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Old 11-03-2014, 11:41   #1
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New to Boating on Great lakes

My wife and I are empty nesters and recently purchased a house with Lake Michigan access. We have a family history with boating on inland lakes but have never owned a boat. We would like advice about best boat type. We would like to use the boat to explore the Lake Michigan in the Green Bay area on overnight or at most 2-3 day trips at least until retirement (which is thankfully in sight). We have interests in kayaking, sightseeing along the shore and wreck diving as we are both certified in scuba. We have looked at deckboats, larger pontoon boats and smaller cruisers. The budget could extend to six figures and I expect we will ultimately purchase more than one. Longer term I would like to own a sailboat that could be used for even longer trips.
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:07   #2
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Re: New to boating on Great lakes

Donaujr,

I grew up boating on Lake Michigan. Our seasons are very short: 3-4 months unless you are willing to sail in cold weather. Therefore, the simplest, smallest boat that can accommodate your needs will be the best since maintenance will be at a minimum. Green Bay is a shallow body of water and a shoal draft vessel--4.5 feet or less would be ideal. And, I would recommend 27 feet overall length or less with an outboard motor since the whole maintenance headache and time required for a diesel/gas engine will be avoided. A simple sloop rig with roller furling headsail, full battened main and a cruising spinnaker are your preferred sails. If you cook aboard, a propane stove is nice but alcohol is workable. Refrigeration is not necessary as ice is readily available and the water temps are cool even during the Summer. Also, refrigeration is just another maintenance issue. The point is: if you want to spend more time on the water and sail, keep the vessel as small and simple as possible. We cruised Lake Michigan extensively on a 25 foot sloop for many happy and uncomplicated years of sailing including many passages when the "bluewater boats" never left the dock. Green Bay and north is a very beautiful cruising ground with ample anchorages and few cruising boats. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 11-03-2014, 14:34   #3
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Re: New to boating on Great lakes

Rognvald:
Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. Do you have any thoughts about powered boats?
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Old 11-03-2014, 15:17   #4
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Re: New to boating on Great lakes

I took up sailing 3 yrs ago on lake on.. took cya basic crusing lessons. on a hunter 23 with an outboard, tiller etc..basic boat.. it taught us what we didn't want in a boat. A cat 30 inboard diesel,wheel steering,self tailing winches full enclosure was our choice After having it 2 seasons I would never go smaller and don't let let maint items scare you of there are no more of them on a boat than there are in a cottage. refrigeraton is a must
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Old 11-03-2014, 17:40   #5
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I suggest looking at a boat of at least 30'. Those lakes can get very rough and with the typical wave period, bigger is better. Your budget supports getting a bigger boat with some creature comforts, which you can do without, but will enjoy if you get them.
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Old 11-03-2014, 18:24   #6
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Re: New to boating on Great lakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by donaujr View Post
My wife and I are empty nesters and recently purchased a house with Lake Michigan access. We have a family history with boating on inland lakes but have never owned a boat. We would like advice about best boat type. We would like to use the boat to explore the Lake Michigan in the Green Bay area on overnight or at most 2-3 day trips at least until retirement (which is thankfully in sight). We have interests in kayaking, sightseeing along the shore and wreck diving as we are both certified in scuba. We have looked at deckboats, larger pontoon boats and smaller cruisers. The budget could extend to six figures and I expect we will ultimately purchase more than one. Longer term I would like to own a sailboat that could be used for even longer trips.
Based on the above profile, I would suggest you consider a smallish trawler. Fuel consumption is kind and the speed will get you there. If you choose to learn to sail, that would be another matter. Green Bay - Sturgeon Bay - Fish-Hook park - Washington Island are all good venues. If your feel adventurous, head for The North Channel and spend at least 2 weeks or even the whole summer. Costs are low and the venue is rated in the top ten on earth by Blue Water Cruising. We have done all of these and wish to go back to all.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:14   #7
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Re: New to boating on Great lakes

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, donaujr.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:19   #8
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Re: New to boating on Great lakes

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Originally Posted by donaujr View Post
Rognvald:
Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. Do you have any thoughts about powered boats?

Donaujr,
I think Nicholson's advice is good to consider a small trawler. I would prefer a diesel engine rather than gas for overall simplicity and dependability. But, remember. A simple boat will allow you to spend more time on the water and less at the dock. It's a short season and you don't want to spend that valuable time cemented to a dock working on your boat. Hope that helps. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 12-03-2014, 18:28   #9
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Re: New to Boating on Great lakes

Look at a 30' cuddy cabin. That would provide semi-comfortable over nights. Add a 'camper canvas' and you can actually walk around some and be protected from any rain plus maybe, depending on the seat set-ups could add additional sleeping.

I kinda like a cuddy cabin over and aft cabin cruiser of the same length.

Good luck.

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Old 12-03-2014, 18:46   #10
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Re: New to Boating on Great lakes

Well, I'll try another shot at attaching photos. We saw these two minis in the North Channel in Gore Bay. Lately, they load & iI see them in preview but the actual posting shows no image but a "rotate image" note.

looks good now. We'll see.
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Old 13-03-2014, 08:17   #11
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Re: New to Boating on Great lakes

We would like to that everyone for taking the time to respond. You have given us a lot to consider. Now we just need to wait for the ice to melt so we can try out some boats.
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Old 25-03-2014, 19:16   #12
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Re: New to Boating on Great lakes

Hi Donaujr,

When we moved from sailing to power we went for a 30' Doral Prestancia. It was an excellent boat for the 8 years we had it and would be very good for what you plan to do. As we wanted to extend our trips to weeks, we moved to a 33' Doral Elegante that we now have had for 8 years.

All the best in your selecting a boat this spring. It is great fun looking and trying them out!

Daryl
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:37   #13
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Re: New to Boating on Great lakes

Daryl:
Thanks for the info. This boat configuration looks more like what we need (less emphasis in fishing stuff in the design).
I tried to look up Doral boats and it looks like they have gone out of business. If this is true has anyone run into service issues?
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Old 01-04-2014, 18:44   #14
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Re: New to Boating on Great lakes

I would go with a 25-30' planing power boat (many models to choose from). For weekending, it makes more sense as you can cover more ground in the short time you have. You should be able to find one in nice condition for way under 6 figures (unless you go new).

Later if you have more time and want to go longer distance a trawler or sailboat makes sense for fuel efficiency.
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