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Author Topic:   Spring Boating in Michigan
jimh posted 04-20-2002 11:56 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
This last week has been very unusual in the Great Lakes. We had temperatures in the 80's for most of the week, setting new high-temperature records on several days. This really got the boating urge going.

Late Sunday evening four teenagers decided to launch two boats on a local lake and do some midnight boating, unfortunately with tragic results. From the description in the press accounts, it sounds like they forgot to put in the drain plug on one of the boats. The two boats left the launch area, then one of them suddenly sank. One of the teenagers aboard the sinking boat died. Divers recovered the body from the lake on Monday afternoon.

Incidents like this underscore the fundamental appeal of the Whaler and its built-in floatation.

On Tuesday I tried to get my boat in the water, but ended up stopped by a suddenly dead battery on the tow vehicle (which itself was just out of the garage after a winter-long storage). I resorted to hooking up the outboard motor to "muffs" and a hose for a test run on the trailer.

It was very satisfying to hear the 26-year-old MERCURY outboard fire up and run smoothly on the first crank. Billows of blue smoke
and the loud exhaust filled the driveway and caught the eye and ear of passing cars. I ran it for a few minutes, then shut her off and pushed her back in the garage. (Being able to move the boat and trailer by hand is a great advantage of a small Whaler on a trailer!)

Wednesday I took a night off to watch the hockey game. The warm weather (85-degrees) had the ice quite soft and the puck was bouncing. Unfortunately not Detroit's way.

Thursday it was still warm, and I had the battery back at full-charge on the 1993 Ford Crown Victoria. I hauled the 15-Sport over to my own LAKE-X (Orchard Lake about ten miles away) for a test run.

The boat rolled off the trailer and into the lake without a problem. Again, small Whalers are nice in that you can handle them by yourself without difficulty. The motor started on the first crank, again, and I headed out into the lake. I guess I had correctly winterized the engine last November when I put her away.

After about five minutes of warm-up, I pushed the throttle ahead. The 50-horses of the old Merc got the 15-foot hull on plane instantly. I had forgotten just how nimble this little boat really is!

We cruised around the lake for about 30 minutes, burning off some of the 6-month old gasoline in the tank.

When I got back to the ramp, I had no trouble getting the boat cranked up on the trailer. She rolled right up with four keel rollers underneath her.

Then, as often happens, another fellow came over to look at the boat. He'd been fishing along the shoreline, but when he saw the old Whaler, he came over to the ramp for a closer look. We chatted for a few minutes, with the fellow recalling seeing the famous advertising of the Whaler being sawn in half when he was a boy.

"I see a lot of boats at the ramp, here," he said, "but you always remember the Whalers. They stand out."

That's another part of the fun of owning an older Whaler that is in great condition: it always draws compliments at the boat ramp.

Now the weekend is here, but the weather has left us. The temperatures are barely in the 50's today (Saturday) and snow is forecasted for Sunday! To top it off, I have to work today, too! Oh well, more Spring Boating in Michigan maybe next week.

Outraged posted 04-20-2002 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Outraged  Send Email to Outraged     
Jim,I was out as well in my 15 last Sat. As you know, in Michigan, you've got to take advantage of the weather when you can,cause you never know when the next chance will come this time of year to get out! Took a spin for a couple of hours, and Lake M was beautiful, just a 1' chop. Hope we see the warm weather come back soon! Outraged
Keith Silliman posted 04-20-2002 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Keith Silliman    
Spent this last week at our camp in the Adirondacks. It has been unseasonably warm. Last weekend, the temperature got up into the 70's. The ice on our lake went completely out in three days. A year ago, I spent a day cutting a path through a six foot snow drift, so the runoff would have a place to go, other than into the lower level of the camp. What a difference a year makes!

I had planned on retrieving my Montauk from storage up North on May 1st. The weather has been so nice, I picked it up on April 18th, fully intending to bring it down to Albany, for use on the Hudson (our town has a launch site and they have got the floating docks in already). I left the boat up North-- first swim, first motor boat, and first canoe on the lake this year. What an unbelievable Spring.--

By the way-- we had an earthquake this morning! 5.1 at 6:40 AM. Epicenter about 20 miles from my camp.

tbirdsey posted 04-21-2002 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for tbirdsey  Send Email to tbirdsey     
Got to do a little spring Great Lakes boating myself last week. We picked up the 72 Outrage in Saugatuck and headed for Traverse City to visit folks for a few days. As you all know, the weather,even in Traverse City was magnificent last week and I took advantage of it for the maiden voyage of what I consider to be Whaler finest moment.

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