I would challenge the premise of going around the entire lake.
I live in Muskegon, Michigan and keep my Catalina 309 here. My experience on the lake goes back several decades. I'll offer the suggestion of exploring the East coast of the lake. It's almost entirely sandy beaches, and you'll never be far from a port. Start South and go North. When you get to the top of the state, put your boat in a slip, rent a car, and go fetch your vehicle and trailer.
Take a month or two and enjoy yourself.
Provisions required: credit card
Seriously, in any of the beautiful ports you'll visit, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Ludington, Manistee, etc., you'll always be able to access a grocery store and/or a restaurant, Walmart, etc.. All you really need to concern yourself with is outfitting your vessel appropriately for safety and comfort. Definitely bring a laptop, as wifi is commonplace. I would not consider the trip without a good dinghy, as there a many places where you'll be able to anchor overnight. Obviously, you'll want good ground tackle, and you'll mostly encounter sandy or muddy/weedy bottoms.
At 25 feet do you have a holding tank or a porta potti? We took the holding tank out of our 31 footer and replaced it with a porta potti. I always find a place to empty it. If a marina doesn't like you to empty into their toilets, I've noticed that they don't guard them 24/7.
To do the Eastern shore, all you'll really need is a Richardson's chart book. It'll give you charts of all the inland lakes, and include phone numbers and hailing frequencies for all the marinas. You could avail yourself of a more comprehensive cruising guide, but it's not really necessary. Your laptop will tell you all you need as you travel. I find that my Verizon cell phone service keeps me connected pretty much all the way up and down the coast...sweet.
The Eastern coast, in addition to having the nice sandy beaches, also has the awesome inland lakes. Holland's Lake Macatawa, Muskegon's Muskegon lake is about five miles long, and is probably the best on the coast, but Portage Lake is no slouch, and Lake Charlevoix (spelling?) woohoo. Paradise!
I'd be concerned that if you did the entire lake, you'd find yourself just blowing past some of areas that need to be explored at your leisure. A few days in Pentwater will do you good. Look on the chart and you'll see how much coastline there is just on Grand Traverse Bay. No sense just blowing by the bay....explore. Before you get to the bay you'll sail past the Manitou Islands and sleeping Bear Dunes. Wow.
What you really need to bring:
Again, the usual boat stuff: GPS...all I have is a handheld and I do just fine. Binoculars, compass, depth sounder, chart book (a full size roll up chart of the entire lake is also very nice to have). A good dinghy / a 2 or 3 horse motor is nice, but not essential. VHF radio.
Bring plenty of books. You'll be able to get more along the way, and shouldn't have much of a problem finding used books cheaply.
Again, the credit card is all you really need beyond some very basic items I've mentioned. You will always be within walking distance of what you need. Oh yeah....bring comfortable walking shoes.
A bicycle is not necessary, and probably an encumbrance on a 25 footer. We don't have one on our 31 footer. I sometimes wonder if one of those little electric scooters that are sort of an electric skateboard with handlebars and a seat post wouldn't be a bad idea for when it's 90, humid, and you suddenly realize you forgot to get something on your mile walk to the store. Just the same, we don't have one, and you can usually shorten most of your walks by using the dinghy to get within range of where you want to be.
So, think about the East cost. Regardless, when you get to Muskegon, look me up.
Last edited by Siamese; 01-04-2012 at 02:14 PM.