25 July 2008

Great Salt Lake is Boss (4 of 4)

The GPS first told us we wouldn't reach South Shore Marina until midnight. We were still running with the outboard, so we raised the main, which changed our estimated arrival time to 11:15 pm. Then after raising the genoa, the time would be 10:27 pm.

Winds were out of the northeast. We tried the whisker pole on the genoa, but it wasn't necessary, so we sailed with the main and genoa out at about 40 degrees.

The temperature was coming down nicely, into the mid 70's, and the sunset was beautiful. We each took a turn at the helm, and everyone else milled around on deck or in the cabin. Grandpa , ever the nap master, managed to catch some sleep in the bow pulpit, with on arm looped through the lifeline clutching the stanchion to keep from rolling off the deck.

I went below to store loose items and ready the boat for overnighting in the marina. It was such a peaceful night, the Brine flies weren't around this part of the lake, the air was cooling, and the sailing unparalleled. We wondered about overnighting at anchor in the middle of the lake, but the thought of a sudden storm and no safe harbor kept us on course.

It was dark as we approached the marina, and it was very difficult to see the channel markers against all the shore lights at Kennecott's smelter on the mountain behind the marina. My #2 son headed up on deck with a spotlight to look for any hazard markers in the area.

5 minutes after he went on deck, we picked up a conversation on shore about our spotlight. Someone was wondering if we needed help. I had my gps out and the course back into the channel was clear, so I jumped on the radio and identified our boat and the reason for the spotlight.

A few minutes later the State Park boat approached us (I couldn't see the ranger, I believe it was Dave Shearer, the Harbor Master.) He offered help finding the channel markers.

I was a little embarrassed that he came all the way out for us, but then I realized that here he was, late ona Saturday night, doing everything he could to take care of those of us out on the lake. That was really terrific service, I don't know if I've ever met a more helpful person. He went ahead to each set of buoys and flashed his lights so getting in to the marina was really easy. I'm not sure if the State names an employee of the year, but Dave Shearer definitely gets our votes.

It was a great sail. 68 miles in all. 17 hours of sailing. We'll return tomorrow to pull the boat out and bring her back to Utah Lake, but I bet we'll sneak in a few hours of sailing on Great Salt Lake first...

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