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Discussion Starter #1
We are looking for a family (5 people) cruiser to be used mainly in the North Channel of Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and Superior.

Anything specific we should take into consideration when choosing a boat for this area?

Is there a draft or length that would be prohibitive?
Any other factors?

Thanks :)
 

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Old soul
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I think it will more depend on what your priorities are.

Draft-wise matters more in the North Channel. Most of the north shore tends to be more shallow, most especially around the marinas. South shore, not so much. I cruised there with a five-foot draft boat and struggled to get into some marinas, but if you're anchoring out it really doesn't matter much. Might have to anchor a bit further from shore is all.

Superior is a whole different kettle of fish. Draft matters little. The style of cruising is also quite different than the NC. Big water, bigger distances between services, some areas have lots of anchorages, some few. It's really hard to generalize.
 

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It's really personal. North Channel is sailed in everything from 60+ foot boats to open dinghy's.

You can anchor deep or beach. However, you do lose access to some great areas with a draft in excess of 5 feet. The big one is the Trent Severn Canal, is maximum draft of 6 feet. However, it's not like you are stuck if you can't take the Trent Severn, you can go around the long way with a draft of over 20 feet.

With a family of 5, you will want enough room for 5 people to sleep.

My personal preference would be something that sails well. You don't have the luxury trade winds and waiting for tides. Probably means a fin keel boat, but not necessarily.

Above all else, sailing with a family, I personally, would prioritize condition and reliability, even if it meant a slightly smaller boat.
 

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More important than the location is a boat that will work for 5 people. We've trailered our Seaward 25 up to the point North Channel. With its 2' draft, it's a great boat for there. We've also taken our Catalina 350 up there. We just anchor a little further out with its 4.5' draft. It takes a bit longer to get the Catalina there as we sail it up from Lake Erie. That said, the Catalina is way more comfortable for us, especially when out on the big lake waters. I have seen a family of 4 or 5 up there on a 20' boat. I have no idea how they did that.

Find a boat you can fit 5 on comfortably, with enough head capacity, and fit for the open waters, and it will be fine for the North Channel.
 
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