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 .

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

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.