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Old 08-01-2010, 14:56   #16
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I would like to take up your comment on "anchoring offshore". I have an Island Packet 350 and have extensive Great Lakes Cruising experience.
I have anchored in open waters and even on fairly quiet nights there is considerable roll. You can sleep but you will not have a comfortable night. With winds off the open waters above 15 knots you will want to be in a sheltered bay.
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Old 29-01-2010, 16:45   #17
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Glad to see the gunslinger's post was only a month ago and from South Haven, my summer hang-out. (From Kalamazoo area) I'm a new sailor and shopping on a budget for a smaller 25-30 ft boat to dock at South Haven. I like the idea of taking at least overnight trips (maybe whole weekends) down to New Buffalo or up to Ludington.

I'm drawn to Cat 27's I've done some research and they are claimed reliable and there are hundreds of them around for cheap spare parts if needed.

What do you guys think? I'm green and need some advice.
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Old 30-01-2010, 08:24   #18
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Hi Hunter nice to see another person from around here. As I said earlyer I would stick to the 28 to 35 foot area for a weekender on the lakes because anything smaller would get into trouble when bad weather kicks up and you know how fast it can kick. Another reason is that if you get any smaller there just isnt enough storage or tankedge for anything other than a daysailer. I like the Catilianas too and also the Columbias in both the 27 and 28 foot size but I am still not happy with the tank sizes. I have found that going up to the 30 to 35 foot boat gets you alot more tankege as well as lots more cabin size because most of the 27s have 9" or less beam as well as shorter headroom. When you go up that 2 to 3 foot longer you usually get a 10 foot or wider beam as well as really usable tank size and you get an inbord engine that really can get you through a storm rather than just an engine to go in and out of the harbour with. Also most of the boats in the 30 ft plus have headroom over 6'. I dont know where you have been looking for a boat but I would look at the site called SailboatListings.com because there are tons of boats here on the lakes cheep right now. Also talk to the guy at 1st Choise Marine here in town because he has the better prices than the guys by the city docks. If you want to talk give me a call at 248 434 8644 and leave a message, I will eather answer or call you back I would be happy to help you find a good boat and maybe we will see you on the water Geoff.
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Old 30-01-2010, 12:00   #19
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Thanks Geoff, I've mostly been looking sailboatlistings.com and Craigslist.com between Chicago and Grand Rapids. But that's a good point, I had never really considered fuel capacity. I don't really mind being cramped but the tankage is an issue I need to do more research on. I would hate being stuck out in weather I wasn't competent enough to maneuver in and run out of gas. Also does 1st Choice Marine have a website?
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Old 30-01-2010, 12:06   #20
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Never mind, I found the website.
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Old 30-01-2010, 13:12   #21
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I sail out of Port Credit on Lake Ontario on a Nonsuch 30 Ultra. This is my first big boat but I have sailed/cruised on many other boats to date including alot of Windsurfing.
A Nonsuch was designed specifically for the Great Lakes in great comfort as they have as much room as a 35' boat. I presently use my boat as a daysailer and with help from my brother am updating her to cruise after I retire. Port Credit is a great place for that as it is the biggest working port on Lake Ontario and a great spot to cruise out of as there are many ports to visit around the lake.
I totally agree that weather can be very unpredictable and an eye to the sky an excellent idea. Even Lake Simcoe is notorious for sudden storms that I witnessed when I lived there. Is even noted on the chart in large red letters.
I would recommend a Nonsuch for anyone who wanted an excellent cruising boat.
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Old 30-01-2010, 14:13   #22
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I started out with a thirty foot finkeel Plastron, MIRAGE,a club racer I bought from my old buddy Bill VerValin, who won yacht of the year with the boat at New Buffalo Yacht Club, (it's on a trailer in my barnyard here in SW Michigan for sale very reasonable, (by the way). A very tender speed demon, built strong , a good boat to learn sailing.

When I learned enough to realize the true state of my ignorance and how vulnerable it made me on the water, I realized I needed to learn more and GET A BIGGER BOAT.

After buying my Morgan 462 CC in St. Pete, I dismantled it ( I hate canals and river trips and hope to never have to do it again as long as I live) trucked it to the very Southern end of Lake Michigan where I spent five years, while working as a high-rise steel erector, learning the boat, the systems and improving my boat handling skills to where I would be "good to go: when "early retirement" time came.

I financed the big boat and still have a way to go to own it outright, but I spent alot of money on getting it more shipshape as the years went on, keeping it in the water for three winters in the lake ice (bubblers) and living aboard much of the time.

I knew exactly what I wanted in a boat. My philosophy is simple, GET THERE! Spending four years on Lake Michigan and working some of the time on a barge/drilling rig five miles offshore, I got to see the best and the worst the lake can be.

July (believe it or not) often brings hellacious multi-day storms with prolonged high winds directly from the North/NW and steep set, high frequency waves over 20 feet. This is
usual in the Winter and common in early Summer.

When we were shaping up the drill and spoil barges and getting ready to move to the drill site, I asked the drill boss/superintendant "where you going to run when the lake gets up?" His agitated reply," I was in the Beufort sea, thirty foot seas and icebergs, I got four seven thousand pound Danforth anchors with inch and a quarter plow stell cables!!"
I said, "OK, but where are you gonna run when things get crazy (having seen those 17 footers in my little fin-keel)?" At that point, he was going apoplectic, and I really thought I would like to stick around and finish this job so I shut up.

Four weeks later, in the first part of July, we got the warning a screamer was coming through for about 48 hours right out of the NW with 330 miles of fetch. We had a huge spoil barge 250 feet long, a drill rig barge with a Manitowoc 4100, and another large barge with an even bigger Manitowoc 2250 (my barge). I ran the deck winches and moved my barge about ten feet off the drill platform and then made sure thouse anchors were buried.

I and a co-worker was on anchor watch till things got too crazy and the tug came to evacuate our sorry a**es off. At the height of the storm, 22 footwaves battered the shelving shore of the southern Lake Michigan shoreline. Ocean-going cargo vessels had to anchor out as three of them were unable to make the entrance to the Port of Indiana.

When the tug came alongside, the bow was going up and down about twenty feet, ten feet above our heads and tenfeet below, a well-timed jump and you made a safe landing as the bow went down.

After the storm, the big spoil barge was on the shore holed in many places. It crashed on the property of U.s Steel and i believe it was melted down for scrap. The other barge had broken three cables clean and was twisting in the wind on one remaining strand, it's winches battered to scrap from the near demolished crane. My barge (of course) was

Sailing my blue water ketch on Lake Michigan introduced me to full gales, square seas (night-sailing from Half-moon Bay to Traverse Bay in a NorWester, and incredible lightning storms from fast moving summertime storm fronts (nothing like you get in the true tropical Inter-Tropical Convergence Zones, but terrifying none-the-less).

To be honest, most sane people don't sail in the high latitudes in the Winter, they go South and "put the lime in the coconut." That's what I did. But I was able to safely accomplish this by making a plan and sticking to it. I am not experienced like some of the sailors writing here, but I've learned a great deal from all the knowledgable sailors who have been will to mentor people like me here. I thank you all for taking the time to share. It means a lot to those of us still "feeling our way along."

Having my bigger boat and doing coastal cruising and short 250 "offshore" passages up the middle of the lake, got me enough ability and confidence to start on my way. (Plus the help of my friends)
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Old 31-01-2010, 12:01   #23
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I am glad you found the website hunter. If you look at their boats for sale list you will see most of what they have listed are power but at least the last time I was there they also had a few really nice sailboats for sale reasonable. Also Sageofsalem thats a good story about how strong storms are here on the lakes. By the way how much for your boat and could you call or email me some details on your boat. G
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Old 17-02-2010, 05:37   #24
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Hi I have sailed on the Great lakes for over 30 years and my recommendation is a Catalina 30 for starters. This boat is inexpensive large enough to enjoy and easier to sell if you want to quit sailing or go larger. Steve Hicks
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Old 22-02-2010, 22:27   #25
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Boat: s/v Booty Call, 1976 Oday 27
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Lake Michigan

I have sailed both a 23' and my current boat, a 27' Oday on the Great Lakes and will attest to the prior posts. The Great Lakes can kick up some wicked weather, but also give you such terrific joys as well.


My 27' served my wife & i perfectly well in our cruising. It was comfy and cozy as we sailed up along Door County, Wisconsin and around. We also did a 6 day cruise on board, just the two of us and had a great time. Plus ,the boat has taken on storms and kept us dry 'n safe.

Faced 6-8' waves before, although not fun and a wild ride, a 27' can keep u safe!

Mark
s/v Booty Call
Green Bay, WI
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Old 23-02-2010, 04:30   #26
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Strongly suggest that @ 6'4" you lie down in the forepeak in any IP up to 35'. I'm 6'1" and fit only when scrunched up.
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Old 23-02-2010, 08:00   #27
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Location: Fort Pierce, FL. Texas Roots
Boat: 82 Present, 13 ft dinghy
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I have limited experience on lake Michigan. My son has a 28ft Grady sailfisn with 500 hp hanging on the back. We have rode the rip at Montuck, at the Race off New London b4 he moved to St. Joseph, MI. What I do know is that the Lake is a bitch. She is a small bathtub and even worse the the Gulf, which I have extensive experience with.

The seas on the lake will be compact and you will not recover from one wave befor being slapped with another. I do not know how anyone can say that a boat can be "too stoutly built" for the Great Lakes. The vicious seas on the lakes with the short interval is far worse than found, as a general rule, in larger bodies of water.

All that being said, I agree with an earlier poster, considering your objectives and your choice of cruising geography, I would look carefully at the Nauticats. No matter how acclimated you are, wind, wet and cold together hurts. The Nauticats have an in cabin pilot house...read warm. That will extend your season considerably. They are bullet proof. They have big engines, which can be a real avantage on occasion. If you buy cheap you will hold on to your resail (oops is that sale?) value. They were built by Scandinavians so they should have head room, big bunks and so forth. Look at these:

nauticat Boats For Sale
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Old 23-02-2010, 08:29   #28
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I met and spent some time with George Hinterholer who produced a crusing cat boat. His recommendation was that that are fine coastal cruising boats but long distance of shore is not there intended use. The absence of head sail also limits your ability to go to weather thereby lengthening your run comfort is great but be sure to weigh all factors before making a decision
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Old 23-02-2010, 08:40   #29
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SIZE MATTERS: I started cruising on a Grampian 23' and went the length of Lake Huron and the North channel of Georgian Bay. I am 6'3" and had just enough room to sleep the boat took on some storms and handled them well but the on board motion was harsh I sold the boat the next season and moved to a 32' boat and the ride and comfort level was drematicaly improved. The saying that the bigger the boat the better the ride does make sense
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