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Old 21-12-2015, 08:30   #1
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Lake Erie Transit

Heading West to East considering the prevailing winds and depths, is it generally better to sail the North shore, South shore or the middle of Erie for the quickest transit during early June?
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Old 24-12-2015, 07:23   #2
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

I would say that you just have to watch the weather daily and decide. Winds that run the same direction as the length of the lake (NE, SW) will produce rough seas with the fetch. It will depend where you are and how you are impacted by the wind.


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Old 24-12-2015, 07:53   #3
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

I have traversed the Lake in both directions and remained on the Canadian side of the water as ...I am a Canadian. The normal prevailing winds are from the west north west. The lake is the shallowest of the Great ones. On the north side there is considerable activity with fixed Gas rigs to be aware of. They are well light. You have to pick a few good days to go end to end and I say this as should it go sour, there are not a lot of bail out points on the north coast for keel boats.
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Old 24-12-2015, 08:22   #4
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

I assume you are coming out of the Detroit River and heading to one of the canals- Erie or Welland?
The fastest would just be straight down the middle on a rhumb line to whichever one you are headed to , but most people don't want to do an overnight...
With winds usually wnw (as Crew of turning said), I would jump to one of the islands out of the river, then a straight shot from there to east of Cleveland somewhere (Mentor or Fairport Harbor). Staying along the south shore gives you spots to get off the lake if it gets angry (which can happen in a hurry!). The only exception to that is if the wind is coming from the NE, then being on the south shore is NO fun...the eastern end is the deepest and when it starts blowing from there, the wave action can be terrible. (But it gets deeper in the western basin then )
Weather will dictate what the best course of action is...Immigration and customs is another thing to consider, not that's its a big deal, but does add another step to it when you stop, especially if you are bouncing back and forth...
I'd be happy to give you more ideas, what is your average travelling day in miles?
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Old 24-12-2015, 08:36   #5
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

I did the lake two seasons ago. We stayed on the Canadian side, mainly to stay out of the shipping lanes, which as I recall are somewhere near mid-lake.

Turning is right about the gas wells. They are a spider's web on the charts, and I recall that while the major ones were lit, most of the minor ones weren't. But they were all marked with small buoys. I was concerned we'd snag one, but never did.

The other hazard was the fishing nets. I don't know if they leave them out overnight, but we did sail over one line and I swear I saw the nearest buoy (a plastic bottle) bob down. I'm used to nets hanging very deep up on the upper Lakes, but Erie is so shallow...

But as others say, prevailing winds are westish (SW I believe). A straight shot down the middle (out of the shipping lanes) would be the fastest.
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Old 24-12-2015, 10:31   #6
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

Great info from everyone! Thanks. We will transit the Detroit River and, weather depending, sail Erie offshore in one shot as we head for Lake Ontario and then the St. Lawrence. Sounds like it could be a nice reach with the prevailing winds. I'm going to look at the charts for potential bailout points if unpredicted weather develops. Good luck, good sailing and Merry Christmas.
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Old 24-12-2015, 12:24   #7
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

Maybe we'll see you pass by rognvald. We're planning to cruise down the St. Lawrence this season, aiming for NFLD. But I don't expect to be ready to leave until later June.

There are a number of ports on both sides of the Lake. On the Canadian side we went into Colchester near the west end of the lake. Then we anchored off of Pelee Island for a few days. After that we did an overnighter and anchored off Long Point. Engine issues sent us into Port Dover, but it's a great place to stop anyway. Friendly folk, good services, and a busy little town. The night before hitting the Welland we anchored a couple miles up the Grand River. That was fun.

Our 6-foot draught was a little bit of a challenge in some areas. It's also a spooky lake in that winds can whip up waves very quickly. But it's beautiful, as all the Great Lakes are. Enjoy the journey.
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Old 26-12-2015, 09:21   #8
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Maybe we'll see you pass by rognvald. We're planning to cruise down the St. Lawrence this season, aiming for NFLD. But I don't expect to be ready to leave until later June.

There are a number of ports on both sides of the Lake. On the Canadian side we went into Colchester near the west end of the lake. Then we anchored off of Pelee Island for a few days. After that we did an overnighter and anchored off Long Point. Engine issues sent us into Port Dover, but it's a great place to stop anyway. Friendly folk, good services, and a busy little town. The night before hitting the Welland we anchored a couple miles up the Grand River. That was fun.

Our 6-foot draught was a little bit of a challenge in some areas. It's also a spooky lake in that winds can whip up waves very quickly. But it's beautiful, as all the Great Lakes are. Enjoy the journey.
Mike,
Thanks for the feedback on Colchester. Great information. We are uncertain about a departure date as there is a myriad of factors involved and many loose ends which need to be resolved in our land-life before leaving this year. In any event, we hope to sail non-stop from Chicago (weather permitting) as much as possible until we reach the Gulf of St. Lawrence where we will harbor hop our way North. Perhaps we will meet along the path and share some sailors tales and some good Irish whiskey. . . not that I'm known as a drinking man, you know . . . Good luck and good sailing, Rognvald
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Old 26-12-2015, 09:55   #9
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

I had to memorize this poem in school (although in German) but your thread reminded me at it and i think it fits for a history buff and for this thread.

John Maynard by Theodor Fontane - Famous poems, famous poets. - All Poetry

Fair winds and a happy new year
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Old 26-12-2015, 10:08   #10
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

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Mike,
Thanks for the feedback on Colchester. Great information. We are uncertain about a departure date as there is a myriad of factors involved and many loose ends which need to be resolved in our land-life before leaving this year. In any event, we hope to sail non-stop from Chicago (weather permitting) as much as possible until we reach the Gulf of St. Lawrence where we will harbor hop our way North. Perhaps we will meet along the path and share some sailors tales and some good Irish whiskey. . . not that I'm known as a drinking man, you know . . . Good luck and good sailing, Rognvald
Sounds like a great journey. Maybe we can raise a glass as you go screaming past us Rognvald . As my tag line suggests, we tend to go as slow as we can, so I expect we'll linger in various places like Quebec City and up the Saguenay fiords. We're aiming for Lewisporte, NFLD before the snow flies. Hope to get going early enough so that schedules don't matter, but we'll see...

Fair winds.
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Old 28-12-2015, 09:52   #11
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

" Maybe we can raise a glass as you go screaming past us Rognvald . "MikeOReilly


Mike,
I have been told by onlookers that when we fly our spinnaker in earnest we have, at times, appeared to approach the speed of sound. Sounds like a sloppy dram to me! Good luck and good sailing. R
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Old 20-03-2016, 09:54   #12
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

I can't say which is the best shore, but I was pleased with our stays at Erie, Pa., Geneva on the Lake, and Cleveland last year. Good places to get off the lake if you need to.

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Old 28-08-2016, 16:32   #13
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

We sailed the north shore from Port Glasgow to Port Dover in a two day period on August 23 & 24, 2016. The winds were out of the south & southwest, 10 to 15 knots with gusts to 20 knots. Once we rounded Long Point and headed north into Long Point Bay we had calmer water. We were on a Bayfield 23 with shoal keel and inboard Yanmar 8 hp.

It was a thrill! I am a very new sailor and it was exciting! We sailed for 10 hours per day at over 5 knots. Over 100 nm.
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Old 29-08-2016, 04:43   #14
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Re: Lake Erie Transit

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Wavesailor.
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