Hammond Marina and Larsen Marina

Well, hello everyone. It sure has been awhile since I have last blogged. Believe it or not this trip has had some issues. I will share with you some of the details as I am placing the photos in the story.  I wanted to be able to sail across Lake Michigan on the Wisconsin side after leaving Mackinac, but the winds were too high.

It  was a beautiful day heading across Lake Michigan to Hammond Marina from New Buffalo. Hammond Marina is near the bottom of Lake Michigan. I had phoned Hammond in April to check on if they would be able to unstep our mast. Hammond Marina asked me to call them ahead of time let them know when we would be arriving. (I did..)  The weather has been perfect too.  We anchored in the Calument Harbor because it was really close to the marina and it was already getting late. . The water here is near 20 feet and is mud and sand. Great holding power for the anchor.

Remember, I said I wanted to sail across Lake Michigan.. LOL We ended up motor sailing some to just plain motoring. The winds were too light.

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It was such a nice day, but the bugs were out again. Bryce decided it was nap time, so he laid on the portside of the boat. It is the windward side (Less bugs.) 

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Friday Morning arrived.. We had to be in Hammond Marina at 8 a.m. to get ready for unstepping of the mast.  The person in charge met us in the mast unstepping area. The mast unstepping area is a bit tight for a 40 footer and they have no 30 amp plugs or water, but you will be charged the same as other slips.  Most reputable marinas will provide a nights dockage during the unstepping.   On the flip side, Hammond Marine is a quite nice marina with friendly people and just next to a Casino.We docked along the wall. We were told to order the lumber from the local lumber yard and they would deliver to us at the marina. After giving us the phone number, we called and tried to place an order. However, they wanted a 500 dollar deposit and would not deliver the wood till some time the following week.. Well you know that wasn’t going to happen… Not knowing what to do, we thought hard about the issue and decided that we would call Menards. We could rent a truck from them and bring the lumber to the marina. We called Yellow Taxi to drive us to the lumber yard.

We had to meet the taxi at the security guard gate. That is where we met Bill, the nice security guard. He told us it would take forever for the taxi cap to get there. He worked it out so he could just take us with there truck and pick up the lumber.. Menards had it ready for us.  Steve, a manager at Menards arranged to have the lumber ready. Bryce emailed Steve our list and they had it ready for us to pick up within the hour.  Thank you very much Steve!!

Bill one of the nicest person you could could meet.  Thanks Bill it was great Meeting you.

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This is Grumpy: really is his actual name and Eerick.  Yup that is how he spells his name.  His coworker is just behind. Grumpy helped us put the lumber in the truck.. Thanks..

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Okay so we got back to the marina and worked getting the sails down and building our mast supports for the mast. There is always a lot of prep work to be done. We were so tired at the end of the night. The following morning we sat on the bow of Beauty drinking our tea and coffee.  What a beautiful morning… A little bit later we finished up with the lines and I removed the sealant around the mast.  Beauty was now ready for unstepping her mast.

This is Beauty on the dock at Hammond Marina

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“Lier… Lier Pants on Fire” That is what we use to say as a child when some one told a fib.. That applies here..

Remember above when I said we had an issue…Now back to the story..We waited for the person to come to unstep the mast.. I was in the galley pouring some tea when I heard… “I am not able to unstep your mast!!!!”  I came out of the boat so fast it would have made you head spin… What? I looked at Bryce. The guy was holding a paper in his hand… “Yeah after thinking about it I don’t think the lift will hold your mast and I might have to drop it on your boat or in the water..” My heart dropped.. I asked why he waited so long to tell us.. the mast is bare naked and ready for unstepping.. He said “But no problem, Crowleys on the Calumet is a bit more expensive.. they can do it.” So I took the number and went back inside the boat… I lost it!!!I could not stop the tears from rolling down my checks… My heart was pounding..

We called Crowleys… no problem it will cost $20 dollars per foot of boat length.. oh.. that also includes 5 foot of lift and anchor platform on our boat. Crowleys wanted $900 for simply lifting onto our supports.  No way.. Bryce gave me a hug and said everything will work out. We turned on the computer and Looked at Active Captain.. Well we can go 60 miles back up to St. Joseph or 47 miles to Waukegan to Larsen Marina.. I was worried about going 60 miles, so we went the lesser of the two and headed to Waukegan.. I called and explained to the owner of Larsen in between my tears what had just happened.. I had to hand the phone to Bryce and let him talk.. Dough was the nicest person.. I will call him my Angel of rescue. 

This is Doug Larsen.. in the plaid shirt. I can’t believe this is a blurry photo..

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This was Saturday..He told us just come on in and take a slip. They would remove our mast on Monday for $308. On Sunday morning I walked up to the marina store and explained what happen and that is why we are there.. No problem Greg said.. He took our info. Doug had already told them we were coming in. We needed supplies and laundry, so they provided a van with a map showing the way to the best stores. Talk about service!!

Jeff, Bryan and Bryce..Jeff works for Larsen Marine after work was done for the day we sat and enjoyed a few beers with our new friends.

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Bryce just loved their setup. He says these guys have the best setup in lower Lake Michigan for unstepping for the trip down the Mississippi.  Their mast hoists include a huge jib crane that could lift a boat and a smaller tower crane when appropriate.  Here is picture of Jeff in the mobile lift for attaching the harness and removing your windex.  No one will be lifted in a bosun chair!!

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For anyone needing to take a boat out, they have two huge travel lifts and a few fork trucks for smaller boats.  They will detach your standing rigging and place the mast on deck for wrapping.  The price they charge is very reasonable and includes a night at the dock in their rates.  Larsen is considerably less expensive than anyone near the Calument.  And they are incredibly knowledgeable and know exactly what to do for those loopers that are apprehensive about removing the mast.  For loopers, the Chicago loop inlet is about 30 miles south.  The Calumet loop inlet is about 50 miles south.  So these guys are not too far away.

Another Jeff and Gary helping with the mast.

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They are laying the mast on these neat rollers so we can tie off all our lines.  With these rollers, they can move the mast anywhere in the yard.. Really slick!!

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They are now placing the mast on our mast supports

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There were so many people involve with helping us at Larsen Marine they were just incredible… Friendly!

LaDonna Thank you….

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There are so many other great team members I didn’t get photos of everyone.  My our Thanks to you all!!!

Nina… One day I would love to see your photos.. Her side job is photographer.

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So if you are looking to unstep your mast we recommend of course Larsen Marine on Waukegan on the Illinois side of Lake Michigan.   

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