The Blue Water Squadron offered a new program opportunity in 2011 to Crew Home to Port Huron a Port Huron to Mackinac Race competitor after the race.
On Wednesday July 27, the two racing yachts arrived in Mackinac City at about 10 AM. The Sea Scout crews and their leaders had driven up to meet the boats and off load the racing gear not needed for the trip home and on load the cruising gear and food for the journey back to the home port, Port Huron. Many of the Sea Scouts had never experienced traveling on a sail boat. Safety procedures, names of things on the boat, and basic boat processes were discussed on the voyage to Cheboygan, the port of call for the first night aboard. After supper aboard, the youth attended a movie in town before hitting the sack for the first time on a sailboat.
An early wake-up call got the two boats underway before 7 AM on Thursday. Since the destination was Harrisville, it would be a long day on the water. Unfortunately, just like Wednesday, there was too little wind to sail although, the sails were put up to demonstrate how to do it. All three meals were eaten enroute. Motoring the sail boat at night and docking in the dark were new experiences for the Sea Scouts who needed more experience before sailing at night. Helming, knot tying, and docking improved as the crews gained experience.
Friday morning was calm again so after motoring until noon, the crew went swimming to cool of in Lake Huron. After getting underway again and having lunch, the wind filled in so the sails were hoisted and engine turned off. Then we were really under sail power for most of the afternoon, enjoying a beam reach at speeds of over 7 knots, which was faster than we had been motoring. Mikella celebrated her 17th birthday helming Griffin in wind that once exceeded 20 knots. It was a thrill for all of those aboard. In the evening we docked at East Tawas. Everyone enjoyed having become accustomed to using their sea legs.
The wind left us on Saturday so we motored to Port Sanilac to spend the evening. It was a very comfortable day on the water and we watched several rain cells pass on either side of the Griffin. There was a lot of rain in the race but none on the trip home. Families enjoyed the photos that Kim Bizon posted daily on the cruise Facebook page.
Sunday was a shorter distance home to Port Huron so we arrived there at about 1:30 PM. When we passed Lexington, one of the leaders found a peak at his home with the binoculars. The crew’s helming and docking efforts were at their highest level on Sunday as a result of the experience gained from the previous 4 days. The pleasant temperatures on the water were replaced by high temperatures on land as the crew cleaned up the boats, moved their gear and left over food back the cars for the trip home.
SS Lexington 320 and Port Huron Ships 109 and 133 responded to the challenge. Two Port Huron Yacht Club sailing yachts provided the resources for this Sea Scouting High Adventure activity. The J-35 sailing yacht Griffin, owned by Rich Huneke, Chip, Hayward, and Paul Levine, was Skippered home by Commodore Wayne Hastings, Blue Water Squadron, BSA, and a crew of Kyle Kukuk, Mikella Aikins, Greg Garofalo, and Mike Lossing accompanied by their Ship’s adults, Earl DesJardinss and Kim Bizon. Laura Garofalo organized the activity for the Lexington Ship and drove the sailors to Mackinac City along with Deb Coombs. The Islander 30 sailing yacht White Water owned by Matt Troy was Skippered home by Eric Wright, Ship109, and a crew of Andrew Jobbitt, and Kevin Coombs, Ship 133 accompanied by Tom Jobbitt and Jarred Troy, Ship 133. Laura Garofalo and Korissa Kramer served as the on-shore points of contact for the high adventure activity.
Heres hoping that in 2012, Sea Scouting’s 100th Year Anniversary, that we can do this high adventure activity again, with more boats and youth participating.
Commodore-Blue Water Squadron