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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  • 1 Post By Mary Flower
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Old 08-18-2013
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What size boat for Lake Michigan?

I have been looking at a Catalina 22 (1976, swing keel) I would probably not trailer but instead keep it on Portage Lake which has a channel to Lake Michigan. I might like to get out in the big lake sometimes, but question if this boat is too small or too light or not seaworthy enough. Should I be looking larger and I would really appreciate some suggestions re other boats. Thanks
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Old 08-18-2013
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Re: What size boat for Lake Michigan?

There are an awful lot of people in Catalina 22's having a great time on Lake Michigan. It really depends on where you want to go and the weather when you are going. Be smart...no matter what size boat you end up with...and you will be fine.It is a great little boat.

As to what other boats that is really an open question without budget, experience, plans for how you want to use it, etc.. C22's are fine for some overnights, think camping, but not if you plan on spending weeks aboard and traveling the lake.

Good Luck
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Old 08-18-2013
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Re: What size boat for Lake Michigan?

Having sailed Lake Michigan for many years, I would say that you could certainly take a Catalina 22 out on the lake so long as you choose your weather carefully. Weather and sea state can - and often does - change very quickly and that boat is just not suited for heavy weather. It's basically a day sailer and is not built to take heavy air or, especially, the short, steep waves that can quickly build on Lake Michigan.

Portage Lake is five miles from Manistee and about fifteen miles from Frankfort. I definitely would not recommend venturing further than those two harbors. We used to sail with friends who had a MacGregor Venture 23 - very much the same kind of boat - and we had a lot of fun day sailing out of Waukegan Harbor but the idea of going further afield never crossed anyone's mind. The boat was simply not suited for it.

Lake Michigan can be great fun in 10 - 15 knots of wind in that boat, but it can quickly rev up to the point where it could easily put your boat and your life in jeopardy.

Sail the boat in the conditions for which it was designed and you'll have a ball. Do not tempt fate.

If you want to do longer range cruising, look for a bigger boat.

Jim
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Re: What size boat for Lake Michigan?

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Originally Posted by Mary Flower View Post
Having sailed Lake Michigan for many years, I would say that you could certainly take a Catalina 22 out on the lake so long as you choose your weather carefully. Weather and sea state can - and often does - change very quickly and that boat is just not suited for heavy weather. It's basically a day sailer and is not built to take heavy air or, especially, the short, steep waves that can quickly build on Lake Michigan.

Portage Lake is five miles from Manistee and about fifteen miles from Frankfort. I definitely would not recommend venturing further than those two harbors. We used to sail with friends who had a MacGregor Venture 23 - very much the same kind of boat - and we had a lot of fun day sailing out of Waukegan Harbor but the idea of going further afield never crossed anyone's mind. The boat was simply not suited for it.

Lake Michigan can be great fun in 10 - 15 knots of wind in that boat, but it can quickly rev up to the point where it could easily put your boat and your life in jeopardy.

Sail the boat in the conditions for which it was designed and you'll have a ball. Do not tempt fate.

If you want to do longer range cruising, look for a bigger boat.

Jim
I would agree with the post on restrictions. Going south you have more options, but the first port north of Frankfort is Leland at 50+miles. That is a big hop with a small outboard. Certainly is done very often, but takes good planning.

I know someone that bought a C22 in Wisconsin and sailed it to Traverse City, so it can be done. In that case it was a very lucky novice that did not know what he did not know. Luckily, the weather was great and he had no problem.
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Old 08-18-2013
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Re: What size boat for Lake Michigan?

Having sailed in all sorts of weather on Lake Michigan and made every port, I'd have to agree wholeheartedly with Jim. I've left port in nice weather and seen it turn ugly in as little as an hour. So, with your boat, I'd keep within an hour or so of any harbor if there's any chance of the weather changing.

But it's not just the boat, it's the crew and their experience that will help prevent a disaster.
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Old 08-18-2013
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Re: What size boat for Lake Michigan?

Having grown up on a Cat 22, and 25 out of Holland, I have to totally agree with the previous posters, they are simple, and fun, we trailered ours and stepped the mast every weekend at first, till we got a slip. The pop-top was nice as there was not much(any) headroom below, they are fair weather boats for sure, so you really have to watch the weather windows. We buried the rails a lot, and had her going 7 knots more than once.

Be certain the rudder is properly secured if you splash at a boat ramp, as my dad lost our rudder overboard and it sank in 10' of water at the ramp...but that is for another thread..good times...he dove in after it, and we were all surprised when he came back up with it...LOL

I say go for it....
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Re: What size boat for Lake Michigan?

I race weekly on Lake Michigan, on a 37 footer. We race against boats as large as 42 feet or so. All summer long, I have seen a Catalina 22 racing with the fleet--it's been really fun seeing them out there.

Keep in mind, when we race we're no more than several miles from the marina and we're out for only a few hours. So, I agree with the other posters who have noted that you need to be careful. But, if you do, then the C22 is well-suited for Lake Michigan.
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Old 08-19-2013
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Re: What size boat for Lake Michigan?

You'll do just fine with a C22 on Portage Lake and occassional sails out on the big lake. If you plan to cruise to other ports, you'll need to watch the weather and prepare appropriately (gear, experience, etc.). We kept a Helms 25 swing keel (very similar to the C22) in Grand Haven for a few years and frequently sailed south to Holland (~18 miles) and north to Muskegon (~12 miles) during good weather. If the particular C22 you're looking at is solid, the biggest problem you may have is the outboard cavitation if you're forced to motor to windward in any kind of sea. We loved our Helms, but I'm happy to have an inboard auxillary on our current boat.
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