Firsts and Ghosts

Recently, we have had a series of “firsts” regarding Wind Affair. We had our first passengers – Evan’s mom and dad. Our dog, Emily, braved her first time on a boat. We finally got in our first real sail. And we experienced our first time running our boat aground.

First Passengers: Evan’s folks came out with us as our first passengers last week. It was going to finally be a nice day out – not the 104 degrees that it had been. The wind was light, but there. UNTIL we got on the boat. Then it died completely never to return. We had packed some snacks (cheese, smoked sausage, graham crackers)  and libations – Dark and Stormies.


The weather otherwise was really nice, so because we were already there, and we had drinks to serve, we just decided to fire up the diesel and motor around the reservoir. We toured all the McMansions surrounding Geist, and though noisy, it was actually a lovely time.

Herb, Joan and Evan
It was a beautiful sunset!

Emily’s First and Our First Sail: We took Emily out for her sea trial. There was, again, no wind, so we motored around the reservoir again. She was nervous, but handled it well. A day or so later there was actually a little wind. We took her out again and did our first real sail of our boat. It wasn’t too bad. We have some adjusting to do to our new (to us) boat. She handles very differently than her big sister, Dauntless. This was, also, Emily’s first time on a boat under sail. She’s a good dog, and we are sure she will quickly become accustomed to bobbing around on the water and the feel of heeling over when the winds are gusty. Safety netting on our lifelines are also being investigated.

Evan and Emily

Running Aground: Our most recent in “firsts” was running aground. We had been out on a fairly nice sail. We noticed that Emily was getting a little antsy and thought that we had been out long enough and she probably needed to pee. So we headed back to the marina. We had just finished putting the main sail away when we suddenly felt – and heard – everything grind to a halt. We looked at each other for a split a second, eyes wide and  then simultaneously and telepathically told each other, “OH ****!”

It was obvious that we had run aground. This is a man-made reservoir and we knew of a few places where there were old bits of what used to be Germantown lurking beneath the surface. Near-ish to where we were was what we knew to be an old bridge abutment, but we should have been far enough away from it. This had to be something else.

We do not yet have a chart plotter, so we couldn’t see the lay of the land beneath us, but we do have a depth sounder. We had previously been in water of about 10 feet in depth. Now, suddenly, it was reading 3.6 feet. We had discussed in our sailing class what to do if this happens, so we knew in theory what we should do. It was time to put it to the test. We needed to put weight forward, or aft or port or starboard – enough to tilt us in any direction that would rock the keel off of whatever we were on and allow the engine to move us into deeper water.

Not knowing what we were on or how big it was created a bit of indecision. Which way did we need to try to go? We tried putting the dog and me on the bow and motor forward. No good. We then tried reverse. No good. Then I moved to the port side and pushed the boom out as far as I could stretch. We tried forward, reverse, and we tried twisting back and forth. The twisting offered the most movement, but really we were just twisting in place.  So I moved to the starboard side and leaned out on the boom there. Same tactics… same non-progress.

We then thought maybe putting Evan out of the side with the boom would work better since I’m kind of small. It didn’t make any difference. I was getting pretty upset. I was internalizing as much as I could, but as I cut the wheel over and back, I was grimacing with every sickening feel and sound of SCRRRAAPE-ing across the top of whatever we had landed on. We were getting nowhere. Finally, Evan climbed down the swim ladder. He was standing in water that was only chest deep. He started carefully walking all around the boat to see if he could figure out in which direction things would start sloping deeper or maybe even drop off. He walked a wide radius with VERY little change in depth. What the hell were we on???

Finally, I flagged down a couple on a pontoon. When they arrived we explained the situation, and they readily agreed to tie on to us and try to pull us off. We decided that just continuing forward and using the combined power of our engines would be the best way to go. It was still quite a feat. When we were finally free, they untied us and we thanked them profusely. We hadn’t even exchanged names yet, so we laughingly took care of those niceties. Their names were Tim and Toni. As we relayed again our gratitude Toni said, “We were more than happy to help. Just don’t take any ghosts home with you. That wouldn’t be good!”

I thought it was an odd comment, but some people have an odd sense of humor, right? Later, as I was thinking about writing this post I wanted to make sure I had the name right of the town that had previously existed before it was made into a reservoir. I found a rather interesting website which now made Toni’s comment make sense! Check it out: The Ghosts of Germantown

Pretty crazy, right? I love it. I’m so much more cool with sailing around on this little lake. I might spot a ghost! How cool is that?!? AWESOME!! Also, we spoke with our friend, Todd, about what had happened. Apparently, we are not the first sailboat to have found that high spot – including him. It has been dubbed “Spengeman’s Rock” after the first person  from the sailing club who ran up on it. Why a buoy or something to mark its location hasn’t been set is beyond me. Then again, the only reason we know where the bridge abutments are is because they have been hit and documented on someone’s personal chart plotter – Todd’s. Since we don’t have one yet, we just have to hope that we don’t find it again the same way in order to add it to ours when we do get one.

I didn’t take any pics during our incident running aground. Evan would not have been pleased to see me with my phone out trying to get a good shot of our situation. It wasn’t one of the more fun events in my life either. So here’s a pic of our port view just before we decided to come in.

Who could have known what was to come.. LOL

Wind Affair has Arrived!

She’s here alright, but not without some drama. She obviously felt neglected during her many months on stands in the Michigan boat yard, so now that she has a captive audience she’s ready for a little excitement.

Our good friend Captain Todd and Evan were finally able to get the trailer and schedules arranged and headed up to Michigan early on a Wednesday morning. They were up around 6am and finally left around 8am. You know, waking up, hooking up, fueling up, etc. I am told the ride up was long, but relatively uneventful. Once at the marina, they got with the marina staff, and soon after a few men were doing the job of forking Wind Affair off her stands and over to the cradle and lift. They needed to drop her down into the water slightly, so that the crane could reach the mast to take it down before moving her over to the trailer.

Forking her over to the lift to the take down the mast.

Once she was partly into the water, one of the young men hopped down in and lifted open one of the cockpit lockers. “Um, I’m not supposed to be hearing rushing water, am I?” NOOO!!!! Apparently, one of the seacocks was still open. Lor-duh. Evan immediately jumped in and took care of the offending seacock, and they got started on taking down the mast.

Later, as Wind Affair was being forked onto the trailer they saw the need to shim a few spots as the settings on the trailer are set for a 27 ft C&C and she is a 26 ft C&C. They then worked on strapping her down. Everything took much longer than they expected, but they finally got it done.


Strapped and ready to go… and ready for a bath. Sheesh!


It was getting late. Blood sugars were bottoming out. It was clear that dinner needed to be served before making the 6-7 hour trek back home. Todd made Evan drive.

Todd to Evan: “I’m pretty sure that if you wreck my truck I will be a lot more forgiving than if I wreck your boat. You drive.”

Sound words. He, also, wanted to enjoy a few libations at dinner. Evan wasn’t completely fooled. So, the original plan was for them to be home by midnight. It was now looking more like 2am.

Meanwhile, back at la casa: My aunt was in town on business, and I had her over for dinner where where proceeded to split a lovely bottle of 2006 Chappellet Chardonnay (the link shows the 2010). We had a very nice ::hiccup:: time. She left around 9pm, and I cleaned up the kitchen and stuff and got ready for bed. I took my ambien around 10:30, flipped channels for a little bit and finally drifted off around midnight. Cue ominous music…

2:00am my cell phone started buzzing. I was in the middle of a very realistic and serious dream. Something having to do with my kids. I couldn’t figure out what the sawing noise was. When I finally realized that it was my phone I answered it, and I heard Evan talking to me.

Evan: “I need you to wake up. Do you hear me, sweetie? I need you wake up for me.”

Me: “(something in Pashto, I’m sure)…. what. Ok. what.”

Evan: “Are you with me yet? I need you to hear me.”

Me: “ok. what….”

Evan: “Are you sure you hear me? I really need you to be awake.”

Me: “Yup. Ok. What.”

Evan: “We are broken down. We are just south of Ft. Wayne on highway 69. The alternator went out, so we are losing battery power quickly. I don’t know how long our cells will last. I need to come get us here. I guess, around 7am? Nothing will be open before then, and I’m not sure how far we really are to the closest town that will have anything.”

D: “What mile marker?” (I don’t know how I had the wherewithal to even ask this question.)

E: “Um…. (sounds of walking) 87?”

D: “Ok. I will find it.”

The above conversation is not exact as I’m pretty sure I was still drunk from the wine, not to mention the ambien. I alternated between sitting up and lying back down on the bed for a good 15 minutes tyring to decide if that had been a real conversation. Then my phone started buzzing again. Evan was texting me. He told me to make sure I brought the jumper cables. Yeah, Yeah… I keep them in the back of my Tahoe, but it was confirmation that this was real.

I tried looking up mile markers on google maps, but that didn’t get me very far. Eventually, I googled to see what county Ft. Wayne was in and called their Sheriff’s Office. I explained the situation, and the dispatcher that answered was surly and uninterested in my slurred nervousness (It was 2:30 in the morning and I had been awake for only 30 minutes on maybe 2 hours of slightly intoxicated sleep! And my husband, friend and boat were parked on the side of darkened highway with no power and no emergency lights! Give me a break!). He directed me to call “the other county” because that mile marker was one past their county line and therefore was in the town of Markle.

D: “I’m sorry. What was the name?”

Dispatcher: “MAR- kuhl.”

D: “Could you spell that for me?”

Dispatcher: “::SIGH::… M-A-R-K-L-E.”

D: “Ok. So like Sparkle, but with an M.”

Dispatcher: “Yeah. Just like it sounds. It’s in the NEXT county. You have to call THEM.”

He then hung up on me. So I googled Markle, Indiana and found out what county they were in and called their Sheriff’s Office. Can we say MUCH NICER??? This lady understood my concern immediately. She helped me figure out they were about an hour and a half away, and she sent a deputy out to their location to check on them. I later found out that this deputy also hung glow sticks on the back of the boat trailer in an effort to allow traffic to see them.

I left the house at 3am. I called a friend that works nights at Las Vegas hotel and talked to him to keep me engaged and awake on my hour and half drive.* When I found them, we loaded up in my car and headed to some other little town that was slightly bigger than the one we were (not really) in and parked in a McDonald’s parking lot and catnapped until 7am.

*Love you, Chris!!

At 7:05am we were in the parking lot of an Auto Zone. They didn’t have the part we needed. We went to another store. They didn’t either, but could order it from another store and have it around 1pm. The next 3 stores we contacted said the same thing. We finally found a place back up the highway in Ft. Wayne that would supposedly have it in by 10am. We went to a Starbucks near it and recaffeinated ourselves. We got the part a little after 10:30 and headed 30 minutes back down Hwy 69 to the truck and boat. Evan and Todd went to work right away replacing the alternator. I took a few pictures of our situation. Mostly, I think I was just happy to return in the daylight to see the boat was still there!

Replacing the alternator

After a few pics, I meandered over to the Tahoe and popped open the back hatch to get my jumper cables. What I found was an empty expanse.

Me: “Where are my jumper cables???? Did you take them out of my car???”

Evan: “Oh my GOD! Why do you think I made sure to tell you bring them?”

Me: “Well, I didn’t realize you had taken them out of my car! I thought you wanted me to find them and bring them with me. I knew where they were! UGHHHH!!!”

Soooo, I drove 5 miles down the road to a “truck stop,” bought jumper cables and got 2 of the $5.oo foot long sandwiches from the Subway that was thankfully there (nothing else there, but an old decrepit looking diner), and arrived back just in time to see that Evan was just finished with the repair. Perfect timing! We jump started the truck and hung out on the side of the road eating our sandwiches while we waited for things to amp up.


Subway… eat fresh! Or grimy. That’s fine, too.


Finally, we arrived at Geist Marina sometime after 2pm. The guys had been going for almost 36 hours other than the catnapping they had done at McDonald’s. We were all SPENT. But! All’s well that ends well, right? Wind Affair was finally with us, and we started to work on her immediately. We got her for a good cheap price because we knew she had good bones, but also a fair amount of work to be done.

As I write this she is ALMOST ready to be splashed. I have already started the posts of our progress of cleaning and refitting… stay tuned! Meanwhile, here’s the bottom of my glass of 2006 Kokomo Zinfandel I had tonight.

Just doing my part to promote hedonistic values… and maybe a little temptation… as always.