Chicago to South Manitou Island - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-10-2013 Thread Starter
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Chicago to South Manitou Island

Good morning!

I'm a completely inexperienced human being when it comes to sailing - I listen to Edmund Fitzgerald at least once a week, I've been 'tubing' on a lake and I've gone on a Carnival cruise, and that about sums up my seamanship so far That being said, I am writing a short story that includes sailing, so I am requesting wisdom from those who actually know what they're talking about.

Specifically, how long would it take to sail out of Chicago up to South Manitou Island on a Tartan 10, say in late spring or early summer?

As near as I can tell, the distance is about 190 NM.

Any positive, constructive input is appreciated - if nothing else, let me know if I'm barking up the wrong tree. Thanks.
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post #2 of 19 Old 04-10-2013
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Chicago to South Manitou Island

I don't sail a Tartan 10 but have done the Mac, which generally results in a route through the Manitou Passage. We generally start the race mid-day Saturday and, during the past few races, have arrived at the Manitous late Sunday afternoon or early Sunday evening. We rate faster than a Tartan 10 but I would guess they wouldn't be more than an hour or so behind us. Of course, your results will vary with wind speed, direction, waves, etc.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-10-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Chicago to South Manitou Island

Fantastic. Thank you, wuffiesails.

If there are any Chicagoans around: out of curiosity, what would you consider the best/worst aspects of sailing Lake Michigan?
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Chicago to South Manitou Island

Pressed hard (with enough wind) most sailboats will max out at about their hull speed. This is the speed at which a displacement boat "fall into" its bow wave. This is aprox 1.34*sqrt(length at water line). For the T10 that is 6.96 kn. However, the wind probably will not be high enough for the entire passage to keep this speed.

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post #5 of 19 Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Chicago to South Manitou Island

Racing in good wind and fair seas, many boats could make that run in about a day or just a bit longer. But if you're cruising, there are far too many fun and interesting ports in between on both sides of Lake Michigan to rush up to the Manitous. Of course, S. Manitou makes a fine destination for some exploration once you arrive, as evidenced by this report of our recent trip there.

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post #6 of 19 Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Chicago to South Manitou Island

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Originally Posted by Whovian58 View Post
If there are any Chicagoans around: out of curiosity, what would you consider the best/worst aspects of sailing Lake Michigan?
Best: you can't beat the view of the skyline at sunset, or fireworks blowing up over navy pier. It never gets old, and you haven't "seen" Chicago until you've seen it from the water.

Worst: The sailing season is too short :-) Also, drastically falling water levels are making some harbors impassable to many boats.
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Chicago to South Manitou Island

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If there are any Chicagoans around: out of curiosity, what would you consider the best/worst aspects of sailing Lake Michigan?
Not specifically Chicago, but sailing on the Great Lakes:

Good: Fresh water. I don't like the sticky, corroding salt in the big waters.

Bad: Weather can sneak up on you. Big @ss thunderstorms can pop up out of anywhere. In strong north or south winds, the waves are big amplitude, and short period.
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Re: Chicago to South Manitou Island

OK, since you are writing a story, you can use your imagination... Assuming your 190 "direct course" and an average speed of 6 knots, your boat is going to sail for almost 32 hours before it gets there... That is... If the crew on your boat stops nowhere, and, for the entire voyage, the wind is coming from a favourable direction. So, take into account that if the wind comes (say) less than 45 degrees from the direct line (which sailors call the rhumb line), your boat will have to "tack" into a zig-zag course to get where its going. Get it? So, you can complicate your story as much as you desire with stuff like this. Add a strong gale (they can occur in your intended time frame) and you can add drama etc...

Good luck with your writing...
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Chicago to South Manitou Island

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Bad: Weather can sneak up on you. Big @ss thunderstorms can pop up out of anywhere.
Ditto that! I've never sailed Lake Michigan, but Lake Superior is crazy. One day in less than a half hour it went from sunny and warm and too calm to sail, to driving hail and wind and so-cold-you're-wearing-every-layer-you-have.
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-10-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Chicago to South Manitou Island

I'm grateful for all the input so far, guys!

For Readers of Nautical Tales: what annoys you the most about stories/novels written by authors who have never been on the water? Or nautical-themed movies, for that matter?
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