Join Date: Jun 2006
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As a Great Lakes sailor, I noticed the ocean swell aboard our esteemed member Giulietta's boat, but I can't say any of the conditions were "bigger" than those of even Lake Ontario. My wife had breezier conditions and didn't mention that anything was different except the period of the wave trains, due to 2000 NM of fetch, I suppose.
The viciousness of sudden summer squalls and the steep "square" waves of Lake Ontario have surprised many an ocean sailor, though. There was a member here named Lyn in a steel Roberts 38 with her husband Andrew who commented on it when we made their acquaintance in Toronto a couple of summers ago. I have heard from racers that if you can sail in Lake Ontario's frequently nasty conditions, you will be fine on the ocean.
Lake Superior is arguably worse and certainly colder. Many an ocean-sized ship lies in several pieces a thousand feet down in its dark depths.
Chafe is an issue, but far less, of course, than at sea, where 20 days of 24/7 trade wind passagemaking can wear a hole in anything. The effects of salt water can also surprise freshwater sailors...unpleasantly!
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