Welcome to the Windfall blog. This blog will act as a log/blog and travelogue of Jane & Larry’s travels on our Hunter 34 sloop Windfall. After years of weekend cruising, we finally decided to pursue our dream of an extended cruise, starting with the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay, then hopefully heading south to Florida and the Caribbean.
On a 10 day cruise in 2012 on our Pearson 30 Tailwind we started talking about forming a plan to achieve our dream. It was clear that Tailwind was not big enough to spend extended time living on. Also we decided that we should make our move soon while our health is still good. That winter I began a search for a suitable boat. We found Britannia in Grand River, OH. She was a meticulously maintained 1983 Hunter 34 whose owner Lee Booth sadly passed away. We were shown the boat by Lee’s wife Betty and his close friends, Jack and Sue. We made an offer and became her proud new owners
After commissioning her in the spring, and renaming her Windfall, Jack and Sue helped us get her ready for the season at the Grand River YC. I can’t thank them enough! I’d probably still be trying to figure out the boom vang rig! We had a wild ride home using mostly the Genoa, hitting speeds over 11 knots! With a stopover in Erie, PA, we made it to our home port of Dunkirk, NY in record time.
Our cruise started with a sail to Erie, PA. We arrived at the Erie Yacht Club in time for a wonderful dinner at the club. The next morning we had a false start as the motor overheated. We anchored in the harbor, and couldn’t find the problem. We were offered a tow back to the EYC, but couldn’t get the anchor up! We finally had to cut the rode. I marked the anchor with a milk bottle, but it was gone the next day. With the help of VC Ed Schuler (also a diesel mechanic), we found a blockage in the water inlet. We stayed another night, stopped to purchase a new anchor and set sail for Conneaut. This harbor has a boat club that was very hospitable. The gravel mounds across the harbor featured immature Bald Eagles on the top of each one!
The next day off to Geneva State Park. What a wonderful spot! Reservations are recommended, but they were able to fit us in. We biked into Geneva to get groceries, and had some great hikes that our Jack Russell Penny really enjoyed. The next day we headed to Grand River, but were turned back by storm warnings of tornados and 70 mph winds. We made it back to Geneva just in time.
Once again we headed to Grand River. As we approached, NOAA advised that due to the heavy rains the day before, the river was hazardous. We pressed on to Mentor Harbor, and tied up at their east docks. What a wonderful facility! We stayed 2 days shopped, hiked, biked and had great dinner with Jack and Sue who helped us commission Windfall in the spring. In the next slip was a C&C 30 from Ashtabula. We followed them back to the Ashtabula YC (with our shoal draft, he out pointed us!) and had a nice time shopping at the rejuvenated downtown. Once again the winds were out of the east. We had a long beat to Erie and once again enjoyed an evening at the Erie YC. After a day of biking, we departed the next morning for Dover, Ont.
Two days in Dover, one of our favorite ports. We enjoyed a fish fry at the Port Dover YC and went for a long bike ride to Turkey Point. It was a beautiful day and we stopped for an ice cream sundae at the Normanville Century Inn on the way back. We planned to go on to Maitland, Ont. but the forecast for later that week was not good! We had a real sleigh ride back to Dunkirk and made it in under 9 hours!
Our cruise gave us some ideas on what we wanted to change on the boat to more accommodate our sailing lifestyle. With Jane retiring in January 2014 and me in May, it’s time to start planning!