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Old 17-04-2012, 18:57   #1
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Crossing Lake Huron...

It appears that I will be able to get my vacation the last two weeks of June. Here's the plan...we prep the boat in Blind River, Ontario, go sailing for a day or two in the North Channel, then head home to Kewalo's new home port, probably on Lake St. Clair in the Windsor vicinity.

We'll watch for a decent weather window, and sail to Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island day 1. Hit the hay early, and motor out to the Mississagi Straits, leaving Meldrum Bay early in the morning. From the northern end of the Straits to Rogers City, MI is approximately 55 miles or so.....

Our new to us boat is a 29 foot Bayfield 29C.....this will be the most ambitious day, or at least I hope. We will have 12 days to get from Blind River down to Lake St. Clair, hop scotching our way down the Michigan shoreline.

Has anyone ever sailed our planned crossing? Does it appear that my plan will be a good one? I figure that going this route will lessen our exposure to the prevailing westerlies as opposed to travelling via the Ontario side of the lake.

Your thoughts?

gunk
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Old 17-04-2012, 19:39   #2
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

Good plan.
I have made 3 trips from Lake StClair to north channel and back. I have always done the "no time to loose" method as only 2 weeks vacation and we wanted to spend as much time north as possible. I have done the none stop leg of Sarnia to Club Island and the Sarnia to Kincardine 2 day trip as well. Both are long days even with auto helm.

I agree the west side of the lake could be smoother and more stops are available. I look forward to your report.

If you are ever near the Thames River, there is always a free dock for a visitor at Thames River Yacht Club. Do drop in.

www.thamesriveryachtclub.org
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Old 17-04-2012, 20:18   #3
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

Rogers City is a great small town and has a nice marina that is under-utilized. Most of the sailors lost in northern Lake Michigan on the freighter the Carl Bradley were from Rogers City.

Presque Isle (presq eel) is a nice day sail from Rogers City and right on the way. The marina is modern and will have lots of room. A small resturant at the end of the dock serves a great dinner. There is a small store across the street with good ice cream but you are out in the boon docks.

Alpena is another great stop however it is 9 miles in and out of Thunder Bay.

You should have a great trip!
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Old 17-04-2012, 20:48   #4
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

hey, amerstberg, are you from LMYC? lake Huron can be as smooth as silk or the opposite. when it is acting up, there are not too friendly a harbor on the canadien shore. and they are far apart. for a newby, go the Michigan route. more ports of refuge and close together. across saginaw bay is the worst of it.(a long day). watch the weather and you should be fine.
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Old 18-04-2012, 14:30   #5
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

We've not joined a yacht club yet...but intend to. We are hoping to settle in at Southport.

The trip is getting closer..and we're getting more excited about it every day.

gunk
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Old 19-04-2012, 15:14   #6
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

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Originally Posted by magicmoments View Post
Good plan.
I have made 3 trips from Lake StClair to north channel and back. I have always done the "no time to loose" method as only 2 weeks vacation and we wanted to spend as much time north as possible. I have done the none stop leg of Sarnia to Club Island and the Sarnia to Kincardine 2 day trip as well. Both are long days even with auto helm.

I agree the west side of the lake could be smoother and more stops are available. I look forward to your report.

If you are ever near the Thames River, there is always a free dock for a visitor at Thames River Yacht Club. Do drop in.

www.thamesriveryachtclub.org
Thanks MM, we'll try to get over that way for a night this year, nothing like a freebie!

gunk
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Old 19-04-2012, 15:15   #7
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Rogers City is a great small town and has a nice marina that is under-utilized. Most of the sailors lost in northern Lake Michigan on the freighter the Carl Bradley were from Rogers City.

Presque Isle (presq eel) is a nice day sail from Rogers City and right on the way. The marina is modern and will have lots of room. A small resturant at the end of the dock serves a great dinner. There is a small store across the street with good ice cream but you are out in the boon docks.

Alpena is another great stop however it is 9 miles in and out of Thunder Bay.

You should have a great trip!
Ice cream! And a meal right at the docks...now that's a place that we'll be visiting on the way home!

Thanks!

gunk
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Old 15-05-2012, 09:59   #8
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

Well, after this weekend we'll be one step closer to bringing Kewalo home....

I've been assured that I have the Canadian Victoria Day long weekend off, which is a huge feat where I work.......so we're heading up to Blind River, ON, and splashing the boat, stepping the mast, getting the rigging tuned up, installing the chart plotter, cleaning the inside and organizing it Beth's way....and hopefully getting some sailing time in.

We'll be heading out from work at midnite Friday night, driving the 10 hours up there, and then we'll "git 'r done" as the saying goes. Back to work for Tuesday afternoon shift. We'll leave Kewalo at the marina until the 15th of June, when we'll get airlifted up north by a pilot friend of the family so we won't have the bother of having to get the car back home again. Then, it's anchors up, and across Lake Huron to the Roger's City area of Michigan, and hop scotch our way down the Michigan coast line to Kewalo's new home on Lake St. Clair.

Are we excited? Oh boy! We'll install the radar when we get home, my brother in law's shop is fabbing up a pole and mount, I'll do some preventive maintenance on the engine, clean the bilge....do some bright work...you know, all the blood and guts stuff.

C'mon Friday midnite!

gunk
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Old 15-05-2012, 10:24   #9
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

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Originally Posted by gunkylump View Post
Well, after this weekend we'll be one step closer to bringing Kewalo home....

I've been assured that I have the Canadian Victoria Day long weekend off, which is a huge feat where I work.......so we're heading up to Blind River, ON, and splashing the boat, stepping the mast, getting the rigging tuned up, installing the chart plotter, cleaning the inside and organizing it Beth's way....and hopefully getting some sailing time in.
Congrats Gunk. Exciting times indeed.

I used to sail the North Channel out of a little-known yacht club just east of Blind River. The North Channel Yacht Club is found about 15 nm east, just opposite the near ghost town of Spragge. It's found in the bay, heading towards the Serpent River.

The NCYC has fuel, transient docking, and is full of very helpful people. If you're looking for a good shakedown sail, I'd keep this in mind. Just be sure to enter the bay slow. There are a few deadheads around.
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Old 15-05-2012, 11:03   #10
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

Thanks Mike, I know the area well. I ran a charter fishing boat out of Blind River after the mines shut down in Elliot Lake, and lived in the area from 1967 to 1995.....spent a fair bit of time out on the water there.

The NCYC has an awesome location, and Spragge harbour has some of the best fishing anywhere. There is also an awesome Mica deposit a few hundred yards up the mouth of the river, and then about a half mile inland south to a small pike lake. The mica deposit is quite large, and it is very easy to grab large samples right from the rock surrounding the pike lake. Some huge pike in there!

Any luck in selling your boat yet? It looks like a great deal just waiting to happen.

gunk
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Old 15-05-2012, 11:19   #11
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

You know the place well. It is a wonderful cruising ground, and the fishing is always great. Didn't know about the pike lake though, and mica is always cool. Next time we pass through there I'll make a point of looking for the lake.

Our Grampian 34 is still for sale. We've had a number of inquiries over the past few months, including a few that seemed serious, but as soon as people get interested they look at the map and realize how far we are away from everywhere. Thunder Bay is a long way to come for most people, and then there's the challenge of moving the boat (either by sail or truck). I guess we'll just keep dropping the price. Eventually we may just chop it up and sell off the parts (which we can probably get more for at this point ).

BTW, the one time we went into Blind River with our Grampian we almost became a permanent fixture. That shore is fairly shallow (as you know), and our 5-foot keel became well embedded in the marina mud. They do dredge, and your Bayfield will have no problem I'm sure. Have a great sail back!
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Old 15-05-2012, 17:20   #12
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

How often do you see sailboats anchored out on the eastern coast of Michigan? I grew up in that area (45 minutes inland), but I didn't get to go to Lake Huron often. Does the bottom hold? When I get a boat, that will be a common place for me to spend lots of time at.

I'll be interested in reading about your trip.
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Old 15-05-2012, 18:00   #13
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
You know the place well. It is a wonderful cruising ground, and the fishing is always great. Didn't know about the pike lake though, and mica is always cool. Next time we pass through there I'll make a point of looking for the lake.

Our Grampian 34 is still for sale. We've had a number of inquiries over the past few months, including a few that seemed serious, but as soon as people get interested they look at the map and realize how far we are away from everywhere. Thunder Bay is a long way to come for most people, and then there's the challenge of moving the boat (either by sail or truck). I guess we'll just keep dropping the price. Eventually we may just chop it up and sell off the parts (which we can probably get more for at this point ).

BTW, the one time we went into Blind River with our Grampian we almost became a permanent fixture. That shore is fairly shallow (as you know), and our 5-foot keel became well embedded in the marina mud. They do dredge, and your Bayfield will have no problem I'm sure. Have a great sail back!
Thanks Mike, good luck on your sale! Our Bayfield has spent the last 12 years or so in Blind River.....the marina area is right next to an old wood chip plant..lots of wood chips mixed in with that mud! They tore down the old chip burner recently...it was a great landmark!

gunk
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Old 15-05-2012, 18:01   #14
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

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How often do you see sailboats anchored out on the eastern coast of Michigan? I grew up in that area (45 minutes inland), but I didn't get to go to Lake Huron often. Does the bottom hold? When I get a boat, that will be a common place for me to spend lots of time at.

I'll be interested in reading about your trip.
Those are questions I can't answer just yet....and I will post about our trip whenever we get wi-fi. If the Michigan shoreline is anything like that of the North Channel, anchoring is not an issue.

gunk
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Old 15-05-2012, 18:02   #15
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Re: Crossing Lake Huron...

anchorages on the Huron shore of Michigan...

Presque Isle appears like a great place, but there are a lot of weeds that foul the anchor in a blow. You will drag.

It's a long way down to Harrisville but there is some room there to anchor in the harbor.
South of Harrisville is Tawas Bay. There is room inside the muni harbor for a few boats and the harbor itself has pretty good protection.
Across to Port Austin at the tip of the thumb there is no room to anchor.
Harbor Beach is a huge harbor of refuge, virtually unlimited anchoring room.
Port Sanilac & Lexington have some room to anchor but not a lot. No place to anchor in Port Huron.
The current in the St. Clair river runs a good 3 knots, some places more.
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