and they said that it was closed on Monday and Tuesday, since it was Tueday we decided to stay and pay on Wednesday which we did with no problem. They only charged $33.00 for the night and they were happy that we stayed.
On the 21st we ran for 6.7 hrs to Clifton City marina at mile 158.5, dockage was $48.29. Gregg bought a 6 pack of Shark Beer and we relaxed under the porch roof. Then we ordered burgers, Sonya the dock lady and only one there cooked them and they were delicious. We took the courtesy car to town but only found a Dollar Store to provision the boat, very small town. The boat was visited by a small Raccoon during the night. It was only 3 feet from Gregg and trying to steal my Oreos. Gregg chased him out and we closed the boat up more tightly. He tried to come back twice which kept Gregg up for hours.
On the 22th we cruised to Grand Harbor Marina which is on mile 449.7 on the TennTom Waterway. This was a 10 hour run which included the Lock into Pickwick Lake. We had to wait for a Tow to lock out and then we into a very deep 55’ lock and rose up to Pickwick lake level, easy lock with floating bollards. This is the highest level on the trip all the locks are down from here. Pickwick is another TVA power lake but also is the start of the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway, known as TenTom. We stayed at Grand Harbor Marina for 3 days because they had good WIFI and Gregg needed to do some computer work for 2 days. Nothing to do here, because it is an isolated resort community  and large marina with no facilities. We were picked up by a local Restaurant for free, I had shrimp and catfish. That is 3 small shrimp and 2 small catfish fillets. The fish was undersize and should have been thrown back Ha! The other days we cooked on board. The 3 days cost $141.24, we also tanked diesel 27 gallons for $76.62. On the way to the fuel dock I lost reverse gear and every time I pushed it into reverse the boat went faster forward. Within seconds I could not steer away from a dock and smashed into it with the bow. Dutchess has a clipper bow so it rides up on the dock and then slides backward off. Then using the bow thruster I managed to steer a large circle around the fuel dock at idle and then shut the engine off and coasted to the dock. While the crew pumped diesel and holding tanks, I jumped into the engine room. I found that the shifter control cable sheeth had jumped out of a clamp. I put it back in and safety wired it also, no more problem. Except that the bow now has a black streak from the docks rubber edging. 
On 25th we sailed down the TenTom to Bay Springs Marina at mile 412.2 a 6.3 hr trip. We have had excellent weather until this day and now the rain begins. We have seen many tows pushing barges with Benzene or Xylene before but now each tow seems to be Benzene. Yes they are called tows even though they are pushing.
On the 26th we traveled to Midway Marina at mile 393.8 which took 6.7hrs. We passed thru three locks Whitten Lock, Montgomery Lock, and Rankin Lock, in each we were joined by three other boats “Crossroads”, “Red Eagle”, and “La Luna”. We had to wait at each lock for La Luna because she is a smaller sailboat and slower than us three. La Luna is owned by a Dutch couple, they fly the Dutch flag, and I spoke some Dutch with them. I hope to meet them again. Dockage here is 58.85 for the night. I expected the Dutch boat to come in but they anchored out.

On the 27th we sailed to Columbus Marina at mile 335 and passed thru 4 locks. In Fulton Lock we had “Kristin Says”, Sales Call”, and “La Luna” with us. After this lock I slowed down to stay with La Luna and the Trawlers caught the next lock. La Luna and Dutchess went thru Wilkins Lock and Amory Lock then La Luna anchored and we went alone thru Aberdeen Lock. We entered Columbus Marina at 5:30 a 10 hour 58.8 mile run.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday 10/18/15– in Grand Rivers KY
Weather/Sea   Sunny, Calm, temp 40 to 65
   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Stuart and Greg Murphy
Dutchess is in Grand Rivers Kentucky at the Green Turtle Bay Marina, we are resting up from our push down and up the rivers. This is a large marina and resort on Barkley Lake KY, it has a yacht club with a good restaurant which is about 100’ from the boat. We are staying here three days at a cost of $51.92 per day plus tax it totals $165.11 for our stay here. By anchoring out in the rivers the 3 previous days the cost is not much per day. I will discuss each river leg as follows.
On Oct 11 we left Grafton IL and entered the wide Mississippi  at mile 218. The river flows between Missouri and Illinois and an impressive body of water. The river flows at 2 to 3 knots so we were doing 8 to 9 knots. We stopped at Alton mile 202.9 to get the holding tanks pumped out because there is none at Hoppies and none for the next 6 days. The two 40 gallon tanks were full; Dutchess stores all the waste water including sinks and galley so it adds up. Alton charged only $5.00 for both tanks and I gave the dockhand a 5 dollar tip. At mile 200.8 we had to traverse the Mel Price Lock to drop 23 feet, we had to wait 2 hours for commercial vessels which have priority. There is no place to tie up therefore we kept station with the engine and bow thruster. Then were allowed in behind a short tow, when the lock opened we again had to wait for the tow to exit, they start very slowly and create a lot of turbulence with their big screws.
The Missouri River enters the Mississippi at mile 195.3 from the Missouri side of course, which increases the flow and width of the Mississippi.
The next and last lock on the Mississippi is at mile 185, the Chain of Rocks Lock at the end of the Chain of Rocks Canal and drops 12’. We entered this lock right away and locked thru quickly. Then we scooted past St Louis and the ARCH to Hoppies Marina at mile 158.5.  A total  trip of 60 miles which took 10hrs. 20 min. At Hoppies we tanked diesel but took only 24.5 gallons. They charge $1.25 per foot, it cost us $55.00 per day and we stayed 2 days. Hoppies consists of 5 old steel barges tied to the bank. You park your boat alongside and are subject to the wakes from the tows all night, but it is the only marina on the Mississippi. We rented a car from Enterprise and visited St Louis. We saw the Courthouse where the Dred Scott case was tried (look it up) and where they sell tickets for the ARCH. Both the Courthouse and the Arch are a National Monument with US Park Rangers on duty.  Chuck and I went up the arch and took pictures, very impressive view out of both sides of the arch. We had dinner in town and then drove back thru local streets to Arnold MO to return the car by 1730. Enterprise drove us back to Kimmswick MO where Hoppies is located.
On Oct 13 we sailed down the Mississippi to Little Diversion Channel a narrow anchorage off the river, at mile 48.8. This trip of 110 miles took 11hrs15min a long haul, dodging many big tows and even a stern wheeler passenger ship. Since there are no more locks in the Mississippi the tows are bigger, we saw some with 5 across and 7 long or 35 barges. We anchored at 1815 in about 10’ in black muck with no current, placed bow and stern anchor to keep us in the deep part of this little channel. Dutchess was the third boat and therefore we had to be the first to leave. We hoisted anchors at 0700 and crept up the inlet, but noticed on the AIS that 2 tows were passing the inlet so we waited for them to pass and then shot out of the inlet into the current. We needed some speed to have rudder control or the Mississippi current would have grabbed us and pushed us along the shore. A little trying since we could not see up or down the river. At 1150 we entered the OHIO RIVER which starts with mile 981. We are going up the Ohio so fighting the current she could only make 5 knots.
Going up the Ohio we have to pass the construction of the Olmstead lock, and you have to call them for permission to pass. They gave us directions to follow a tow which we did with no problems. Olmstead Lock when finished in 2020 will replace the following locks #53 and #52 and raise the water level to the present pool height behind Lock 52. We proceeded to Lock 53 at mile 962.6 and were told to wait on the wall, which we did for an hour. Then we were called to enter the lock behind some tugs and we tied up to the rough steel caissons which make up the wall of the lock. Never seen that type of lock before it looked cheap and done in a hurry. Also because these locks are due to be replaced and demolished they do not perform any unnecessary maintenance. We sailed out of the lock and to our anchorage at mile 949.0 which is in the Ohio river but next to a sand bar and therefore protected. I cut the turn a little soon after the red buoy and touched bottom but managed to back off and try again. The red buoy was apparently off station, this happens a lot, we see buoys on the wrong side or banks every day. We anchored in clean sand bow only and had a peaceful night, except for the noises of the tows going by, they run around the clock.
On Oct 15 hauled anchor at 0815 and sailed up river to Lock 52 at mile 939.0 where we entered the lock with another yacht “Golden Girl” and behind a construction barge with 3 small tugs pushing. This old lock is made of circular steel caissons with very rough and jagged steel walls. The Dock Master advised us not to tie up but to float in the lock which kept me busy keeping station. After the upstream lock doors opened the barge Captain came on the VHF and told us to pass him that was nice, the Yacht slipped by and we followed and proceeded up the Ohio.  At Paducah Mile 934.5 the Tennessee River flows into the Ohio but we had decided to take the Cumberland River at mile 923.0. We went upstream and near the Cumberland we took an anchorage behind Cumberland Island, nice and wide and protected. Two more boats joined us there for the night, plenty of room. We had arrived early at 1318 and stopped because the Cumberland run to Barkley Lock and Dam was 30 miles and with the lock would make us enter the Marina in the dark.
We had a pleasant quiet night and at 0750 pulled anchor and sailed up the Cumberland. This river is smaller and you must be careful passing tows. We only passed 2 and they were small no problem. We arrived at Barkley Lock at 1345 and went right in behind another looper boat. Then we had to wait for two more looper boats. The boats were Crossroads, Encore, Yolo and Dutchess. This lock has a 57’ lift to get you up to Lake Barkley. It has floating bollards; we simply put one line amidships around the bollard and float up as they fill the lock. After the lock the Green Turtle Bay Marina is only a mile but it has a tricky entrance, not to be done in the dark on your first visit.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wednesday 10/10/15– in Grafton IL.
Weather/Sea   Sunny, Calm, temp 55 to 70
   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Stewart and Greg Murphy
We are in Grafton IL in the Grafton Harbor Marina, this is a 150 dock marina with all the services that you want. They charge $1.30 per foot so Dutchess costs $114.40 for 2 days. This more of a resort town with lots of restaurants and wineries. This is the end of the Illinois River at mile 0.0 and it connects to the Upper Mississippi at mile 218. The Upper Mississippi begins at the confluence with the Ohio River, therefore we have 218 miles to go on the Mississippi. A big issue here for most boats is that there is a stretch of 224 miles with no fuel stops but Dutchess has no problem because we have a range of over 500 miles on her 100 gallon tank. There is a closer fuel supply but you have to call the fuel truck to come to the dock and he has a minimum of 75 gallons. Tomorrow we plan to go to Hoppies Marine in Kimmswick Missouri which is the last Marina for the next 228 miles. We need to lock thru 2 locks, the Mel Price Lock and the Chain of Rocks Canal and Lock. The Chain of Rocks Canal bypasses rapids in the Mississippi and we are warned to take the canal and NOT the river.
On Oct 8 we left Beardstown and went to Hardin IL a trip of 67.4 miles which took 9 hrs. 51 minutes our longest yet. We went thru LaGrange Lock which only a 7’ drop and went easy, this is the last on the Illinois River. We went to a dock for the Riverdock Restaurant hoping that we could stay the night after eating at the place. We walked ashore and to the restaurant and it was closed. We asked a neighbor and she said they had a fire and flood and would be closed for a while. Then we asked her if it was ok to stay at the dock, she said sure everybody does. For dinner we could only find a bar again and we had bar food again, oh well the beer was good. No fancy beers though “they don’t drink those here”.
The next day we went to Grafton a trip of only 21.1 miles which took only 3 hrs. 11 min. we arrived before noon and hiked around town. We are now passing very large tows with the huge pusher tug and 15 barges, 3 wide and 5 long. We have to be careful on passing and always call them on the VHF to ask them on which side they would prefer us to pass. With the AIS we know the tugs name and they are always helpful. We found out that one of the old products in Grafton was ground charcoal used for gunpowder. They burned Willow and Poplar wood to make the charcoal. Most of the old houses are made of yellow sandstone that came from the sandstone cliffs in the area.



Friday, October 9, 2015

Wednesday 10/07/15– in Beardstown IL.
Weather/Sea   Sunny, Calm, temp 60 to 80
   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Stewart and Greg Murphy
Let me first say that my new crew is working out great and we are becoming a working unit, not bad for three strangers. Dutchess is heading down the Illinois River which is 273 miles long and it ends at the Mississippi River.
We are now in Beardstown IL, attached to a crane spud barge in Logsdon Tug Service. This is a commercial operation but they let recreational boats tie to their barge for the night. For this privilege they charge $44.00 per day. We walked into town, again a very small village with not much, the movie theater is for sale!
On Oct 3 we did a 7.5 hr. run from Heritage Harbor in Ottawa to Henry Harbor Marina in Henry IL. Dutchess went thru lock #6 the Starved Rock Lock with easy center tie. Henry Harbor is a small marina with an old stone wall that larger boats can tie to. The wall is the remains of the first lock on the Illinois River. The depth was ok and they had electric. Instead of cleats they have looped rebar stuck in the rock for boats to tie to. Henry is not much of a town; we ate a spaghetti dinner in the boat, thanks to Greg’s cooking.
On Oct 4 we ran for 4.6 hrs to the Ilinois Valley Yacht Club better known as IVY located near Peoria Illinois. No locks on this run. We arrived here on Sunday and they were having a Football party in the club and we were invited to enjoy the buffet. After tanking 12.9 gallons of diesel and emptying the holding tanks we took them up on their gracious offer. The Commodore bought the first round of beer, a STELLA for each of us and we consumed a delicious meal. We talked at length with the members they were all curious about the trip and very friendly. They charge $1.50 per ft x44’ =$66.00 but the free meal was worth more than that.
The next day Oct 5, we went to the Peoria Municipal Marina only 5 miles from IVY. This is a free marina for 3 hours but we were told that we could stay overnight; we were the only boat there. We immediately walked the 2 blocks to the Caterpillar Visitor Center and Museum. There we saw the history of Caterpillar which is headquartered in Peoria. They showed a video in a theater which is in the bed of their huge mining truck. This is a very interesting and interactive display of their equipment. It was a bit of a sales job but that was expected. Chuck and I took a long bike ride and picked up some groceries. Greg and I took a dinghy ride after working out some bugs in the propane system. The river is full of Asian Carp an invasive species, which do not react to Dutchess but the dinghy engine really spooked them and they were jumping all around us. We were afraid to be hit by one of these 5 to 10 LB fish. In the evening we sought a restaurant but being Monday only the Kelleher’s Irish Pub was open. We had a nice Irish stew and beer.
On Oct 6, we sailed to Havana IL. where Chuck wanted to stop to see the father of his friend. Well Scotty Lynn was waiting for us with a welcoming sign, wine and muffins. He was going to drive us to a grocery store but first he had to show us off to the town newspaper the Mason County Democrat. The editor wanted to see the boat and take pictures. We immediately returned to the boat he took pictures of us and the boat and we will be featured in the next edition. Front page news in Havana! The head line will be “Havana To Havana” since I told him I plan to go to Havana Cuba, if the laws are changed. Then Scotty took us to a bar “Babe’s” and we had a Stella and wings, then finally groceries and back to the boat. At 1830 Scotty and his lovely wife Barbara came to the boat and took us to “Babe’s” for dinner. We had a very nice evening and could not pay a cent, not allowed. On the way here we went thru Peoria Lock #7 with only a 9’ drop, no problem.





Friday, October 2, 2015


Friday 10/02/15– in Ottawa IL.

Weather/Sea   Sunny, Windy temp 45 to 63

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Stewart and Greg Murphy

Dutchess is heading down the rivers, into the Calumet River, the Cal Sag channel, the Little Calumet, the Des Plains River Canal, Des Plains River and then into the Illinois River which we will take to the Mississippi River.

We are now in Ottawa IL, in Heritage Harbor Marina on the Illinois River. This Marina is a very new place with housing still under construction. They give a discount to LOOPERS so it only cost $44.00 per day and we are staying 2 days.

Our first day from Hammond was only a 3 hour run with one lock Thomas S. O’Brien this is only a 2 foot drop and exists to keep river water from flowing into Lake Michigan. We stayed at Marine Service Marina in Dolton IL., at a cost of $59.00 for dockage.

On Tuesday 9/29/15 we traveled for 7.1 hrs. to Joliet IL, where we tied to the free concrete wall with free electric. The price was right so we stayed 2 days. We had to ride the bikes up a long hill to get groceries and we had dinner in Charley’s Irish pub and Charley bought the pizza, we only paid for beers. For the next dinner I made Beef Stew which the crew appreciated. On this run we went thru Lockport lock which is a 40 feet drop and they have floating bollards but they are located very near the lock doors. We passed the first bollard and went to the second but it was so close to the door that instead of a mid-ship tie we wound up with a bow tie on the bollard and they dropped a long line for the stern. This would have worked except for the 20 knot winds gusting and swirling in the lock canyon. Dutchess swung like a weather vane with Chuck trying to hold her on the stern. Because of the depth the stern line was almost vertical and not much use. That was the worst locking experience I have ever had and this was about my 90th lock. “Sometimes you watch the show and sometimes you are the show” as one of the other boaters said.

On October 1, we traveled for 8.7 hrs. to Heritage Harbor Marina and traversed 3 locks on the way. These all had floating bollards and we made use of them. In Brandon Rd Lock we simple hooked on a floating bollard on the starboard side using a center line and the boat rode down easily. In Dresden Island Lock the lock Master insisted that we tie to a motor boat “SERENDIPITY” already at the Bollard. Again the wind pushed both of us around and we had to loan him a fender to keep him off the wall. In Marseilles Lock we simple took a starboard bollard and a midship tie and rode down easily. These locks can eat up a lot of time because you have to wait for the barges which have priority. Luckily we only had to share one lock with a single barge and tug. We saw tows as large as 3 barges wide by 5 long with the pusher TUG, they totally fill a lock. We travel at about 5.5 knots on the river the other pleasure boats traveled faster but at each lock they would have to wait for us. I would call the Lock Master as I was approaching and he would hold the lock open for DUTCHESS she is a lucky ship!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Saturday 092715– in Hammond Indiana

Weather/Sea   Cloudy, wind 5to6, temp 60to 70

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Stewart and Greg Murphy

Dutchess and I have been in Hammond Indiana in the Hammond Marina for 17 days waiting for crew. Yesterday Chuck Stewart arrived and today Greg Murphy will join us.  I advertised in the AGLCA website for crew wanted and both of these gentlemen responded and decided to join me. This is a member only service so they are members of AGLCA. This gives me some comfort because it means they are dues paying members and dedicated and active boaters. They both are sailors with considerable experience and I expect them to add to the fun of the trip. I had 2 others contact me but turned them down since three is enough to run the boat and still be comfortable. On Monday Sept. 28th we will be leaving Hammond and proceeding down the rivers to Alabama.

During my stay here next to the Casino I still have not gambled!  Gambling is a fool’s errand; it is amazing to see how many seemingly poor people are gambling away their meager incomes. There is good food to be had in the Casino so I went to the Buffet restaurant 3 times and ate too much.

Hammond Marina has a weekly rate which over the 17 days cost me $705.00 which is only $41.47 per day not bad. Walmart is about 3 miles away but you have to cross over a railroad yard and highway on an elevated road which takes some work to pedal the bike over. But it is good exercise and I made 7 trips to Walmart. It is the only store nearby and besides the Casino the only diversion. I took many long bike rides around Wolf Lake and to Whiting a small City. Chuck and I rode to Whiting last night for Pizza. We came back in the dark without lights on the bikes using mostly unlit bike paths quite an experience.

I finally replaced the fuel filter on the engine. This is the secondary filter after the Racor Primary filters. The plastic part on the bottom of the filter that senses water in the fuel and has a valve to drain water out was on very tight so I decided that I needed a new one in case I broke the old. I found an auto parts store on the bike and after a few explanations they brought out the part and it fitted perfectly on the filter that I had brought along. Six days later I went back to get a buzzer to be activated by the sensor but they had nothing so I bought a backup alarm beeper to install in the engine room. That should get my attention that there is Water in the fuel. The old sensor was never connected to anything.

I spent my time here reading and one book is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain which takes place on the Mississippi River a portion of which we will also travel on. I also bought DVDs for evening and one is the many lives of Sherlock Holmes which contains 9 films, 39 TV shows and 20 radio shows about Mr. Holmes. I also worked on the boat; installing new LED lights in the Vee Berth, mounted an LED Spotlight on deck in case we have to run after dark, installed a new LED chart light over the chart table the old one had been damaged by the lightening.

I had dropped my binoculars so now you have to close one eye to use them. I had decided to buy a new pair and went to Defenders web site and checked them out. I always wanted a stabilized pair but hey are very expensive. Defender had a pair of remanufactured Nikon StabillEyes VR binoculars for $450.00 which I bought and had delivered here. These are 12x32 and new they cost $1299.95. A good saving for the remanufactured, the only negative is the shortened warranty period of only 90days.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Saturday 091215– in Hammond Indiana

Weather/Sea   RAIN RAIN, Cloudy, wind 10to20, temp 50to 65

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew NONE

Dutchess and I are in Hammond Indiana in the Hammond Marina and next to the Horseshoe Casino. No I have not gambled yet!!! This is a very large Marina with hundreds of slips. I am about a mile from the office. There is a yacht club on the property and they are having a dinner tonight which I plan to attend. First I have to go to the shower house which is a 1000 feet from the boat and it is raining buckets and it is cold therefore waiting for the weather to clear and now I have time to write this blog. I am still looking for crew to go down the Rivers from Chicago, please spread the word. I plan to wait in Hammond Marina until a crew shows up. I placed an ad in the AGLCA web site which is where I got my previous crew mates.

I got the mast and boom removed at Crowley Yacht Yard and it is packaged and waiting for transport to Alabama. I had to remove all the stays and shrouds; these are coiled in 3’ circles and stored on deck. Also the wind transducer, the VHF antenna, the Steaming/Deck light, the Lightening Rod, and the spreaders were removed and stored on the boat. The sails are stored in the stern cabin on the other bunk, that really fills my quarters.

I have a separate VHF antenna on the radar arch which is now connected to the Standard Horizon VHF Radio so we have radio for communicating with all the dock masters and Towboat Captains. Incidentally this radio also receives AIS signals from all commercial vessels which allow you to call the vessel by name which usually means that they will answer you. The radio is connected to a small Garmin Chart Plotter that shows my boat and the target vessels on a chart and when you push the right buttons it will give you the info on the target. The info consists of name of vessel, location coordinates, speed, direction of travel etc. all important to avoid collisions. This is more important on the rivers because there is less room to maneuver.

Crowley also repaired the windlass with a new motor and solenoid. They first assembled the new motor and transmission upside down and had to redo that. They then hooked up the wires wrong which I pointed out to them. Then it still would not run, I checked the electrical wiring in the anchor locker and found that they had disconnected the main wires to the unit. Then the unit would only pull the chain and not let it out. Again I pointed out that they had it wired wrong so after a few trails it finally was working properly.

Un-stepping the mast cost $10.00 per boat foot or $440. for Dutchess, packaging the mast and boom took 2 hrs. at $110.00 per hr. so $220.00 plus shop supplies $1.00 a bargain, plus tax the total was $676.10. Loading the mast on the truck in the future was charged at $88.00. Repairing the Windlass including parts totaled $1,748.35. The total spend at Crowley YY is $2,512.45 isn’t boating fun!!! The trucking will cost $450.00 to get the mast to Alabama.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Saturday 090515– in Michigan City, Illinois

Weather/Sea   Thunderstorms, Cloudy, wind 20to50, temp 70to 80

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston

We are presently in Michigan City Port Authority Harbor, Illinois, this city is south of the state line between the states of  Michigan and Illinois. A nice harbor with lots to see and do but today we are locked in due to heavy thunderstorms transiting the area.  We had up to 50 knot gusts in the marina. We are next to a very tall power plant smoke stack which is the lightening catcher for the area. They only charge $1.00/ft so $44/day for Dutchess and we are staying here 3 days. On Monday Labor Day we will go to Growley Yacht Yard in Chicago on the Calumet River. On Tuesday Growley will unstep the mast and get it ready to ship by truck to Mobile Bay Alabama at a charge of $440 plus $88 to load it on the truck. The trucking costs $450, they bundle a number of masts on one flatbed truck. I have to take all the stays and shrouds off the mast and other parts that might get damaged on the truck trip. I will also repair the windlass at Growley’s, it will be needed on the rivers where you anchor out frequently.

Dutchess came here by way of Holland MI and South Haven MI.  The trip from Muskegon to Holland took 6hrs 23minutes. The trip from Holland to South Haven took 4hrs 43 minutes  .

 I expected a lot more from Holland, I thought it was more Dutch than what I found, and of course most of the immigrants arrived in late 1800. Except for a “Dutch Village” tourist area which we only saw from the car almost nothing was recognizable as Dutch. I went to the Library to find out if there were any Dutch speakers but they did not know of any. I asked for Dutch books and they directed me to the foreign books isle which had 50’ of Spanish books and 2’ of Dutch books times do change!

 In the Dutch books there was a book on the Province of Utrecht where my home town SOEST (where I was born in 1941) is located and it contained a small description and some pictures, which I showed to Chuck. I had gotten the slip for 3 days but decided to leave after 2. During our stay there Chuck’s 2 brothers and family came down and visited the boat and we all went out to dinner in Holland at a Brew Pub. I had planned to go into Crescent Marina but found out it was closed and being converted to condominiums. We wound up in Eldean Shipyard at a cost of $66 per day for 2 days. There is no Municipal harbor in the Holland area they are all private.

In South Haven we were in South Haven Marina run by DNR, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, at a cost of $67 per day and we stayed 3 days. On the first day Ross Pollard ,who had stayed on the boat for a week,  showed up. He and Crick Haltom share a McGregor sailboat which is kept here and we went out for an evening sail on the McGregor from 6pm to 10pm very nice. On the third day Ross came again with his three children 5yr Asa, 7yr Margaret, and 13 yr Anika, a nice family. They  went to the beach and swam in Lake Michigan. Then Chuck made dinner for all of us in the boat. The kids liked the boat. Then there was a concert in the small park next to the marina and we all sat there until 8pm.  

I am still looking for crew to go down the Rivers from Chicago, please spread the word. I plan to wait in Hammond Marina Chicago until a crew shows up.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Saturday 082915– in Muskegon, Michigan

Weather/Sea   Rainy,Cloudy, wind 5to10, temp 55 to 70

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston

We are in Muskegon in Harbour Towne Marina for 2 days, the charge here is $1.25/ft so only $110 for 2 days. The marina is full so they assigned us a tee dock at the end of C Dock. The docks are all concrete with vertical 6x6 wood posts every 8 feet. This makes for easy docking since I just lay the rubrail against the posts and slide in. Saturday is a rainy dreary day and neither of us feels like doing anything. This place is very isolated from town, but luckily a friend of Chuck’s was in town and she drove us around and we went to lunch together. I had Barbecue pulled pork and a bowl of Chili not bad.

 We came here from Ludington MI a long 9 hour ride into the wind. We sailed on the main only for about half way and then the wind was dead on the nose and we dropped the main. With the full batten main we get some help from the wind, if it is over 25 degrees from the bow but less than that the main starts to flog.

Tomorrow we go to Holland MI where I hope to find some Dutch speakers, probably not. Maybe they have a Dutch conversation class at the Library, who knows. That will be a short trip of 30 nautical miles which should take about 5 hrs. I plan to stay there 3 or 4 days to find my Dutch roots, wish me luck.

The engine repair is working, no oil leaks, also the Tranny seems to be holding its oil. I check it every day and all seems well for now.

Still looking for crew to go down the Rivers from Chicago.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Tuesday 082515– in Frankfort, Michigan

Weather/Sea   Cloudy, wind 10to15, temp 55 to 68

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston

DUTCHESS is in Frankfort MI and has been here since Friday 8/21/15 because of high westerly wind. A westerly blows across the whole width of Lake Michigan and at 20 to 30 knots raises high waves blasting over the harbor breakwaters. Even at our location in the Marina dock 69 the rollers rocked us constantly for 3 days. We came here from Leland on Friday  21, following our tracks from the day before, with the wind at only 10 knots we hoisted the main and set the jib and had a nice ride. It took 8 hrs to get to Frankfort because the wind picked up again to 20 knots and we took the scenic route along Sleeping Bear Point. This area has high 300’ high sand cliffs and dunes. They were hang gliding by jumping off the cliffs and catching the updrafts along the cliff face. Coming into the harbor we rode 4’ waves between the two breakwaters. The charge here is $58 per day so one of the cheaper harbors to hang out. We spent the time bike riding and going out to dinner. I had dinner with 4 couples / fellow Loopers  and had a nice social time with them. I finally got around to changing my primary diesel filters after 10 years. I know that is a little to long but then it ran fine all that time. Dutchess has only been running on the new engine since her launch at PYC in the fall of 2012, but the filters were installed by my brother Nick Kwak in New Berne NC after I bought the boat and have been there since. Good job brother, they certainly lasted!!! They filtered the fuel for the old Perkins Diesel when we brought her to PYC from North Carolina 2004. Tonight I joined a Spanish conversation class in the local library which is only 50’ from the boat. It was fun and I managed to hold my own.Tomorrow we plan to go to Muskegon MI a distance of 46nm, that should take about 10 hrs. We have to make up some time that we lost due to the storm.


Thursday, August 20, 2015


Thursday 082015– in Leland, Michigan

Weather/Sea   Cloudy rainy, wind 20to30, temp 65 to 75

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston

If you are watching SPOT on my progress you may be wondering what we are doing. We are back in Leland at this time because the weather does not cooperate. We left Leland at 0845 heading for Frankfort 40nm away. The weather was predicted to be 10to15 in the morning and 15to20 in the afternoon. At first we had 10 to 15 and even sailed a little with the jib only. At 1000 the wind piped up to 30 knots and stayed there. The waves kept building and once we got around Pyramid Point, where they had a longer vetch, they got very large. We were guessing that they ranged from 5 to 8 foot.  The Great Lake waves are shorter and closer together than Ocean waves. DUTCHESS would climb a wave and then plunge into the trough burying the bow. These waves slowed DUTCHESS down to an average of 4 knots, which meant that we might make Franfort by 2000. With the steady 25 to 30 knot winds the waves kept getting bigger all the time. We made it about 1/3 the way to Frankfort and decided that was enough and turned around. Let me emphasize that DUTCHESS handled the seas very well it was the crew that could not stand the movement!

Just turning in these waves was hairy but we got around ok and then were moving and surfing down the waves at 7, 8,9 and even 10knots. We rolled out the jib and sped our way back to Leland where everyone was happy to see us back. We had them worried. What took us 3 hrs. into the wind, took 1.5 hrs. coming back. Of course since we were sailing so fast downwind the wind felt like it was only 15 to 20 knots.

We were back in the harbor at 1336 and tied the boat up very securely. At this time 1940 the wind is still howling 30 and is not expected to drop till tomorrow. We are in for a bouncy night and may have to stay here another day. Of course this is one of the more expensive harbors at $79.20/day. This is a Township harbor and not regulated by the State, and they are the only harbor for 90 miles. So we have no choice but to stay here.

I installed MICROSOFTS operating system 10 and now I am unable to load pictures into the blog. If anyone has an idea how to fix that please email me at  johncsykwak@gmail.com .

Tuesday 081815– in Leland, Michigan

Weather/Sea   Cloudy rainy, wind 5to10, temp 65 to 75

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston

We are in Leland MI in one of the Harbors of Refuge that Michigan has built along its coastline. The Marina is newly rebuilt with a beautiful club house. This is a small old fishing town and they still sell fish. There is a fish smoker next to the marina and I bought 2 lbs, yummy. Went for a long bike ride, what else is there to do! We see the houses as we ride and this place is more middle class rather than the ultra-rich places like Harbor Springs, a nice change to see. They placed us on dock #1 right behind the fuel dock, luckily only one boat came in for fuel. The next morning they asked us to move to #10, but before we moved we did pump out and got diesel. Pumped 37.56 gallons at $2.72 for a total of $102.17. We have now bought 208.3 gallons of diesel and averaging .81 gallon per hour over 256.5 hours running. Total fuel cost so far is $650. Not bad for pushing a 34,000 lb boat thru the water from Poughkeepsie.      

We were last in Lake Charlevoix in Irish Marina for 2 days. The Municipal Marina in downtown Charlevoix was full so we moved out of town to Irish. We had a nice long bike ride to get to town but Charlevoix was well worth the trip. The State dug a canal from Lake Michigan to Lake Charlevoix and made it into a very safe harbor of refuge. It has 5 marinas with great services.

The trip from Harbor Springs to Lake Charlevoix was short 18 miles only 3.5 hrs. We left late because of fog in the morning and arrived at the Marina at 1430. The trip from Charlevoix to Leland took 6.25 hrs. and was 34 miles. We motor sailed a little but then lost the wind again. If this sounds like same story every day well it is. Better than storms though.
Talk about storms, Wednesday we are still in Leland because of 25kn winds gusting to 30kn. That we could handle and sail except it is out of the SW exactly the direction we need to go. Pounding into the waves is no fun and it slows us down to 3to4 knots. We double tied the boat to the dock because again we are the first boat behind the break water. The lines are stretching tight as we rock. We hope to leave tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Friday 081415B– in Harbor Springs, Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny, wind 0to5, temp 65 to 80
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
I skipped this section because of my concern with the engine. To bring you up to date here are the 2 trips it took to get to Harbor Springs.
The sail from De Tour Village Marina to Mackinaw City Marina was an uneventful 40 nm motor trip that took 7 hours. We passed out of the St. Mary’s River  through Detour Passage and into Lake Huron. Traveled along the shores of the upper peninsula or UP as they call it up here. We passed Boise Blanc Island and then between Mackinac Island and Round Island. Almost round trip since Sept. 27 when we visited Mackinac Island. Incidentally that is pronounced like the City is spelled “Mackinaw”. The area is full of French names since they were here first.
Mackinaw City is at the north end of the Lower Michigan peninsula and one end of the Mackinaw Bridge. When it was built the Mackinaw Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world it is now the third but still the longest in the Americas. Because it straddles the stormy Strait of Mackinaw it has to be closed periodically due to high winds. A few years ago a small car like a  Hugo was blown off the bridge and the driver died. If you are concerned about crossing, the State police will team you with a truck and you cross the bridge riding in its wind shadow. We sailors know all about that. We walked around the City and found it another tourist destination with tee shirt shops and eating places.
 



We left the next day for Harbor Springs Thru the Strait and under the Bridge a run of 50 nm that took 8 hrs. The weather was cooperating in the Strait and we sailed a little with the jib, but when we turned south the wind died and we motored the rest of the way. We arrived at my slip in Walstrom Marina at 1727. The first thing I need after a long run is a nap which I usually manage to get.

Today my  crew Chuck Livingston informed me that he is leaving the ship when we get to Chicago.
Therefore I am looking for crew to help get DUTCHESS to Alabama.
I hope to do that in 60 days, but we can do it in stages if people want to break the trip up.
This would be a river and canal trip with lots of locks so I need an extra hand to hold ropes in the locks.
Please check with your friends and neighbors if anyone is interested in joining me, you will have to give me some references if you are unknown to me..
This trip starts in Chicago from Growley Marina where I remove the mast and boom and ship it by truck to Alabama.
Growley is on the Calumet River which takes us to the Illinois River and the Mississippi.
We go down the Mississippi to the Ohio River which we take upstream to the Tennessee River which we take to the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway.

The waterway takes us to the Tombigbee River and on to Mobile Bay Alabama. In a marina in Mobile Bay I will step the mast and finally go sailing again

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday 081415– in Harbor Springs, Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny, wind 0to5, temp 65 to 80
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
I am now still in Harbor Springs but moved to the Municipal Marina for 2 days because it is cheaper. The slip is attached to a public boardwalk that is visited constantly by tourists. This is ok by me because I love talking to strangers about DUTCHESS. While moving here we took the boat for a short testing trip. The engine seems to be leak free but the Transmission is still leaking red tranny fluid. That will have to be worked on again. Still cannot find the source of the leak????
On Wednesday I had dinner with a wonderful group of people that I had met in Sault St Marie, they are Joey Arbaugh the lady that owns the trawler SIMBA, Mary Whitmore a friend of Joey, Mark Rondel and his wife and Joey’s brother in law. We had a very nice dinner of steak and all the trimmings with good conversation. This was my first social endeavor since leaving PYC and is very much appreciated. I discovered that Mary raises sheep and trains Border Collies, since I used to raise sheep we had things to talk about. I asked to see her sheep and dogs and we planned an outing on Friday.  Mary picked me up with a truck and the 4 dogs. Of course I made friends with the dogs immediately. She drove to the farm where she keeps her sheep and she did a training session with each dog, very impressive. I could have used one of these dogs when I had sheep.  We dropped off the dogs at her house and she drove me around the area. Very rural with mostly hobby farms, woods, dunes, some apple trees nice country in the summer, but beware of the winter! I got a little different view of Michigan from land rather than from the water. Thanks Mary!

Tomorrow, Saturday we plan to go to Charlevois City Marina MI if they have space on the weekend. I can only call tomorrow to reserve a slip. So we are started on our trip south on Lake Michigan to Chicago. Since Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake that is totally within the USA, I took down the Canadian courtesy Flag.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday 081215– in Harbor Springs, Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny, wind 5 to 10,  temp 65 to  75
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
I have been in Harbor Springs at Walstrom Marine since Sunday and will leave tomorrow. The charge rate here is $2/ft x 44’ x 4 days= $352.00 so it adds up. The main reason to come here was for engine work and the possibility that the boat had to be hauled. Luckily all the work was done without hauling the boat. Tomorrow I will move to the Harbor Springs Municipal Marina at only $65.00/day a little better. Harbor Springs is a very upscale resort community with huge houses for the wealthy from all over Michigan and Illinois and the charges reflect the area.
The Cummins Engine is repaired and we will run test it a little tomorrow. It took all day Monday to replace the rear seal. Dan the “Diesel Man” Panko lifted the engine about 4” off the rear mounts with a chain hoist that cleared the Borg Warner Transmission from the prop shaft and allowed him to remove the tranny. Then he removed the Marine Drive gear and Flywheel. Then we could see the seal and it obviously had been leaking. He drilled a hole in the old seal and using a slide hammer removed the seal.  I already had a new seal in my spare parts for the engine and it matched perfectly. But Dan did not have an installation tool  for this seal. It has to be pressed in perfectly square to the shaft. The main reason that I did not tackle this myself was because I did not have the tool either. So Dan went to the hardware store and got a 4” PVC coupling and a piece of 4” PVC pipe and made a tool which he used to hammer the new seal in place. Then he reinstalled the Tranny and lined up the engine with the prop shaft.
We discussed the Tranny leak but we could not find the source of the leak. So he called a Transmission rebuilding outfit and after some discussion it was thought that I had too much oil in the tranny. I had been told by Marcus of Trans Atlantic Diesel to overfill the tranny because it has a tranny oil cooler located above the tranny. Apparently that was wrong so Dan drained some oil out so it was between the oil marks on the dip stick. Only time will tell if the problem is solved. Now I am awaiting the bill from Cummins Bridgeway  for Dan’s services, that is his employer.
After Dan left on Monday the marina brought over a package, it was the replacement Simrad chart plotter. That surprised me because it was supposed to be shipped on Monday  that was Quick service! The box had actually been shipped on Thursday. I spent Tuesday installing the new chart plotter. The install is easy just plug and play but it would not play properly. Called SIMRAD 3 times to resolve the problem. I had to download updated software from SIMRAD on a Micro SD chip and insert that into the slot on the plotter, which after many snafus finally worked. Now the chart plotter stayed on and it immediately recognized the Radar so far so good!!!! I received an email from SIMRAD on Tuesday that the Chart plotter had been shipped. I called SIMRAD and we determined that a second unit had been shipped and should arrive today if they could not stop it enroute.  Fun and games in the marine industry.

Chuck took this opportunity to go to Kalamazoo MI to do some business I expect him back on Friday. Tonight I am having dinner with some people who live here but whom I met in Sault St. Mary. They were on a trawler next us, 2 ladies and a gentleman. One lady owns the trawler and she hired the guy (licensed captain) to take her and her friend up into Lake Superior for a cruise. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Sunday 080715– in De Tour Harbor, Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny, wind 5 to 10,  temp 60 to  70
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
We are back in De Tour Village Harbor for 2 days to catch up on rest and boating business. Our return trips from Grand Marais and White Fish Point were very pleasant and faster than the trip into lake Superior. We sailed down wind from  Grand Marais at about 8.4 mph with motor a 1600rpm. Then sailed without motor, on Jib and Main and got 5 mph on  10 mph wind. The wind is very fickle here and changes constantly. The wind dropped to zero and we rolled up the jib and dropped the main and motored to White Fish Point a total 7.9 hour run while the up trip took 9.1hr.
The run from White Fish Point to Sault ST Marie took only 6.5hr while the up trip took 9 hours. It helps to go with the current rather than against.There was no wind so we motored all the way. DUTCHESS went through the Canadian Lock again in record time with 3 other boats in the lock. Motored right into the open lock, the water was lowered to Lake Huron level and we motored out. We wanted to do the large Mc Arthur Lock but it had three huge freighters backed up. The Sault ST Marie marina is very near the lock. In fact that is the main tourist attraction here, go see the locks and see the huge over 1000’ lake freighters pass thru.  The next day we traveled down the St. Marie River to De Tour Village Marina. Our next stop will be Mackinaw City Marina and then to Harbor Springs MI.  I have a diesel mechanic coming there on Monday to change the main seal on the Cummins diesel which is leaking oil. While the Velvet Drive transmission is out of the boat I will have them change the seals because it is leaking oil also. Here is the reality of boating Bring On  Another Thousand that is what BOAT stands for.

My SIMRAD NSS8 chart plotter has been misbehaving. It has a touch screen, which freezes repeatedly during a run and then goes black but when we push the ON button it comes right back???. Also sometimes it recognizes that we have radar and sometimes it does not. The radar shows on the same screen.  So after carefully explaining all this to SIMRAD they are sending a new Chart Plotter to Harbor Springs at a cost of only $370.00 because the old one is out of its 6 month warranty. The problem came up within the 6 months but I thought it was my installation and calibration of the unit. SIMRAD said I should have called tech support at the first sign of trouble and started a record then it would be under warranty. Lesson learned!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday 080215– in Grand Marais Harbor, Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny, wind 5 to 10,  temp60 to  70
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
We arrived yesterday in Grand Marais Harbor after a 9 hour slog into the wind with the engine at 2000rpm and going only 6 to 7 mph. The wind was 15 to 20 steady with 25 knot gusts. This is in Lake Superior so I can strike that off my list. This is a rural camping vacation area with State and National parks all over. The Harbor charges $58.00 per day and we are staying 3 days to recuperate. There is no office here you push a button on the squawk box and call the Woodland Camp Ground who come down and collect the money.  On Sunday I called them for diesel and they promptly arrived. Tanked 31.954 gallons of diesel at 3.509 per gallon for a total of $112.13 plus $10 for pump out. On Monday I will pay for one more day we need the rest. At the higher RPM coming here we averaged 1.16 gall/hour. So slower is cheaper! We will reverse our route on Tuesday and hope to be sailing downwind. Lake Superior lies west to east like Lake Erie. The prevailing winds are westerly.  We did a 13 mile bike ride on Sunday to a house that Chuck’s brother owns, we planned to go see it but the black flies were fierce so back on the bikes and out of there. Bought some smoked Lake Trout for $10/lb. will try it tomorrow. 
 

  
Cleaning Lake Trout and DUTCHESS on the wall at Grand Marais.
We came here from White Fish Point Harbor of Refuge where we stayed only the night of July 30. This harbor is free and you get what you pay for. NO services at all, the docks are rough and first come get the best. There is no one to call you are totally on your own.  It was mostly a fishing harbor but not much anymore. For us it was a rest stop after a long run from 0900 to 1759. Sailed for an hour without the engine on only the furled jib, we were doing 6mph to 8mph with up to 25 knot winds pointing up as tight as she could go which is about 45 degrees off the wind. Going into the steep waves slows us down and we were not going to our harbor but into White Fish Bay. We wound up following the shore as far as possible then turned on the engine and got closer to land in 50 feet of water.  In the lee of the land the waves were lessened and we made better speed.  We scooted into White Fish Point Harbor at 6 PM. We saw over 400’ depth on this run, these lakes are DEEP
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Above pictures of White fish Point Harbor and my competition for oldest boat in the harbor.

The day started at Sault ST. Marie where we left at 9AM and went to the Canadian side to enter the Canadian Lock. No customs required to lock thru. This is a smaller lock than the Americans and recommended for small craft by the US Corps of Engineers. It was an easy lock thru, there are plastic covered vertical fixed cables on the wall and Chuck simply put a dock line around a cable and held us steady as we rose up to Lake Superior level.. That was mid ship, so to keep us lined up I used the bow thruster a little. After the lock we followed the ship channels and Range markers to White Fish Bay. We were then in Lake Superior and it is BIG.

In my last blog we were in De Tour Marina, sailed from there on 7/29/15 using the engine at 1600rpm and the jib fully out we were moving at 7to 9 mph. So my temporary crew mate Ross Pollard actually got to sail the last stretch of his stay to Sault St Marie.  Chuck came back that evening and Ross took the car back to Kalamazoo MI. We stayed in SOO as the locals call it for 2 days. This is a very well kept marina and charges $58.00/day. We were lucky to get a slip because the place was filling up with race boats. The Trans Superior Sail Race was to start on Saturday and this was the closest marina. They all were going thru the locks and then start the race at 1100.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sunday 072515– in Cheboygan, Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny &Cloudy, little wind, 65 to  75
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
We arrived in Cheboygan County Marina on Thursday 07/22/15 from Roger  City Marina a nice calm trip of 25 miles, no wind and no sailing. This Marina charges $58.00 per day times the three days that we will be here. It is on the Cheboygan River which with locks reaches into the center of Michigan State. The Locks are small and the bridges are low so no sail boats. Bought diesel here, all of 34 gallons at $2.699 per, the best price yet. Diesel is now cheaper than Gasoline even on the street, what happened?


                   Very small Lock.
Summer is getting to the North Country the days are sunny and get warm in the afternoon.
Yesterday I reinstalled the engine hatch sound proofing which had fallen down. I used the 3M contact cement again but this time screwed some slats over the foam to hold it in place. This foam is heavy because it has a layer of lead in it to absorb the noise. The engine is loud especially at higher RPM. We usually run at 1800 rpm which gives us about 6.5 mph and wear ear plugs. One negative effect of the hardtop is that the sound reverberates in the cockpit and seems louder.

Changing crew today, Chucks’ friend Ross will take his place for a week. Chuck is going back to Kalamazoo MI to take care of business; he’ll be back in a week. From here we will go up the          ST Mary’s River to Lake Superior. Planning to stop in De Tour Village Marine and Sault St Mary Marina then we go thru the Sault St Mary Locks with the huge lake freighters to White Fish Bay. The locks will be the largest that I have been thru. There are the American locks “POE LOCK” is 110’ wide by 1200’ long and “MC ARTHUR LOCK” is 80’ wide by 800’ long and they are the main operational locks. There are 2 more that are closed and then there are 2 Canadian locks which may be open or not. Only planning to do a few stops in Lake Superior because of time and then go back thru the Locks and into Lake Michigan.
Sunday 072815– in DE Tour Village Marina, Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny, little wind, 75 to  80
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Ross Pollard
I changed the plans since the last blog. From Cheboygan we sailed to Mackinac Island Marina to experience this unique resort island. You need reservations to come here because it is always full. In Cheboygan the Harbor Master told us to simply go and hang out in the Mackinac harbor and call their harbor master for a slip. This we did and kept station in the harbor for 45 minutes, when we got a call on the VHF that we could come in to slip 29. By then the wind was blowing across the slip at 20 knots and Dutchess got pushed against the piling away from the dock, I gunned the engine and slid her in along the piling into the slip. I use my extended rub rails this way many times. In fact in the Great lakes most of the docks have 6x6 by 8’ high vertical dock posts that are mounted to the dock. We do not use fenders until stationary; only rub against the posts with the aluminum strip on the rub rail. Then we had a merry time securing her from moving, with 8 dock lines, all this after a dead calm ride from Cheboygan.  The weather in the Great Lakes is very changeable.
Arriving here at 1300 we had a lot of time to roam around. We did a 5 mile hike up hill to  Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes. Fort Mackinac was the site of the first battle of the War of 1812. The American defenders greatly outnumbered by the Red Coats and their Indian allies, surrendered the Fort to the British. The USA got it back after the peace treaty.
    

Mackinac Street scene no cars only horse and wagon and bicycles but very touristy and soldier firing canon at Fort Mackinac.
We stayed only one night because our slip was reserved for the next day. After a morning walk and the posting of some postcards we left for De Tour Village where we are now.
De Tour is a real backwater with almost no services. We ate dinner in a bar last night that was not air conditioned. The lady bartender was also the cook and the owner had one leg and in a wheel chair.  We were in on a long discussion on his prostatic leg which did not fit right. He went home and brought the leg and laid it on the table next to us, appetizing! One of the bar customers well into his cups used to fit prosthesis and he went into detail why this leg was NO GOOD. He used other words. How is that for local color!

We stay here for 2 days at a cost of $58.00 per day. Michigan has the charges locked in so little places like this cannot charge less to attract customers. This marina was reconstructed with new docks last year; it is in great shape and is a well-protected harbor.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WINDLASS PROBLEMS
I bought the LEWMAR H3 12 volt windlass January 22, 2005 at the Atlantic City Sail Boat Show from NORTH EAST RIGGING SYSTEMS of Needham MA for $1968.00 plus $38.00 shipping. This was a boat show price and a good deal at the time and it was my birthday present to myself. I am from 1/24/41, yeah an old guy with a big boat. This is the largest, best horizontal WINDLASS that LEWMAR makes. The replacement cost from Defender is now $3119.10. It has only been used maybe 25 times since it was installed in 2010. It sat on the shelf at home for 5 years.
In the summer of 2014 DUTCHESS was struck by lightning which killed all of the electronics. Boat US insurance covered the damages with a $20,000 check. One of the items replaced was the contactor on the windlass. I thought that maybe the motor also needed to be replaced but Walter said no it usually is only the contactor that goes bad. I bought the contactor from Samalot Marine in Haverstraw NY and it was installed by their technician Walter in July/August 2014. The windlass was tested and it turned clockwise and counterclockwise when the up or down control buttons were pushed, so it was fixed I thought. I did not test it again until June 11, 2015 see below for full account.
Dutchess was hauled for the winter and put on land with my jack stands. The mast was removed and laid on a 2by4 support system. The entire boat was covered with tarps and winterized to be out in our NY winter and it was some winter. In the spring Dutchess was uncovered and readied to be launched. We left the mast lying on the boat because I planned to start the American Great Circle Cruise on May 15, 2015 and the first leg is the Erie Canal which has minimum height. We actually left on May 16th for the New York Rivers Boating Festival at Hudson NY and then on May 18 continued on to Waterford. Then Dutchess and crew traveled the entire Erie Canal to Tonawanda NY. In Tonawanda we stepped the mast and went to Buffalo Yacht Club to change crew. Then we did the entire length of the Lake Erie, the Detroit River, Lake St Clair, and the St Clair River to Huron MI. On this entire trip we did not anchor so did not use the windlass even once and it had not been run or tested since Samalot Marine.
In Huron I planned to go up the mast which we do using the windlass as an electric winch to haul me up the mast. I do this by wrapping a jib halyard around the windlass capstan and with someone tailing and pushing the buttons I go up the mast like an elevator. I attached the portable push buttons, turned on the power to the windlass and pushed the button. Nothing happened only faint clicks where heard from the windlass which is the contactor pulling in. Similar to what happens when you try to start a car with a weak battery. So I checked voltage on the power wires and had 13.4 so no power problem. What is going on????
We sailed to Port Sanilac where I removed the Windlass cover and checked the wires for power and had the same voltage. Then I checked the three control wires at the contactor with the volt meter and as soon as I touched two of them they fell away from the NEW contactor.
The picture below shows the problem.
Figure 1, Contactor with broken pins
Two of the male pins which are normally potted into the contactor fell out and are in the female connector attached to the control wire. Further observation showed that the pin is broken off inside the contactor and only the broken end is in the connector.  The pins of right red wire and the middle gray wire are broken; the left red wire is still intact. I had the Port Sanilac Marina techs look at it and they said I needed a new contactor and that would solve my problem? I questioned this as I told them I had jumped the incoming hot wire to the motor power stud and nothing happened. Again I have done the same on car starters to find if I had a bad starter solenoid. They insisted that it was the contactor so we ordered a new contactor which arrived in 2 days.

The technician removed the old contactor and installed the new. To do this he had to remove the nuts from the motor power studs and reattach. As he tightened the nuts I noticed that the studs moved slightly. After it was reassembled we pushed the up and down buttons and again heard the clicks but louder this time since the cover was off, but no action from the motor. I am looking over the motor much aggravated of course and noticed that the right motor stud was up and out of its socket. We wiggled the other studs and they came right out with little effort.


Figure 2, motor showing broken studs with contactor removed

 Figure 3, shows the 2 power studs removed and the ground stud out of the motor but still attached to the ground wire.

Figure 4, shows the three power stud holes where the studs should be. 

Figure 5, another view of the studless motor

Now we knew we needed a new motor of course the owners manual shows that you cannot buy onlya motor you have to buy a motor gear case assembly which includes a contactor. This we tried to order at 2:30pm  for next day delivery and were told by the Marina lady that Lewmar has a 6 week delivery time on the assembly. Much frustrated I told her to order the part and drop ship it to a Marina in Chicago where I hope to be in 6 weeks. I had to order here because at any later marina it would still be 6 weeks.
Questions with NO answers;
1, Why did the contactor studs break off?
2, Why did the power studs come out of the motor?

In Presque Isle I called Lewmar Tech Support trying to find out why my windlass malfunctioned.
After my lengthy explanation of the problem, I told him that I had ordered a motor gearbox assembly thru Port Sanilac Marina.
He asked why we had ordered the assembly while the motor was available from Lewmar.
 SAY WHAT!!!
I stated that the Lewmar owner’s manual only gave the assembly part number not the motor.
He stated that the motor was available and could be sent anywhere overnight and that Crowley Yacht Yard in Chicago was their dealer in this area.
I can get the motor for $500.00 and the Contactor for $200.00 from Crowley and have it shipped to a Marina.

So I quickly called Sanilac Marina to cancel the order for the assembly and credit my Credit Card the $643.13 partial charge. Their full charge was $1050.00 plus shipping.  Of Course Sarah who is the only one who knows about this? is away until Thursday! This story will continue!