Sunday, July 26, 2009

Welcome in SI

Well, around the rain and wind and waves, I made it to Welcome here in St. Ignace. Yesterday was the big Fish Feast and it went well, with over 350 people coming aboard. Today was rather slow, but we still had 75 people check her out. Bob made dogs for lunch and we were invited to the Mackinac Grill for dinner. Tasty food, and thanks to everyone in St Ig that made us feel... welcome.

We got a lot done today with rig tuning and getting things ready to be able to set sails soon. Up until now, we have been a motor boat with a mast. All of the beautiful signal flags for Welcome (found by Bob Radzicki and laundered and pressed by Linda Enger- thanks!) went up today and she is quite stylish in the harbor.

Don't tell anyone, but we are planning a sneak attack on the fort at Mackinac Island tomorrow. Only 2 people outside of the boat know our plan, so we hope to have pictures to share in the coming days. It will be fun to be at the Island with all the racers from the Port Huron race as well, and then we'll head to Mac City to set up for tours this weekend.

The boat continues to be doing very well after our 33 days in the yard and all the work that got her ready to go. The pump runs about 15 seconds every 2 hours, drum tight for a 30 year old wood boat. If you haven't had a chance to get on Welcome or to sail her, call the office and get signed up for a sail. She is an impressive boat with an impressive crew, and a perfect compliment to our schooner Madeline and cutter Champion. I'll write more when I can.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Auction time!

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. This is a crazy time of year at MHA with the Auction just a week away, boats getting ready to sail, new programs to launch, finishing the final phase of the Restoration Shop, and gearing up for the Schooner Festival!

The shops are a buzz of activity everyday with the Voyageur canoe being built, several restoration projects under way, and the Welcome boys getting her ready for haul out and a busy summer schedule.

Thank you to all of our volunteers for their dedication! Madeline headed off in the fog for Northport today to participate in the re-lighting of the South Manitou lighthouse on Saturday, and Welcome will head to Northport Sunday for her haulout on Monday morning. The Leelanau Enterprise will be on the scene to get pictures and do a story on her and the many hands that have worked so diligently for so long.

Hope to see you all at the shop or on the water very soon.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Time to go sailing

I had a good meeting with the folks in St. Ignace about bringing Welcome in for their Fish Feast on July 25. I think we'll be able to put that event together and put Welcome on the tour this summer.

Last Thursday I met with a new MHA member, Jonathan Pool, whose card reads, " Strategist and Catalyst for Change". For 25 years, MHA had one boat that moved- Madeline. This year, with Welcome going places, Champion providing a unique sailing opportunity for at-risk youth, our small boat fleet, the Restoration Shop mentoring program coming on line, and the Schooner Festival in September, there is a lot of change going on! All of this is necessary in order for MHA to fulfill our vision of what we want to be in 5 years and beyond.

MHA volunteer John Jeffrey met with me to discuss a proposal to Delta/Porter-Cable for tools for the new shop. We put together some pictures and a list of tools we would need and plan to present this proposal to the Area Rep in the coming weeks.

The May issue of The Scuttlebutt is headed to the printer and should be in the mail early next week. Covers will be coming off the boats this weekend and rigging will begin. This should be a fun year for MHA and I hope to see you on the boats and out sailing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What a day

Well, I woke up at 5 am and the wheels started turning, so I was up for the day. I had a coffee meeting with Jonathan Pool, a new MHA member, who works as a strategic vision and planning consultant. He is a sailor as well and we spent 90 minutes talking about our organization, where we've been, and where we're headed. We'll get back together in a week or so to develop a plan.

I met Eric Clone from the Youth Corps and two kids at the shop to get them going on Champion. They went straight to work cleaning the green topsides and applying a coat of marine polish. They also finished up prepping the bottom for paint. We are going to use Aquagard, a water-based, inexpensive bottom paint. Given our cold, fresh water in the Lakes, it doesn't take much anti-fouling nastiness to keep the slime off the bottom. Next week, the Youth Corps kids will paint the bottom and get going on the San Pan dinghy that hangs on the davits.

A 2:45, Allison Beers and I met with Bryan and Colleen from the Downtown Development Authority to talk about promoting the Schooner Festival. They had some great ideas, including a possible display of our ship models in a downtown storefront. We will also have a table at several of the Friday Night Live events this summer. After the meeting, Allison and I worked on some Festival details and looked over the materials from the Port Washington Maritime Heritage Festival, planned for mid-August. Madeline will be one of the stars of this event.

Finally, tonight I presented my 20-slide Power Point presentation to the Grand Traverse Hotel/Motel Association at the Mercato in Building 50. They were very excited about our Schooner Festival plans and are eager to promote it to their guests all summer. As I often hear when doing these presentations, many had no idea all the cool stuff going on with the MHA, and were very enthusiastic about our new youth programs coming this year.

All for now, time to get some sleep before my next watch.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Got to love the sunshine today, even if it was a little brisk. As Peter Simon said, it's a good day to be happy. Got the April issue of The Scuttlebutt in the mail, and sent a new Champion hat off to Henry Barkhausen, the fine gentleman who donated her to us.

Speaking of hats, we have a new batch of Madeline, Welcome, and the new Champion hats in stock. They are quite comfortable and very snazzy, and only 15 bucks in the MHA Ship Store.

You may have noticed that the ice took a toll on the "old rickety dock" near our harbor, which is owned by the Grand Traverse Bay Alliance and managed by Rich and me. Several charter fisherman lease dock space from the GTBA each year, and this money helps to reduce the cost of maintaining our shops. The old pirate Don Balcom and his tug and barge will be coming down next week to make the necessary repairs to the dock.

The fine old workboat Mary J will be back on the dock this summer, and back in service for the GTYC races, serving as the race committee boat each Wednesday night. If you would like to join us on Mary for a ring side seat for the racing action, give me a call and be there by 5 sharp. Mary J will celebrate her 80th birthday this summer, and a big party is being planned in her honor.

Happy Easter everone, and I hope you like the new look to the MHA website. Big thanks to Paul Yezbak for his fine work creating it and the Schooner Festival and SAIL Champion sites too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Champion grant

Monday morning, Joe Sanok, the psychologist who has been helping to create the SAIL Champion program (check out, MHA Board President Rich Brauer, and myself met at Old Town Coffee for some last minute prep before going next door to the United Way office. We submitted a grant proposal to UW to fund 2 weeks of the SAIL program for youth that otherwise would not be able to participate. We all felt the meeting went well, and we will know for sure in a few weeks whether we got the grant.

After the meeting, I put the final touches on the April issue of The Scuttlebutt and took it to our wonderful printer, Amy Reichard, at The Print Shop on Front Street. It will be done on Wednesday and we'll put it the mail that afternoon, so look for it in your mailbox by the end of the week.

The rest of the afternoon was spent responding to emails and crafting a letter to be included with the Michigan Schooner Festival sponsorship package. Mayor Michael Estes has preliminarily agreed to serve as the Festival's Honorary Admiral.

Summer Plans for Welcome

Last Friday, MHA member David North and I met in Acme at 7 am and headed to Mackinaw City, St. Ignace, Cheboygan, and Rogers City. We stopped into the Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau to thank Deb Spence, their Director, for the contract and deposit for Welcome's appearances and gave her a snazzy Welcome hat.

From there we headed across the Bridge to check in with several people in St. Ignace that we have been working with to arrange a visit for their Fish Feast at the end of July. Things look promising, and I will go back up on 16 April to attend a meeting of their Events Committee. I met David's dad, former State Senator Walter North, who wrote us a check and was thrilled to hear Welcome is on the move once again.

We took off for Cheboygan but were tight on time for our meeting in Rogers City so we kept on going. We rolled in for our meeting at the "Bradley House", home of the Presque Isle County Historical Museum, where Mark Thompson is the Curator. They have been holding a Nautical Festival since the 60's and are very excited to have Welcome attending this year.

The drive back across the State was tough going, with an inch of slush on the road, but we got back to TC just in time to check in on the cannon training at the Heritage Center.