Best Lakes in the US to Sail - Page 2 - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #11 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
Senior Member
rennisaint's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Houghton, MI
Posts: 140
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 10
tjk is right, it's cold here a lot and I forgot some people don't like that. But, if you do, instead of sailing there is iceboating, ice climbing, downhill and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, winter camping, basically anything you can imagine.
rennisaint is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #12 of 33 Old 04-25-2008
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 89
Thanks: 33
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Lake Guntersville

We sail on Lake Guntersville, in Alabama. With 962 miles of shoreline and 69,100 acres of water, it is as good as the sailing gets on the Tennessee River System. The lake is surrounded by mountains with peaks from 500-1000 feet above the water. Hundreds of coves for protected and usually private anchorages make the gunkholing excellent. The mountains make for very challenging sailing as there is no prevailing wind and no matter the true wind the wind will vary widely from location to location. I have crept with every stitch of canvas up only to round a headland and face a 30kt blow.
There are two active sailing clubs on the lake, with joint events and good competition, and 4 or 5 marinas for sailboats. There are also active clubs on the adjoining reservoirs (Wheeler, Pickwick, Nickajack) and some regional events. My wife is crewing this weekend on a boat from our club at the 50th annual Dauphin Island Race in Mobile (expecting 300 boats at the starting line).
Our club has a winter race series, so winter is not so harsh as to preclude sailing some of the time. Actually, the wind is best from October-May, summer is time for cruising, camping, and swimming.
If your mast is less than 51 feet you can use the Tenn-Tom to the Gulf or go up throught the Great Lakes.
As a native of Miami, I've heard all the knocks on lakesailors, but one will never set the sails and ride without adjustment very far here, and you will learn to read the water or it will teach you the hard way.
Barge traffic is a reality but it is relatively light (the traffic not the barges).
They will keep you on your toes or on the bottom as they are 600' long and totally restricted to the sailing line due to draft and have a stopping distance like that of a freight train.
It would be a great place for cruisers to spend an active hurricane season. One of the few places left where one expects to be the only boat in the anchorage most of the time.
lowtide is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #13 of 33 Old 04-25-2008
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: wherever
Posts: 5,609
Thanks: 8
Thanked 30 Times in 29 Posts
Rep Power: 13
Cruising World had a 'top 10 cruising destinations in the world' article many years ago. The only lake to make it was the North Channel of Lake Huron. It's on the Canadian side of the lake. Spectacular cruising area. Americans can buy up there. It's known locally as cottage country. I'd love to have a summer home up there. Thousands of small islands with only one or two homes. You are granted a boat dock at the nearest road end.
xort is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #14 of 33 Old 04-25-2008
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 555
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Hey, the original poster disapeared and here we are arguing about the weather.

It really depends on their needs so I think that maybe they need to come back and give us some background.

Met a couple two years ago that were in their second year of a journey. They had grown up in the Bay City/Saginaw area of Michigan. Primary home: Florida. From late May till after Labor Day they were cruising the Great Lakes. Object: Visit every harbor...that should keep you busy! They had already done a lot of Lake Huron, had started down the west coast of lower Michigan, and were pulling out for the season in Northport. They thought that the following year they would be pulling out in Chicago or Wisconsin.

They traveled with a car as well. Public transportation or a dock worker took them back to their last port (usually only 6-20 miles) and then they explored with the car. They were having a great time and seeing lots of things they never saw living in the state. They were really looking forward to keeping it going.

When you think about it, it is really a pretty economical way to have a second home. The boat is whatever you think you need. In their case it was an 80's Chris Craft that they ran more as a trawler to conserve on fuel Marina fees run $35 a night in most of the north, and $60 or so as you go south. Hauling and storage is going to cost no matter where you live.

I liked the idea. Have a small day sailor and play golf in Florida 8 months a year. Summer home on the lake that keeps on moving. Inexpensive compared to any other option. The south is wonderful for many and too hot for more. I think that my boat was chartered two seperate weeks last year by people from Florida and Mississippi, both of whom owned boats but did not sail them there in the summer. It was the third time for one of them.
tommyt is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #15 of 33 Old 04-25-2008
San Juan 26
LittleMissMagic's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Robertsdale, AL
Posts: 395
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 11
There are some very pretty lakes here in Alabama though many are not accessable except by trailering. Lake Martin on the Tallapoosa River north of Montgomery is very nice the water there is very clear most of the time. Also some of the lakes on the Coosa River,( Jordan, Lay, Logan-Martin, Weiss) are big enough to sail and are excellent if you are an angler too.
If you are looking for access to the big water, Holt and Bankhead lake on the Black Warrior river are navigable all the way down to Mobile and the Gulf, these are a little small though.
Waterfront property is cheaper in this area than in most of the country and the weather stays pretty mild through the winter, you pay for it in the summer though.
All of these lakes have excellent boat ramps if you are trailer sailing they are either maintained by the Corps of Engineers or Alabama Power Co.
Hope this helps.

Jon Caisson Bozeman
S/V Little Miss Magic, Pirates Cove, AL
LittleMissMagic is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #16 of 33 Old 04-26-2008 Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Additional Information on Sailing Lakes

I'm back. Sorry about the delay - work you know.....

OK, we are looking for property for retirement. We don't want to be up in the northern states for 2 main reasons. First, it seems that the property taxes are very high compared to the midwest and southern states. We also don't want the cold. We have 2 kids that are still school age so having two houses isn't an answer either. We are researching different areas and have come across web sites with comments such as; "One of the top 10 sailing lakes in the US". Or "Best lake in the midwest". I have sent the e-mails requesting background information but like most e-mails, we never got a response. Well, it occurred to me that if all these people are saying "THEIR" lake is the best, there must be some rating system somewhere. I wanted to keep the personal opinions out of it mainly because in general people tend to like where they sail (or do anything for that matter). My assumption at this point is that there is not any articles, clubs, etc that have "rated" lakes or someone would have said so. What would rate high on my lake list? Well, warm, winds enough to actually be able to sail, something big enough that you didn't need to tack every 5 minutes, coves to anchor and enjoy the sunshine out of the wind, clear & clean water, marina to berth the boat. I think you get my drift.

And hey, if there is no answer, at least I gave everyone something to banter about..............

I do appreciate everyone's input.

Happy sailing.
cforput is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #17 of 33 Old 01-31-2010
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Warren Ohio
Posts: 24
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
OBVIOUSLY one place does't cut it.

BUT if a person owned 2 similar boats, what then?

I'd say one boat in Great Lakes for summer and a second Boat near the south east coast for winter.

Would that work?
SURV69 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #18 of 33 Old 01-31-2010
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Missouri Ozarks
Posts: 40
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Altho rarely heard of outside Missouri/Kansas/Oklahoma Stockton Lake just north of Springfield, Missouri is the premier sailing lake in the state. I'm sorry that I don't know how big it is but it's big enough for ketches, schooners and yawls. It's a Corps. lake so isn't inundated with idiots and drunks like Lake of the Ozarks. Springfield is about an hour away, Branson and Tanneycomo/Bull Shoals another hour and Grand Lake of the Cherokees is about two hours from Springfield right down I-44. Truman Reservoir is about an hour north of Stockton and a hugely open Corps. lake. All those lakes being in the flatter SW part of the state winds are very dependable. Property and taxes are quite reasonable when compared to the rest of the nation. Springfield has excellent health care facilities, schools and universities. Climate is mostly mild with year round sailing certainly a possibility and from March through November nearly guaranteed most years. There is a large sailing contingent at Stockton also. The two marinas have more sail boats than motor boats at their docks. At least they did the last time I was there. It may bear checking out and may not, depending on your wants and needs. It's certainly a pretty and clear water lake with great fishing. Nothing like the cess pool backed up by Bagnal Dam.

Stockton isn't my home waters but it is about 3 hours from me and I have several friends who sail/camp/fish there. I have spent some time at the lake camping and fishing and there was always sailboats on the water.


Last edited by sharps4590; 01-31-2010 at 11:29 AM.
sharps4590 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #19 of 33 Old 02-01-2010
Telstar 28
sailingdog's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,290
Thanks: 0
Thanked 18 Times in 14 Posts
Rep Power: 16
Some lakes I'd recommend are:

Lake Winnepesaukee, NH
Lake Champlain, VT/NY
Lake Sunapee, NH
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Lake Mead, AZ

The Great Lakes


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

sailingdog is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #20 of 33 Old 02-01-2010
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 5
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
It was nice to see Kentucky Lake rec'd by a couple people. Anyone know what depth of keel would be maximum for there down to the gulf?
bobc99 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Heavy weather sailing sailorfrank Learning to Sail 26 09-10-2013 06:32 PM
Sloop, Cutter or Ketch jsgsail Boat Review and Purchase Forum 17 12-26-2008 02:47 PM
Traveler usage? Humpwalker Seamanship & Navigation 22 02-17-2007 10:54 AM
Headsail Reefing Basics Brian Hancock Gear and Maintenance Articles 0 08-05-2004 08:00 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome