Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lake Erie Sailing Trip - Day 12

Day 12 - Cleveland to Mentor Harbour

Up at 4am for an early start and we have a rocking good wind blowing strong and steady from the south east. The weather forecast reports scattered showers but so far we haven’t had any rain. We head out into the lake and about five mile into our trip a big gust of wind pushes us to a new all time speed record for Bella Blue - a scorching 8.11 knots! Seems that the fastest point of sail for us is a broad reach (this is when the wind is coming from behind the boat - not directly behind but off to one side 20 degrees or so). It’s a lot of fun sailing the boat when the winds are strong, it forces you to really pay attention and stay focused because mistakes made in strong winds can be costly.

As we near Mentor, the rain catches up with us and we get hit with a squall and get completely soaked. Luckily we could see the rain coming up behind us which gave us time to pull in the jib and get the rain gear on. Magnus sees me out in the cockpit and decides that I could use some help so he gets his rain jacket on and comes out to join me. I put him to work tightening up some lines and keeping a lookout for other boats, as the rain has reduced visibility substantially. I am constantly impressed with how well the kids have taken to the boat, it seems very natural to them and they enjoy being on the water. They are going to grow up to be excellent sailors.

We reach Mentor and are assigned a slip. Since the run was only about 25 miles and we averaged over 6 knots we arrive very early and have pretty much the entire day so decide to rent a car to do some exploring. We get the car at 1pm and drive to two of the places we missed on the water - Chagrin River and Grand River. We stop at Pickle Bill’s on Grand River, a place that’s been mentioned to us several times. In fact we’ve heard that 3 out of 4 babies born in the Lake Erie region were conceived after or even during a visit to Pickle Bill’s by their future parents. Luckily for Magnus and Stella and their potential future inheritance, the bar is closed on Mondays, though we are able to go inside and have a look around. At the head of the bar is a life sized female mannequin straddling the bar top, as if to suggest that you as a patron may be taking a similar position later on if you dare to enter. Hanging about the gigantic bar are full sized sharks, fish netting, many other full sized mannequins including pirates, buccaneers, circus freaks and other assorted creatures. The restaurant extends out into the river with a “dock-up” bar with room for lots of boats. Makes me wonder if there is a higher incident of “total loss” insurance claims for vessels in this particular area. We vow to return to Pickle Bills one day, though it may not happen this trip since it is not very far from our current location and we’d like to cover more miles tomorrow.

We cruise around in the car, checking out some bookstores, clothing stores, take the kids (and Ana) to McDonalds for lunch and stop at a going out of business sale at a video store and buy 24 dvd’s for about three bucks each - sure to provide plenty of hours of in-boat entertainment.

We eventually make it back to the boat, take the kids for a swim at the pool, prepare a nice dinner then hang out for the rest of the night.

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