Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Leaving Lake Erie

After three days of delay due to weather and a leaking coolant reservoir, Passage finally pulled away from the Grand River Yacht Club on Friday, August 16th.

As we exited the Grand River, we took one last look at the construction of the new coast guard station, as well as the Grand River light house.

We hoisted sails and sailed for about one hour before before the wind weakened as we approached the Perry Nuclear Power Plant.

We fired up the motor when we saw the first of four water spouts out on the lake.

Fortunately, they stayed well out on the lake, and we arrived safely at Ashtabula after a voyage of 27 nautical miles.  The Ashtabula light house is in bad shape.

We motored under the bridge and were tied up by 1:10 p.m.  George and Pat Schlauch on Outlaw, who were returning from an eight week cruise of Lake Ontario, crossed under the 2:30  bridge and tied up in front of us.

We had a wonderful visit, learning all about their adventures during their first extended cruise, and filling them in on events at the club.  We enjoyed dinner at Hil Maks and breakfast at the River's Edge Diner the next morning before Outlaw set sail for their home dock in Grand River.  We spent the rest of the day relaxing and recovering from the frenzy of preparations for this cruise.

We cast off our lines to catch the seven o'clock bridge on Sunday, August 18th.  We sailed for three hours in south winds, reaching a high speed of 7.4 knots.  Seven miles past Conneaut, the wind died; and we motored the rest of the way to the Presque Isle Light.

During this leg our autopilot drive belt slowly crumbled away, until we were forced to hand steer.  We arrived at the Erie Yacht Club at 3:00 p.m.
We spent the next two hours scrubbing the coal dust off Passage, showered, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the yacht club.  The next morning Sue did laundry while Jack did boat maintenance chores.  At noon we motored across Presque Isle Bay and followed the range markers into Marina Lake at Presque Isle State Park.
Anchoring in the best anchorage on Lake Erie, we realized that the only other sailboat anchored there was Rosebud, skippered by Mark Whalen, a member of our yacht club.

We enjoyed a nice visit with Mark before retiring to Passage to relax and read before going to bed early.
We enjoyed a lovely sunrise on Marina Lake as we raised our anchor early the morning of August 20th.
With the wind almost dead astern, we motor sailed the 42 nautical miles to Dunkirk, New York, passing the light house at 1:30p.m.
Dunkirk harbor is the neighbor of an old coal burning power plant whose heated water flows into the harbor instead of out into the lake.  Because of this the harbor never freezes, despite the harsh winter weather in New York.  The hot water pipes can be seen in the second photo of the power plant.
Dunkirk Yacht Club is built on stilts in the harbor. 
The members are very welcoming, and we enjoyed our visit with them.  Sue also visited the local super market for groceries.  We celebrated happy hour with members of the club.  Tomorrow we will reach Buffalo and the Niagara River.


  1. When you get to Titusville let us know. We are next door at Westland. Mike & Chris Link on SV Missinglink


  2. Beautiful pictures. Happy sailing, Sue and Jack!
    From The Bill Smith Family in East Liverpool