Join Date: Jan 2011
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Re: Lake Michigan Sailors. Itenerary advice sought
If the skipper and a majority of the crew are not accustom to passagemaking then I'd suggest doing a night passage with most of the crew on a simple crossing or something around 80 to 90 miles before you attempt to get to Traverse City. Under the best possible winds (won't happen) you're looking at 200 miles and likely more than 36 hours.
Get some experience in watch keeping and night sailing before getting that far from home. It's fun to plan your first big trip, but you'll likely be disappointed in that the wind and weather will not support your plans. Better off to study techniques, ports, and seasonal wind patterns than plan a specific route. Go where the wind blows. Also, since you're planning a trip that's more than a week, you're clearly invested in the process and will have money sunk in to the boat, the provisions, and all else. In the greater scheme of things an additional few hundred dollars in Great Lakes Cruising Club would be well spend since you would have the harbor reports for all possible destinations and harbors of refuge.