Not a Large Mac from you know who….but the Chicago to Mackinac race up Lake Michigan. This year is the 99th sailing of the Mac, which is sponsored by the Chicago Yacht Club. Every boat competing in the Mac must have at least one member of the Chicago Yacht Club as part of its crew.
Two hundred thirty five boats were signed up in the various classes to participate in the race this year. The fastest passage was 23 hours, 30-some minutes, but most of the boats will make the trip in 48 to 60 hours.
Some people will make just one Mac trip in their lives, but the sailors who are addicted to this race can join the “old goats” when they have competed 25 times. Some families have generations of sailors who have competed.
Dear Husband is a solo sailor, so he’s not in the middle of the pack tonight. I wouldn’t be surprised if he chooses to do the solo sailed race sponsored by the Solo Sailing Society one day. You can bet I’ll blog about it should he go!
Yup, it’s that season again.
Two weeks ago, while Elegant Mother and I were in Iowa, Dear Husband took the boat to the boatyard and they craned it into Lake Michigan. He’s spent the last two weekends getting the boat squared away.
About five years ago, I attended the Strictly Sail convention on Navy Pier in Chicago. It’s a wonderful activity for sailors held at the end of January or the start of February when one can’t sail in our climate. Sailors gather to see the newest boats, tools, clothing, equipments, sails…..anything you might need to sail a boat.
Along with the exhibition floor, they offer dozens of one hour seminars on all sorts of subjects. Occasionally we would attend different classes, but frequently we sat through seminars together. One that I attended that year was about sailing in the Pacific. It seems that atolls are ringed with coral reefs, and there is usually only one area where you can cross through the reef to moor.
Saturday, I did my morning errands, and then started some chores at home. I was pruning the dahlias along the front walk when Dear Husband drove up the driveway.
Remember….it was the day the Arr!! was to return home for the winter. I could hear the stakes rattle on the truck as he made his way up the drive. When I could see the nose of the truck, I knew something was wrong. I should have been seeing the rear of the boat, backing up the drive.
As he drew even with me, I asked if he was missing something. He nodded and went to park the truck. I was afraid he was going to tell me that the boat was sitting along the side of the tollway. (Scary thought.)
The Arr!! made it down the river, but it seems that our boatyard was not lifting boats out at that site on Saturday. They are building a new boatyard, and everyone was working at the new yard. So, the Arr!! is tied to a dock at the boatyard off the Chicago River. Dear Husband will have to go back in midweek to pick her up and bring her home.
Although the Arr!! is not my favorite entity, I’m glad to know that she wasn’t sunk or rear ended by a semi-trailer. We’ll have to celebrate her return later this week.
Dear Husband is staying overnight on the boat tonight. There are some joys to being a boat widow. This list may not do anything for you, but it’s made my day!
1. I slept late this morning.
2. I spent most of my day working on a quilt top.
3. I got to touch the remote control.
4. I didn
I haven’t been on the Arr!! for two years, and I fervently hope I will never have to be on it again. The Arr!! is a Canadian built Bayfield sailboat. It seems to me that it is about 32 feet long, and roughly 21 years old. It is my husband’s pride and joy, and each year I become a boat widow for the weekends between May 15 and October 15.
Chicago has a limited boating season. Only the really hardy, or the truly addicted, sail earlier or later than those dates, but it can be done. Lake Michigan can be exceedingly choppy in early spring and late fall. Because the winds are stronger then, you can get more speed out of your boat, but you also have to have a cast iron stomach to deal with the chop.
The Arr!! disappeared down the drive a few minutes ago. I am officially a boat widow for the next five months.
Yesterday I was having a dreadful day in the office. The phone rang constantly, interrupting all I was trying to wade through, and the fax machine kept spewing paper at me. My sister called to say that she could get away earlier than she thought….could she come to dinner after all?
In the midst of all this, I get another call, and it’s Dear Husband, who is outside, working on the boat. He was having the kind of crisis that would leave me wringing my hands and fretting in a major way, but he calmly asked if I had a moment to help him.
This coming Saturday, my husband will again make me a boat widow. The ARR!! will be banded into the Chicago river and will motor it’s way up river to sailing freedom.
This year, my niece and her husband will be making the trip with Dear Husband, and Sister #1 is also going to go! Despite the fact that he’ll never get me on that damned boat again, I hope for them that the weather is exceptional so they have a good time.
DH was at Strictly Sail in Chicago this winter and found a catering company that specializes in catering for boaters. It must have caught his fancy, because he bought home a laminated menu attached to a floating key chain holder. The boat could go down, but the menu will survive!
He’s actually ordered a meal for the first excursion. I’ll miss the meal, but I won’t miss the trip. Nothing he could do would entice me back on that damned boat!
This is the menu for the day:
Tuna Nicoise Stuffed Baguette
Antipasto Stuffed Focaccia
Beef Tenderloin, Parmesan, Arrugula on a Ciabatta Role with Balsamic Dressing
Farfalle Pasta with Olives, Roast Tomatoes, Asparagus and Black Pepper Vinagrette
Kettle Chips (seems mundane after the last four entries)
Virgin Mary Mix (add your own Vodka)
Now, if you should sail with DH in the future, you’ll be lucky to get a sandwich from the deli and a bottle of water, but the trip up the river he does with class! Sign up to the right———>
The Arr!! has returned home for the winter. Friday night, Dear Husband went to Chicago to spend the night on the boat. He left the truck and trailer at the boatyard and then took his first EL ride to get to the boat. That alone was an experience. It seems the train didn’t stop at his stop the first time around. He stayed on and did the entire trip around the Loop to get to his stop.
Neither of us have ever ridden an elevated train, so it follows that we’ve never purchased a ticket, either. DH put a $20 bill into the dispenser for a $1.50 fare, thinking he would get change. Instead, he got a little credit card worth $20 of rides! I’m going to make him take me to Chicago to ride the EL and go Christmas shopping. That’s going to be one expensive elevated trip! lol
I thought today was the last day the ARRR!! would sail this season. I was wrong. Dear Husband spent the day taking down sails, taking down the boom, and stowing “stuff” in the cabin for the season. Because we spent yesterday celebrating my niece’s wedding, he didn’t get to sail this weekend. That was a major concession for him, and he never said a word about it.
I was working in the office when he got home. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and he should have been out until 5:30 or 6:00. I went to find out if he was ill, and he told me how he had spent his day.
Next Friday, he’ll drive to the city and stay overnight on the boat for the last time this summer, and then he’ll be at the lock early Saturday morning to have the mast stepped. Then, he’ll motor down the Chicago River to the boat yard where the boat will be craned out.
It will seem odd to have DH back after a season of solitary weekends. Of course, you understand that there will be WEEKS of putting the boat to bed……*S* Maybe by January we’ll have some time together.