2004 Midwest Messabout
by Max Wawrzyniak
As I have stated several times on the internet
"chat boards" and "discussion groups," the
Midwest Messabout has become the "high-point" of my
summer boating activities.
my AF4 at her mooring
(click to enlarge)
The first year I attended, 1999, I drove down
with a friend but without a boat, and was left standing at the
launch ramp as those with boats departed for distant regions
of the lake.
In 2000, I brought a 1950's Crestliner powered
with a 1940's Johnson, and was able to actually see something.
In 2001, I brought along my just-completed AF4 and spent the
first of what would become many nights aboard her.
2002 was the year I had my also-just-completed
AF3 at the messabout. 2003 saw the AF4 back again, along with
the Oracle rowboat, and 2004 was to be a duplicate of 2003.
Rhett Davis in my Oracle
Since a few participants had been showing-up at
Rend Lake as early as Thursday, I departed for the Lake after
work on Thursday evening, and arrived around 18:00 hours to
find I was the only one there. By the time I had launched both
boats and set my anchor and mooring bouy, it was almost dark,
and I suppered on a can of chili. High-water tends to greatly
limit the availability of good beaching space at Rend Lake and
so I have gotten into the habit of setting an anchor and bouy
for mooring the AF4. This conserves beaching space for the other
boats, and the Oracle serves as a dinghy. The bouy arangment
saves pulling the anchor every time I want to go cruising a
Friday dawned windy but quiet, but soon the "messabouters"
began to arrive; some being familiar old faces, others brand
new friends. As is usual, there were a few with tales of over-coming
mechanical difficulties on the road.
Dave Seaberg's D-4
Friday povided plenty of wind for the "rag"
boats which they took advantage of, even Dave Seaberg, whose
D4 was about the smallest sailboat there. Friday night brought
a "discussion" session where a number of issues affecting
humanity as a whole were debated.
Being a morning person, I was out rowing the
oracle at 05:45 Sat. morning, but was chased-in off the lake
by approaching rain by 06:15. The crowd then retired to the
local "greasy spoon" for breakfast and gamming while
the skies opened-up and dumped.
Dinner under Dave's tarp
Along near noon, the sun came out and we messabouters
enjoyed an afternoon of pleasant boating. Late in the afternoon,
Jim Michalak and I took an inventory of what food we had available
for the Saturday Night community dinner, and then headed for
"Big John's" grocery in a near-by town to pick-up
the rest of the supplies.
Dave Gray of Polysails
The dinner hour brought more foul weather, lots
of rain and wind, as the messabouters stayed (mostly) dry under
a tarp provided by Dave Gray of Polytarp
sail fame. Hey Dave, Phil from Arkansas volunteered to hold
the tarp and to bring it to next year's messabout. We certainly
appreciate your bringing it!
Saturday night's conversations mirrored those
of Friday, with much discussion of world events and seemingly
little on the standard subject of most messabouts; i.e. glue.
Saturday night the wind blew pretty hard, and as the AF4 was
anchored in a rather exposed position, I was somewhat concerned
about losing sleep to the often-discussed "flat-bottomed-boat"
slapping in the waves, but it wasn't all that bad, probably
because my weight in the cabin of the AF4 put the stem down
near the water.
Jeff's Jinx - quality time
Sunday dawned gray with an occasional shower,
but most people were headed for home anyway. Near Noon the sun
came out, and the final hold-out of the messabouters, Jeff Hoesel,
managed to get in some quality time aboard his Jinx runabout
as the last of the other messabouters rolled out of the campgrounds.
As near as I can tell, there were about 21 boats in attendance
at this year's Midwest Messabout, down slightly from last year,
but still a very respectable turn-out. Despite the foul weather
and higher-than optimal lake levels, I still had a good time
and believe that most of the other attendees did as well.
There were a few individuals who had planned on attending but
had to cancel due to more pressing issues; we certainly hope
to see you next year.
Jim Michalak in his AF4
Be sure to check-out Jim Michalak's write-up
of the event in his July 1st newsletter.
Many thanks to all who attended and who contributed food to
the community dinner and contributed good conversation to the