My friend, Phil, Master of the Margaret Ann, invited me up for a working weekend, a little bit of sailing and a classic wooden boat show at his marina. It was a long trip, five hours from NE Ohio up to beautiful Presque Isle Michigan on Lake Huron. But, I must say, it was nice to get away for a couple of days.
We had a chance to stop by the Huron National Forest. Hard to believe that just several hours north of Detroit, there is forest wilderness. The Au Sable Valley is incredibly beautiful.
The economic engine of the area was, and still is, lumber. So much so, that there is a memorial to those who have braved the rigors of that trade in order to supply the Nation’s demand for construction material. The methods have changed since the days of log jams, mules and chains, but it is still a demanding business.
Just an hour or so north of the Valley found us in Presque Isle (French for “almost an island”), the Margaret Ann laying at her dock.
We had time for a little sail, before the work began in earnest.
The task at hand was three-fold: 1. Install an auxiliary halyard block; 2. Install a Windex;, 3. Install a roller furling rig. Number 3 can be accomplished with the “stick in the step”. In order to accomplish numbers 1 and 2, someone goes aloft in the boatswains chair or the mast is dropped. As neither Phil or I was prepared to be hauled aloft (neither trusting the other to “tail a line”), we opted to drop the mast. Thank goodness it’s a hinged rig. That said, it is still not an easy job, especially for a couple of old guys.
With the work accomplished, it was time for the Wooden Boat Show. Wooden boat builders are some of the best woodworkers around. And, an abundance of craftsmanship was on display. But my two favorites were a lovely dual cockpit “Chris” and a beautiful little lap strake Lugger (classic workboats from the British Isles and Coastal France named for the “lug” rig), newly built. Real classics.
But now it’s back to business, as soon as I get my “land legs” back!