Winter Fun and Blue Ice

Adventures On The Ice

February 21, 2021

Sailing is our passion, but living in Northern Michigan we can not always be on RedSky. The good news is, just because it is cold and snowy doesn’t mean we can’t be on the water. This weekend we packed the whole Bova family into the car, and took a day to see the natural phenomenon of Blue Ice in the straights of Mackinaw.

The ice is formed in the shores of Lake Huron, by the quickly dropping temperatures combined with the wind blowing the ice chunks to the shore. The large pieces of ice will stack and pile on each other until the base freezes. The result is nothing more than a spectacular frozen playland. Everyone from photographers trying to get the perfect shot to kids sliding and playing games, enjoy the beauty that has formed.

We started the morning later than planned, but it was a great 34 degrees out, and the sun was poking out randomly. We arrived and were shocked by the amount of people that were already there. We parked at the east side of the city, but the Shepler’s Ferry docks. Immediately we went out on the ice and started with the pictures.

The feeling of walking on the ice, over the area that just a few months prior we had sailed over was exhilarating. Knowing that RedSky had sailed over the exact spot I was standing with sails full put a smile on my face.

But it was time to focus on why we came. The kids explored the ice, played hide and seek, and found every cave possible. We slid on our stomachs like penguins and laughed at how silly it looked. We found spots in the ice that was so clear it looked as if we were standing on the water and could see the rocks and sand under us.

The day was short and fast, but it was a day to be out of the house, and enjoy the area we live. It was another adventure that will forever remain in our memories. We may not always be sailing, but we are always drawn to the water.

Exploring the Ice Kids Taking a Break Pressure Cracks
Clear Spots Exploring the Caves Cheesy Smiles
The Bridge and the Ice

First Trip

Sailing RedSky to Petoskey

 

It was Saturday morning – Aug 24, 2019

We planned the weekend as much as we could, and waited in anticipation. We were ready. After weeks of living in the Mackinaw City Marina, we were ready to make our first journey to the Little Traverse Bay. We planned for 50 Nautical Miles. I filled the gas tank and took an extra 10 gallons of gas. Jenn took pride in planning and packing snacks and meals for the night in Mackinaw, and the day on the water. We tentatively planned for 12 hours since we were still learning how to navigate with sails, and other than going a few miles, had not been on motor for more than about 20 or so minutes at a time. After our late night trip to get some last minute supplies, we watched some fireworks with a glass of wine, and went to bed dreaming of our trip ahead of us.

We woke up to a cooler than normal morning. The dew covered boat was sitting as still as could be on the glass lake. We made jokes as were walked from the boat to the Marina office one last time, that there was not a bit of wind. I even made a video of the flags, in disbelief of how still they were. However, the plan continued, and we left Mackinaw just before 8AM.

As we motored away from the Marina, and under the mighty Mac, we continued to note how calm the lake was. The wind was not moving at all, and the water was like glass. Most inland lakes I had not seen this calm. The pictures could not even capture how smooth the lake was. For the first 3 hours, we motored along waiting for the chance to put up the sails. That chance continued not to come. We took our turns at the tiller, the Captain and the Skipper. Making sure to each have some time at the bow, where the engine noise was silent and the glassy water splashing on the hull was the only sound. I made coffee, as Jenn tested her knowledge of using the compass to keep a steady course.

The day continued, and we continued to motor. Here is where we learned one of the most valuable lessons of sailing… the weather can and will dictate your day and trip. We ended up running on motor for seven straight hours. Twice we tried to raise the sails thinking we felt some wind, only to sit on a calm lake, with limp sails. We pushed on, just enjoying our time on the open water.

At about 3PM, we finally started into Little Traverse bay. We could see Petoskey, and at this time noticed the winds started. They were about seven knot winds, and coming from the East, which was not normal, but finally provided us a chance to put up our sails. We put them up and for the first time all day were able to shut of the motor and enjoy the power of the wind.

This ride was short lived, as about half way across the bay, the weather completely changed its attitude, and the winds and waves started to intensify to what a seasoned sailor would not bat an eye at, but brought a new level of stress on us. Jenn pointed us towards the Petoskey harbor as I scrambled on the deck to pull down the sails. We rocked at every wave, and I fought to check every line I pulled, still learning what order to do everything.

We spend about 20 Minutes fighting the waves to pull around the pier, and had luckily taken a moment to call in requesting a deck hand be ready to assist us. We found our slip, being the first on as we entered the marina; it was full of waves, and current. The docking was an adventure, with us still trying to learn to use a tiller at slow speeds.

We had made it. Our little 25 Ft piece of heaven on the big lake. It was a small trip to some, but in our eyes, it was amazing, nerve wrecking, challenging, and a trip that began our journey. It taught us how to navigate, work together, and some of the limitations of our boat along with what it can truly handle. This set the hook of desire deeper into us, as we knew this was adventure that we would always want in our lives.

Next – Learning To Sail

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Josh is the writer, and I like to think that I am the photographer. However, occasionally, I get excited to write about my favorite place to be. By now you have read all about how we found Red Sky, nothing has ever felt more like fate. This boat was meant to be ours, and sailing it has fulfilled a dream that I did not even know I had. Josh has always dreamed of owning, and even living on a sailboat someday. I have always found them to be more appealing than any other form of boat, but because I had no experience, and I am only half the dreamer that Josh is, I just admired them from afar. That being said, one day walking down the piers in our hometown and admiring the sailboats quickly turned into daydreaming about someday owning one of our own. Browsing online quickly became searching in earnest for a boat that could be ours, and far more quickly than we anticipated, we started looking at boats. The first, as you have read was an absolute bust. The only thing that it had going for it, good reviews aside, was the price. However, fate intervened and because the owner never responded, Red Sky became not just an option, but our future.

The first time I saw our boat was in a photo, I had to work in the timeframe that Josh was able to go and look at the boat, but when I saw the photo, I knew. That was our boat. Fortunately, we both felt the same way, and quickly things fell into place and we had the title in hand. The first time I stepped onto our boat, I was both ecstatic and completely overwhelmed at what we had gotten ourselves in to. I wanted so badly for sailing to come naturally to us, but there was that fear that lingered at the surface that we would fail. That fear stayed firmly in place while we waited patiently to be able to get our boat in the water. We knew that she would be going in in Mackinaw City, which is about 49 nautical miles from our hometown of Petoskey, MI. We knew that we were going to have to sail that distance, but really had no idea how we were going to make that happen, but motoring was always an option, so we held on to that with the optimism that we would be able to actually sail by the time we made the trip.

When the day finally came and our boat was in the water, we made our way north for what was sure to be one of the best weekends ever. The first day was absolute chaos. We had to pull everything out that had been stored in the boat for the years it had been at Shepler’s, and begin what will likely be a never-ending list of projects. Despite the chaos, we were both in heaven! Walking onto the boat it just felt “right”, by the end of the weekend I was, and still am, convinced that living on a boat is our future. We were able to take Red Sky out and motor around, and explore the area around the infamous Mackinaw Bridge. Getting our sails up was in the near future, but I will let Josh tell you all about that.

Our First Trip

Finding RedSky Pt 2

Finding RedSky – Part 2

July 2019

With nothing but what we were told over email, I called up to Shepler’s Marina in Mackinaw to ask about the mystery boat that we had been told about. I was excited to hear that the owners were great people that took care of the boat, and had stored it there for years. I worked with the management at Shepler’s to get a chance to see RedSky in person. Jenn had to work, but this was our only chance. It was now or never.

I went to Mackinaw, and made my way into the Marina storage. A few selfies later, and an amount of anxiety that I almost could not handle, I was there. I was in a giant pull barn with only three boats. Two were large 30 plus foot sailboats, and they had a small, red, beautiful boat tucked into a corner. I saw her, and I smiled so hard it almost hurt. I immediately sent a picture to Jenn and with no explanation, she only said back “That is our boat”, and I agreed.

I quickly found a ladder and explored the boat. It was perfect. I texted the owner and said, we are ready to hand over a check immediately. I have never sailed, and rarely boated. However, I knew this was the boat to teach me how to sail.

That week we planned a day, and passed a check. We paid $1500 for the boat of our dreams. I knew the limitations. I knew we could not trailer it, I knew we could not step the mast; I knew we could not get it in or out of the water. Moreover, I knew we could not sail it.

We planned, and waited, and picked a weekend. We counted the days. Every calendar had a countdown to “Boat Day”. We had a Friday afternoon plan for RedSky to go in the water, and be waiting for us. We planned to have no kids, and our time to spend on the boat. We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited… finally the day came. The boat was in the water, and we were on our way to spend a long weekend on it, and make it ours.

After a long drive from Petoskey to Mackinaw we were there and looking at our new baby in the water. RedSky was ours, she was in the water, and our dream was now a reality, and thus starts our adventure, with our first weekend, living on our new boat.

Part 3 – The adventure begins. Our first weekend of Boat Life

 

Finding RedSky Pt 1

Finding Redsky – Part 1

June 2019

We began our search as most couples looking to get into sailing. Searching Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and scouring the internet for any good deals on a small sailboat to learn the joys of sailing.

The first boat we found was a 7.5 Tanzer that was well within our budget, but was about 100miles south from us, and did not come with a trailer or motor. I did my research and I liked the layout of the cabin, the reviews of the boat were good, and they appeared to be enjoyed by all the owners I spoke with, and they had few complaints. However, the distance and lack of motor made us question if it was right for us.

For the cost, the boat still appeared worth the risk. We made our plans and headed south. From Petoskey, Michigan to Frankfort, we made an evening run hoping to beat anyone else who wanted it. We emailed, called, and texted the owner, who gave us only an address of the marina and no other information.

We traveled down to the address given to us, and found the Marina. The boat was there in the yard, and we got our first look at it. We had not heard back from the owner, regardless of the multiple texts we had sent out. We continued to try to contact him. While waiting we looked over the boat as best as we could. We did not have that “This is our boat” feeling. Instead, we felt like we were risking buying something that would turn us off from sailing. With a bit of a heavy heart we left for the long ride home.

On the way home, we got an alert about a price drop on a boat in Mackinaw, and we talked about it all the way home.

We looked over the picture and talked, and looked again and talked. I knew it was in storage, and had been for years, as I emailed the seller once before the price drop. We were unsure over a boat we could not see and could not know the condition of, but we decided… we would just email and ask. The next day, I emailed the seller first thing, and we started talking through email. By mid-morning we were texting, and I was certain we needed this sailboat.

It was a 1974 C&C 25. The family owned it for about 7 years. The second year they owned it they bought a new Yamaha 4 stroke 15HP outboard for it. The 4th year they left it in storage. The 7th year, they posted it for sale, just wanting it gone due to the cost of storage and nonuse. They bought it for over $5000, put a $3000 motor on it, and now were asking for $1500.

After a fast series of events that all fell into place, we determined that night that we were going to buy this boat, no matter what it took. RedSky was meant to be ours.

NEXT POST – The Buying process, and our first view of our future