Moving Up

Monday, October 10, 2016

Most sailors dream about moving up to a bigger boat, and Roland and I were no exception. By August 2002, we had done our research and decided to purchase a new Beneteau Oceanis 331. The 34-foot boat would give us an additional 10 plus feet in length as well as another 3 feet in width.

Within a week we sold one boat and purchased another. Roland went to the Michigan City Boat Show on a Friday while I was at work and put down a $1 deposit to hold the one the dealer was displaying. He returned on Sunday—with me—to put down a larger deposit and complete some paperwork. The dealer and his wife delivered the boat by water about two weeks later and took us on a shakedown cruise to show us how to sail it. That was necessary since Freizeit was not only larger but had a wheel instead of a tiller and roller furling instead of the sail-raising system we were used to.

The boat was delivered in early September, so we only got out once or twice before the season ended. The next season we spent more time on Freizeit, including an extended weekend trip to Milwaukee, for which I scheduled two days off of work. This trip included my brother Donald but not my daughter, Caroline, who was working at Camp Lutherhaven that summer.

The plan was for Donald to come up on Wednesday. I would go to work on Thursday as usual and then take the train to Waukegan, Illinois, where Roland, Donald, and John would pick me up. But things don’t always go as planned.

When Donald hadn’t arrived at our home by eight or nine on Wednesday evening, Roland wondered if he had forgotten. Well, yes and no. He had remembered about the trip but forgotten the day. We weren’t sure we could afford the extra day before leaving, so Roland and John sailed to Waukegan by themselves. Donald drove to Waukegan, and we both joined the cruise there.

We hoped to sail all the way from Waukegan to Milwaukee on Friday, but there were thunderstorms in the distance, so we decided to stop at Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, right before the Wisconsin border. We arrived just as it started to rain, and we did sit out some thunderstorms that night.

On Saturday, we finished the trip to Milwaukee. We had some good sailing for a while, but the winds weren’t coming from the right direction. We eventually took the sails down and motored the rest of the way, just barely beating the rain again.

After going to church on Sunday, we sailed back to Winthrop Harbor. We could still see Milwaukee in the background when we also started seeing storm clouds and lightening behind us and travelling in the same direction we were. We considered taking shelter before Winthrop Harbor but decided to try to beat the storm if we could. Rain isn’t a hazard when sailing, but lightening is, especially with the sails up. So we took them down and motored. We managed to beat the lightening to Winthrop Harbor, but we got soaked on the way.

Donald had left his car at Waukegan, so I took the train there on Monday and picked it up, then drove it to work. Roland, Donald, and John had an uneventful sail home.

Das Zeltlagermanie didn’t have enough room to sleep four adults comfortably, but Freizeit did. That’s one of the advantages of moving up.

But it took several years before we made another try at the North Channel.

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