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Old 01-10-2014, 08:05   #31
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Re: Is there a "Best" time of the Year to Cross?

[QUOTE=sailcruiser;1585082]A64pilot, honestly the Great Lakes can be some of the hardest sailing out there. If wind kicks to 15+knots you are looking at 4-6' waves with a 2 second interval. You don't clear 1 before hit by the next. They bounce and return off break walls then you have 6' waves from 2 or more directions. I was out in 6-8' waves one time and it was horrible. Ocean sailing you can ride up and down the waves with a much longer period between them. Here they'll beat you to death in a hurry. Lake Michigan can have 12-15' quite regularly with I believe a record of close to 23' a few years back. Late fall is when it's usually the worst.


It is amazing that no matter where you travel, people will say there are spots with the worst weather and conditions. From experience I can tell you that the worst conditions you will ever see can be ANYWHERE you happen to find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The worst conditions you will ever find will be those greater than the last you experienced.

Using shipwrecks as an analogy for the OP's question also does little justice. On ships, we don't have the luxury of waiting out good weather windows and timetables must be met as berthing times, tugs, dock thugs, trucks, logistics, etc. are all bought and paid for on a timetable.

Telling someone to wait for more experience does little justice as there is no better way to get experience then get out there and a 70 mile journey is nothing if the OP gives himself enough time to enjoy the trip and wait out any weather if it shows up. Problems normally happen with time schedules, not lack of experience. Just be prudent and patient.

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Old 20-12-2014, 23:20   #32
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Re: Is there a "Best" time of the year to cross?

Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Not quite so fast...chance of thunderstorms are forecast nearly every day of the summer up here. Unless it is a major system they are difficult to know in advance as the "chance of" becomes noise. So one has to go and have the capability and ability to deal with whatever happens.

Come on here now, This is Michigan you are talking about...Even the weather does not know what it will do until it does it.
Being serious too !! This time last year we had 39 inches of snow here in SW Mi and now 50 degree days. Mid summer to early for windows and choose well and keep your eyes tuned to the sky and radio....It can change in a blink of an eye either way...
Just know that you know that you know what you are doing and enjoy.

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Old 21-12-2014, 17:41   #33
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Re: Is there a "Best" time of the Year to Cross?

July through The first half of September is the best time. Weather is really iffy other than that.

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Old 21-12-2014, 20:19   #34
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Re: Is there a "Best" time of the Year to Cross?

The crew of the Carl Bradley - 600+ foot long freighter watched her break in half in a storm on Lake Michigan that saw 25' waves. There were 2 survivors. Not very big by salt water standards but the waves are different in these bodies of water. It's just a plan fact. The Daniel Morrell - about the same size, broke in half during a storm on Lake Huron. There was one survivor.

It's easy for those who have not sailed on these fresh water seas to minimize the power of these mill ponds. Easier still if you never plan to. Yeah, yeah I know there's mean pieces of water out there but until you have faced the fury of what the lakes can produce on short notice you really can't speak knowledgeably on the subject.

But to the original subject - you'll likely wait till the wind dies and motor across on the way west. The weather window is easier going back since it will most likely be a downhill run. Late June thru the end of August is the best time. Earlier and the weather is quite unpredictable but you may see more easterly winds - that could go on the days. After Labor Day you will see that the weather is more fall like - gales and towering waves become far more common then. Decidedly NOT fun.

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