Home On The Lake — Chicago Tribune

22 мая 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Bertram Motor Yacht

A Love Of Boating Leads To A Live-in Year-round Affair

Granted, it wasn’t a bad winter by Chicago standards, but given the choice, most people still wouldn’t have spent the cold-weather months aboard a boat. In Hammond.

The 65-year-old Rouse is one of a handful of boaters living year-round on Lake Michigan, and one of two who spent the winter in the Hammond Marina. Boating officials estimate that as many as 100 other people live year-round on their boats along rivers in and near Chicago.

People who do this, such as Lew, have a real pioneering spirit, says Robert Nelson, the Hammond Marina director. To face the teeth of a Chicago winter out on Lake Michigan takes a lot of courage.

People do this because they find it exciting and they find their boats a beautiful place to escape their everyday worries, says Ned Dikmen, publisher of Great Lakes Boating magazine and president of the Chicagoland Boat Owners Association. Their only worries are their bilge pumps.

Rouse just completed his third winter on his boat. Before docking at the 1,113-slip Hammond Marina, he spent two winters at the River City Marina, 800 S. Wells St. with three other boaters.

That was convenient because I could walk three blocks to my office, says Rouse, who owns a small general contracting firm specializing in building maintenance and repairs.

He has a project office in the Dirksen Federal Building, where he does much of his work for the federal government.

What has allowed Rouse to live on the lake year-round is a bubbler-or air diffusion-system, a copper piping apparatus that keeps ice from forming around boats in a marina by creating an underwater current that brings warm water to the surface.

The system allowed some 30 boaters to keep their craft in the water at Hammond Marina last winter, instead of storing them in dry dock.

Though Rouse’s boat, a 42-foot Bertram motor yacht, is floating at the marina, it was permanently moored for the winter and rigged with additional electrical cables to power portable heaters.

Despite those restrictions, it’s a lifestyle Rouse is extremely pleased with and proud of-so much so that in 1993 he moved up to his current boat, from a 33-foot Bertram that he’d had for 13 years, because he felt it would be more comfortable year-round. He named both his former and current boats the Rousabout.

Rouse decided to live year-round on the first Rousabout three years ago. I had been single for several years, he recalls. I was divorced, and then my ex-wife passed away. I was living in a nice condominium in Des Plaines and keeping the boat in New Buffalo, Mich. For a single person, that was a lot. One afternoon, I decided, `What do I have to lose,’ and moved on the boat permanently.

Bertram Motor Yacht

The best way I can explain this, Rouse adds, is that by living on the boat, I can get my money’s worth out of (it). For most people, the Chicago boating season is May 15 through Oct. 15, and of those five months, 60 percent is decent boating weather. This way, I maximize that time that I enjoy my boat.

The summer Rouse decided to live on the his boat, it was docked at the Hammond Marina. They weren’t ready to have year-round boaters here, he says. That’s when I went to River City. There were three of us there on our boats that first winter.

Last spring, Rouse decided to move to Hammond after he heard about the bubbler. Docking at the lakefront marina also meant that he could avoid the delay of the bridges and locks from the Chicago River to the lake.

Despite the sophisticated bubbler system, Rouse has had a few weather-related challenges. I’ve had some blustery nights. On Halloween night, we had 65-mile-per-hour winds out here. I thought one of the small piers the boat was tied to was going to pull loose. So that night I ran a few additional lines to the next pier over for extra safety.

On the nights the thermometer outside was reading 10 below zero and the wind was blowing against the side of the boat from the northeast, the temperature in the cabin would get down to between 65 and 60 degrees, Rouse says. But I was comfortable. I had my ceramic heaters and an electric blanket.

And though the bubbler kept ice from forming around the boat, occasionally an errant ice flow would work its way around the docks.

I’ve got substantial cosmetic damage from ice hitting the boat when we’ve had very strong northeast and east winds. This winter, the marina was on a learning curve, and next winter, they’ll probably put a boom (a barrier of floating logs) in the water to keep the ice flows away.

To winterize the boat, Rouse had the marina supply him with two electrical cables that provided 30-amps of power. Rouse used the power to run as many as nine portable ceramic heaters to keep the boat and, more important, its plumbing warm.

Bertram Motor Yacht
Bertram Motor Yacht
Bertram Motor Yacht
Bertram Motor Yacht

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