Friday, July 25, 2008


A harbor is a place of safe haven or refuge. This morning while on our way to White Lake from Ludington we chose to enter a closer harbor rather than suffer 7 more hours of head wind and 4-foot waves. A thunderstorm was in the forecast and we didn't want to run into it. Pentwater beckoned and we aimed Speakeasy for its light. 

Pentwater is a very special place on the Friday following the Race to Mackinac (The Mac). Many of the participants raft their boats at the Yacht Club and throw themselves a big party. We are docked at Snug harbor, just past the Yacht Club and have a grand view of the festivities. 

We were happy to get a slip because of all of the activity. Beth called on the VHF radio and was welcomed to slip 6. Something was not usual about the radio message if I heard correctly. I thought I heard "stern-first." Speakeasy has never gone into a slip stern first. We approach slip 6 and immediately see why we must dock stern first--there is already a boat in the slip, which is bow first. I hastily review in my mind and with Beth the Maryland way to dock stern first--approach the slip from the channel (preferably into the wind), turn the bow away from the slip entrance, apply reverse to draw the stern into the slip, apply lines as necessary. Okay. Got it. BUT, there was a 10--15 knot cross wind and I had never actually done this!

The first attempt was pretty good, but Speakeasy came up short and we tried again. The next attempt was even worse--too close to neighboring boats. Nonetheless, dock hands had our lines and after some fending we were docked. Safe harbor! 
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