The Allegro’s First Voyage
Melissa drove us to Sturgeon bay Wisconsin via the upper peninsula. A beautiful drive along Lake Michigan’s northern shore. I envisioned bringing Allegro here to the sandy wild beaches of the upper peninsula. In the car, we numbered four. Liam, Conner, Melissa, and Myself. Melissa would be making the return trip solo while Liam, Connor, and I would be sailing across the lake. This would be Allegro’s first voyage as a part of Lyfmotiv. Ultimately we would take her to Charlevoix for her DNR safety inspection.
I was unable to make it over to see Allegro in person when she was surveyed. The survey showed she was in excellent shape and she was a sound ship. Traveling to Sturgeon Bay would be my final in-person inspection and then, of course, the paperwork. The owner, who lives, in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and had joined me in sturgeon bay. He erected a ladder so we could board her, and he proceeded to give us a walk-through. Showing where switches and levers were and how they affected the behavior of the vessel.
While finishing the paperwork, Allegro was set to be hoisted into the water from the dry dock. This was my first boat purchase and it was exciting to see her between air and land. Hovering lazily in the slings as the crane operator deftly moved her into position and then set her softly into the water.
Once in the water, the marina crew checked over the entire vessel from bow to stern ensuring that everything was functioning. I also boarded and noticed the sound of water flowing somewhere below the deck. Hurridly looking we found that the hot water heater was the culprit. It was allowing water to flow in and a valve simply needed to be closed. We turned over the engine and it rumbled to life purring with rhythmic mechanical perfection.
Preparing to Sail
As she floated she slipped out of the slings gracefully and smoothly and we tied her to the wall. We got to work pulling out the sails and flaking them. The mainsail was in an exceptional condition we observed as we installed its battens. We figured out how to use the furler. First installing it backwards only to reverse the process to correct the mistake. We checked everything to make sure the Allegro’s first voyage would go well!
We provisioned the boat with snacks and drinks and ensured she had enough fuel for the passage. Fully rigging the boat with jack lines and then inspecting all of the new PFDs, we made sure all of the equipment was sound. Taking the sails out of the bags on land and inspecting them and once we were sure they were in good shape we brought them on board and “bended” the sails. Meaning we installed them on the mast and boom. Finally at about three in the
afternoon we took her out in the harbor to do some sailing and to test her operation and performance. We ran with the sails down checking prop walk and responsiveness. Tested auto pilot depth gauges and other telemetry. Then we discussed and trained on emergency and rescue procedures.
Not quite ready to leave we went back to the marina tied up. Studying the navigation charts we discussed the plan for leaving the harbor for Michigan. The weather window appeared to be calm and favorable. We decided to use the evening for the majority of this crossing.
After testing everything we could think to test we motored out of the marina for the last time. Exiting the mouth of the river with the big lake before us we felt an amazing feeling of freedom. For good measure we practiced man overboard procedures and then we got underway! The Allegro’s first voyage had begun!
Motoring out as the sun began to go down!