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  #1  
Old 09-21-2007
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sailing chicago

I will be taking a trip to Lake Michigan in two weeks and had a few questions.
I think that I will put in at Waukegan and would like to sail down to Chicago I have a vhf and a hand held gps do I really need a chart also does anybody have a marina suggestion I would like to try to be in the navy pier area. This will be my first little micro cruise so any other suggestions would be helpful to. Thanks
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Old 09-22-2007
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You amy be better off posting this question on the Lake Michigan email list. There are some regulars familiar with the area sailing, and a lot on the email list. Most of them are out getting in one of their last weekends on the water right now.
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Old 09-22-2007
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Well if you are comfortable sailing 50 miles on lake michigan in october in a trailer boat....I would have a REAL VHF ...not a hand held, a cell phone as backup with emergency numbers programmed in...and a couple of GPS's and extra batteries along with other CG required equipment. Yes you need paper charts and if you dont wan't to buy them, you can download what you need from noaa and print them out.
I would also have a liferaft or at least a dinghy you can get into to stay out of the water till help arrives if you go over. The daylight is pretty short by OCT 1st...are you sure you can get that far in a day? My personal opinion is that this trip at this time of year is a lot to bite off in a 30 yr. old MacGregor 22. Be sure both you and the boat are up to it.
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Old 09-23-2007
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Yes, you really need a proper chart(s) and a backup waterproof handheld GPS at least. I use a paper chart but also use the free downloadable Seaclear program on my laptop with a $28.00 GPS receiver for the USB port. This lets me gather a position right away, and I know I have current charts because the updates are shown on the NOAA website, so I can compare with what I bought from the Marine Nav store.

As far as the VHF, you didn't say, but I would really suggest a 25 Watt / 1 Watt base station unit (those ones that are about the size of a car stereo). If Lake michigan is ANYTHING like it is out here, you can't get coasties or state troopers / boat cops on the radio, and will need a cell phone too.

My uncle was up by the U.P. in Michigan and almost hit an empty semi-floating container in his stinkpot one night. Not sure if you'd have to worry about that on your route, but it might pay to ask around to other guys from that area to see if you're packed right.
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Old 09-23-2007
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Oh - last time we went to Chicago, we went to Belmar (or was it Belmont?) Harbor just a stone's throw from Downtown. There is a school there and they have a transient pier too. Lots of sailboats there!
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Old 09-26-2007
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Smile

thanks guys after further thought and the girlfriend reading cams post thanks for scaring her befor I did I think that I am just going to stay in the waukegan area it looks like it will be good weather so far but I know that is very subject to change. I was able to barrow a paper chart and another hand held vhf. so now i guess all thats left is to find where the good eats are.
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Old 09-26-2007
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If you want to do a quick overnight cruise; Saturday to Sunday, and you are stuck on launching out of Waukegan, You can look into;
Waukegan to Winthrop Harbor.
Waukegan to Kenosha.
Waukegan to Racine.

I liked Racine a lot the last time we were there.

Also, if you are trailering, why not drive a little further and get away from Waukegan? As you can tell, I am not real big fan of that town. You might find it more enjoyable to launch from Winthrop Harbor or Racine. Just my opinion.
If it were me, I would launch at Winthrop and cruise to Racine; If the weather window was appropriate. I would have to check the charts again, but I belive thats about 25NM's.

Also, you can launch in Chicago if you really want to go there.
Most people use the ramps at Burnham. I am retreiving a friends boat from there next week. We regularly use the ramps there for small sail boats.
Just don't go there on a Sunday when the Bears are in town.
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Old 10-03-2007
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I actually purchased my Hunter up in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin. If you've got the fuel in the truck i'd highly recommend going up a little further north. The little towns that dot the Wisconsin shore conjure up memories of New England Sea Towns, and the color of the water up North will make you believe you're in the Bahamas! Of course the weather here is getting kinda chilly... Supposed to be in the 80's this weekend in Muskegon, MI. (Sitting on the boat laughing at all of the boaters who've allready pulled out for the year :-) ).
Whatever you'll do, you'll be in for a great year-end!
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Old 10-03-2007
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That's a pretty small boat for the potential stuff that can blow up in October. I'd trailer to Burnham Harbor & sail inside the breakwater. You're much more assured of being able to go out on any given day.
You go from Waukegan to Winthrop and you might not be able to get back the next day when the stuff pipes up.
The breakwater in Chicago is very big and there is small boat sailing room in there and you can go outside if it's nice.
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