Waukegan, IL to Door County, WI
Being a newbie at cruising (recently purchased a 27 footer), I'm wondering what daily passages I could expect to make (assuming decent weather) from Waukegan, IL to say Sturgeon Bay, WI. I'd take a sheltered harbor nightly to get rest and also seek safety.
Waukegan, IL --> Milwaukee, WI --> Sheboygan --> Sturgeon Bay (--> Egg Harbor, maybe)
Does this sound doable?
Good gosh, this is just a dream of mine waiting to get whet this summer!
Some of our southern Lake Michigan folks seem to be away for a while. Join the Lake Michigan email list here on Sailnet and post your question there. Lots of answers will quickly appear.
I've made that trip.
We had to motor the whole way due to lack of wind if you can believe that.
We did Racine, Port washington, Manitowoc, Sturgeon Bay. These were resonable length days,as it was early May and very cold. On a nice summer day with a sw breeze it would be wonderful.
I can't recall off the top of my head the NM's between the ports you have listed. I would sugesst that you try and keep it around 50NM's per day.
Waukegan - Milwaukee might be right around there.
There are several nice marinas/harbors not on your list that might break it up into shorter legs.
Kenosha, Racine, Port Washington, Manitowoc, Two rivers, Kewaunee, and Algoma.
Note: I just checked your milage between ports and it looks like a sound plan other than the leg between Sheboygan to Sturgeon.
That is about 71NM's. Certainly doable, but it would depend on your confidence level. You might want to add another stop or two to break it up.
Take your time, don't be in a hurry, thats what cruising is all about, enjoy the ride.
Waukegan, IL to Door County, WI
(The 50 NMiles a day is listed by a faster 36ft Boat). You will be sailing and docking in the dark. Worst of all, Navigating in the Dark. Dangerous,really frustrating.
*Many days you will be lucky to make 25 miles.
Also, getting into a harbor,dock, or just plain getting into a harbor without grounding,hitting,navigating, or Figuring out the LIGHTS and which side of lights can be very,very difficult.
From the water, every thing can look,appear different.
--Just wait till you go sailing a few times to determine your cruising abilities -- CREW. Depending if you have one and who it is will make an impact on you and them.
If you have a wife or girlfriend, the FIRST CRUISE EXPERIENCES will tell them if they will go with you again or ever !
This will sound stupid, but ---in addition to GPS-- (Also, take a Road Map so when you know what Town you are off of you will have a Better idea of distances you need to go and your location). (on shoreline of Lake Mich)
Our boat is in Manitowoc and I have sailed Lk Mi for years. You will have no problem running up the coast with a port reachable each day (assuming you have a motor). You can keep the shore in site at all times and as long as you respect the forecast and you and your boats limits it is a really nice sail.
However, if you are a true novice you must learn some fundamentals first as storms come up fast. They often don't last long but they can be very powerful.
So as a minimum before heading out be sure you can quickly reef (you must practice), learn and understand how to heave to. Understand and practice manoverboard procedures and the proper use of your radio. You are in a great sailing area but trust me, if you do not get instruction on at least what I have mentioned you can get in real trouble, Even 3 miles offshore and it will take you over a half hour to get back and that's assuming you are straight out from you port with favorable wind and seas
Most the squalls come from the west so you will not have a lee shore, low pressure storms however will typically leave you with a lee shore (the boat being pushed toward shore) so again always check weather
Have fun, hope this helps
Walk then run
I'd like to add a few things to the excellent comments others have made here with regard to cruising the lake shoreline. I would definitely take a few short overnight cruises before heading out on the "big one". Comments about approaching a strange harbor at night are right on. Waukegan itself is a great example. Stay offshore a few miles one evening and then see how long it takes you to find the (familiar) harbor entrance lights heading back against the light clutter on shore. Now imagine what that would be like if you never saw the harbor entrance before. As to speed in a 27 footer, when I first sailed this area in a similar sized boat I got a quick appreciation for the scale of things and that many factors influence how many miles you can put under your keel in a day. Lack of wind early and late in the day is to be expected. SW wind prevails much of the summer so keep that in mind. Bashing into steep short waves when they occur during/after storms can be tiring and really slows a smaller boat you down unless the wind is there to help you. In any case a good reliable engine is a must. Hope to see you on the water (in 6 months or so).
The trip you are thinking of is a lot of fun. From Waukegan I migt suggest a stops in Racine, Milwaukee, Port Washinton, Sheboygan, Manitoc, Kewaunee, (skip Algoma, too shallow) Sturgeon Bay. If you want to venture farther north (well worth it if you have the time) It will take you the better part of a day to get from Sturgeon Bay to Egg Harbor depending on weather. The transit from Sturgeon Bay out into Green Bay can be time consuming.
My home port is Egg Harbor. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
I agree! That's a great trip. Milwaukee is a great port, so is Prt Washington. And Door County would be a perfect summer home on the boat if you could take that much time.
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