Category Archives: News

Cape Dory Rendezvous – St. Joseph, MI, July 8-10

Southern Lake Michigan Cape Dory Rendezvous/Sail-in
St. Joseph, MI – July 8-10

The Ariel crew, Dave and David, will be hosting this year’s Lake Michigan Rendezvous at their home port of St. Joseph, MI, July 8-10. Come by boat, car or train! There will be sailing, great food, gorgeous Lake Michigan sunsets, a few prizes, plenty of good conversation, and maybe even a trip to the Midwest’s largest marine store, Wolf’s Marine.

St. Joe is an easy sail across the lake from Chicago and within a few hours of Holland, South Haven, and Saugatuck – just a few of several enjoyable ports of call along Lake Michigan’s eastern shore. Come enjoy a great town with an updated municipal marina, a quaint downtown with a number of tasty eateries, and great views of the lake. Unwind, see the sights, and meet up with other great CD owners.

Drive-ins are encouraged, too! There are a couple of nice hotels, one of which overlooks the lake, and plenty to do in the area.

Hope to see you this summer! Check out the St. Joseph harbor report on this site for information. Here is the information sheet for this year’s rendezvous:


Photobucket Photobucket

Here are some quick distance estimates from Chicago, Milwaukee, and Holland to St. Joseph. We’d love to have CDs from all over Lake Michigan, so work St. Joseph into your cruising plans if you can.

Questions? Comments? Let us know by leaving a comment or emailing David VanDenburgh at ariel [dot] cd36 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Report: Beaver Island Rendezvous



There could be no greater testimony to the high caliber of Cape Dory owners than a loosely planned event – hosted by a couple of newbies, no less – turning out to be a great time. And such was the case for the Lake Michigan rendezvous held Aug. 2-6 at St. James Harbor, Beaver Island, the relaxed island atmosphere and its natural beauty providing the perfect backdrop. Even without a carefully planned schedule, tours, or activities, there was plenty of good conversation, a congenial spirit, and a lot of enthusiasm for the event – and even excited talk about planning one for next year.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of Cathy Monaghan and Great Lakes Fleet Captain Ed Haley, who regularly posted registration reminders to the CD Board, 10 people registered for the event and four boats made the trip. Now this number might be small in comparison to some of our other fleets, but as our Dear Mr. Dunn pointed out in a recent issue of Masthead, the vastness of the Great Lakes shoreline tends to complicate things. (Some quick math indicates that the one-way mileage average of the four boats is roughly 160nm)

When Ariel and her crew, Dave and David VanDenburgh, arrived Sunday evening, August 1, we were greeted with a pretty harbor made more attractive by the presence of two Cape Dorys, SISU (CD28) and Spindrift (CD300MS). After anchoring and settling in, we dinghied over to SISU and met Guy Leslie and Jan Jones. Guy is a long-time Cape Dory owner (first a Typhoon Weekender, then a CD25) and the proud new owner of a beautiful CD28, SISU, which he purchased in Holland, MI, in September 2009 and brought to her new port in Traverse City. When he heard about the rendezvous, Guy was eager to meet up with other CD owners and said he “just had to make it.” And make it he did, taking SISU on their first extended trip together. Little did he know he’d have a few more opportunities to “get acquainted” with her as the week progressed. In the true spirit of a rendezvous, however, he found that he had plenty of support as he dealt with tough anchoring conditions and some transmission issues. Much to his credit, Guy remained optimistic and unflappable through it all.

Guy Leslie descending into the engine compartment to ferret out the cause of his transmission woes.
Guy Leslie aboard SISU.

Monday morning dawned rainy and windy, a 15-20 kt southwesterly setting in for much of the week. The gusts proved too much for SISU’s anchor and she began creeping downwind through the anchorage, her anchor fouled with weeds. Once SISU was safely re-anchored, we went ashore to meet Bill and Mary Kay Movalson, new owners of Spindrift, a very clean CD 300 Motorsailer out of Gladstone, MI, just north of Escanaba.

A weedy bottom made for tough anchoring.

Bill and Mary Kay Movalson’s CD 300 Motorsailer, Spindrift

Bill and Mary Kay purchased Spindrift in May and, like Guy, they were excited to hear about the Beaver Island rendezvous. Bill is quite the gadget/innovation guy and has already made a number of upgrades to the boat, including custom dinghy davits and pilothouse doors. Mary Kay is a gracious host and loves the comfortable ride and versatility afforded by the Motorsailer. Bill and Mary Kay had obligations in Mackinac and needed to get an early start in the morning, so the group enjoyed drinks and conversation aboard Spindrift before heading to Shamrock, a local restaurant. Just as we were leaving the dock, Mike Ritenour and Sue arrived aboard La Vida, a CD33. Rit and Sue, exhausted from their 60+ nm trip from Cheboygan (not to mention their earlier travels through Lake Superior and the Soo locks), opted to settle in for the night and anchored in the harbor.

La Vida anchored in St. James Harbor.

The group met in the morning for coffee and breakfast (and yet more great conversation), and then walked over the St. James Boat Shop to check on Bill, a skilled woodworker and old friend of Rit’s. Bill and his apprentice make fine cherry buckets and strip canoes. Sawdust covers the floor of the shop and partially completed boats hang from the ceiling or rest on sawhorses. After taking a bit of joshing from Bill, whose 80-something mind is as sharp as ever, Rit added another cherry bucket memento to his collection.

Old Bill splicing a handle for his cherry bucket.

After some exploring and stocking up on groceries, the group migrated to La Vida for drinks and conversation. Rit gave a tour of La Vida, which is absolutely decked out with gear, while Sue listened graciously. For those who don’t know, La Vida was a victim of hurricane Hugo and rescued by Rit, who has put some 60,000 miles under her keel since then. To say that she is equipped is an understatement. By Rit’s own account, even the Coast Guard during a courtesy inspection finally gave up trying to find fault when they realized they weren’t in the presence of your typical Weekend Warrior. Rit’s good nature and wonderful companion, combined with his considerable experience, made the time aboard La Vida a real privilege.

l-r: Michael “Rit” Ritenour, Guy Leslie, Sue

Two members came in by ferry: Kevin LeMans and Great Lakes Fleet Captain Ed Haley. Kevin had originally planned to sail Raconteur, his CD30, but crew plans fell through and he ended up camping on the island with his family and joining the group for breakfast. We hope to meet Raconteur in person at the next rendezvous! Ed Haley traveled and then traveled some more to make an appearance, and we are grateful for his dedication. After completing a 500-mile bike ride through Iowa with his son, Ed drove to Charlevoix and caught the ferry to Beaver Island, arriving just in time to sort out some transmission issues on SISU. Not surprisingly, Ed once owned a CD28, so his experience came in handy.

Dinner with the crew the night before departure.

Friday morning brought with it a shift in wind, giving everyone a fair wind home. We said our goodbyes over breakfast, courtesy of the GLF, and set a course for home. Rit, Sue and La Vida set out through Gray’s Reef Passage and on to Mackinac; Ariel headed south for South Manitou Island (and St. Joseph); and Ed and Guy messed about with SISU before Ed took the ferry back to Charlevoix. Despite his earlier transmission troubles, Guy made it home safely to Traverse City without a glitch.

Rit and Ed Haley say goodbye.

Although the newbies might like to take credit for a successful rendezvous, there’s no doubt that it was due to the unequaled character of your typical Cape Dory owner. After all, great boats pick great people. Perhaps there will be more great boats and great people next year?! We’ll keep you posted.

Ariel in early morning sunlight, departure day.

Quick Update: Rendezvous

Four Cape Dorys and 10 people met up in Beaver Island’s St. James Harbor for the Lake Michigan Cape Dory Rendezvous last week. The group enjoyed touring boats, walking the island, eating out, and even an odd boat project or two. There will be more information regarding the Rendezvous, but to those who were unable to attend, know that you were missed! And to those who made the trip, thanks so much for making the Rendezvous a success; it was a pleasure to get to know you and to see your boats!

Rendezvous 2010: Beaver Island

Ariel anchored in St. James Harbor, 2008

It’s official: The Lake Michigan Cape Dory Rendezvous is scheduled for August 2-6 in St. James Harbor, Beaver Island. Mark your calendar and set aside the dates! Ariel and her crew will be anchored in the harbor and look forward to meeting up with other Cape Dorys and their owners.

For information about Beaver Island, visit the Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce website, or read David VanDenburgh’s harbor report.

For those interested in driving in, the Emerald Isle Ferry offers daily arrivals and there are a couple of motels for lodging. There may even be room aboard a boat.

If you are interested in attending and have questions, feel free to leave a comment here and someone will get back to you. Hope to see you there!

Got Plans?

There is a movement afoot to coordinate cruising schedules for a rendezvous somewhere on Lake Michigan sometime during the summer. And, yes, that is as specific as one can be at this point. So, we’re asking: where are you going to be, and when?

Great Lakes Fleet Captain Ed Haley, Mike Ritenour of s/v LaVida, and a few others are eager to support Lake Michigan events. To that end, they’d like to participate in our event, whether by boat or by RV, they just need to know how to plan.

The crew of Ariel, David and David VanDenburgh, proposed meeting up sometime during the first week of August. Possible destinations include Beaver Island’s St. James Harbor, Charlevoix, Pentwater, or Traverse Bay. For those who can’t make it by boat, driving in is always a possibility (the Emerald Isle ferry out of Charlevoix travels to Beaver Island).

If you’d like to participate or offer some date/destination suggestions, either contact me via email or by leaving a comment to this post. We’re pretty flexible and plan on sailing whether there’s an event or not. What does your summer sailing schedule look like?

U.S. Unveils Plan to Keep Asian Carp Out of Great Lakes

By Douglas Belkin | WSJ

Federal officials Monday unveiled a multi-pronged attack to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes and prevent an invasion that could potentially devastate a $7 billion recreation fishing industry.

Among the tactics in a $78.5 million, 25-point plan: Navigational locks in Illinois waterways that lead to Lake Michigan will be opened less frequently, and officials will more aggressively search for and kill the fish when they are found.

“We are going to hit the carp with all of the tools in the toolbox,” said Cameron Davis, a senior adviser with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The plan was announced following a meeting between several environmental agencies and governors from Great Lakes states at the White House.

Asian carp were brought to Arkansas in the 1960s to clean up algae from sewers and fish hatcheries. After a flood, they escaped into the Mississippi River in the early 1990s and have been migrating north up Midwestern rivers ever since.

The fish are voracious eaters that can grow up to 4 feet long and weigh 100 pounds. They reproduce rapidly and can quickly displace native species. In stretches of the Illinois River they now account for as much as 90% of the fish population by weight. Scientists fear they could do the same in the Great Lakes, potentially destroying native species.

What’s more, the fish have the habit of leaping up to eight feet out of the water at the sound of approaching motors. They have knocked boaters unconscious and broken their bones. Some people now cruise along parts of the Illinois River wearing football helmets for protection.

An electric barrier about 20 miles from Lake Michigan was supposed to be the last, best way to stop the carp from invading the Great Lakes, but last month genetic material from the fish was found in Lake Michigan for the first time. Nancy Sutley, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said despite evidence that the fish are in Lake Michigan, they aren’t yet established and there remains a window of opportunity to stop them. She called the federal plan “strong and aggressive.”

The issue has become a political hot potato, pitting environmental groups and the recreational boating and fishing industries against commercial shippers. Michigan sued Illinois to force them to shut the locks in the hope of containing the fish but the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Michigan then asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision and filed another suit seeking to separate the man-made connection between the Great Lakes and Mississippi water basins. Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania have joined that suit.

At the White House meeting on Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm met with federal officials to figure out alternative ways to contain the fish. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell joined the meeting by conference call along with officials from Ohio.

The plan includes an additional electrical barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to repel the fish, and a restrictive schedule for the locks. If fish are detected near the locks the water could be electrified or treated with fish poison.

In addition, the plan calls for increased testing to monitor the fish are and speed up research to stop them from reproducing.

Ms. Granholm said after the White House meeting that such measures wouldn’t be enough to protect the lakes.

“You have to permanently shut these locks down,” she told the Associated Press.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, which has advocated aggressive action to stop the carp, characterized the proposal as a head scratcher.

“The complete absence of time lines and triggers for specific actions to be taken in response to specific events make evaluation of the framework’s details difficult,” Thom Cmar, a spokesman for the organization said in a statement. “But, we are concerned that the document released today still doesn’t articulate a clear plan, based on the best available scientific information, that will actually work.”

Read on WSJ