Ready, Set – GO!

I was in track in high school – of average talent. I did make it to State one year as part of a relay team but mostly I was there to push the star runner to go a bit faster in the 220 yard dash. I would try as hard as I could to beat her – and I succeeded in just making her times better! Such is life.

Now the real reason I bring this memory up is when you’re a sprinter you line up in the starting blocks on the cue of READY, and you get positioned to run when SET is called. Then came the moment I absolutely hated – the starting gun – damn that noise scared the bejesus out of me! Probably why I did better in the relays – as the second leg, I never had to take-off to the sound of a gun. I would methodically plan my start to receive the hand-off of the baton in the most efficient manner.

So what the hell does this have to do with sailing? Well the better part of the past month has been in the READY state – and people frequently ask what we have to do to get ready for GO.

20160621 Sunrise Departure
Daylight greats us as we depart Pikes Bay Marina and Bayfield

Speaking of GO – we left Bayfield, WI this morning at 4:30am with a full moon at our stern and a glimmer of daylight at our bow. It was calm and beautiful – a great start to another season of adventures.

The Ready State

So back to the READY state – since May 1st when we moved onto the boat we’ve sold a car, a bike, a dock box, a grill, and a bunch of other boating paraphernalia that we had no use or space to store. Thank god for friends and friends of friends who helped lighten our load and fatten the cruising kitty.

We also emptied out our Bayfield storage unit and with some creative packing got everything into our cargo trailer with room to spare! Cargo trailer? As we move eastward, we will be doing a bit of a leap frog relay with our SUV and trailer with a bit of help from a few car rentals, buses, etc. It’s complicated – think of it as a challenge for those of us who are a little too detail oriented!

Farewell to Pikes Bay - a Sailor's Paradise
Farewell to Pikes Bay – a Sailor’s Paradise

As to the boat, well she had some attention as well. I got a lesson on how do to maintenance on our Raritan head from a very patient Aaron who works at Pikes Bay Marina. He also let me video the entire process so when I tackle this on my own a few years from now (hopefully not sooner) I will have Aaron there giving great explanations as to the why and how.

He also informed me that in his entire career of working on boats – he has never encountered anyone who wanted preventive maintenance on their head. They wait until it fails and the job is truly nasty! Hint – pump out right before you start and rinse the tank 3-4 times.

Gaviidae also had her precious Westerbeke checked and we’re happy to say she’s running smooth – I can literally say that because we are currently crossing from Bayfield, WI to Houghton-Hancock, MI (96 nautical miles) at 2300 RPM and 7 knots. Would like to sail but the wind is too light and we want to arrive before sunset – did I mention that we left at 4:30am? Cruising:  sometimes that means sailing (rarely), sometimes that means motor-sailing (most frequent option), and the least favored method – motoring.

Getting Set

As we approached the SET phase, we started to feel a little more comfortable that we could actually be ready to go with our targeted weather window. We did final loads of laundry, pulled the last of our frozen foods out of the marina freezer, got the outboard on the motor mount, the dinghy hung on the davits, gear stowed, gear moved to make room for other gear, then moved again – you get the picture. We felt so comfortable that we even had time to visit with friends and have more than a few farewell cocktails. Those guilty should be smiling.

Changing Course

As we approached the GO stage, life happens and you have to adjust course to accommodate. On Monday morning (our departure day) we learned a very good friend was in the hospital in Duluth and seeing her became our priority. We took a close look at our task list and starting eliminating those items that could wait until Houghton-Hancock. Amazing how many things you can cross off when your priorities change!

After a wonderful visit with our friend we returned to Bayfield late afternoon for the final prep. We scratched our plan to head out to Stockton Island that evening and opted to leave a couple hours earlier on Tuesday morning. Such is cruising. We should never be in such a rush that we miss those special moments or put ourselves and boat at risk.  So our GO was a soft go, calm and stress free. I always did hate the sound of the starting gun!



  1. Good Start. Looking forward to spending some time together with you in North Channel this summer, meeting up in BeardropHbr./John Hbr. area August 9. Are you still following the rendezvous schedule you sent us last November?
    Jerry ~ Magic Carpet

    1. GLCC Wilderness Rally ends on the 6th, then to Tolsmaville on August 6th or 7th. I have us in Meldrum Bay on August 9th but I think that will get bumped up a day. So I think we are good with a target of John Harbour area around the 9th. Can’t wait to see you two! Give Clare a hug!

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