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The Trouble With Boating.

We might be tempting fate here, but Cygnet has been pretty reliable lately.  We took our first cruise of 2017 on a beautiful but cool evening and found the river and lake to be nearly glass conditions.  With a small group of friends we took Cygnet up river (down actually) and through the lock onto what might be the smoothest Lake Michigan we've encountered.  We took a ride north as far as Montrose harbor and back again.  At Cygnet's cruising speed it takes a good 45 minutes to get from the lock to Montrose Harbor and we enjoyed the short cruise up and back.

Other friends have not been as fortunate this year.  Our liveaboard houseboat friends are still stuck on the Chicago River, waiting for a calm day when they are available to take their boat out to 31st Street Harbor for the summer.  They aren't in a hurry, but they are docked on the outside wall of the marina on the river side.  The amateur and immature boaters we get on the river make large wakes and their boat has gotten a bit beat up including some popped Taylor Made fenders and a broken window from slamming against the dock.  That's how inconsiderate other boaters can be.  Despite our No Wake signs and common decency there are some people who think that No Wake doesn't apply to them.  Fortunately we saw the boat that caused the broken window and the Chicago Police Marine Unit caught them and they are going to have to pay the repair cost.   It's the barges and professional captains too, specifically the tug Kiowa and water taxi Bravo, and this guy from the Chicago Water Department.  No respect.

Another liveaboard friend took a small group out the other night and as they returned he called me to help with lines.  We all try to help each other when we return to the marina since it's very tight and the wind is totally unpredictable as it circles around the Bertrand Goldberg designed building.  I went outside to help them in and noticed they were a bit wonky in the river.  For 15 minutes they jockeyed back and forth in the strong wind and kept drifting up (down) river.  They finally settled on the west wall of the river just north of Harrison St. and let me know they were dead in the water.  I called the CPMU and again they came to the rescue, towing our friend down to River City and releasing the boat on the outside wall for the night.  The next day Tow Boat came and pulled her down to Chicago Yacht Yard for repairs.  It turns out a rope got caught in one of the two props and also did some damage to the steering.

This time of year getting service done on your boat can be a challenge.  About half of the boats kept in yards over winter are in the water but many are on deck or still in storage and the manpower needed to get them in is huge.  Forget about getting the crane time to lift them in the water, there are a million small jobs to do.  Many boat owners forget through the winter to get work done and as soon as the first 80 degree (27C) day hits in spring they are calling the yards to get the work done ASAP.  By mid-June it'll die down, but right now it's nuts, so don't depend on a 24 hour turn around on service.

This year we have plans to spend a lot of time on the water, but as we've written before we are both quite busy and finding the time might be tough.  Colette has her hands full at work with a lot of jobs coming in and out, odd for the off season at her work.  Kevin is still doing 7-days per week at our new store.  If you haven't checked it out yet look up Experimac West Loop and come visit us anytime.  The two of us are both there on Sundays, when we'd rather be boating,  but at least we are there together.

Come See Me!
So Water We Thinking about the upcoming summer and potential problems?  The spring hasn't been all roses and sunshine, we did have to replace our anchor windlass switch for the third year in a row. They have a lifetime guarantee so our original $20 is still keeping it fresh and new!  Our stereo is still not sorted out after our installer bailed on us with the job incomplete and it's starting to work less well than before.  We aren't sure if the auto pilot works after it stopped piloting last year and the trim tabs never worked.  But when the engines fire up and push us through that calm water nothing matters.


  1. I loved reading your blog post. I agree with you that in winter we find most of the boats in the yard. If we love to enjoy riding a boat, then we should know how to face challenges as well and accept them. Great share.


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