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Old 04-10-2009, 09:50   #1
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Lake Michigan - Any Advice on Boat Size for My Plans?

I am new to sailing. However my wife and I are planning on purchasing a boat late next year, once we are sure we are in this for the long term. Meanwhile we will take ASA courses, USPS course, and crew or charter as much as we can.

Of course we have the romantic view of things, sailing the ocean, doing the Great Loop...errrrr yea then reality sets in.

We are not interested in racing and would prefer a boat with some comforts verses a smaller/ day sailor. We would plan several 3 or 4 days excursions (thu, fri, sat, sun ) throughout the year. Rain, cold, are not much of a deterrent to our trips since we are life long Michiganders. We know we will encounter rougher seas at times.

Finally my question. For some day sailing, anchoring off shore for 3-4 day trips, would a 31-35' boat be the right size for us? Or should we plan on a smaller boat due to job time restrictions and plan on being day sailors, then charter something bigger when we want to? I have been leaning towards a smaller Island Packet 31'? I am 6'4" and it seems this is a nicely laid out boat with more room then many others we have been on.

But can an IP be a fun day sailor? or just to much boat for a 4-6 hour trip?

thx in advance....
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:10   #2
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I day sailed my Pearson 30 for years on Lake Michigan, with the occasional long weekend or longer trip before I took her across Lake Eire and the Erie Canal to the East Coast and, later, down the ICW and across to the Bahamas. Perfect single handed day sailer, OK for a week or so, too small for extended cruising. Major issues - sleeping and cooking accomodations and tankage for water, fuel and waste. Fuel tank WAY too small, water managable but inconveniently small, waste a real problem because of limited pump out capacity along the ICW. This last not so bad on the Lakes.

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Old 04-10-2009, 17:41   #3
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Budget, size, facilities, comfort...

It sounds like you have a reasonable budget for the boat purchase but what facilities are available to you? The reason I ask is that it sounds like you're looking at a trade off between price, facilities and utility.

By that I mean would it be worth buying a cheaper boat and keeping it at a convenient protected marina or would you prefer a nicer boat on a mooring with dinghy access.

For comfort in your climate (brrr) surely a full dodger, and even a full enclosure bimini. Bimini and dodger, davits and boarding ladder also need to be factored in.

One boat that comes to mind is the Nauticat.

If you have serious work and/or family commitments then a trawler is not going to get you sailing but you'll be able to get on the water more often and in more comfort.

Taking a long careful look at what boats are actually used in your area may also be a good idea.
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Old 04-10-2009, 18:05   #4
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Since 1) You're not interesting in racing and seem more interested in space / comfort, 2) You'll want a boat that will take care of you as a newer sailer and you may be in for the occassional challenge being on lake Michagain, 3) you're already partial to the IPs and they have a great reputation and great support . . . I think you'll do really well with that choice. There's a 35' down the dock from me here on lake Ontario. The build and all the hardware is top of the line, owner is really happy with it having done cross-lake races where some very nasty weather has come up. Some of our dock mates think it may be to heavily built for the great lakes, but if you're not a racer and you're interested in something safe, comfortable, and a decent investment, I think a used one in great shape would be well worth considering.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:52   #5
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That little IP sounds like a good choice.

When you're out some where and the weather kicks up , you'll be glad you bought it (or something similar).

IMHO, there no such thing as "too heavily built" for the Great Lakes. (Holland Channel last Monday- off sailnet)


FWIW, we use our 48 footer as a day sailer too.
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Old 05-10-2009, 10:35   #6
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Many forget the wave period on the Great Lakes

Interesting quote from the captain's log of the 179 foot barque Picton Castle:

<<As soon as the Picton Castle got out into Lake Ontario on the morning of Saturday, August 26, we had a clear but distant view of Torontoís skyline. We also felt the easterly wind that was causing 5Ė6 foot waves on the lake. Normally waves of that size arenít anything to be too concerned about, but the shape of the waves in the Great Lakes means that a 6-foot wave here feels like a 12-foot wave in the ocean. The waves come much more quickly and make for a weird motion on board. Quite a few folks found that the conditions didnít agree with their stomachs and soon their breakfasts were coming back up. They were especially glad when we entered the inner harbour at Toronto about 3 and a half hours later.>>

Never "misunderestimate" the Great Lakes.
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Old 05-10-2009, 19:41   #7
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Waves....

Thanks everyone.

S&S I live on the shore of Lake Michigan just north of Holland. During thaqt windy day last week, I got home from work, suited up in my best foulies and ran out the door to hang out on the beach. Great time watching the waves crash, big time beach erosion! I looked for a 48' boat out on the horizon but didnt see one. That was an excellent day to see natures fury. I could not stand up on the beach, but found a post to hold onto. Rain drops felt like nails hitting my face. I wasnt to surprised about the beach area waves but i was VERY shocked when I looked out about 1/4 mile and saw how large the waves were out there! I could only guess 15' or better.

I wish I couldve stayed out longer but rain was getting down my neck line and eventually I was cold and soaked enough to go home were most sane people stay in that kind of weather.

I luv MI!
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Old 05-10-2009, 21:12   #8
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Titan, I grew up right across the channel in Macatawa. It's a great place to live, isn't it!
Anyway, one of my best friends lives on Mac North side, he probably is only a couple miles from where you live. If you want, I can get you connected to him. He is seriously tied into all the marinas and brokers from St. Joe to Traverse City. PM me and I'll send you both an into e-mail.

I'd suggest Bay Breeze Charters in Traverse City of your interested in ASA classes and some weekend charters. I don't know if you have spent much time in Grand Traverse Bay, but it's a hard place to beat for daysailing.
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Old 05-10-2009, 21:14   #9
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Another source may be Irwinsailor. I haven't seen him post in a long-long time but he has a boat at Eldean's that was for sale last year. It was bigger then your looking for but he knows a lot of guys in the area also.
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Old 05-10-2009, 21:23   #10
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I have the IP31 and love it. I am also 6'3". The problem you will find is that the holding tank is small 14 gal. The biggest problem you will have with long legs is using the head, it is almost impossible to use as the door is slanted across the head and you have to sit slanted. Be sure to check that out closely before you buy.
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Old 06-10-2009, 17:01   #11
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usps

Quote:
Originally Posted by rigamarole View Post
If you want, I can get you connected to him. He is seriously tied into all the marinas and brokers from St. Joe to Traverse City. PM me and I'll send you both an into e-mail.
I have my USPS class coming up next week. Ill PM you once I get a bit further into everything. Right now I need some more direction on what I want to do and the classes thru USPS and ASA should set me on a path. Everyone Ive met so far has been or is into sail racing. I did enough years of racing in cars and sportbikes.

I just want to sail and find some nice times/place to anchor out in Lake Michigan where its quiet.... Hard to believe Im only 40 and burned out on corporate america and consumerism. But thats another story
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Old 06-10-2009, 17:41   #12
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No problem. He has a trawler right now and loves it for the "journey vs destination" saying.
I've got a 26' Four Winn's with a 375hp Volvo Penta right now and enjoy just about any destination it can take me to at 60mph. It knocks the burned out corporate america right out of me

And just for the record, I never come closer then 30' to any sailboat at speed and limit myself to a maximum of two donut loops around active bouy races.
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Old 20-12-2009, 12:34   #13
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Hello, I see that someone has used my name. I would think a IP would be a great boat for your use.
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Old 24-12-2009, 13:53   #14
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Titan1969

If you are burned out at 40 it's time to get a marina and you will never want to retire! I open sometime in April and close in Nov. Being a teacher works well with being in the marina business because of having the summers off (Michigan marinas).
If your passion is boating, you get paid for 6 months and can spend the other 6 cruising the islands. It doesn't get much better than that.
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Old 06-01-2010, 22:51   #15
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Hi I live in South Haven just down the Lake from you. I see lots of people here going out for the day and staying on their boats for the weekend. Most here are in the 28 to 35 foot range and for going out on the lake in anything but nice sunny weather I wouldnt go any smaller than that. I have been sailing here since I was 5 years old and grew up crusing and racing here. For myself I am looking to get a 30 to 35 foot to beguin my next great adventure of crusing the Lakes and the Mississippi down to the Gulf around Fl to the Keys and back. I have looked at both Mono hulls as well as Tris. I am also working with a limited budget as well as the fact that I am in a wheelchair since I lost my left leg but I dont think that will be any problem. You should look at a site called SailboatListings.com it has lots of boats for sale here on the Lake that will give you an idea what kinds of boats others are sailing here.
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