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

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.
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!
Sunday 071915– in PRESQUE ISLE, Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny, little wind, 65 to  75
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
DUTCHESS and crew are in Presque Isle MI in the State Marina another one of the harbors of refuge.  We are now in the upper part of Lake Huron Latitude 45-17.8 Longitude 83-25.1 This is a very rural area with no town and almost no stores.  There is a restaurant which we will use shortly. Staying here 2 days and they charge $60.00 per day.  Could be cheaper but the State of Michigan needs the money, maybe to bail out Detroit. This is another bike riding venue because that is all there IS.   On the way here we had a nice sail for 4 hours and then the wind turned on the nose, we tried tacking into 22 knot winds but made little progress, so the rest of the trip was on the engine. Only turned on the spot ¾ of the way here sorry!
On the 20th we went biking to the two Lighthouses on Presque Isle one old and one new but still old. I climbed to the top of the new tower 135 steps and the old maybe 60 steps. The new tower is still operational.

Here are the New and old light houses and old sailor in old doorway. The old one has pie shaped cut stone steps cantilevered out from the wall and set in a spiral, a nice piece of work for the early 1800.  That is for all you engineers.

Still feeling good after lunch we went hiking thru the woods on a trail for about 2 miles.

Let’s see, we came here from Harrisville Municipal Marina where we spent 2 days the 17 and 18. As it happened there was a wine and food festival near the marina, so of course we checked it out on Saturday and spent the whole afternoon there. We met some nice ladies there and with the wine helping we had a wonderful conversation. They were too young 60 for me but about right for Chuck ha ha. For $10.00 entrée fee you get two small glasses of wine and for $2 you can buy more wine tickets. I bought 5 more and gave one away to a daughter of the one of the ladies and drank the rest. This Marina charged $53.00 for the day, so it varies a little from place to place.

It is good that I am writing this all down for you because it really helps me to remember all the stops. They all start to run together. I also keep a running log book of each day which is the source for the details in the blog. To date I have spent only $277.00 for diesel and a total of 104.8 gallons not including the fill up at PYC of 89 gallons. On average we are burning ¾ gallon per hour. So a sail boat is an economical vessel to travel the LOOP, even if you do not sail.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Friday 071115– in Port Austin, Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny, little wind, 65 to  75
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
We are in Port Austin MI on the beginning of Saginaw Bay which is off of Lake Huron. The Port Austin State Marina is one of the many Harbors of Refuge that the State of Michigan developed along the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. They all have jetties, breakwaters, seawalls, that protect them from the wind driven waves of the open water. These are very nice facilities; this one is all new, with all the conveniences.  It is staffed by a bunch of college students who really try to please the boaters and NO tipping allowed. The cost is $60.00 per day which is a little much for this one horse town.  We rode around and every street leads to farm fields or the lake. There is only one very small downtown with lots of empty buildings. Tomorrow we will sail across Saginaw Bay to Harrisville MI.
We came here today from Port Sanilac MI, where we stayed in the Port Sanilac Municipal Marina for three days because of Windlass problems and weather. Back in Port Huron I decided to go up the mast to install a block for the stay sail, which was left off when we stepped the mast. To go up the mast easily I use the Windlass rope gypsie , which acts like an electric winch and I go up like an elevator. When I tried the windlass it clicked but the motor did not turn so NO windlass. I went up the mast anyway but now Chuck and two volunteers had to crank these 200lbs up the mast using the two speed halyard winch on the mast, they took turns. I installed the block safety wire and halyard and they lowered me down to the deck, safe and sound.Then I told them they had hauled a 74 year old up the mast HaHa. We use a bosun chair to sit in and a safety fall device on a static line as backup. I will write a separate blog on the Windlass problem.

Port Sanilac Municipal Marina is inside a huge manmade breakwater bay developed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1951. This Marina is very well protected from storms as we found out that night. A wind storm blew up, with 20 knot winds continues for 36 hours and gusts up to 28 knots. The boat shook all night and the wind howled thru our rigging and the rigging of the huge Choey Lee sail boat next to our slip. We did not sleep to well that night, by the next night things had settled down so we slept better. In the morning we saw the waves braking over the seawall and were happy to be in a save marina.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Friday 071115– in Port Huron Michigan
Weather/Sea   Sunny, little wind, 75 to  85
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
Dutchess and crew are in Port Huron Michigan at the Port Huron Yacht Club. She is tied to the wall of the club on the Black River side with lots of boat traffic going by, very bouncy. This Club only charges $30.00 for the day with electric and other facilities. We will stay till Monday and see the City tomorrow.
 The Black River flows into the St Clair River which is the outlet from Lake Huron. The St Clair River is the international border between the USA and Canada, as you sail upriver you cross the border many times, but as long as you don’t anchor or touch the shore you do not need to check in with the Customs or the Border Patrol. Every harbor we have been in, there is a Border Patrol Boat keeping an eye on border crossing violations. Since 9-11 things have gotten a lot more rigorous along the border. The Chicago Mackinac Race started today and the Huron to Mackinac race starts next Saturday so this town is in race mode and very busy. We will need to leave before the crowd arrives.

We came here from Algonac MI and we were in the Algonac Harbor Club Marina They charged $55.00 per day and we stayed 2 days. Algonac is the birth place of CHRISCRAFT Boats and our marina is where they were made out of wood and all by hand no machinery. We saw a Chriscraft speed boat “MISS AMERICA X” which had set a speed record of 125 mph. This wooden boat has four Vee 12 PACKARD gas engines driving 2 props. Each Cylinder had a vertical exhaust pipe and the driver and mechanic sat directly behind those engines. They must have been deaf for a month after a run. Filled up with diesel took only 25.785 gallons at $2.989 per gallon cost $77.07 and finally got to pump out the holding tanks at a cost of 10.00 plus 5 tip. This was the best and most helpful pump out we have yet encountered. Most are very sad affairs that don’t work or barely work.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thursday 070815– in Wyandotte Michigan
Weather/Sea   cloudy, little wind, 65 to  75
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
We are in Silver Shores Marina off the Detroit River in Wyandotte MI and arrived here on 7/6/15 at 1600 after a 7 hour motor trip from Middle Bass Island. We are finished with Lake Erie and onto Lake Huron, to get there we have to go up the Detroit river to Lake St Clair and up the St Clair river. The next three Great lakes discharge thru these rivers so there is some current to fight going up stream.
Yesterday we were at the Henry Ford Museum which displays a lot more than cars. Among other things it shows the history of cars with examples of the earliest  cars up to the present, but it also has Airplanes including the venerable DC3, which I have flown in many times in Ecuador. It also has a Railroad exhibit with some very old and huge steam Locomotives. One Locomotive had 6 driving wheels on each side. We had lunch in a very old Diner that is also a display. Since it was a rainy day it was a good day to see the museum which was well worth the $18 fee and the $30 cab ride. We also saw an Imax movie Undersea World in 3D, the theater is in the Museum.
There is a street Fair in Wyandotte today. We are going there later with Chucks’ god daughter Madelyn whom he is close with and she lives near here. He has two daughters that are far away in California and Chicago. Tomorrow we plan to motor up the Detroit River and thru Lake St Clair thru the St Clair River Delta and find on the North Channel of the St Clair River the Algonac Harbor Club, our next marina.

The Captain hard at work plotting the next course, by Charles Livingston

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Monday 061515– in DUNKIRK NY
Weather/Sea   Foggy, Windy , 70
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
DUTCHESS is now in Dunkirk NY the most westerly harbor in NY that I can use. We are in the Dunkirk Yacht Club a very nice facility with one day reciprocity for yacht club members and only $1 per foot per day, for more days.  This is a working club like PYC and a very friendly group. We motored the 35 miles from Buffalo YC because of very light winds as usual. It was a little foggy so I turned on the new radar for the first time and it worked very nicely. It showed clearly all the very small fishing craft around us which gave peace of mind. Then a rain squall came along which showed clearly on the radar. Then the screen filled up with rain all around us and it poured with visibility 50’. The radar was totally cluttered with rain except for a ¼ mile circle on the screen around the boat which would not give much reaction time. Luckily the rain stopped before Dunkirk, so the radar cleared and about  a mile before the harbor the fog lifted and we carefully motored in to the guest dock. I had called DYC before and again as we approached for instructions and they were very helpful.  A little scary entrée because the charts showed shallow water but they assured us that there was at least 7’ and there is. Staying here 2 nights but today is windy and very foggy so we may stay until the fog lifts. The next stop will be Erie PA.
We spent 6 nights at BYC and had a good time. I did a lot of bicycle trips including to a clothing drop to unload a lot of old boat working clothes. Hope not to do much work on the rest of the trip. Paul and I got the main installed it was a real work party to get the heavy main and Doyle stack pack unto the boom and then up the mast. This is a fully battened main so long battens have to be inserted every 5’. Luckily we can stand on the hardtop to do this work. On Friday I was alone so I joined BYC for an Hawaiian Pig Roast with all the trimmings and drinks and that is where Chuck found me at 2230 in the bar chatting with BYC members, not a good image for the Captain, Ha Ha.

Thursday 070515– in Middle Bass Island OH
Weather/Sea   sunny, little wind, 70 to  75
Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston
Arrived in PUT-IN BAY on Wednesday 7/1/15 after some nice sailing but when the wind changed we changed to the engine. The new main dropped very nicely into the DOYLE STACKPACK and the Jib furled perfectly, they are both Doyle sails. We took a mooring # F1 and then took a nice nap. This old body really likes naps! In Put-In Bay they do not have mooring lines on their mooring balls so each boat supplies their own. This makes it tricky to moor. First Chuck hooked the top ring, and after I stopped the boat, I managed to put a loop around the 5” ring and lift the chain somewhat, then Chuck got a line thru the ring and thru the starboard hawsepipe and to a cleat, then we got the other end thru the port hawsepipe and to a cleat. No wonder I needed a nap.  Our trip here took 6.5 hrs. in 15 to 20 knot winds and choppy seas.
Put-In Bay is where Commodore Perry was anchored in 1813 when he went after the British fleet and the battle was only a few miles from here. There is a huge monument here commemorating the battle of Lake Erie and the 100 year peace between Canada and the USA which is now 200 years. This victory guaranteed the USA ownership of OHIO, MICHIGAN and the north western states. I went to the top of the monument, it has an elevator, and I could see for miles, and took some pictures.

PUT-IN BAY on SOUTH BASS ISLAND OHIO, can you find DUTCHESS on her mooring? She is almost in the center. Now I cannot find the picture???? to insert.
We do a lot of biking to see the whole island and here is a picture to prove it.

The old man and his bike at the shore of south Bass Island OH
I Raised the big US flag on 7/2/15 on DUTCHESS for the 4th of July celebration, most of the boats are decked out in flags.  I attended a boat party on the 4th and watched the fireworks from there. Chuck does not like crowds so he stayed in DUTCHESS.  It was a nice party and one of the guys is restoring a CSY so we had a lot to talk about. He came to Dutchess to check out all my changes. We stayed in Put- In Bay until the 5th and then went to Middle Bass Island State Marina for the day and will leave tomorrow for  Wyandotte MI and out of lake Erie.