Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Sailing We Shall Go

A Sailing We Shall Go.....high ho the derriere a Sailing We Shall Go.

With me boat hook in me hand!

My lovely friend David from Loopy Fruit asked me a few weeks if I would like to help their friend "Southern Joe" move his sailboat from drydock to harbor.

Me being the silly queen that I am quickly said "sure, no problem" without really understanding what I was getting myself into. I hear "sailboat" I think cocktails on the deck while the butler brings me a Champagne. After I thought about that for a second, I knew that scene was totally unrealistic, it would have to be Kir Royal cocktails - that's more like it.

Once my mind came out of the clouds I decided to ask what this adventure would entail. "Oh it's just taking the boat down the Chicago River while they raise the drawbridges." Ooooh, I love when they raise the drawbridges, and last year I wanted desperately to go down and watch them, but I missed the day, so I jumped at the chance to do it this year but from the vantage point of the bow of a yacht!

So last Saturday morning, they picked me up at 6:15 am. Yes you read that correctly, 6:15am on a Saturday morning (needless to say, I literally got out of bed 5 minutes before they got there and threw my clothes on fireman style and everything.) We hustled our way down to the South Street Canal and find out that we can't go because there's a problem with the water pump on the engine. We'll have to do it next week. Mission Aborted.

This Saturday morning I got a bit of a lay-in as they picked me up at 6:45 because David's brother and his boyfriend weren't able to go today and we were being escorted to the boat by Southern Joe himself.

This morning the engine was acting appropriately and we set sail with 11 other sailboats as we migrated from the winter dock to the summer harbor space. In theory this sounds very easy, but in practice it's not.

Of the 8 years in Chicago, this is the first time that I have been on a sailboat and out on the lake, this was an offer that I couldn't resist, even if it came with a bright and early wake up call and a scrub brush in my hand as we washed the boat and got it ready for the seasons maiden voyage.

We got off about 15 minutes late when the first drawbridge went up at 8:30, do you have any idea how many drawbridges there are on the Chicago River. Go ahead guess, you'll probably be wrong. I think from the dry dock we were at there were 13 drawbridges. Thirteen, Three more than your toes, that's a lot of drawbridges, and believe me you, after you see the first one go up, well ok the second one, they're all the same.

You would think that this would be an orchestrated event so that the drawbridges would open in sequence in a quick order so that everyone including commuters and pedestrians could quickly resume their life. Again, in theory it sounds fabulous.

The boys were so excited because after we got through the first bridge, the second started going up and then the next one ----- three in a row. And then we sat, and went in circles for about 10 minutes, and then the next one etc, etc, but each time we stopped we had to do something differeint, could we make big donuts in the river waiting for the next bridge to go up, should we cling to the walls of the river with our boat hooks and hope we don't get pulled away with the wake.

We sat at one bridge for 20 minutes, we sat in front of the new Trump Tower for about 15 minutes, clinging to the wall while laying on the deck having small chat with a friend, talking about everything and nothing in particular. We watched the Canadian Geese and yelled "le honk" at them with our best french canadian accents, they didn't take the bait.

Finally our goal came into site, it was only two brides away - Columbus and Lake Shore Drive. By this time it was 11:30, we had been on the water for three hours.

Around 12:30 we made our way into the federally owned and lifejacket wearing required Chicago Harbor Lock a whole 4 hours after we started. I thought our journey was almost finished - boy was I wrong.

Now that we had made it this far, we had to take it for a spin. I mean who takes the motorcycle out of the garage to only wash it but never drive it. So I was thrust into being a sailor - not thurst into a sailor like I typically like I might add.

I grabbed ropes, pulled levers, turned cranks, tied off ropes and even wore gloves. The sails were loaded into their proper slots, things were tied off properly and with the turn of a crank we had turned off the motor and were under power of simply the wind.

We were pulled across Lake Michigan by the hidden winds that cause so much frustration in the winter when it's cold and wind blowing everywhere. We were laying on the deck of the boat, the sun directly ahead of us, blue skies surrounding us and looking back on a city of 7,000,000 people. At one point we passed a big cruise ship (one of the big double decker booze hound drinking trips) and I did my best Leonard deCaprio "I'm King of the World" imitation - I made a couple of the straight boys clap and yell!

We unfurled the furling something or other, let the wind grab us and it tore us across the water, at one point I could have sworn the boat was going to capsize as it quickly pulled over to one side and I almost had water in my shoes, I was freaked out a little bit. Well I was freaked out a lot a bit! Fortunately one of the other passengers was also freaked out so we leveled out and eventually turned our way back towards the city pulled in the sails and motored back to the boats summer mooring place North Papa 28.

Take a look at the photos HERE

8 comments:

Andi said...

Look at you all sailor-like~!

If you can, get an outfit for next weeks shoot! that would be awesome!

gomad.ch said...

Sailing is all about rum, sodomy and the lash. How could you miss that so long?

Shane said...

Sounds like you had a great time. Good to know that you didn't get "seasick" either.

Antipodeesse said...

Goodness, what an ActionMichael you are!

(I understood your "Le Honk" perfectly. Those geese must have been retarded!)

Ice John's World said...

Cool! Beautiful weather for your sailing fun for sure. Great pictures.

Pete said...

i used to work by the river and the drawing the briges always got the staff crowded around the windows to ooh and ahh.

i need to make friends with boats since its so freakin' fun. its all about booze, baking, and boys.

Alexander said...

You're looking very nautical there!

The Big Finn said...

Thanks for making me homesick with those pictures!