I am an amateur documentary film maker. I just had an old friend propose a possible next project, the Mackinac Race. Its a 300 mile race in a 41' sloop across Lake Huron, and is supposed to be pretty intense. The problem is, Ive never sailed a day in my life.
In order to test my stomach, I wanted to try it out here in the pac nw before I accpet the project. Does anyone have any recommendations for company's that offer tours that will have similar conditions to what Ill have to experience in Lake Huron? Im looking for something that will last an afternoon and not cost me an arm and a leg.
First, realize that your experience off the Oregon Coast will only approximate the lake Huron experience. The Great Lakes are mostly rough due to wind; the higher the wind, the rougher, but the waves can be vastly different. Choppy, short period, erratic, etc.
The Port Huron to Mackinac Race (and the Chicago to Mackinac, which is the original) are great races, 23rd July this year. Read up on them and get a feel for the race itself at: Bayview Yacht Club - 2011 Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race
I grew up in Port Huron and remember being able to walk across the Black River from shore to shore on boats tied up so deep that it allowed only one boat through - you timed your crossing to use the boat passing to gain the other side - all the captains were very accommodating to us if we politely asked permission first. It was a huge party the Friday night before the race.
Hundreds of boats, the colorful sails, the obvious joy of the crews as they began the race...it's what drew me to sailing.
But the Great Lakes aren't the Ocean. It might be better, or it might be worse, or it might just depend on when you make the assessment. You'll have a blast.