I'm from Great Lakes also. Specifically Lake St Clair and Lake Huron area. Before I make my first purchase, I'm going to start off on a 12' Hobie Cat just to get the basics down. I'm waiting for fall so I can hopefully get a discount. But, I'll be using it Aug/Sept/Oct if the weather holds up. Lake St Clair is a great place to practice. So, if I plan to do fall sailing on a small hobie, what would people recommend for gear in that case? I'm guessing there will be plenty of opportunities to get wet. Thanks.