murphy's law

After trip to Door County, boater proves Murphy’s Law is real

By Stu Zwang

We try to go to Door County for about four days every year. We go far up into the peninsula, and I trailer our 23-foot open-bow Larson. We launch at Sister Bay, where we can go north to Washington Island, south to Egg Harbor, or west to Menominee. My goal for this cruise was to return to Washington Island, specifically Rock Island State Park, which is only accessible by boat.

We had to travel through Death’s Door, the strait between the peninsula’s tip and Washington Island. I had been to Washington Island before and had no trouble. This year, the water was calm—for the first two hours, until we could see through the passage at Gills Rock. Then the water went from calm to 3-foot whitecaps. The swells knocked our small boat off course, and water splashed into the boat.

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Changing the prop

Boater runs aground on the Bad River

By John Raby

During a cruise in Georgian Bay, Ontario, I ran Holly Marie aground on a hazard clearly marked on the charts, damaging both props and lower units. Luckily, we had spare props onboard and could change them with the boat in the water.

After the excitement was over and we were safely anchored for the evening, I needed to figure out what had gone wrong. As the captain, I’m responsible for my vessel’s safe operation and navigation.

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Sailing the Door Peninsula

Sailing the Door Peninsula

By Dan Balch

We set sail on Lanikai for our annual cruise around the Door Peninsula late last August. Lanikai, a 1969 Pearson 300 sloop, was originally purchased by my parents, who sailed it 25,000 miles before shipping it to me 20 years ago. The sturdy boat sleeps three to four crew easily.

Its four-cylinder diesel engine was installed in 1995. Lanikai (Hawaiian for “beautiful sea”) displaces 10,000 pounds with 3,800 pounds of ballast, is 30 feet long, has a 9-foot beam, and draws 3½ feet. Our crew consisted of my son Richard, my brother Michael from Iowa, and me. My first mate, Bonnie, declined to join us.

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Cracked hose

Check your engine for cracked hoses

By Nick Ledbetter

Every good captain conducts an engine check before departing on a cruise. I have diligently conducted engine checks on my boat for years, always before a cruise and sometimes when I’m just messing around in my boat.

This check was much easier on my trailerable runabout where I could just pop the cover and quickly see every angle of the entire engine. It’s a bigger job on HoloHolo where I have to get down into the engine compartments and crawl around the front, back, top and bottom to get to the dipsticks, belts, hoses and other checkable parts. Getting through the checklist is literally a pain in the knees and elbows.

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Sailors tow stranded boat to safety

Sailors tow stranded boat to safety

By Evy Dudey, with help from Mark Glidden

After a grueling week of family emergencies, my husband, Mark, and I decided to go out on a Sunday for a late afternoon sail to enjoy the summer weather and have some time to ourselves. Along with our little dog Sprout, we boarded our 1970 27-foot Coronado sailboat, BRSRK, and headed south out of Everett’s central marina in the Snohomish River, with Jetty Island to our west. Because of the time of day, everyone else was headed back into the marina. I remarked to Mark, “Looks like the fleet is coming in!”

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Life jacket whistle

Wearing a life jacket whistle could save your life

By Elaine Keasey

Four longtime members of Everett Sail & Power Squadron/16 took a journey to northern British Columbia in summer 2016 to go fishing. Linda and Mike Martin drove their RV with their new tricked-out 12-foot skiff on top, and my husband, Ray Keasey, and I drove our RV two days to Tachick Lake, an hour west of Prince George. The sun came out, and the rain stayed away, but the winds weren’t too cooperative. The guys fished to their heart’s content, and we all had a good time, but that’s not the story here.

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Flash fires onboard

Preventing flash fires onboard

By Harl Porter

While most boat fires are caused by electrical problems, about 8 percent of onboard fires are flash fires caused by fuel leaks. A sudden, intense fire caused by ignition of a mixture of air and a dispersed flammable substance such as gasoline vapor, a flash fire is characterized by high temperature, short duration and a rapidly moving flame front.

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A boat on Maine waters full of lobster buoys

Dry suit proves handy when boat prop gets fouled

By Andy Sumberg

Maine waters have a reputation for being chock-full of lobster buoys. Any boater who’s spent time there will agree.

On a three-week District 12 trip in 2015, every boat’s pilot spent considerable time avoiding the numerous lobster buoys as well as their pesky big brother: lobster buoy with toggle, which gives the boater two opportunities to snag a line for each pot lurking below.

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Photo of kayaker towing a powerboat

Not so lucky

Kayakers help boater in need

By Jon R. Evans

On July 3, my wife, Bonnie, and I, both kayakers, decided to go for a paddle on Chesapeake Bay. We are fortunate to live on Back Creek in Annapolis, Maryland, close to our community kayak rack. We gathered our gear and paddles and slid the kayaks into the water at 10:30 that morning. The day was beautiful and sunny with calm waters and a light, pleasant wind out of the west.

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Wind woes

Heed weather reports on the water

By Steve Rank

The National Weather Service issued a storm warning for damaging winds and hail approaching on a line from Menominee, Michigan, to Door County, Wisconsin, around 2 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2015.

Despite the signs of ominous weather, one of our guests, Andrew, decided to take his 6-year-old daughter about 300 feet off our breakwater to practice casting.

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