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Old 11-09-2009
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Brit looking for info on Lake Michigan Charter

Hope forum members can help.

I'm looking for a 10 day sailboat charter (40 ft or so) out of Chicago. i've heard that the Lake provides excellent sailing and that there are enough places to visit for a 10 day itinery.

Members thoughts welcome: weather to expect Mid August. Suggested routes/towns. Good charter links. Should I go for another Lake Michigan base?

Looking forward to a good response from US sailors.

Nick (Manchester UK)
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Old 11-09-2009
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I am sure there are many here that know Lake Michigan better than I, but personally I would start further north. Northern Lake Michigan is much prettier, and less developed, than southern Lake Michigan. Traverse City would be a great place to start. The area is beautiful and there are a lot of great destinations nearby. Bay Breeze Yacht Charters & Sailing School :: Lake Michigan Sailing, Yacht Charters and Yacht Management.
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Old 11-09-2009
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xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about
Ditto to what raindog said. Traverse Bay and beyond is a very nice sailing area.

But it will be 5 or more hours drive from Chicago.

You could also look to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Similar lattitude, but other side of the lake.

Weather should be quite stable in Mid-August. Hot but comfortable on the lake. Afternoon thunderstorms are possible.

If you find something in Chicago, the harbors all along the Michigan shore to the northeast are quite nice. Good protected stops every 10 to 20 miles with nice old tourist towns

Last edited by xort; 11-09-2009 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 11-11-2009
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You actually have quite a few options dependent on your groups needs. Those needs would include size of boat as well as needs for your base.

Sailboats, Inc operates predominantly in Lake Superior, but offers limited bases in Chicago and Manitowac, Wisconsin. You will find much smaller fleets in these locations, but I think that you will find them the only options on the west side of Lake Michigan. Costs in Chicago are higher than the north lake.

Michigan City, Indiana also has a fleet of bareboats. They are at the southern base of the Lake and allow you to move up either coast, both of which offer lots of choices of cities and marinas.

Bay Breeze in Traverse City, Mi ( a 7-8 hour drive from Chicago) offers a fleet of about 20 boats ranging from 30-43'. They also operate a few boats out of Cheboygan, Mi. 10 days out of either of these sites give you lots of options. The entire Grand Traverse Bay, Beaver Island, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Mackinac Island, etc.

Canadian Yacht Charters operates from the North Channel of Lake Huron with a large fleet of sail and power options. 10 days is a good way to wet your appetite for the NC.

Weather in August is usually good, but our micro climates make things change quickly. August is definetely the most reliable time of the year.

10 days from any of these locations is a good start. Keep coming back for 20 years and you may cover 1/3 of the harbors.

Last edited by tomandchris; 11-11-2009 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 11-15-2009
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Thanks chaps, I knew that the forum would come up with the goods!

I took a look at the links and the areas you suggest. These look excellent.

Here's looking forward to a superb summer next year.

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Old 11-19-2009
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Come to North Lake Michigan

Hello Nick,

I live in the Traverse City area of Northern Lake Michigan. I would encourage you to begin your charter here.

Lake Michigan is about 300 miles long and 70 miles wide. I believe the Northeast portion is best suited for the visiting cruiser. You will find beautiful sandy beaches, quaint villages, interesting islands, lots of natural beauty, and historical sites. You will never be more than 30 miles from a safe harbour. You will often have the choice to anchor or take a marina slip.

You should find the weather, winds, and seas to be very variable. Daytime temperatures will range from high 60's F to high 80's F. Water temperatures will be from mid 60's to low 70's and can change 10 degrees very quickly depending on where you are and which way the wind blows. If there is such a thing as prevailing winds here, it is from the west, 5 to 15 knots. Seas are commonly flat to 4ft, waves are steep with short periods. There are no tides to deal with. The weather can change very quickly here.

You could spend the whole 10 days just in Grand Traverse Bay itself. Outside of the bay, places I would recommend would be Manitou Island, Beaver Island, Macinaw Island, and Les Cheneaux.

Please feel free to contact me publically or privately at any time with questions or concerns or the need for more information. I will be sailing in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean in December.

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