SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Lake Superior (
-   -   Duluth to Knife River (

shanedennis 02-18-2012 09:41 PM

Duluth to Knife River
It's winter, dreaming time...

Has anyone sailed from Duluth to Knife River? Is it possible to anchor in the new McQuade harbor of refuge? Any other tips?

MikeOReilly 02-18-2012 10:09 PM


Originally Posted by shanedennis (Post 833448)
Has anyone sailed from Duluth to Knife River? Is it possible to anchor in the new McQuade harbor of refuge? Any other tips?

I assume you don't mean right now??? It's a tad cold out here on our Big Lake ;).

I sail out of Thunder Bay, but have never gone that far south along the west shore. Have jumped from the Apostles over to Grand Marais, but never down to McQuade. However, i have driven the shore and checked out all the safe harbours. They all look easy to access.

Looking at the GLCC reference, it says there are docks in as of 2011, but it appears you can also anchor behind the breakwall. The holding may be questionable though. It is described as solid rock. A dock looks pretty appealing in those circumstances.

shanedennis 02-19-2012 07:58 PM

Thanks Mike. No not now.:)

I would love to leapfrog up to Knife River in my 22 footer from Duluth. The weather is so darn unpredictable on the lake it feels a little risky to jump to Knife river in one day in a smaller boat. With McQuade on the way and a close eye on the weather it feels doable. I could like to be able to make a comfortable stop there overnight.

shanedennis 08-11-2012 09:51 PM

Re: Duluth to Knife River
We upgraded to a Crealock 34 and made the jump to Knife River. It was a beautiful sail with a light easterly breeze most of the way. I was always a little scared sailing my 22 footer on Lake Superior, it just got knocked about too much when the weather turned. Feel much better on the Crealock, we feel like it can take most of the weather the lake throws at us. In conclusion, I was never confident enough of the weather forecast to take the 22 footer to Knife River.

MikeOReilly 08-11-2012 10:51 PM

Re: Duluth to Knife River
Congrats on the new boat, and the big sail. I don't know the 34 personally, but all Crealock's have great reputations as being very solid, serious sea boats. I have no doubt it can handle most conditions with easy.

Now that you've sailed a little way north, you should plan to come all the way. The north shore of Lake Superior (the real north shore) has some of the best cruising grounds anywhere. East of Thunder Bay the shore is rugged and creviced, with lots of little tuck-ins everywhere. Further east along the far shore the land becomes speckled with big sandy beaches. And best of all, there are very few cruisers out there.

shanedennis 08-13-2012 11:12 PM

Re: Duluth to Knife River
One of the guys from our marina is heading up your way this week, Mike. Look for the Tartan 33 "Wanderlust".

downeast450 12-15-2012 12:25 PM

Re: Duluth to Knife River
What would the preferred anchor and gear for a run along the North shore?


shanedennis 12-15-2012 09:41 PM

Re: Duluth to Knife River
Hi Down,

There is not much in the way of anchorages along the Minnesota North Shore. In my limited experience I have found coast line rocky with no safe places to get out off the lake between Duluth and Silver Bay outside of commerical harbors, harbors of refuge and marinas.

It is possible to anchor for free in some of the commercial artifical harbors but sailors up here only anchor in them as a last resort to esape bad weather. If you are going up in this direction, buy a used copy of Superior Way and/or study Active Captain.

The good news is the marina's are very good and inexpensive. The cruise itself is extremely pretty and you will find yourself alone out there unless you are close to a harbor. Along the North Shore you need to be very careful with the weather because the bad stuff tends to come out of the northwest and the hills along the shore line tend to obscure it. You may not see it until it is on top of you. Weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable because the weather in this part of the world changes faster than almost anywhere else.

On our boat we have a Bruce (130' chain) and a CQR (30' chain + 100' rode) but we have not used them on the North Shore. On the south shore we find ourselves using the Bruce to good effect. Seems to work well in mud and sand and the chain lays it down good.


MikeOReilly 12-15-2012 10:52 PM

Re: Duluth to Knife River

Originally Posted by downeast450 (Post 962060)
What would the preferred anchor and gear for a run along the North shore?

Hi Down, do you mean the real north shore, or what American boaters refer to as the north shore, which is really the west shore, and which is well described by shanedennis? For the north shore (the Canadian shore), there are lots of anchorages to be found in most stretches. Bonnie Dahl's book, and the Great Lake Cruising Club, both have good listings. Active Captain is poorly populated with data up here. I've started to fill some in, but right now it's not very useful.

Most bottoms are mud/clay, although there is the occasional gravel and rock to be found. Weeds are a problem in only a very small number of anchorages. A bigger issue is logs. In those anchorages we toss out a trip line. Mostly you'll be anchoring in 25' or less, so I would recommend a minimum of 40' chain, with a total rode of at least 150'. Make sure your anchor is properly sized for your boat. Bigger is always better.

On my previous boat (a 34-footer) we carried a CQR and a danforth which we would alternate depending on the bottom. We had 60' chain. On my current boat, a 37' heavy displacement, I anchor almost 100% of the time on a Rocna, using all-chain.

downeast450 12-22-2012 06:28 PM

Re: Duluth to Knife River
Hi and thank you both for the information. We have been thinking of an extended inland cruise from our home in Maine. The Admiral has twin sisters who live near Bayfield, WI. We paddle and camp in the Apostle Islands with them every couple of years and have gained an appreciation for the exciting weather that comes across the lake with suddenness and authority. I am asking about the Canadian shore. It looks inviting to a couple of Mainers. Our first visit will probably be from a charter out of Bayfield. I am encouraged to learn there are places to "hide" over there. I will look for the references you suggested.

Our anchoring gear would be O.K.. 15K NZ Rocna and 90' of chain with 250' of line and a similar Bruce. No telling what the charter might have. I will post again when things progress a bit. Building a new house this coming year so no long vacations immediately. Everyone comes to Maine this year.


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:19 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome