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Old 06-10-2008
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Picking a Great Lakes weekender/cruiser...

We are considering settling in the Traverse City/Petoskey area of Michigan once my wife is done with her time in the Air Force. Until a couple years ago, we owned a Catalina 25 and moved it around with us as we changed duty stations. We sold the boat when we found out we were moving to Abilene, TX (YUK!!) but have kept the dream alive via bareboat charters and lots of daydreaming.
Now I'm starting to research boats again with the thought that we will be exploring the waters of Lake Michigan in the not-to-distant future. Having not sailed on the Great Lakes before, I'm looking for help with boats that might apeal to us as I narrow the list of candidates. Obviously you need to know a little about us in order to provide feedback...so here goes:

Two adults and two kids.
Looking to explore on weekends and maybe do a couple week-long trips in summer. No plans to race.
30-32 feet/ mono
Budget of around 50K
Not afraid of doing work myself on the "right" boat.
Lean more toward the trad. look vs. modern lines.

Any ideas......

Nate
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Old 06-10-2008
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Old 06-10-2008
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There's a dead sexy Tartan for sale at the my marina where my boat lives. I'lll volunteer delivery duty...
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Old 06-11-2008
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The boat is a pretty open question, and really depends on what floats your boat. Most of the production boats are good coastal cruisers and fine for Lake Michigan, etc.. I have a Catalina and love it. There are people here that love their Bene's, etc.. Kick some tires and see what works for you and your Admiral.

The reason that I actually posted to this is a warning. Slips are the issue in northern Lake Michigan. Lots of waiting lists. There are some additions planned near term in Elmwood in TC and the Indians are planning a new marina near their casino north of Suttons Bay.

The current list at Elmwood may be much more than enough to fill their slips. I was on that list 5 years before getting in if that gives you an idea. Clinch is full with a long list.

Elk Rapids is full and the last I heard was about a 5 year wait. Suttons Bay, long list, and will not accept permanent boats over 34'LOA. Northport, I have moved down 6 places to I think now 83rd in 6 years. Too bad my number is not transferable to my grandchildren. There is talk of expansion, but the list will probably more than cover the new slips. People just do not seem to leave Northport. Some of the boats don't move much and are owned by people from Detroit and Chicago as summer homes.

Petoskey, Charlevoix, etc. were having the same problem. I assume they still are.

Bottom line....if you are coming get on the lists now. Sign up now and hope you hit at the right time. You get one pass before moving to the back of the list in most cases. There is a fee to get on most lists, but it is not bad. Good luck. The current expansions may help in a down market, but the problem has existed in the northwest part of the state for a lot of years. Last I checked a nice marina on Lake Huron was about half the cost of one on Lake Michigan. Don't really understand that one and I live here.

Last edited by tommyt; 06-11-2008 at 12:10 AM.
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Tommy,
Thanks for you response...it was rather eyeopening! I guess I didn't think that there might not be enough slips to go around. I suppose all the folks waiting for slips are on the moorings?
I guess I could look at buying a home on Lake Charlevoix that has deep enough water for a dock.....may not have money left for a boat after that though! The other option is that my wife has an aunt who lives in Bay Harbor and has a private dock at her house. They have a powerboat that lives in its own boathouse, which leaves the 70' dock unoccupied. I guess I better start sucking up to them a little more!
I see your point about the east side of the state, my wife's grandparents live over in Rogers City and you are dead on about how things over on that side are vastly different than the Lake Michigan side...it's almost sad to see some of the small towns along Hwy 23 struggle. Weird.

Anyway, thanks for the info.....

Nate
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Old 06-11-2008
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If you have not already settled into the Traverese area, beautiful South West Michigan has a lot to offer and plenty of slips available. They are not cheap by any means, but readily available. What we don't have is the protected waters of a 40mile bay, but lots of open water sailing.

I second what Tommy said, most of the current production boats make very comfortable Great Lakes Cruisers.
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Nate,

First, Lake Charlevoix is a great option for boats in the range up to mid 30's. In Round Lake your price range of boat would probably be for a runabout to use as shore boat. Lake Charlevoix has protected waters to sail when the big lake is churning. A active racing group, and only 30 miles to Beaver from the bridge.

If you have the option of sucking up to relatives in Bay Harbor I think I would go there if you live close. First, unless they are obnoxious, you always want to have the wealthy relatives in your corner. Saves you $2500-$5000 a season in slip fees. Great overall location, close runs to Charlevoix, Beaver, Petoskey, Harbor.

In TC a lot of people are on moorings. I think that only 16, belonging to the yacht club, are approved moorings. People put their own ground tackle down, and so far the Corps of Engineers has only talked about removing them. The same is true in Suttons Bay where the Corps did ticket and threaten to remove moorings a couple of years ago. If that ever happens, the slip issue will become an even more aggressive issue.
Also, make sure you are insured for a private mooring. Some companies are a little reluctant to insure un regulated moorings. A few years ago we had about 20 boats washed up at the bottom of the bay after a coupld of days of heavy NE winds. Some of those were from the mooring field because of chafe or poor ground tackle.

Remember, that on some of the lists the number of people that actually have boats that need a slip is much less than the number on the lists. Some are in anticipation, some have sold boats already, some decided that boats were not for them. In my case, I was 120 on the Elmwood list and got one of the vacant slips a couple of years ago. BUT....I had waited for that call for 5 years. I was fortunate to have other, more expensive options.

Depending on how long before you get here, this may be a non issue. Lots of power boats not in yet this year. Fuel prices and higher slip fees are slowing them down. Real estate prices have come down to a more reasonable level in the last year based on Michigans economy and the overall market. While 5 years ago lakefront property sold very quickly at over heated prices, there is a lot on the market these days and the price continues to drop. They don't make any more of it though, so the price will go back up again.

The Lake Huron shore still surprises me. As a kid I spent a lot of time over there. You would think that with its distance to the population centers in Michigan it would have developed faster. I have a friend in the Oscoda are with frontage on Lake Huron, great beach, beautiful home, that would sell for at least twice as much in NW lower Michigan. Go figure.

Last edited by tommyt; 06-11-2008 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 06-11-2008
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Hi Nate,
I live and sail out of Muskegon MI, we have a little longer season and the most reasonable slips in West Michigan. If you are ever in the area let me know and we would love to take you out sailing.
Frank
231-750-1400
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Frank,
FYI There are a couple of you guys from here that sail out Muskegon.
Maybe you guys could do a rendezvous.

Sorry about the hijack, please continue.
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Old 06-16-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NateAdams View Post
Two adults and two kids.
Looking to explore on weekends and maybe do a couple week-long trips in summer. No plans to race.
30-32 feet/ mono
Budget of around 50K
Not afraid of doing work myself on the "right" boat.
Lean more toward the trad. look vs. modern lines.
Based on the above and emphasizing the "traditional look", let me suggest these:
Westsail 28/32
Cabo Rico Tiburon 36
Pacific Seacraft 27/31
Southern Cross 31
Island Packet 27/31
Ta Shing Baba 30
Hallberg-Rassy Rasmus 35
Valiant 32
Cheoy Lee Luders 36
Allied Princess 36
Allied Seawind 30
True North 34
Willard 8 Ton World Cruiser
Nor Sea 27
Fantasia 35
Union 36
Bayfield 29/32/36
Cape Dory 32/36
Fuji 32/35
Shannon 28
Pan Oceanic 36
Tayana 37
Hardin Sea Wolf 40
Hinterhoeller Niagra 35
Dreadnought 32
Vancouver 27
Vineyard Vixen 34
Alajuela 33
Island Trader 37
Com Pac 27
Liberty 28
Kenner Privateer 26

Phew...that's a long list of relatively slow, seaworthy, older boats. Most are probably overkill for coastal cruising in Lake Michigan. But they have traditional looks and can be had within your budget. Many would be on my list if I had $50k to spend on the next boat.

Lake Charlevoix has excellent sailing and good access to a lot of great cruising destinations. The marinas in/near the city of Charlevoix and Round Lake do have waiting lists, buy slips can still be had in Boyne City. The downside is that you're farther from Lake Michigan. We have a family cottage on Horton Bay where I've often thought of mooring our sailboat, but then I've got a 3 hour drive to deal with before and after I sail.

Welcome to sailnet!
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