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Old 28-05-2013, 20:09   #1
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Sailing the Great Lakes in Canada

Hi gents and gals,

I've been reading the various threads on catamarans and the great lakes. I currently have a power cruiser size 35' with a 11'2 beam. Originally I was attracted to the Gemini 105 MC (34' w/ 14' beam), however it feels a bit like a step down from our current vessel. So naturally, through reading and many many articles / videos, I've become a fan of the 36' / 38' PDQs, Leopard 380, Lagoon 38 (love this boat) and Lagoon 40...

The question I bring to you is for the great lakes of Canada, are the 36+' (more interested in the 38 footers) overkill, and would I spend more time and money in fighting to park it rather than actually enjoying the cruise? Additionally, wind speeds on our current lake up north (Simcoe, small and sometimes vicious) averages 12 knots, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario are the destinations I have in mind with the new vessel, which average similar speeds (12-16 knots). Both lakes burst up to 26 knots during those days as well, and the waves for Simcoe are short and choppy, Ontario tends to be nicely spaced and large (max 15 feet or 3 meters), and Georgian Bay I have yet to learn.

Finally, would these wind speeds adequately move a cat of 38 feet?

Any insight on any of these concepts is most appreciative, and apologies if this has been covered elsewhere. Feel welcome to point me to the thread if so. From what I've seen, the Gemini 34 is as far as people go for these lakes as it relates to sail catamarans...

(Note sailing the ocean is not practical for my wife and I at this time and for many years. This would strictly be a Lake vessel for the foreseeable future).

Cheers,
Aaron
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Old 29-05-2013, 07:25   #2
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Re: Sailing the Great Lakes in Canada

Just a quick update on my research. Based on reading in other threads, it sounds like 15 knots can easily push a vessel of 38'+, which I'm happy to hear. With a 50+ cat, they say they can hit 17 knots in 15 knot true... If I can average 9-10 knots, I'm a happy camper; Anything above that is just absolute gravy!

Performance is a major component in this decision-making. The intended use is for the family and friends... Something with enough space to not feel crowded going for a day cruise, overnight stay, and day cruise back -- possibly a two day cruise with an anchor mid-point in mind in the water (Georgian Bay).

Thanks guys, looking forward to hearing some advisories.

Aaron
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Old 29-05-2013, 09:56   #3
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Re: Sailing the Great Lakes in Canada

Sgt. IQ, I think you will find that an average of 9-10 knots will be extremely unlikely in the boats that you are referring to. For them, expect about 1/2 wind velocity - and it wil be unlikely that you will be averaging anywhere near 20 knots of wind.

If you are buying a cat and currently have your boat on Lake Simcoe, I would recommend that you consider docking your boat in southern Georgian Bay (Midland, Penetanguishene). It will be a relatively short drive and the 30,000 Islands are perhaps the world's best fresh-water cruising ground. There are countless protected anchorages and the shallow draft of a cat will be ideal in the small boat channel. More to the point, you can save on the headaches and cost of finding adequate overnite transient berths.

One word of caution, however. If you wish to use the Trent-Severn system to get your boat to Georgian Bay, while the Big Chute railroad allows for beams up to 24 feet, I believe that the lock at Port Severn, which is the smallest, is only 23 feet wide. That would likely rule out the Leopards and Lagoons. In addition, PDQ built a 32 and a 36 (with a few called 34's prior to the hull extensions), they did not build a 38.

Cheers!

Brad
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Old 29-05-2013, 11:47   #4
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Re: Sailing the Great Lakes in Canada

Thanks for the reply Brad!

Good to know regarding the speeds... I suppose this means I will be performing at close to 7 knots, or possibly even 5?

I will research the area of Georgian Bay you recommended as there is great comfort in both the adventure of the islands, the shallow waters being approachable in a cat, and the accommodating docks for the beam sizes.

Also, the size of the beam on the Lagoon 38 is under 20 feet unless my calculation of 6.5 m is off? But I suppose with the fenders, it will be pushing closer to 22-23 feet, which is absolute max... Good to know should we use the trent.

Realistically we will likely have it transported professionally, being novice with sailing altogether and having gone up the Trent in a much smaller-beamed power boat. I'll have to study the landscape a bit more and make an informed decision RE the Trent, but utlimately we want to be out in the lake and spend our sailing travels, swimming and memories there.

Thanks again Brad! I'll check out hte PDQ 32 ft. as well. For Vessels, is there a "perfect sail cat" (type, model and size) for Georgian Bay that would be recommended with performance and safety in mind?

Cheers,
Aaron
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Old 29-05-2013, 13:05   #5
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Re: Sailing the Great Lakes in Canada

I sail a PDQ32 on Lake Simcoe. It will sail at 7 to 8 knots in 10 knots of wind. At 15 knots we can start to see double digits.
We have a larger cat down south that we think of as a sedan while the PDQ32 is our sports car.
The 32 is a very comfortable boat for a couple with occasional guests. We use it as our floating cottage and most nights find ourselves alone at the anchorages around the lake.
I had considered the PDQ36 but it would have required hiring a crane for haul out whereas the 32 just fits our marina's travel lift.
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Old 29-05-2013, 14:21   #6
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Re: Sailing the Great Lakes in Canada

Sgt. my recommendation for Georgian Bay was based upon anchoring out, rather than the availability of wide transient docks. I think you will find in your move from a 35 foot power boat to sail that, with some solar panels, a decent house bank and an inflatable, you won't need to be tied up and plugged into a dock. In addition, cats are very easy to maneuver under power - twin screws (except in the Gemini) means you are typically able to do a 360 in your own length. However, the beam can be intimidating at first.

As to speeds of the PDQ32, I'll take Henry's word if lightly laden. They are certainly quick boats. As to the others, my experience in sailing against them if loaded for cruising is still typically an average of about 1/2 wind speed. You are probably correct on the beam for the Lagoon and you could probably squeeze it. I would want some fender boards, however.

And if you have experience in a 35 foot power boat, I suspect you'd find a trip up the Trent Severn from Lake Ontario to be a great way to get experience with the boat under power. Later, when you are out in Georgian Bay, you can start sailing her - first by just using the furling headsail in order to get experience tacking/jibing and then adding the main.

Brad
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Old 29-05-2013, 19:41   #7
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Re: Sailing the Great Lakes in Canada

Brad,

Very informed and excellent reply, thank you -- and Henry thank you for the reply as well.

I feel very comfortable moving forward with a wide-beamed Cat after these responses with Georgian Bay in mind. I agree with the twins piece as well -- in our current cruiser, I can spin on a dime and with a wide beam and as a result wider placement of props, I would only imagine it being even easier.

Very good points to know around the anchorage piece, and Georgian Bay is geared for that. Lake Ontario I feel is a bit more... industrial / commercial? Either way, I feel I'd waste no time and be on Georgian quickly...

Thanks again, I feel this answers my questions!

Cheers,
Aaron
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Old 30-05-2013, 05:26   #8
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Re: Sailing the Great Lakes in Canada

Good luck Aaron and keep us posted as you shop for boats!

Brad
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:37   #9
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Re: Sailing the Great Lakes in Canada

Sgt IQ,

I was sold enough of the idea of a cat on the great lakes that we bought a PDQ 36 based out of the North Channel. On a day with 12-16 knots, we saw 8 no problem with no effort to trim for speed. When the wind hit 25, we double-reefed - perhaps a bit early for the boat - but flew along at 12. A cat is particularly well suited for Canadian Shield countryside, where erosion below the waterline is minimal and there's lots of nice shallow spots. Bahamian moors are not uncommon.

If you're interested in a charter drop me a line.
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