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I've got an Oday 25 C/B boat to learn keelboat sailing on and Cruise the Great Lakes. I was just wondering where most people would consider relatively safe to sail one. Someday I hope to sail to the Caribbean and maybe farther, so I want to know when I'll have to consider an upgrade. Long way off, I know, but it's good information to have anyways.
 

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The O'Day 25 is a great day sailor, maybe a good week end boat but not a long time cruiser. Learn all you can on that boat it will be fun. And welcome to Sailnet.

I have an O'Day 302 and it's a good coastal cruiser. A few friends and I spend 9 days cruising on it every summer. This year there will be 4 of use for 10 to 12 days but that is pushing it on a small boat.
 

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You can sail that boat pretty much wherever you like on the Great Lakes. That said, avoid Superior in the Fall. Listen to yur weather reports. Reef early when it starts to blow. I wouldn't want to be out in anything over 6' swells or 3' chop on a 25' boat but it can and should be done at least once just so you know it's like. As long as you are prepared, you can do almost anything.
 

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I've got a similar boat (Helms 25' C/B - swingkeel) that I sail on Lake Michigan. I've found that the boat will handle more than my crew (wife & 2 young kids) and I care to conquer. We've sailed from Holland to Grand Haven in 4-6' swells and a 15-20kt wind without much worry, though it was downwind.

I think you'll find that your experience and your crew will limit your sailing destinations/days more than the boat on the Great Lakes. I'd personally love to cross Lake Michigan and visit Milwaukee, Door County and Chicago but don't feel comfortable on a smallish boat that far from shore. We stick to cruising up and down the coast and watch the weather carefully and things typically go very well.

One of my biggest concerns on my boat (and maybe the O'Day 25 too) is having an outboard motor. If the swells get big and I need to motor for whatever reason, the outboard will cavitate often as the boat hobbyhorses in the swells. She's very balanced undersail, but if conditions ever merit using power to avoid danger (a leeshore, a ripped sail, etc.) in heavy weather the outboard might not be adequate.
 

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Where to sail?

Our O'Day 25 Seamar, which is Celtic for "Little Shamrock"' is sailed on Lake Norman, near Charlotte NC. We bought her last year from some nice folks in Grosse Point, MI where she had spent her entire life plying the waters of Lake Michigan. Fortunately for us she came with a EZ-Loader trailer and we safely transported her home. We have plans to take her to the Outer Banks of NC and to Panama City, Florida when we vacation there. Not only will we have our place to stay but a means to explore both areas from a totally different perspective. I guess what I'm saying just agrees with the other replies you have already had -- your crew and personal skills will decide where you will want to sail.
Enjoy!:)
 

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Once you get some time and more experience on her, she will tell you her limits. With more experience it will become obvious.
As you know the Great Lakes can become quite challenging, and the changes often happen very quickly. Of course the opposite is also true, when its blowing like stink and the seas are high, it can go back to flat as a pancake in a matter of hours. So, with proper weather forecasting and monitoring, you should be able to handle and stay clear of most situations. If its too rough out there, wait a day or so and you window should open.

In our area, we have some very nice inland lakes that are connected to Lake Michigan via a short channel. These make excellent opportunities for your type of boat. Sail inshore when the Big lake is rough, than when the conditions are right, head out to the big water. Its like have the best of both world's. Places like Muskegon Lake, White Lake, Lake Macatawa would be a great place to have your 25 footer. BtW, where are you located? You say the Great Lakes, but that cover a lot of territory.
 

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I say pick a horn and go fer it. You'll be a legend.

(This is a joke. No suing allowed.)
 
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