Docking in Michigan - Bay City, Port Huron or Harrison Twp.?? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-28-2011
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deeman is on a distinguished road
Docking in Michigan - Bay City, Port Huron or Harrison Twp.??

I am contemplating the purchase of a 25-32 sailboat. I live in northern Oakland County and I am about an hour away from Lake St. Clair and an hour and ten minutes to Port Huron. Bay City is about 1.5 hours away and less desirable.

For you Michigan sailors, would you prefer to dock in LSC or Port Huron? I will admit I am newer to sailing and will get certified in the Spring.

Are the slip fees typically cheaper in either of the two? How about destinations - LSC is shallow but does have it's destinations with the little islands, etc.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 09-28-2011
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Depends on what you plan to do , If it is pure open water sailing ... port huron , if you want to marina hop ...lake st clair , if you enjoy the the islands & put-in-bay ... lake erie
they all offer something different . Just know that the detroit river or the st clair rivers can be an 8 hour trip going upstream , I used to be in st clair & made so many trips up & down the detroit river to go to put in bay kellys island or cedar point that I decided just to keep the boat in lake erie. It may just be best to keep close to home till you decide what type of sailing you will be doing. Explore & have fun, Its all a journey no mater where you are.
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Old 09-29-2011
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As stated already, a lot depends on the type of sailing you will be doing and how you want to designate your time. I prefer lake St.Clair, but then my boating style is more daysailing and catching a few hours after work. If I had a big distance cruising bug, the choice would be different.

From Port Huron, unless you sail the river and deal with the current, there is a long slog upriver to the open water on Lake Huron. This trip takes 15 to 30 minutes depending on who you talk to. This time might be a factor if you plan on an outing of only few hours. But if your plans are for longer outings, once you’re on the lake you can go as far as you want.

Lake St. Clair has a couple of different scenarios. In Harrison Township, if you’re on the Clinton River, some of those trips to the open waters might be in the 20 minute range, but obviously less if you can find dockage closer to the river’s mouth. The river can also be a veritable jerk fest with all the clueless Rodneys in the area on a busy weekend. Further south on the lake the nautical mile area has several marinas that offer very quick access to the open water, and from where you’d be coming, the driving difference might be negligible. Some of the little islands might require a dingy to get to; the water can be pretty thin at times so your draft might be an issue.

Pricewise, the Port Huron Yacht Club in PH was a bit less than the St. Clair marinas the last time I looked into it. Try to visit a few and chat up the locals a bit.
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Old 10-04-2011
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Good info - thanks!!
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Old 10-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeman View Post
I am contemplating the purchase of a 25-32 sailboat.

I will admit I am newer to sailing and will get certified in the Spring.
Hello Deeman:

I classify the different lakes as follows:

Lake St Clair

Lake St Clair is geat for weekend sailing as it is big enough that you can go 20 miles on a single course. And even in the heavy winds, there are safe areas to sail. We were out this past weekend.. 30-35 mph continuous with periodic gusts well over 45 mph. Just stay away from south east shore in a Northerly.

Although you have to watch out for shallow water in the bays (Fisher, Muscamoot and Goose), the rest of the lake is quite deep enough for a boat your size. When you look at the charts, remember that is low water datum. So the lake (now) is about 3 feet deeper.

Many of the bays have just never been sounded. Fisher has spots that are 5-6 feet deep right now. However, there is no recorded depth on the chart in those areas. The bays are great because the water will often warm up to 85 degrees on a warm summer day. And attract hundreds of boats.

There are numerous anchorages in St Clair, including Goose and Big Muscamoot that you could go into. Bouvier Bay up in Anchor Bay. Near Selfridge and various spots on the Canadian south east shore. And of course Strawberry island.

Numerous places to eat and infinite number of small channels to explore in the flats with jetski or dingy.

Lake Erie

We generally go to Lake Erie on a week or at least 3 days. Travel to the islands. We like to go to Erie because it is warmer than St Clair or Huron. Stay at Put-In-Bay for a bit of Bar-in-the-pool fun. or explore on a golf cart.

A favorite place is Anchoring off of north end of Kelleys Island. Beware of the Northerlies. Then of course Cedar Point if Kids or Grand Kids come along.

Erie can be rougher when the winds kick up. We ran 6 hours head long into 8-10 footers (short period chop) a month ago. And we were beaten up by a brief 55 mph storm, rain and hail.

We invariably leave on Friday night and cruise down the Detroit River at night. City lights are beautiful.. must see at night Normally, winds are light and boats are few.. except for freighters. Not unusual to see 20 freighters a day through the river.. no big deal.

Anchor just off the south bound shipping channel for the night and sail across Erie in the morn.

Lake Huron

I would skip Pt Huron as a Marina and go instead to Pt Sanilac or Lexington. No need to fight the St Clair River to get up into Lake Huron then.

The way I see it, the most spectacular part of Lake Huron is the northern areas such as Les Cheneaux Islands, North Channel, Georgian Bay, Straits. It might be interesting to put the boat in a marina up in Mackinaw City and spend a year exploring. Consider the boat a northern Cottage.

Don't forget northern Lake Michigan is only a hop skip and a jump away. The disadvantage of Lake Huron is that the water is cold. The only colder lake is Superior. Main reason is that Superior dumps directly into Huron.

Huron is also great if you are a cruiser. There is a DNR marina every 30 or so miles. These are well maintained marinas. One thing about boating the Michigan shoreline, is that you will find CONSISTANTLY some of the best marinas on the great lakes.

We typically leave Friday and motor up St Clair River during the night. Lights again are quite nice. Try to make Lexington for the night usually late.. 1am WE have stayed in Pt Huron during the Mac Race.. It is a zoo..

Heavy weather sailing can be HEAVY in Lake Huron. In 45 mph winds, the lake will create rollers. Stay away from windward shores.. breakers are treacherous.

Given that you sound new to Sailing, you might feel most comfortable in Lake St Clair.
Hope this Helps,
Bryce

Last edited by BryceGTX; 10-04-2011 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 10-12-2011
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xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about
new to sailing...Lake St Clair is very forgiving. But it will be a bit of motoring to get out of the Clinton river and then you are in the narrow pass between the lake & Anchor Bay.
JBM is very sailboat friendly
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Old 10-14-2011
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Thanks again for the great info guys.

I have decided to crew the rest of this year and next on LSC to get some seat time and to hone my skills.

It will also allow me to save my pennies for the inevitable purchase.
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