Sunday, May 29, 2011

Belmont Harbor Water Surge or Seiche

Today was another interesting weather day at Belmont Harbor.  We came down early afternoon during a downpour to find the south parking lot deeply flooded because a storm drain was badly clogged.

During lunch the view at the Chicago Yacht Club's Belmont station turned gray.  The fog returned after the storm passed.  In the period of about 10 minutes visibility dropped to a few hundred yards.  The fuel dock (perhaps 200 yards away) was completely obscured!

Low water after the May 29 storm.  High water was over the  bottom
of the lowest wall board, just 15 minutes before this was taken .
Most interesting was the change in water level.  I noticed a pretty hard rocking of several boats as if from a large boat wake, odd because no boats were moving and the wind was calm.  I also noticed the water was over the bottom of the lowest wall board near the cranes, unusually high.  Normal water level is somewhere closer to the white fender.  Using the ladder as reference, this was close to a 2 foot drop within about 15 minutes.

I don't know if this was technically a seiche or just a change in water level due to pressure change, but it was neat to watch.  I also noticed current around some of the boats.  Its not uncommon to see a swirling current at the harbor entrance.  I imagine it was pretty strong today.

I found two interesting articles explaining seiches.  The first, Seiches:  Sudden, Large Waves a Lake Michigan Danger is from Illinois State Geological Survey.  The second is Sloshing the Lakes:  The Seiche

Finally, the low clouds had an interesting texture and the wind shift to southerly winds brought noticeably warmer air.

Looking south after Sunday's storms.  Fractocumulus clouds?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Is It Summer in Chicago, Yet?

Not at Belmont Harbor! It's only 50 degrees with fog and a strong north wind making Lake Michigan feel that much colder.

Tonight was the first night of Beer Can racing at Chicago Yacht Club's Belmont Station. There wasn't any racing but plenty of drinking, I'm sure.

Donnybrook should be out next Wednesday.

The picture is looking west toward Belmont Avenue.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

The boys and I took Aunt Mary, her friend Cynthia, and son Shamus on a short sail today. It was beautiful on the water with a distinct bubble between the warm land air and cool lake air.
We're hanging out at dock in Belmont Harbor waiting for Karen and Mema to meet us for dinner.
Here Conor and Emmet are entertaining themselves with the hose.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

When the Gales of November Come Early...

View of Lake Michigan from Montrose Beach Saturday, May 14
...Mid May to be exact. The picture show's Lake Michigan Saturday afternoon. Saturday night and Sunday were even windier from the north. Lake Michigan certainly wasn't beautiful and inviting this weekend, rather gray and intimidating. It was a good weekend for inside boat work, which I did.

Brian helped me clean and declutter Donnybrook. All the stuff we carried up from Crowley's but don't regularly use is off the boat: 150 feet of orange extension cord, 100 feet of garden hose, the oild change pump, my heavy tool bag, etc. She is now presentable to guests!

I finished the connections on the electric head. It works very well. This was a rewarding project which crew and guests on Donnybrook will enjoy. I'll write a more detailed article on the installation later.

After nearly five hours of hard work, Brian and I had dinner and watched baseball at Bridget McNeill's. I had the best chicken sandwhich of my life there: A chicken/advocado club sandwhich made spicy. Bridget's is one block east of Belmont Harbor's south side at Belmont and Sheridan.

After dinner and some drinks I spent my first night of 2011 on Donnybrook. It was cold outside--about 40 I'm guessing--but warm in two sleeping bags. I slept very well until about 7 Sunday, did some putzing, then laid down again to enjoy the sound of the wind and rain.

All and all it was a good weekend of boat work. There are only a few more boat chores to do and she'll be ready for sailing! Next Saturday is the boys' birthday party (Karen and the boys spent the weekend getting ready for the party) and saling with guests on Sunday.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Return Trip Results

We returned to Belmont at 9:00 Friday night.  Time on the water was 6 hours and distance traveled per the knotmeter log was 21 miles for an average speed of 3.5 knots.  I was concerned that speed over much of the ground was only 2 knots until I looked up the wind at the Harrison-Dever crib (Donnybrook doesn't have an anenometer) while we were on the water.  Sustained winds were almost 30 knots with gust to 35+ knots and peak winds over 37 knots!

I was commenting that the spray from the waves felt 10 degrees warmer than the air, and I was close.  The lake water temperature per the National Weather Service was 57 on the shore and 51 at the crib.

Today and tomorrow there are gale warnings on Lake Michigan with wave forecasts for Sunday to 8 feet.  I'm glad Donnybrook is safe at Belmont Harbor.

Conditions at the Harrison-Dever Crib May 13
while Donnybrook was on the water.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chicago from Lake Michigan

The trip from Crowley's is much slower than planned. What normally would have taken 3 hours is taking 5+ hours thanks to the steady north winds in the high teens and regular 3+ foot waves with the occasional 5+ footer. We had fog then rain. It's starting to clear and is turning into a beautiful but cold evening.

I have video and other pictures I'll post later.

The new exhaust riser is working as it should. There's not even a hint of exhaust smell down below.

The engine mounts are fantastic! At the helm I can't even hear the engine over the wind noise. Motoring feels like sailing because there is absolutely no engine vibration at my feet!

Sunset at Crowley's

From Thursday night, another beautiful May day... I installed the new exhaust riser from Catalina and started to put the boat back together.

I was planning to return to Belmont Saturday afternoon but Lake Michigan and mother nature had other ideas. Instead of returning in a clean Donnybrook Saturday, Mike, Roxray, and I are now planning to return Friday afternoon in a filthy Donnybrook. Let's hope the engine start and other prep work go as planned!