Sunday, March 1, 2009

...Small Craft Advisory in Effect Through This Evening...

These advisories are issued when winds are expected to reach 25 to 38 miles per hour (22 to 33 knots). Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is calling for North winds of 15 to 25 knots along with 3 to 5 footers and freezing spray. Not exactly ideal conditions for a relaxing day out on the water!

While this picture wasn't taken today, it gives you an impression of the depressing scene those of us in the Midwest must deal with for 5 months a year! Is this Milwaukee Harbor or Dutch Harbor, Alaska?! For those of you who haven't checked your calender recently, the first day of spring is a mere 19 days away! But who's counting?

Luckily for me, I only need to endure 2 weeks of March!

Tentatively, I have April 11th penciled in on my calendar to pull Yep, It's Jep out of winter hibernation. Through a connection at work, I was able to finagle a deal for covered storage in a barn in East Troy, WI. The gentlemen who owns the property has been outstanding thus far and I'm hoping we can continue our arrangement for many seasons to come.

My buddy Chad "Dr. Tearney" lives relatively close to the storage site and graciously offered to help with spring cleaning on the 11th. Chad has about every possible toy you could imagine for cleaning a boat, so it works out nicely. I'll be supplying the PBR!

The next item on my agenda is to secure a dry sail location for the 2009 season. I keep the boat on the trailer during the summer. A slip would be ideal, but since my savings has evaporated with the current economic downturn, continuing to fund my retirement accounts takes precedence! Last year I stored Jep at EZ-Storage. EZ-Storage is conveniently located only 3 miles from my condo. While EZ-Storage is not dedicated to mariners, it does offer a launch site into the South Menomonee River and is never busy. The big downside was the lack of electricity and running water. I had to pull my batteries after each voyage so I could attached them to the charger at home. Cleaning was also difficult. I would need to spend the first hour of any voyage in a transit slip and swab the poop deck!

This year I am hoping to line up a spot at McKinley Marina's dry sail area. McKinley is only ~.75 miles from home, has water and electricity, and a huge plus - no bridges to pass through on my way to the open water! After launching from EZ, I had radio the bridge operators on channel 16 to pass under 5 bridges; South 6th St, Plankington Ave, Sioux Rail Bridge, Water St., and Broadway. Normally it was never a big deal, but from 4:30 to 5:30 PM on weekdays, the bridges won't open due to rush hour traffic. I did manage to become friends with the Sioux Rail Bridge operator, Scott. Unlike the Milwaukee DPW automotive bridges who rotated the bridge operators, Scott was consistently at the helm of the Sioux Rail Bridge.

In the coming weeks I'll detail the list of spring projects to complete before Jep gets wet!