2007 Lake Champlain Rendezvous
Dan and Nancy Dobbins
SV: Y not
This trip was prefaced by a 10 day stay in Alburg, Vermont to celebrate
Nancy's parents 50th wedding anniversary. The entire Walton clan was there
to enjoy the get together and share some quality time on the water.
Nan, Justin and I set out on Saturday morning from our anchorage in front of
the cottage just after we had dragged anchor at midnight the previous
evening. Evan discovered the boat hitting the dock, causing only minor
scratches to the upper boot stripe. His discovery probably saved us lots of
money and possibly even cancelling the trip completely as more extensive
damage would have definitely ocurred. Thanks be to step-son Evan!
The morning of departure the wind was westward at 15-20 knots. I dragged the
boat to the dock and Nancy had us well provisioned as usual in no time. We
were off by 10:00 am and were sailing by 10:15am. This trip should be called
"Partly Cloudy With A Chance Of Thunder Storms!"(This was the forecast
PLACES WE VISITED
Our destinations included Deep Bay, Burton Island for 2 days, Valcour
Island, Plattsburgh Boat Basin, Smuggler's Harbor, Valcour Island again, and
Mallet's Bay Boat Club for 2 nights to end the trip.
NEW PEOPLE WE MET
We met Rebecca (Dan) Waters from Sail Magazine who shadowed the group for
most of the week so as to write an article about the group and modifications
people make to their vessels. They sailed in a brand new wooden Norseman 17
foot boat. I hope she spent a great deal of time with Al Hill as he
continues to impress us all with his quality of work and creative designs to
upgrade his boat Karamal. We met the Dennison's and their two cute young
ladies, Heather and Hannah on Relativity. Other new faces included Bob and
Trish Zima on Windsong. They were very interested in mac mods as was
witnessed when Bob walked around carrying a pad and pen to draw diagrams and
MOMENTS WE'LL REMEMBER
We met up with the group just south of the Plattsburgh ferry on Sunday
morning after staying in Deep Bay by ourselves the night before. Deep Bay
was completely full by 4:30pm and 30-40 boats were anchored outside Middle
Bay and at Armand Beach. I had never seen the lake so crowded before. We did
some real sailing on a haul as we headed north to Burton Island. We rounded
up 3 times, Nan let me sail through the opening to the Gut and we timed the
bridge perfectly as we crossed the Gut only to sail some more once we
entered the Inland Sea. The first day at Burton was a chance for the group
to have a large afternoon get-together but not before fixing broken rudder
#1 on Jack and Rani's Zemer Hayem. Using a borrowed mini-hacksaw and as
always some Macgregor ingenuiety Jack used his broken mount as a template to
carve a new mount in the already broken piece of the rudder. He lost about
8 inches of length on the rudder but it seemed to make no difference in his
sailing as his boat was again doing circles around ours. Many in the group
took a shot at the hacksaw as the carving was a somewhat tedious process.
Phil did some wonderful shaping work and the rudder fit great. Tony
entertained the group with stories and had his picture taken with the "BOAT
BABES" during the cocktail hour. On day 2 at Burton Island many of us
helped Tony with broken rudder#2. Phil, Loyd and Tony did the bulk of the
work as the bolt where the rudder attached came out and bent the rudder
bracket. The Pinata we brought to celebrate "Monster Bash" was a great
success as Jennifer, Willy, Justin and even Tony took great swipes at the
dragon(CHAMP) as Nan pulled on the line. The cany was shared by all. Karen
had the kids do a great reverse tie-dye craft as they all created clever
T-shirts to wear on the trip. I did miss two chances to sail with both
Barbara on Whale and with Ken Levitt on Trioomph the tri-maran. Ken had his
boat up to 13 knots that day! I'll try to never miss another opportunity to
sail with those more experienced than I. We also survived another powerful
thunderstorm as Gary, Brenda, Jennifer, Willy and my crew stood beside the
store to avoid being on the boat during the worst weather. We ended up on
the side of the store to avoid the rain and it was then that I discovered
that I was standing right beside the propane tanks for the store. Jen, Willy
and Justin explored in the dinghy as Justin again became more comfortable in
using the dinghy motor. We did have a few exciting moments as the Island
Hopper ferry came in as he was wheeling about the bay. We also watched 2
sets of fireworks one night.
The next day we had a nice time at Valcour Island with the group even though
there was a strong chance for t-storms almost every day. Some music by both
Carols, Bob and Bill Dennison was enjoyed by all. We were visited by Tony,
Gary, Carol and Gerrold N.and Bill Brock during happy hour with plenty of
good food to go around with the pleasant conversation.
We left for Plattsburgh the next morning in 15 knot winds on a run with only
our jib pushing us along at 4.5 knots. Docking at the boat basin was more
than I could handle as the motor quit 3 times and the dock hand decided on
downwind slips even though the wind was blowing 20 by then. We managed to
get everyone landed safely. The evening meal at the NAKED TURTLE was great
fun. Boats include Lady in Red, Trioomph, 3 Breezy Fleas, Tacit Blue, Knot
Shore and us. They had live music that we shut down at 8:00pm. Many people
got t-shirts. Rick had suggested the Fish and chip plate with the Fried
Haddock and when it came it was the biggest pieces of Haddock I have ever
seen. Another opportunity missed as I has a Chimichanga. The atmosphere at
the Turtle is totally laid back with both indoor and outdoor dining
available. Too bad the weather did not cooperate as it was cold and showery.
The wind did die early in the pm so the night on the dock was quiet and
We returned to Valcour the next day as some of the group decided to have the
Final get-together on Thursday and haul out Friday. This was due to Frank
and Sonya having to bug out as they had an African trip to climb Mt.
Kilamanjaro planned for the next week(I once asked Frank how he prepared
himself for one of these adventure trips and he replied," I played two
rounds of golf."). The iffy weather also played a role in many people's
decision to haul out somewhat early. Nan and I decided to have lunch in
Smuggler's Harbor on the northwest side of Valcour with Knot Shore rafted
along side. I met another Macgregor sailor. Rich, from Greenwich Village, NY
on shore and he had just hurt his back and was getting ready to leave and
haul out due to the pain. We commiserated with stories of back problems
before Gary and Brenda arrived. Once at Butterfly Bay later that afternoon,
where the group had erected a tarp, we were greeted with small games
provided by Rani to teach us the importance of communication. You could
hear many sighs or moans as the puzzles were a real challenge. When a
puzzle was completed there was group celebration and conversation about how
it had been accomplished without giving away all the secrets. There was
more music, a marshmallow roasting, and plenty of snack food for all. Nan
and I spent the evening on the boat with Gary and Brenda sharing 2 bottles
of wine, one brought by us from Vermont and one by them from Nova Scotia.
Their wine was an excellent blueberry wine with full bodied flavor!
Many in the group pulled early the next morning with Rick and Kathie leaving
very quickly before most of us were even in "coffee mode". We had decided to
try for Shelburne Bay to stay with Bob and Carol however a sudden crack of
thunder just after leaving Butterfly Bay chased us right back to shore with
me pulling the boat in bow first. Helen and Chuck on Tacit Blue had also
just pulled off the beach only to return quite quickly themselves. We
relaxed for the afternoon with Nan napping and finally left for Mallet's Bay
which seemed a safer harbor with everyone pulling out and more iffy weather
forecasted. We raced 2 t-storms all the way across from Valcour to Mallet's
as they seemed to parallel our course but never quite hit us. We did see
some lightening off in the distance however, nothing close to the boat. We
teamed up with both Knot Shore and Tacit Blue at the boat club and everyone
went to Friendly's for a relaxing dinner ashore and a buggy dinghy ride back
to our boats as we came back after the 9:00pm last launch call and well
We planned to daysail on Saturday however, the weather was not exactly
cooperative and Chuck and Gary both pulled their boats with intentions of
leaving sometime that day. Chuck, Helen and Brianna left about 3:00pm and
were trying to make it to Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream factory for the tour. We
ended up going to dinner at Rozzi's with Ken and Judy, Gary, Brenda and Jen
and our crew. Pam and Bruce were at another table with the Dennison's, Bob
Chase and crew, and Rich and Lynn Clough. Rozzi's was overwhelmed by our
presence and basically served us what "they wanted". All in all, it was a
fun time. We stopped by Knot Shore on our way back to the mooring to say our
good-byes. It is always sad to see our friends go who we only see once a
year. They drove approximately 6 hours to Bangor, Maine as we spent a quiet
night at the mooring on Y not playing Uno and eating Jiffy Pop with Justin
winning each time.
It rained extensively overnight and finally let up before we hauled out. The
ramp was very quiet even though a bass tournament was taking place. The
takedown was uneventful and we hit the road at 10:30am with a 12:45pm stop
at Peter Christian's Tavern in New London, NH (an excellent stop with
awesome pub fare and a family tradition) for some lunch and mustard that we
purchase to take home. We arrived home around 5:00pm to 90 degree weather
and a good chance of t-storms. Nan and I emptied the boat and cleaned up the
pool for the neighbors graduation party. They never used the pool but we did
get treated to some good hospitality with burgers, dogs and drinks.
It continues to become increasingly more of a challenge to sail Lake
Champlain with our large group. I am yearning for new harbors and
experiences and yet would truly miss spending some time with the group if we
chose to do something different.
I wish I had half the talent many of the guys in the group have for making
I am going to try and install a lazy jack system modeled after what Gary did
on Knot Shore to help Nance stay off the cabin top when taking down the
mainsail. I also will try my hand at installing a 12 volt plug.
Justin seems to enjoy our trips and Nan is as good to him as any mother is
to her own-I love you Nan!
I believe these are some of the best times I spend with my boys and Nan.
Jason and Evan have outgrown some of this and I yearn for Justin to continue
participating as I see our children growing up and venturing our on their
own. I will miss our time together when it finally happens. On the other
hand, I miss spending quiet time with Nan and look forward to having her all
to myself even though it makes me feel selfish at times!
Al Hill is on the take to build an all around cabin enclosure for us when he
finds the time- nice work Al.
The group continues to change as we see new members like Bob and Trish Zima
on Windsong and others like the Dennison's who returned to the group after
being one the original group of 7 that started the club.
Sailing has seemed to take more of a backseat to socializing among the
members. The comaraderie in the group is what makes these rendezvous
special. Boats and sailing days will come and go but the people who you
share it with make all the difference.
I cannot figure out our motor- no overheating issues this trip.
It was also funny how the boat became "my boat" while we were on vacation
especially when there was daysailing duty or the engine had a problem:)
These trips on this funky boat continue to build such a vast array of
memories. I continually make disparaging comments about this Mac 26X, Y not,
even though in my heart I know that she takes us to new and wonderful
places. Negative comments about her sailing or motoring abilities do not
seem to bear any importance when I am on a beam reach doing 5 knots, sitting
at Valcour Island stern in with 19 other boats that are full of friends or
at anchor in a peaceful cove with just Nan and I there to revel in the
beauty that this boat has allowed us to share!!!
Dan and Nancy Dobbins
SV: Y not