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Late October Dinghy Danger, sailboat’s on the hard

November 23, 2009

It’s over.  Boat’s officially up on her rack for the winter.  Balanced on some iron rods on a cement parking lot, waiting for the return of summer days.  We keep her about 15 miles south of downtown, up the Calumet River at Crowley’s Yacht Yard.  It’s about a 2-3 hour sail south from Monroe Harbor where we keep her moored in the summer.  My boat partner and I do the trip together most every year and it’s always a great time.  This year we had perfect wind and weather, fairly warm for a late fall day, with a beautiful sun and nice breeze out of the west.  Each year we need to take the harness off our buoy, get the dinghy from shore, pump out the head (where the toilet proceeds are stored), and fill her up with diesel before heading south.  Noteworthy this year was the dinghy pickup procedure.  I dropped Aaron off on shore to get the dinghy, which he promptly did, dropping her into the water and shoving off while I pulled the big boat up beside him.  He got ahold of the boat, stood up in the dinghy and began tying her to the stern of the Imjatse (the boat’s name, she’s an Ericson 28).  I asked him “You all set?” and he said “yep!” so I gunned it as we were in a hurry.  Next thing I hear is “hey! hey! hey!” and I look back to see him laying on his back on the side of the dinghy, flailing around, body half in the water, half in the dinghy, desperately trying to stay out of the water as it slowly heeled over. 

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Random Clips

September 10, 2009

I haven’t posted in a while and have a hadful of random things to talk about that have occurred the last month or so.

First is this video of my friend Tadd Maudlin, cruising on his sailboat off the coast of Belize, doing a dance that I used to do in college and most likely still do called “the Trimmer”.  I’m very jealous of him – bought a boat and is cruising on it indefinitely with his girlfriend, they are now in the Carribbean off Belize – follow them on their blog at http://lastknownposition.blogspot.com 

Speaking of boats, mine was broken for two long weeks – the motor went out while we were sailing, so we had to sail her into the can with pretty much no wind – super fun and challenging.  Then I tried a zillion differnet things to fix her, all to no avail and making it worse over about ten days.  Called a boat mechanic named Doug Pietz recommended by my boat neighbor.  He met me out on the boat and proceeded to tear into the motor fearlessly – fixing three problems, each of which could have been a major issue on its own, all in the span of under two hours.  A true professional and it was really amazing to watch him work.  I was very impressed with his skill and his pricing and efficiency and fun attitude.  If you need boat engine work done certainly call him at 847 533 9030, he is spectacular.

This past weekend I went to another lake house, also in Michigan and on the shore of Lake Michigan and its spectacular giant sand beaches – they are truly stunning if you have a chance to check out the west coast of the lower peninsula definitely do, they seriously rival many of the great beaches around the world in my opinion in the summer, and also very cool to experience in the wintertime.  Stretches a couple hundred miles up the coast.  Here’s a view from the kitchen:

 View of Lake Michigan from the west coast of Michigan

Took different crew sailing each day of the air and water show including Friday – very fun and gorgeous days.  Check the picture of the enormous American flag on a sailboat we saw. 

At the Air and Water Show in Chicago 2009

At the Air and Water Show in Chicago 2009

Went to Devil’s Lake one Sunday a couple weeks back to rock climb with some climbing friends, great time had by all.  Gorgeous, perfect day and terrific group of climbers. Devil's Lake near Upper Diagonal

This weekend we head to Lake Superior to kayak the Apostle Islands for five days, should be a great trip, sevn of us are going, really looking forward to it.

Went to a Purdue football game last Saturday, very fun to see all my old buddies and wander by my old apartment.   In college I managed to jump a car over the embankment shown below, they seem to have put up posts to stop this in the future.

Scene of trouble back in the day

Scene of trouble back in the day


Cruising the North Channel of Lake Huron

September 2, 2009

After racing the 101st Chicago to Mackinac sailboat race and having a heck of a good time at the party afterwards on Mackinac Island, I made my way to the ferry the next morning and managed to find my folks’ vehicle they had so kindly had their friends deliver for me to Mackinaw City.  I hopped in and cruised north across the five mile long Mackinac Bridge (They actually have drivers on each side waiting to drive your car across for you if you’re nervous).   

Shot from the bridge

Shot from the bridge

I made it to Soo Saint Marie, and crossed the bridge into Canada.  I actually was stopped at customs and they ran my record, clean of course and into Canada I went.  Got pulled over and was given a speeding ticket after about three hours.  Apparently at about 20 mph over they impound your car and you get in big trouble.  Note this should you want to speed in Ontario.  I made it to Killarney and wandered the docks until I found my folks.  Read the rest of this entry »


The 101st running of the Race to Mackinac

August 1, 2009
The skipper in the Manitous

The skipper in the Manitous

Very slow race yacht race this year – not much wind. We didn’t finish until Tuesday afternoon, usually we finish sometime during the day on Monday. The Valkyrie was doing well through about 2/3’s of the race, holding our own, near the front of our section when we took a fateful gybe too late into the Manitou islands passage and got stuck too close in to land as the wind shifted and pushed us in. We bobbed there helplessly as all the little boats we had passed over the previous days slowly caught us and passed us in the middle of the channel, and all we could do was watch.  In frustration we slowly worked our way up the coast – and I mean slowly, 0-.5 knots per hour for a good 15-20 hours, enough to drive a crew bonkers. Read the rest of this entry »


Rocking out offshore with REO/Styx on the Imjatse

July 14, 2009

Twenty of my sister’s friends came cruising on the Imjatse Friday night.  That’s a record-shattering number and the boat handled everybody easily.  I believe this was our third annual event with this crew, and the biggest and possibly best yet.  One of the best nights of the summer. 

Watching REO Speedwagon from the boat

Watching REO Speedwagon from the boat

We picked everyone up at the dock at around six and headed straight for Northerly Island from Monroe Harbor and anchored (with a bit of slippage and re-anchoring) out just offshore in time to enjoy the sunset and hear the end of the .38 Special set.  Next up was REO Speedwagon and we heard them loud and clear from the water.  A bunch of guys swam and Brent entertained not only our boat but many of the surrounding craft with what is difficult to describe with words, fortunately I had my trusty camera with me and shot some video to commemorate, see below. Read the rest of this entry »


Chicago NOODs Yacht Racing Action

June 21, 2009

I raced in the NOODs Friday on the J120 racing yacht Valkyrie.  There was a huge weather delay as the sky was black as night over the city and north of us out into the lake.  It looked as if it was bearing down on us so we battened down the hatches and dropped our sails in preparation, Read the rest of this entry »


2008 What a Year in Adventure-ness

December 30, 2008

Reflecting on the adventurous aspects of 2008…  One of the best ever for me second only to 2000 when I travelled the world for 6.5 months.  This year I was so fortunate.  Five foreign countries, two new mountains climbed, fourth Chicago to Mackinac sailing race, surfing, skiing…  I must list all the adventures and trips I was lucky enough to participate in this past year, and be so grateful for the opportunities I was blessed with.

  1. Elwha Trail hike in the Olympic Mountains West of Seattle with four good buddies.
  2. The 100th running of the Chicago to Mackinac Sailing race, on a J120 named Valkyrie, placed well in our class, finished in around 55 hours.
  3. Cruised the North Channel of Lake Huron on a 38 foot Ericson sailboat owned by my parents with a highlight being Topaz lake.
  4. Nantucket Massachusetts for several days with my oldest friend Spencer and his family, driving on the beach, catching bluefish from the shore, enjoying old friends, meeting my namesake, Cormac Thomas Carney
  5. Upstate New York at my girlfriend’s grandparents’ “camp”, waterskiing, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming.
  6. Climbing the highest point in New York State, Mt Marcy, ticking off the 12th state high point on my quest to do all 50 of them.
  7. Jamaica for work, Kingston.
  8. Cayman Islands to visit my cousin Megan for a few days.
  9. Jazzfest in New Orleans for a bachelor party
  10. Numerous mountain biking excursions around Chicago
  11. Numerous sailing parties on my boat, a 28 foot Ericson christened the Imjatse after a Nepalese mountain I climbed.
  12. Rock climbing in Red River gorge, Kentucky
  13. Rock climbing at Mississppi Palisades twice
  14. Summiting Mt Belford, a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado, then sleeping in a bivy sack on its flanks overnight in about 15 degrees.
  15. Pilgrimage to the original Chipotle in Denver
  16. 35 person white water rafting trip sponsored by the adventure ministry I run at church, running class III and IV rapids.
  17. Kayaking the Vermilion River in very high, fast water.
  18. Costa Rica!  Staying at my friend’s resort, surfing, jungle hikes, four-wheeling.
  19. Talon’s Challenge at Vail, skiing thirteen black and double black runs in a single day with a reward of a free beer and a free hat.
  20. Skiing at Aspen with the family
  21. Moving my friend’s sailboat 200 miles down the intracoastal waterway from Norfolk to Beaufort NC, just my father and I.
  22. Two winter attempts of Mt Humphries, the tallest mountain in Arizona, each a failure, but getting closer and I lived to climb another day.
  23. Thanksgiving in Boston
  24. Ten person caving trip that I led through Buckner’s cave in Southern Indiana.
  25. Ski trip to Wausau Wisconsin and Granite Peak Resort.
  26. Raced the Cohasset Triathlon
  27. 40+ person sea kayaking trip led by my group

What a wonderful year, with lots of love and great relationships started, nourished, and deepened during all these adventures and trips. 

I have to give a lot of credit for this year to Tim  Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek for his writings and inspiration to live like this – thanks much Tim and all the best to everybody in 2009.  I always wanted to live like this but never knew anybody who did – I didn’t think it was really possible until I read Tim’s stuff and embarked upon the adventure.  Inspirational.  This year has been the best to date for my business, relationships, and adventures and experiences.  I hope for an even better 2009 and hope for the same for everybody.  I have to copy some of Tim’s stuff from a mentor of his here  – good food for thought:

“While many are wringing their hands, I recall the 1970s when we were suffering from an oil shock causing long lines at gas stations, rationing, and 55 MPH speed limits on Federal highways, a recession, very little venture capital ($50 million per year into VC firms), and, what President Jimmy Carter (wearing a sweater while addressing the Nation on TV because he had turned down the heat in the White House) called a “malaise”. It was during those times that two kids without any real college education, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, started companies that did pretty well. Opportunities abound in bad times as well as good times. In fact, the opportunities are often greater when the conventional wisdom is that everything is going into the toilet.

Well…we’re nearing the end of another great year, and, despite what we read about the outlook for 2009, we can look forward to a New Year filled with opportunities as well as stimulating challenges.”