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.

click to enlarge
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.

click to enlarge
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 bit.

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.

click to enlarge
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.

click to enlarge
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.

click to enlarge
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.

click to enlarge
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.

click to enlarge
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 "bull sessions!"

Max Wawrzyniak