Western Michigan 'Vous 2003

The 2003 Western Michigan 'Vous is history. The attendance was small, but enthusiastic. Here are some pictures.

Mike Faull, Dan Staples, Norm Bush in the Harbor View Marina, Ludington, Michigan
3 Dan's Melody
Off Melody
Dan and Norm on Norm's Magie
Mike and Norm on Magie checking the windex
Dan, Mike, and Norm
Norm, Mike, George, Dan on Melody. Dan's son James took this picture
CYOA burgee on the club house flag staff. Hand made by Dan's admiral.
The end of a great day.


Jim Haring sent this message to one of the email lists a short time after the 'vous:

China Doll almost made it to the rendezvous! We left Monroe Harbor at 2:00 am Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The forecast was calling for 10 to 20 knot winds out of the west. PERFECT! A nice brisk broad reach to Ludington! At 8:00 PM on Thursday I turned the watch over to Gene. The wind was calm, seas flat so we turned on the engine to charge the battery and keep us moving. The last thing Gene said before I went down for a nap was "This is going to be a boring watch." 45 minutes later it was all hands on deck to take down the 150% and put up the 100%. 30 minutes after that we reefed the main. 30 minutes after that we took down the 100%. The rest of the night we sailed at 5.5 knots with just the reefed main and luffing it a good part of the time. The forecast was changed to full gale and predicted to continue till midnight Saturday. By Friday morning it was blowing a full 40 kts and the waves had built to 8 to 10 with a 12 thrown in for fun every once in a while. All this weather was running toward the Michigan coast. There was no way we were going to approach the lee shore with the narrow harbor entrances. We had Little Sable Point in sight and we were 35 miles from Ludington when we decided to tack back out into the lake. Once we were safely off shore, we took down the main, set the storm jib and hove to with the tiller lashed off and the jib sheeted to the "wrong side" so we could get some rest. We called the Coast Guard and reported our position, rate of drift, and track. We also informed them that we were not in distress but they should be prepared for a call reporting an overdue yacht at Ludington.

After 3-4 hours of heaving to, with one of the crew heaving too, we decided we had had enough and would set sail for the western shore. We set the reefed main and the storm jib. On one tack the GPS said we would make land fall way north of Door county in 48 hours. The other tack said we would make the Chicago light in 48 hours. We opted for the Chicago light. At 4:00 PM on Friday I turned the helm over to Gene and went down for a nap. The storm was still howling. A little over an hour later I got up as asked Gene if we were still on the same planet. It was a beautiful sunny day, winds around 10, and seas 3 ft or less. Holland was the closest port so we altered course determined to save some of our vacation. By 5:00 PM we had set the big reacher/drifter. By 8:00 PM everyone was feeling good enough to eat so I broke out the charcoal grill, hung it on the stern rail, and cooked a steak and salad dinner. We continued under a gentle broad reach to Holland enjoying a beautiful sunset followed by a full moon rise and dropped the hook in Macatawa Bay at 2:00 am. When we finally got up on Saturday morning we proceeded to the Macatawa Bay Yacht club where we were warming greeted and invited to join the Catalina rendezvous going on that weekend.

The rest of the 12 day cruise was delightful. We made port in Grand Haven, Saugatuck, again in Holland, South Haven, New Buffalo, and St. Joe. Along the way we experimented successfully with sheet to tiller self steering and single handing. For the single handing experiment I rigged a line from the tiller around a cleat, around the mast, back around the other cleat, and back to the tiller. This way I was able to steer the boat from before the mast. Then, using Gene only as a safety observer, I sailed from New Buffalo into the slip at St. Joe. including setting the sails, rigging the whisker pole on the 150%, rigging the sheet to tiller self steering for the wing on wing run, then getting it all down by myself, and into the slip. We ended the trip with a fantastic night sail from St. Joe to Chicago. We had a beam reach with 20 to 25 knot winds and covered the 58 miles in 9 hours flat under the reefed main and the 100%. At times we were touching 7 kts. down the face of the waves. We had planned on making the Chicago light at dawn or a little later but were tied up on the Columbia Yacht Club dock at 3:00 am.

Maybe next year we will make it to the Columbia Rendezvous.


Jim Haring
Columbia 26-MKII # 1469
China Doll (a little later)
Monroe Street Harbor, Chicago