When you come to visit Grosse Ile, you will notice that it is an island in a river. You may ask yourself, "wonder what the current is like in this river?"
Yes, there is a slight current. That said, it is pretty constant where we will be sailing. In the map above I have drawn the direction of the current in blue and labeled the shipping channel. The closer you get to the shipping channel, the stronger the current will be. How much stronger depends on the wind direction. If the wind is from the North it can accelerate the current. If it is from the South, it can slow down the current.
So what to do with this knowledge? Data says unless the wind is shifting dramatically, stay out of the shipping channel. If you are in the shipping channel where the current increases more, you are already sailing where you should not be. Our Race Committee is going to everything possible to keep racing as fair as possible. Our goal is to make sure we place the course in an area where the current is minimal and as constant from side to side as possible.
We will have some "Dock Talks" in the schedule before racing where some local sailors share their knowledge of what has worked for them with the current. Look for Dock Talk times when you receive your skipper packets. We may also have some current speeds/readings from the week before hand for various spots over our course we can share as well.
No need to fear the current, sign up to race today! We promise there will be fun for all.
You may have heard that Lake Erie has algae and weeds. The Algae is not a problem near the Detroit River, our water is actually very clean as it is being brought down by the current from beautiful Lake Huron and our friends in Sarnia. The weeds can be spotty, but sailing with them is completely manageable, especially later in the year when the CCR takes place. That said, building a weed stick is a good idea because there are a few floaters here and there in September. It is always better to be prepared and not have to use it then not have it and get something hung up on the rudder.
So what happens if you get some of these on your rudder and keel? The keel is easy, raising and lowering the board will clear them. For the rudder, we recommend a weed stick. This is a home made long stick with a piece of cloth or sponge attached at one end that a crew member can lean over the back of the boat with and run down the leading edge of the rudder to clear all debris with.
Where do you get one of these magical devices you ask? (Assuming you don't have a boat hook) Answer is very easy... Go to West Marine and search for boat hooks. I recommend something like this one: www.westmarine.com/buy/west-marine--floating-telescoping-shorty-boat-hook--8243123?recordNum=1
I like these West Marine boat hooks as they have plastic hooks with rubber tips that wont scratch your rudder. You will also need to get a microfiber cloth and some duct tape. Tape the microfiber cloth in a bunch over the hook and now you have a weed stick. The cloth will conform to the shape of the leading edge of the rudder.
Methods will take some practice... but lean over the back of the boat and put the cloth covered hook over the front of the rudder. Grab the boat hook pole and push the hook down the front of the rudder to clear all the weeds. Presto, clean rudder!