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Old 18-06-2009, 12:04   #1
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Muskegon, MI > Orillia, Ontario

Hello,

I am new to this forum so i hope i am posting this in the right place. I have been boating for a while but have recently decided to get into something a bit larger. I am planning on buying a boat in Michigan and driving it trough lake Michigan and Georgian bay into Canada. The boat is a 28ft Bayliner Flybridge. The location is Muskegon Michigan on lake Michigans east shore and my end destination is Orillia Ontario. Can anybody give my some advice on how much time this trip might take and what kind of a distance I am looking at. Is this potentially dangerous for somebody who does not have any great lakes experience?

I guess im not sure if what i am planing to do here is total unrealistic or doable. Any advice would be apprechiated.

Thanks
Bob
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Old 18-06-2009, 12:36   #2
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Greetings, and welcome aboard Bob.

Presuming you won’t be comfortable with overnight passages, and that you can comfortably average 20kts; I’d expect you to make several (4?) 100 - 200 nm day hops, totalling about 25 - 30 hours running time (+ harbour entry/exits) to Midland/Port Severn (500 mi?), then another day up the Trent-Severn to Orillia.
Given prudent attention to weather, Georgian Bay might be the only challenging portion of the trip.

For the most part, boating experience will be more important than Great Lakes experience.

Good luck, for a safe & enjoyable trip !!!
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Old 18-06-2009, 13:25   #3
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Thanks for your reply Gord,

Reading your post it looks like this trip should be doable in 5+ days. I would have assumed lake Michigan to be fairly challenging as well why is it that Georgian Bay should be more of a concern?

For anybody that has done this trip or been in the area would you have a travel plan that you are willing to share that has harbours or areas to dock at night (Gas up)

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Bob
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Old 18-06-2009, 14:09   #4
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Lakes Michigan & Huron are Open Water, whereas Georgian Bay is full of Rocks & Islands (navigational hazards), most of which shouldn't impact your trip.
Yes, 5 or 6 days seems doable, not including R&R or eather layovers.
Look to your charts for overnight harbours with "gas stations" (they'll all have them).
Except for the (50 mile ???) crossing (Huron to Georgian Bay, there'll be a marina /w fuel every "few" miles.

Disclaimer:
I haven't been on Huron in over 15 years, nor Georgian Bay in over 30 years - so accept this as out of date general knowledge, not specific expert advice.
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Old 24-06-2009, 13:18   #5
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Gord, although I haven't sailed Georgian Bay in about 8 years, I believe that your general advice is correct (albiet I am not entirely sure that there are marinas every few miles, but certainly enough that refueling will not be a problem apart from the cost).

If taking the 'small boat channel' on the east side of Georgian Bay (preferred in small power boats as it is much better protected and has many beautiful anchorages), take note that bouyage is opposite in direction to the passage south through the open waters of Georgian Bay. Navigation is relatively easy (although if you do not keep track, the 30,000 islands can all start to look the same) and, as has already been mentioned, watch for shoals. Be mindful of posted speed limits around Beausoleil Island (they are enforced) and use prudence with your speed and wake around cottages and narrow channels.

Brad
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Old 24-06-2009, 13:34   #6
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PS Unless you are in a particular rush to get to Orillia, I would recommend that you budget for some additional time in Georgian Bay. Orillia, on Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching, is quite pretty but crowded.

Georgian Bay is often referred to as the best fresh-water cruising grounds in the world and for good reason, in my opinion. The water is extremely clean (still potable in some areas!) and there is some breath-taking scenery as well as countless protected and beautiful anchorages, already referred to. The water in the North Channel, while incredibly clean, can be somewhat chilly for swimming, but the southen end of the bay (south of Parry Sound) should prove quite inviting by late July. There is also an area of national parks and if you have children, the one on Beausoleil Island is particularly appealing since it has Park Rangers who conduct nature tours, an outdoor theatre and some other basic facilities.

There is a terrific Cruising Guide to Georgian Bay that is available at any marine store (and many marinas) that will provide additonal assistance in terms of navigation, anchorages and shoreside facilities, etc.

Enjoy!

Brad
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