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Old 01-03-2019, 20:45   #1
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Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

Sorry if this is in the wrong location, but I couldn't find a different spot where it fit better...

My wife and I are finally getting into sailing this summer. We live in Minnesota (Specifically the St. Cloud area) and have a 16' dinghy. There are several lakes nearby, but I don't know if any of them are decent to sail on.

Does anyone have a recommendation for lakes up this way?/How do I know if a lake is decent enough to sail on?

Thank you!
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:42   #2
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

This seems to have covered the question pretty well:
Best lake for dinghy sailing MN - Dinghy Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums

Wait for the ice to come out first, though.
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:49   #3
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
This seems to have covered the question pretty well:
Best lake for dinghy sailing MN - Dinghy Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums

Wait for the ice to come out first, though.
Ha! I mean... If I have to I guess... Thanks
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:53   #4
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

They will not be as 'handy' to the lakes in the Twin Cities being 'up' in Saint Cloud. Since I am south of the Cities, I am obligated to say 'up'.



https://www.nationsonline.org/onewor...nesota_map.htm


https://fishingminnesota.com/map_html/StCloud.html



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Old 03-03-2019, 09:00   #5
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

Good thread. As a fellow trailer-sailor, one of the biggest joys is sailing/cruising on the many decent "cottage" lakes that the big boys can't get to.
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:38   #6
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

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Good thread. As a fellow trailer-sailor, one of the biggest joys is sailing/cruising on the many decent "cottage" lakes that the big boys can't get to.
Is there a size of lake that you look for to know if it will work for sailing?
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Old 03-03-2019, 13:42   #7
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

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Is there a size of lake that you look for to know if it will work for sailing?
Well, I know dinghy folks who are happy even on small reservoirs.

My preference, with our microcruiser:
  • mid-size (eg a few miles long or more) with lots of bays and/or islands to explore and shelter in, and some open areas that give some decently long sails
  • big enough that power and sail boats are not running into each other
  • deep enough, obviously
A few of my favourites
So that's what i like. I also sail on the Great Lakes.

Thing is, with the Internet and a dinghy on a trailer, it's easy to research new spots and then risk a day-trip to rig and launch.

If you want to find out what extremes some dinghy owners have gone to, look for books by Frank Dye or Margaret Dye.
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Old 03-03-2019, 14:10   #8
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

It might also be a good idea to look up outboard and jetski dealers and avoid the lakes they are on, since their customers are likely to make those lakes crowded, noisy, and choppy with wakes.
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Old 03-03-2019, 17:56   #9
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

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It might also be a good idea to look up outboard and jetski dealers and avoid the lakes they are on, since their customers are likely to make those lakes crowded, noisy, and choppy with wakes.
mille lacs!
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Old 03-03-2019, 20:22   #10
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

https://webapp.navionics.com/#boatin...qxztGt%7Bf%7DP


http://www.scmaps.com


Any lake suitable for boating can be sailed. Look for lakes large enough that there's consistent wind, shores with trees or high banks block the wind. 1/2 mile across is usually plenty -- there's lots of sailing on the Minneapolis lakes and they're all about that size. Small lakes are easier to navigate.


Be aware of shallow areas, rocks, and other obstructions.


I've given you some links that will help locate suitable lakes and trailer accesses. The map books from scmaps are well worth the money and they give you a .pdf of the book as part of the deal. They don't have the details of the lakes but will show you the approximate boundaries of public lands along the shore, and the location of public accesses. While this information is available elsewhere they have combined state, county, city etc data sources. Great way to get to know an area.
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Old 04-03-2019, 15:12   #11
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

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Originally Posted by aj911501 View Post

Does anyone have a recommendation for lakes up this way?/

Thank you!

My wife and I are new to sailing also. We bought our boat in fall of 2017. We had no prior sailing time or skills. The boat was on Leech Lake and the slip was paid for the remainder of the season so we were able to start our learning there. Our intent was to move the boat closer to our home as Leech lake is a 3.5 to 4 hr. drive away. After a few outings and trying to figure out what all the strings & things did, we decided to stay on Leech another season to improve our skills and knowledge. Leech is a pretty good size MN. lake but excellent for sailing. Part of the lake is civilized with marinas to overnight at with dinning & supplies close at hand or you can sail to the further reaches & anchor out in the classic northwoods setting falling to sleep to the call of the loon,the croaking frogs & spring peepers. Our slip was at Shores of Leech Marina & RV resort. It's a beautiful family type marina full of active & freindly sailors. They might be a source of useful info for you as to launching your boat and providing a place to lodge. Leech can get rough when the wind blows strong. It might be worth checking out. Should be easy drive from your location.
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Old 04-03-2019, 16:53   #12
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

Mayhew and Sugar Lakes are reasonably close, reasonably sized to start and have boat ramps which is something I haven’t seen anybody else bring up.
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Old 04-03-2019, 17:01   #13
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

I’ll be in St Cloud at the end of the month if you want somebody to look at your boat and offer advice in person.

You’ll wast to get depth charts for any lake you sail on.
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Old 04-03-2019, 18:22   #14
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

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Mayhew and Sugar Lakes are reasonably close, reasonably sized to start and have boat ramps which is something I haven’t seen anybody else bring up.

At this point, substantially all lakes have public boat ramps. The few that do not are small, and in most of those cases, all shoreline is privately owned so the public has no riparian rights. The maps I linked upthread show all the boat ramps.



I don't usually have much good to say about the MN DNR but they did embark upon a lengthy and well-funded public access program starting in the 1980s that has greatly improved water access for those of us who are not shoreline landowners.


Quote:
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I’ll be in St Cloud at the end of the month if you want somebody to look at your boat and offer advice in person.

You’ll wast to get depth charts for any lake you sail on.

The best charts are now electronic. Garmin, Navionics, etc.
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Old 01-05-2019, 05:59   #15
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Re: Minnesotan Sailing Lakes

My wife and I purchased our first sailboat in the fall of 2016 so we're fairly new as well. It's a 23ft "pocket cruiser" keel boat that we had been keeping at Wayzata Yacht Club for both racing (PHRF fleet non-spinnaker) and cruising with our 2 daughters. Minnetonka is the largest metro lake but is extremely busy, especially on weekends.

Our desire for bigger water and fewer crowds but something still within an easy drive has lead us to Mille Lacs this year. We haven't launched yet as the ice-out was just last Sunday, but we are very excited for the season to start! We have a slip reserved at Izaty's Resort which is on the southern end of the lake and only 1 hour and 25 minutes from our home in the north metro. The marina is lacking in facilities (no haul-out or pump-out options) however the GM of Izaty's is a sailor and has indicated plans to promote sailing on Mille Lacs. Izaty's has a hotel, rental cabins, a pool and hot tub, and a great restaurant - not to mention golf!

As others have stated there are many lake options especially for a dinghy that is faster to rig, launch, and recover.
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