Best Lakes in the US to Sail - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 33 Old 04-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Best Lakes in the US to Sail

Hi,
OK, so I am not intending to start a huge discussion on personal preferences of where people like to sail. Everyone has their own opinion and the thread could go on forever. Not my intent. We are looking for retirement property and one of the things on our list is a place that has a good lake to sail in. Does anyone know if any organization (magazine, club, etc) has ever published any information on the best lakes to sail on in the US?

Thanks in advance for any info you folks have.

Happy sailing where ever you may be.

Craig
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post #2 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
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Hi Craig; here's one for your list: ** pun intended}

Seneca Lake in the New York Finger Lakes Region

Seriously, stick around for a bit and you will soon learn that the original posters "intent" has little relation to where a thread goes! ........

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OK, so I am not intending to start a huge discussion on personal preferences of where people like to sail.



You should be so lucky ......

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the thread could go on forever

But seriously, welcome aboard.

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post #3 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
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What constitutes "best"?

Best winds? Best weather? Best water? Best ports? Best marinas? Best waterfront real estate market? Best solitude? Best...? Best...?

Tell us a bit more about what your priorities are and maybe we can compile a list for you.

Catalina 34

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post #4 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
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To me, most lakes suffer from one common disadvantage: Once you've sailed from shore-to-shore, well, you've sailed from shore-to-shore and that's it. But the Great Lakes are another matter entirely. Beside the sheer size (combined: The largest fresh water repository on the planet), there is the inter-connecting waterways (rivers, straits and directly-accessible smaller lakes); the marine facilities, lodging and entertainment venues, and two routes to the Atlantic ocean.

But I'm biased .

The down-side, of course, is winter-time. And summers can get pretty hot & sticky.

Btw: I hear tell property in the north-east quadrant of the lower peninsula (north of the Saginaw Bay area) can be had for a song these days.

I hope these comments meet the spirit and intent of your query.

Jim

Last edited by SEMIJim; 04-24-2008 at 10:38 AM.
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post #5 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
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The east end of Lake Erie will try to kill you when you least expect it. The lake is shallow and has 198 miles of fetch along the prevailing weather direction.

Upstate NY, I'm familiar with - the finger lakes and Chautauqua Lake are delightful if summer comes on a weekend.

The Chesapeake Bay is great in the spring and fall - summer has little wind and is hotter 'n Hades. Winters are generally mild.

There is no book that I know of. Listen to what everybody here says, compile it and you've got a book. Nobody will buy it though - all your potential customers are on this list.

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post #6 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
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Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake are connected lakes formed by dams on a couple rivers (Tennesee river is one, I don't remember the other.) These are good sized bodies of water, also with two or three routes to the Altantic. One of those routes goes thru the Great Lakes! Real estate, tax laws, and weather are all more desirable for a retiree than northern Michigan, especially the weather! One can sail in Kentucky Lake almost all year, and if it gets too hot, go down the Ohio, up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Lake Michigan, or if it gets too cold, go either down the Mississippi to the Gulf (not reccommended) or down the Tenn-Tom canal to the Tom Bigbee river which empties into Mobil Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Ky and Barkley have lots of coves to anchor out, a couple hundred miles of open water to sail, and a few good marinas. If I can get the Admiral to sell the house next year and move away from St Louis, you bet I'd buy a home on or near Kentucky Lake!
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post #7 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
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If you are serious about sailing, not just playing around in a dinghy, the only place to be is the Great Lakes. Preferably Lake Michigan (but I'm biased). Property prices in northernwestern Michigan are still pretty reasonable and if you get a place in Grand Traverse Bay you can moor your boat right out front. There are tons of places to sail in Northern Lake Michigan and Mackinac Island and the North Channel aren't far away. If you want to live even more remotely, Houghton/Hancock in the Upper Peninsula is a college town on a channel that cuts off the Keweenaw Peninsula and has a beautiful lake, lots of wind, and very cheap living (think 8000 sq. ft. houses for about $80,000 in good condition). Not to mention all the other outdoors sports available, and it's a college town too so there is a lot of community activities and some culture and that it has access to Lake Superior.
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post #8 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
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Originally Posted by rennisaint View Post
If you are serious about sailing, not just playing around in a dinghy, the only place to be is the Great Lakes. Preferably Lake Michigan (but I'm biased). Property prices in northernwestern Michigan are still pretty reasonable and if you get a place in Grand Traverse Bay you can moor your boat right out front. There are tons of places to sail in Northern Lake Michigan and Mackinac Island and the North Channel aren't far away. If you want to live even more remotely, Houghton/Hancock in the Upper Peninsula is a college town on a channel that cuts off the Keweenaw Peninsula and has a beautiful lake, lots of wind, and very cheap living (think 8000 sq. ft. houses for about $80,000 in good condition). Not to mention all the other outdoors sports available, and it's a college town too so there is a lot of community activities and some culture and that it has access to Lake Superior.
What Rennisaint forgot to mention, was that the average temperature from January till March is negative 20F.

Don't get me wrong guys, I love the GLakes. Been sailing Michigan since I was a teenager, I have lived in the midwest all my life, but if I were to sell everything and relocate somewhere, I think it would be somewhere with a milder climate.

Sailing is great here, for 1/2 of the year anyway.

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post #9 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
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Cool Sailing Favorites . . .

The North Carolina coast has wonderful places to visit. Clean water, good winds and great beaches. It is usually possible to sail year round.
I'll never forget Skaneateles Lake in central New York for pure fresh water, unpredictable winds and many happy hours!
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post #10 of 33 Old 04-24-2008
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You might also consider some of the rivers in Eastern North Carolina. The Nuese, Pamlico, Pungo, and a number of them off the Ablemarle Sound. Lots of weekend cruising destinations.

As mentioned, Kentucky and Barkley Lake (the Cumberland River) are part of the Tennessee River system, which has 4 more major lakes, plus access to the Gulf of Mexico.

As one person said, it really depends on what you're looking for.

John
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Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
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