circumnavigate lake michigan? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-04-2012 Thread Starter
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circumnavigate lake michigan?

did i say that right? i plan to take some time next summer to cruise the parimeter of lake michigan. has anyone any experience with this? i am in the planning stages right now. i dont expect to ever lose sight of land as i am skirting the edges. how much time do you think it will take? where are the cool places to stop and anchor or tie up?
even though there will be many port calls, what provisions should one take?
basically, how should i go about planning this big adventure?
my boat is a W.D. Schock Santana 525 s/v In Schock. so we wont have refrigeration or many other comforts.
all comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-04-2012
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Have not done it, but most areas have cruising guides. This might help.

Lakeland Boating: Cruise Guide Michigan

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post #3 of 23 Old 01-04-2012 Thread Starter
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thanks jack. i'll check it out. the only person i got to agree to join me on this grand adventure is my good friend's 17 year old son. every one else is way too chicken.
ask em if they wanna go out on a 23 foot sea ray and do 70mph and they are all excited.
ask em if they wanna go out on a sailboat and they act like you are crazy or suicidal.
what's the deal here. lucky to see 8kts. sailboats are way safer than power boats. so why the big fear or taboo?
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post #4 of 23 Old 01-04-2012
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Probably because powerboats don't tip over on purpose...and they can outrun bad weather...and everybody is a sissy anymore.
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-04-2012
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Me too.

Hi Mikieg,

I have crossed 12 times from west to east, and cruised up and down four times on the Michigan side. I also plan on a circumnavigation of the lake this summer (2012) in my Ericson 29.

Having said I have no idea what your experience is, sure sounds good. I have run across some wicked T-storms, 50 knot winds, 8-12 foot waves. During nice weather, the wind can die on you at dusk or dawn, so have plenty of gas for motoring or a big,light chute.

The Michigan side will have a lot of places to anchor out in with good sand for holding. As you go north of the Manitous, the selection begins to thin out and stops become more stretched out, say 40 nm or 50 nm between. Rockier bottoms too. Check out the charts. At the "top" harbors of refuge or places to drop the hook and hang out will require some planning and weather picking because of some long legs.

The Wisconsin side is more stark. Few places to anchor, colder water and long stretches between anchorages/harbors. In fact, below Sturgeon Bay, I have no idea where anyone can anchor. Above Sturgeon Bay, you got Door County...nice. If your boat is a trailor sailor with retractable keel, you might get away with motoring up some rivers and dropping the hook there,not having to pay the rediculous dock fees on the Wisconsin side. BTW, the pump out fees in Michigan are 5 bucks, in Wisconsin, you are lucky to pay 7.50. Wisconsin sucks. I live in Wisconsin and cross to Michigan to cruise...Michigan is a treat and far more boater friendly.

If you are interested in any more info, please ask. I would love to talk about cruising.
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post #6 of 23 Old 01-04-2012
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I have done it, sorta. I did the eastern shore. Holland Mich was nice, but I knew people there. Grand Traverse Bay had several nice places to stay, Sutton's Bay comes to mind. Charlavoix is also a great place to visit. I strongly recommend a cruising guide, they have pictures and written descriptions along with all the contact info.

Enjoy - Brad

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"Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester while loading his boat with gin.
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post #7 of 23 Old 01-04-2012
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Sounds like a fun trip. How long will it take you? Post a small trip log when you're done. Thanks.

The Sun has Risen on a New Day filled with the Promise of Adventure.
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-04-2012
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This is something that could take weeks even months to do if you want to enjoy yourself.
The Michigan side and the Wisconsin side are in stark contrast to each other as has already been stated.
Michigan side = Natural Harbors, Large Sandy Dunes, and beaches.
Wisconsin side = Rocks, Large Rock Formations and Huge Bluffs; very pretty.

The Door Peninsula and Green Bay alone could take a week or two to explore.

Some of our Favorite Ports of Call;
Fayette Michigan in Upper Green Bay. A Ghost Town from the turn of the Century and left over from Iron Ore Smelting Factory. Very Interesting and a step back in time.
Fayette Historic State Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Drop the Hook at Horse Shoe Island and or Nicolette Bay.

Egg Harbor, phone ahead for slip availability. Even with the new marina in the past two years it fills up.
Manitowoc; the Maritime Museum is worth the stop. Did you know that a dozen or so WWII Submarines were built in Manitowoc Wisconsin? They have a beautifully restored example of one, The USS Cobia Welcome to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum Website | Wisconsin Maritime Website
Milwaukee; Big city marina and surroundings with little city atmosphere.
Racine, Kenosha, Winthrop Harbor; all are excellent stop over’s.
Chicago; Go for the fun and enjoyment of the city, but be prepared for disappointment in the harbor system.
New Buffalo, Michigan City, St Joes; again, excellent stop over’s. All have something to offer.
South Haven; Wonderful Little port
Saugatuck; It is a fun place; beautiful scenery. The town is about three miles up the winding Kalamazoo River. Stick to the channel or you will be on the bottom fast. Lake Kalamazoo offers anchoring and they have a very convenient dinghy dock. The Lake is extremely shallow.
Holland; The main player is Eldean's Ship Yard right inside the channel to Starboard, Beautiful Full Service Marina with the finest amenities you will find anywhere on the Great Lakes.
Continuing North there is an overnight anchorage only to Port Sheldon/Pigeon Lake. Extreme caution must be used when entering in any type of swell.
Grand Haven, great stop
Muskegon, plenty of choices for marinas. The Lake itself has a bit of an industrial edge to it, but it has a lot to offer.
White Lake, beautiful area. Plenty of anchorage, Nice Municipal Marina about three mile up the inland lake.

Pentwater, Ludington, Portage Lake, Arcadia, Frankfort; you can’t go wrong with any of them in my opinion.

You are really now getting into the wilderness side of the Michigan Shoreline.

South Manitou Island, anchorage only
Beaver Island, nice place

And don’t forget everybody’s favorite, Charlevoix.

I could go on and on. There is sooo much the Lake has to offer. We have just scratched the surface.

Make sure the boat, captain and crew are well prepared for just about anything.
Stuff happens out there.

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Can't answer questions about the route, but can about cruising without refrigeration. Canned meats are great (we've lived on them for 2+ months at a time). You'll be able to get ice lots of places, so get a really good cooler and you can have fresh veggies. Always carry food for at least 4 days beyond when you think you'll be able to get more (I prefer to have a week's extra at least). Consider where you'll be able to get water -- since you'll be cruising in fresh water, I'd take a backpacking water purifier as a back up to getting water in towns -- that way, you know you can always have water.

There's lots of info on my blog about cruising without refrigeration and making good meals with canned meat, along with some meal plans even.

Take a look there for ideas and if you still have questions on the food angle, I'll try to help further:

Cruising without Refrigeration

By the way, I lived in Michigan until I was 18, but did all my boating on inland lakes there. Have a great trip -- it sounds fantastic!!

Carolyn Shearlock

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post #10 of 23 Old 01-04-2012
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I too have been looking into places to go on L. Michigan. If I were taking the summer off to explore the lake, I would spend most of the time on the Michigan side, and Door County. There really are very few safe harbors on the Wisconsin side below Door county. It would be aprox. 24 hour non-stop from Chicago to Milwaukee, and another 24 hours from Milwaukee to Sturgeon Bay.
BTW, staying within view of land does not make the trip any safer. If a strong T-storm rolls over the horizon, you don't have time to make land anyway. The W.D.S Santana 525 looks like a light boat. You will have to pick your weather windows.
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