Originally Posted by deeman
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.
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.
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.
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,