Monday, May 27, 2013

10 Years of Donnybrook

I was reminded that this is my tenth season with Donnybrook Sunday morning while getting dressed. The t-shirt I was putting on was made for my first season with Donnybrook.
The shirt idea came at a bar.  I was sitting at my then favorite bar, Joe's on Broadway, with two good friends when we decided to have shirts made.  We had nicknames printed on the back of each. My friend, Todd, still wears his whenever he visits even though the name on the back of his shirt is "puke"--because he gets seasick in a bathtub but still sails with me.

I remember the October day Karen and I looked at Donnybrook for the first time. We'd looked at several other boats but none felt right. Karen a I climbed aboard her and we knew immediately she would be ours. A few weeks later we owned her and the next spring we were sailing her on Lake Michigan.

After 10 years I still enjoy her as much as the first year. I still look forward to seeing her after work. I can't wait to spend the weekend with her and I feel sad to leave her after spending all weekend together. Time away is sometimes nice, but eventually I want to go back to her.  She's a stable part of our family.

It seems like a lot would change in ten years, and it has.  Surprisingly a lot has remained the same. 
  • We live at the same address.  Many of our neighbors are still the same.
  • We work for the same companies.  Our jobs may have changed or our offices might be on on different floors, but our paychecks come from the same place.
  • We still have many of the same friends we did in 2003.
The biggest change?  Our immediate family of 2 (with a cat) is now a family of 4 (without a cat).

Other changes:
  • The trees are taller, appliances newer, and paint fresher at hour home.
  • We've moved farther apart from some friends and closer to others.
  • We drive a newer car.
  • I don't mind as much getting up early and enjoy going to bed early.
  • I'm 10 years wiser.
In the end, ten years of owning Donnybrook doesn't really feel like a milestone, rather another point on the boat ownership journey.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ships and Bridges

The area around Crowley's, where Donnybrook is kept in the off season, is fascinating if you like ships, bridges, trains, and the like!  In 2011 Chicago was ranked 36th in the United States in total trade with over 19 million tons of freight passing through.  This surpasses ocean ports such as Jacksonville, Florida and Oakland, California.  A lot more ships than most realize visit Chicago.

Michipicoten about to pass under rail lift bridge
The Michipicoten is a 695 foot Canadian flagged bulk carrier. She was being helped by a tug up the river. It took several minutes to pass under the 95th street bridge, where this picture was taken.

G.L. Ostrander/Integrity heading toward Lake Michigan
A few hours after the Michipicoten passed, we saw this tug/barge combo heading to Lake Michigan.  The 95th Street bridge is up allowing her to pass. 

The barge is the Integrity.  The tug, pushing her, is a separate vessel called the G.L. Ostrander.  The FleetMon app installed on my smartphone showed her destination to be Green Bay with an ETA in just 16 hours.

Fuldaborg in the distance
A few weeks ago Carlos and I spied the Fuldaborg, a Dutch freighter, at Iroquois Landing near where Lake Michigan and the Calumet River meet.

US Steel Railroad Lift Bridge

The tracks lead to this lift bridge and serves the former US Steel South Works site.  The bridge is up most of the time, however Donnybrook had to wait for this bridge as recently as 2 or 3 years ago while a switching train engine passed.

Tug and barge heading up river
There is plenty of barge traffic on the Calumet river.  This tug is pushing a handful of barges up river.  The Chicago Skyway bridge is in the background with part of a railroad lift bridge to the left.

Commercial and pleasure craft coexist

This shows how low the lift bridge is.  The tug had to stop in a hurry as it appeared to be expecting the lift bridge to be up.

Weights on 95th Street Bridge
Mike noticed these odd looking weights chained to the bridge They were on booth leafs on both sides of the bridge. We theorized they are there to balance the bridge and necessary as part of recent bridge work.

The final picture shows the relationship between the bridges.  The raised drawbridge is the Ewing Avenue bridge, currently up for repairs.  To the left, out of the camera's view, is the US Steel lift bridge.  To the right (not visible, before the rail lift bridge) is the 95th Street bridge.  Behind the lift bridge is the Chicago Skyway bridge.
Bridges Everywhere!
You can read more about the bridges in the Encyclopedia of Chicago:  Calumet River Bridges and Great Lakes Shipping at the Boatnerd site.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Clean Boat

As I wrote A few weeks ago in Filthy Boat, the emotions are mixed this time of year. Mike, Kevin, and I made a lot of progress getting rid of the filthy boat blues.

A few hours scrubbing the topsides and hull and a few more hours waxing made a world of difference. Thanks to Kevin and Mike for their help last weekend and Carlos two weekends ago.

Donnybrook is in the water with a clean and waxed hull. The topsides are mostly clean and need some more wax (Mike did a lot Saturday).  Down below needs the most work and is the target of today's work.

By the end of this weekend I'll be enjoying clean boat joy back in Belmont!