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Thread: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

  1. #1
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    Default Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    With two weeks before the end of the school year, I've started thinking about what might be possible, and prudent, as far as summer cruising goes. While I was musing over the possibilities, I embarked on a minor refit:

    1. Applied multiple coats of oil to all the unpainted bits--after 3 years, the radiata pine spars, trim, and thwarts have started to take on a nice deep golden glow. The red oak gunwales were probably a poor choice, as they've darkened a bit, but they look better after oiling, too.

    2. Repainted the interior--used a satin last time, repainted with several thin coats of a tougher semi-gloss.

    3. Painted the rudder blade to match the hull; I always meant to, but never got around to it.

    4. Repainted the exterior--because why not?

    18'+ x 4'8"--a length/beam ratio around 4.9. I guess that's why it looks so long and narrow from this angle. Not a boat for hauling up on a beach, though. Flipping it was just about at the edge of possibility for me and my wife--quite heavy.

    DSCN6196.jpg

    5. Decided on a new improved method of anchor stowage--a padded bag that will stand upright between duffel bags just aft of the mast:

    carrying.jpg

    Still to do:

    1. New lines to tie the sail to the yard.

    2. Apply a brass half-round to the stem/keel transition. After three years, there's a spot where 3 layers of glass was worn through to bare wood. I've got the strip, screws, and bedding compound ordered.

    3. Repaint the decks. I probably should've put a couple more coats on before launching, but was too impatient.

    That's about it. So, cruising... Where to go? When? How to do it safely?

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    One possibility: Isle Royale. A 15-mile hop from Minnesota's North Shore:

    Isle Royale.jpg

    Maybe 150 miles to spend a couple of weeks circling the island, dodging wolves, bears, and mooses in a wilderness setting that should allow for adequate social distancing. Except:

    Closed.jpg
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    So maybe a river trip. I can launch on the St. Croix not far from home, and follow the Mississippi as far south as I have time for:

    Mississippi.jpg

    About 250 miles to Dubuque, Iowa. Much of the river would be wide enough for sailing. Camping on sandbars away from crowds, or at anchor in quiet backwaters. Could be nice. Would require someone to pick me up at the end with a trailer. So, a maybe.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Or perhaps a launch on Green Bay, up the western shore, and on into Michigans Upper Peninsula eastward to the northern Lake Michigan Islands and back?

    Green Bay.jpg

    Launching at the southern end of Green Bay, that's nearly a 400 mile trip. Could drive north a ways to cut 50-100 miles off, and allow for exploration farther eastward to Mackinac Island and sail under the big bridge?
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    I’m glad I am in SC where everything is about back to normal. Still can’t watch a dang baseball game though. !!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Is Isle Royale really closed or is it just that there will be no rangers and services? Will there be anyone there to even notice you if they are "closed".

    The Mississippi option sounds the best to me although I may be partial as my brother and I went from Chicago to the Gulf by river on a 12ft Zodiac.

    What about the Apostle Islands? Or have you cruised them too often and are looking for something new?



    Sleeping Bear Dunes and North and South Manitou Islands are the most beautiful areas of Lake Michigan in my opinion.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    You'd enter the Mississippi south of the city dams?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Lake Michigan to the Calumet River to the Illinois River to the Mississippi.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Poke some holes in that bag for the anchor maybe? I like the stout rubberized laundry hampers for this roll. How do you secure the anchor so it doesn't roll about during sudden heeling events?

    Also, good job turning over the boat. I'm trying to figure out how to turn mine upside down. I need to scrape it down, epoxy seal the sapele, and re-paint. Previous owner skipped the epoxy coat step and the ply is checking in those long parallel lines. I like how well balanced your boat is on the trailer perpendicular.

    The closing of many boating facilities and ramps does not pass the "common sense" test. Apparently motorcyclists can go cruising whenever and however they want, for leisure, getting in accidents, parking in restaurants en masse, but parking at a boat ramp is a Covid hazard and I'm at risk of using emergency personnel if I get into a problem. But motorcyclists... they get a free pass!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Zooming by us these days!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    "I've started thinking about what might be possible, and prudent, as far as summer cruising goes."

    nice way to begin your planning

    i'll be following

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogan View Post
    Is Isle Royale really closed or is it just that there will be no rangers and services?
    Anchoring is permitted during daylight hours; no landing, no overnight anchoring. That may change, but that's the current conditions. I'll honor that--the last thing I want to do is push back against guidelines intended to keep people safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogan View Post
    The Mississippi option sounds the best to me although I may be partial as my brother and I went from Chicago to the Gulf by river on a 12ft Zodiac.
    A heck of a long trip in a 12' Zodiac! I've always wanted to do a long Mississippi trip--maybe this summer will be the time. It occurs to me that the locks may have restrictions for recreational boating--I'll have to check.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogan View Post
    What about the Apostle Islands? Or have you cruised them too often and are looking for something new?
    I've only done one sailing trip there, and wouldn't mind going back. But as of the moment:

    Apostles.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogan View Post
    Sleeping Bear Dunes and North and South Manitou Islands are the most beautiful areas of Lake Michigan in my opinion.
    A little farther than I want to drive right now, but I've thought about it plenty.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Quote Originally Posted by callsign222 View Post
    Poke some holes in that bag for the anchor maybe? I like the stout rubberized laundry hampers for this roll. How do you secure the anchor so it doesn't roll about during sudden heeling events?
    Good questions--thanks. The "bag" is actually a crazy creek chair folded up around the anchor--it's open on the sides, so ought to drain well enough. The bag will live tucked in tightly between two big duffels, with no room to shift around, AND tied in by the handles. Unless the boat turtles, that will be fine from what I saw in my capsize tests a few years back.

    Quote Originally Posted by callsign222 View Post
    Also, good job turning over the boat. I'm trying to figure out how to turn mine upside down. I need to scrape it down, epoxy seal the sapele, and re-paint. Previous owner skipped the epoxy coat step and the ply is checking in those long parallel lines. I like how well balanced your boat is on the trailer perpendicular.
    Yes, that made it much easier. We pivoted it perpendicular first, and then flipped it. Flipping it was the only hard part--it's a heavy boat. Good luck with your own flip!

    Edit to add: If your trailer set-up is similar, it's not too bad as a 2-person job. After we spun the boat sideways on the trailer (it balanced nicely on the carpeted bunks), I did the heavy lifting to get the boat vertical by lifting at the gunwale and flipping it away from me--my wife held it balanced on its side from the other side, and I then hurried over and we lowered it together. I did rig a line through an oarlock socket with multiple loops that I could grab onto if it started falling on my wife, but that didn't happen. This isn't your Sea Pearl, is it? That would be way too heavy, I imagine.

    Quote Originally Posted by callsign222 View Post
    The closing of many boating facilities and ramps does not pass the "common sense" test. Apparently motorcyclists can go cruising whenever and however they want, for leisure, getting in accidents, parking in restaurants en masse, but parking at a boat ramp is a Covid hazard and I'm at risk of using emergency personnel if I get into a problem. But motorcyclists... they get a free pass!
    I don't actually mind closing the national parks and campsites for now--from what I've seen locally, people are not good at social distancing at pinch points like docks, campsites, etc. I think if I go elsewhere, and stick to my usual low profile stealth camping routine, I'll be safe, others will be safe, and no one will bother me. I hope!

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 05-23-2020 at 09:55 AM.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    You'd enter the Mississippi south of the city dams?
    Yep, at the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi at Prescott, Wisconsin (downstream from the Twin Cities). Or the confluence of the Chippewa and Mississippi in the middle of nowhere--the Chippewa launch point below the last dam is only 15 miles from home or so.

    There would be several lock-and-dams, though, on that route. I'll have to check and see if there are restrictions.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Wherever you go, I'll be looking forward to hearing about it!

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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    Wherever you go, I'll be looking forward to hearing about it!
    Likewise--I enjoyed your last thread here with a day out in your First Mate. Any upcoming plans for you?

    Tom
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Another possibility I've considered--the Keeweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's UP. Circling the entire peninsula, launching from Houghton. Maybe 150 miles.

    Keeweenaw.jpg

    50 miles of lee shore, with little shelter on the western side--nothing to be taken lightly. Looks like a couple of potential sheltering points at river mouths, but a bit dicey. That's at least 2 days of exposure to W/NW winds, a big fetch, deadly cold water, and a boat too heavy to drag up onto a beach easily. Hmm...

    Could do an out-and-back up eastern side instead. That would be more sensible. But the full circumnavigation is always more appealing. Though one could add in an out-and-back visit to the Huron Islands about 15 miles east of the Keeweenaw:

    Keeweenaw 2.jpg

    Again, no established campgrounds or pinch points to disrupt social distancing on this route, as long as the ramp at Houghton is open.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    But alas, it appears that any plan to do some cruising in Michigan is questionable at the moment:

    Michigan camping.jpg
    Michigan is also asking people to stay local with their outdoor use, and not travel far to access sites.

    Hmm... I could sleep aboard at anchor and maybe (maybe) meet the letter of the law, but probably not the spirit.

    The Mississippi trip is looking most reasonable right now. Launch within 15 miles of home on the Chippewa River, and stay distanced the whole way from there. I can go several weeks without resupply stops on fresh water.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 05-23-2020 at 12:26 PM.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    One bright spot amid COVID-19 restrictions is that, after May 23, the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage is open. Definitely a return trip is in the cards. Here's a couple of earlier trips there for those who haven't seen my threads:

    The North Woods by Sail and Oar

    North Woods Sail & Oar

    Well worth a trip for a few days--free camping on dozens of (mostly) island campsites with boat-in access only. Fairly local for me. And legal.

    Tom
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Likewise--I enjoyed your last thread here with a day out in your First Mate. Any upcoming plans for you?

    Tom
    I'm going to try and go out for a long day sail tomorrow, then maybe Monday go out to a sandy island for the day with my wife. I'd really like to see how that anchor I've been working on performs. It's going to be nice both days, so probably tons of boaters to look out for.

    I've got three ideas for overnight trips, I want to start working on the camping stuff for the sailboat since I think I'm getting pretty comfortable with the sailing part.



    The red line is a 42 mile trip down the Rappahannock from Tappahannock to Windmill Point. The blue line is a 70 mile trip down the Potomac from Colonial Beach, and the yellow line is a 23 mile trip across the bay to Tangier Island. I want to explore Tangier Island, so that'll have to wait until this virus calms down. They're pretty isolated and I don't want to risk bringing them anything.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Tom, re your Green Bay map, I wouldn't bother with the lower portion of Green Bay, there's not a heck of a lot there except shallow water. Look at ramps in Sturgeon Bay or Marinette/Menominee, if not further up. Wisconsin is looking to open campgrounds in June.

    I put my anchor and rode in a canvas bag last summer and it was a big improvement. Good idea. I think I saw the idea in a Geoff Kerr video.

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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Leaving for Voyageurs National Park in 1 week for a rowing/camping/fishing/exploring trip in my Drake rowboat with my 11 year old grandson. Voyageurs consists of 5 large interconnected lakes on the Minnesota Canadian border just west of the boundary Waters Canoe Area. Campsites are individually dispersed throughout the park and boat access only, all of them very scenic with picnic tables, privy, bear lockers, and often a sand beach landing or occasional dock. This is the third spring we will have made this trip together switching up from fishing boat to rowing partially due to getting rear ended last fall destroying my fishing boat and trailer. We will be leaving from Ash River and staying at 3 different sites on the west end of Namakan Lake within about a 12 mile distance of our launch.. These are big lakes but that area offers easy protection from weather and a lot of fishing and exploring opportunities to keep an active kid busy.
    voyageurs-tourist-map.jpg

    We have reserved 3 different campsites:
    63437050_bf9e44b7-c152-4930-9a46-68e33076d67b_700.jpg
    Hoist Bay Days 1 and 2
    63437082_002c0c16-f7a2-4dd4-9335-a9d994318edc_700.jpg
    Williams Island day 5
    63437074_6bc175d4-8573-432d-a75b-3f24d687e363_700-1.jpg
    Wolf Pack Island days 3 and 4

    I'm returning in August with my wife to cruise and camp on Rainy Lake in our 22 ft outboard powered boat and also hoping to do a solo Mississippi rowing and camping trip this fall from Frontenac Minnesota to wherever I get to in several days to a week time. The deciding factor then will be that water levels are down enough to expose the nice camping spots.

    Bruce

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Your boat looks nice and your plans look very interesting Tom, maybe we will cross paths on the Mississippi yet this year.

    Bruce

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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Voyageurs looks nice--no sailing, though, if I remember correctly?

    Still haven't decided anything other than that I will definitely hit the Turtle-Flambeau again at some point this summer if it's legal to do so. We'll see. On Thursday I'll flip my boat rightside-up again to paint the decks. June 8 is my last day of teaching, I think.

    Tom
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Voyageurs looks nice--no sailing, though, if I remember correctly?

    Still haven't decided anything other than that I will definitely hit the Turtle-Flambeau again at some point this summer if it's legal to do so. We'll see. On Thursday I'll flip my boat rightside-up again to paint the decks. June 8 is my last day of teaching, I think.

    Tom
    No rules against sailing in Voyageurs and I'm not sure why sailboats are rare sights. Mostly aluminum fishing boats and houseboats. Campsites are tent or houseboat designated and need to be reserved these days which has positives and negatives. All 5 lakes are interconnected and navigable between but portage needed at Kettle Falls between Namakan and Rainy Lake. Kettle Falls Hotel is off road but runs the portage which is truck and large web trailer, officially up to 20 ft boats but they have never questioned my 22 ft. The hotel is closed this year but portage and gas dock operating still.

    Kab09137.jpg 6cee89b8-fe5c-45f9-9226-a3fa710a1283.jpg
    Approaching Kettle Falls portage and entering Rainy Lake

    Bruce

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Bruce,

    thanks--I guess I got Boundary Waters (no sailing) and Voyageurs mixed up. I always do that. I didn't know that there was a portage service for heavy boats--no way would I want to move my Alaska by hand over a portage.

    Now I have ANOTHER area to check out!

    Tom
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    I have fond memories of a week spent canoe paddling around the Boundary Waters on honeymoon with my first wife. Beautiful country up there.

    Only 27 hours of drive time/1700 miles... I'll have to ponder an expedition, and maybe a more suitable boat
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    I have fond memories of a week spent canoe paddling around the Boundary Waters on honeymoon with my first wife. Beautiful country up there.

    Only 27 hours of drive time/1700 miles... I'll have to ponder an expedition, and maybe a more suitable boat
    Once you've come that far, you might as well sail the north shore of Superior, and the Pukwaska. And then the North Channel and Georgian Bay...

    Tom
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    That's why I called it an expedition! The rational thing for me to do would be line up a month off, I ought to have enough seniority to swing it. Next question is whether or not Marianita is the appropriate boat for such an event. No sailing in the Boundary Waters, right? Drat! Maybe I'll have to build an Ilur or better yet, Minahouet for the trip.

    Only 5 years 6 months and 25 days to retirement, I had better get my ducks lined up.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    That's why I called it an expedition! The rational thing for me to do would be line up a month off, I ought to have enough seniority to swing it. Next question is whether or not Marianita is the appropriate boat for such an event. No sailing in the Boundary Waters, right? Drat! Maybe I'll have to build an Ilur or better yet, Minahouet for the trip.

    Only 5 years 6 months and 25 days to retirement, I had better get my ducks lined up.
    If you're only coming for a month, bring Marianita and spend all your time in the big lakes. That'd be perfect. Honestly, a month in Georgian Bay alone would not be too much time!

    Tom
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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Got my minor re-fit done:

    1. Painted hull, decks, and interior.

    2. Removed 2 jam cleats on the gunwales I wasn't using.

    3. Installed a brass half-oval to protect the keel-stem junction, where 3 layers of glass had worn through to bare wood.

    4. Removed many of the lines (under-gunwale tie-in line, oar retaining lines, downhaul, ties for sail to yard) to replace with new.

    2019 refit.jpg

    More importantly, I downloaded all of the charts for the Upper Mississippi--about a dozen locks between my potential launching point near the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi (where the Mississippi becomes the Wisconsin/Minnesota border) and Dubuque, Iowa.

    Or possibly a Great Lakes trip of some kind might prove possible in July. We'll see, I guess.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Keep us posted. Maybe you'll generate some company.

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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Tom, check out Windsor Weber on Facebook, if you haven't already. He's cruising the four lakes at Madison and is posting every day. A fun and different sort of Wisconsin cruise. Says he's out for 14 days. He's posting in the Pocket Yachts and Trailer Sailors group and, I think, Watertribe.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Paul,

    thanks for the heads-up; sounds interesting. I've often thought of sneaking around those lakes for a bit of semi-urban cruising. But I'm not on Facebook, so I don't think I can see whatever he's up to.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Planning for Summer Cruising During Covid-19

    Launched in Monona, went down the Yahara River a ways, had to take the sticks down to get under the beltway. Then back into Monona, sailed some, sticks down, into the canal (Yahara) between Monona and Mendota, through the locks. Now in Mendota. Anchoring out each night with some sort of tarp tent. This is on a sea pearl.

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