We’d planned to make another trip back to White Lake (or at least some distance north) Wednesday of last week, sailing through the night to arrive in the morning. The weather, however, had other plans. A healthy northwest wind greeted us as we exited the channel at 1800 under double-reefed main and staysail and began pounding our way …
north… west. It was going to be a long night.
By 2100 we were only 5nm north of St. Joseph, and the weather was deteriorating. Sailing is supposed to be fun, and the prospect of pounding into wind and waves all night only to make Holland 40nm away by morning, combined with a storm system that was moving through the area, convinced us to turn back for home. The lightning display off our starboard beam assured us that we’d made the right decision.
Storms and foul winds kept us “in harbor” for a couple of days, but we planned to head out again on Friday, this time for New Buffalo, with a following wind. Too bad we didn’t think to call ahead to make a reservation. New Buffalo, it turns out, was booked. After daysailing off St. Joseph, we spent the night aboard, determined to go somewhere soon.
We set off for South Haven late Saturday morning, with a light following wind (8-10kts) and plenty of sunshine. The trip north was uneventful, and the boys took turns at the helm as Ariel coasted along under drifter.
My mom drove up and met us in South Haven for dinner and ice cream. We had a lovely walk through town, then mom and dad drove back to St. Joseph, leaving Carrie, the boys, and me on the boat.
Originally we’d planned to spend the night in South Haven and then head home the next day, but the weather was too nice to stop so we caught a gentle southwest wind and rode it to Saugatuck for our first ever visit by water. We tied up at Coral Gables ($2.50/ft = $90!) on the east side of the river and right in the middle of the action.
Saugatuck is an eclectic blend of artsty small-town and hipster coffee-shop types with an annoying party element on the waterfront. The town itself is very cute and quaint, with a chain ferry and paddlewheel riverboat, a number of old buildings, and a riverfront park and bandstand. The docks around Coral Gables and the Singapore Yacht Club to the south tend to be busy and noisy. We fell asleep around 2300 to the sounds of Michael Jackson and Sonny and Cher karaoke coming from a nearby bar called The Annex.
For $90 a night, I think we’ll opt to anchor on the lake during our next visit.
Winds for our return to St. Joseph were forecast to be (big surprise) SW’erly – right on the nose – until later in the day when they were expected to veer west, which they never did. We departed around 1100 and beat our way south under main, staysail, and jib in a 10-12 knot breeze. Although the wind could have been from a better direction, the day was perfect – clear skies, moderate seas, and a steady wind.
Four long tacks about 8nm offshore carried us past South Haven by around dusk. Several shorter tacks in a decreasing wind carried us about 7nm north of St. Joseph before the wind went flukey. Once again, lightning off to the west prompted us to call it quits, drop sail, and steam for home. We arrived in the slip just before 0400 and decided to spend what was left of the night aboard. We awoke a couple hours later to lightning and the sound of thunder and heavy raindrops. It was nice to be in our slip rather than on the water.