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Old 10-04-2017, 15:15   #1
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Mackinaw City

Hello!

New sailors aboard an O'day 272LE, calling Mackinaw City our home port for 2017.

Other than the obvious trip out to the island and sailing under the bridge, what other "must do" trips do we have in the area?

For a longer run, the sail to Hessel, and gunkholing in the bays of Marquette Island appear a good idea.

Realistically, what are we looking at for a sail to get to Pilot Cove on the Northeast side of Drummond Island? From there, I'd love to explore the western end of the North Channel. I have the week prior to Labor Day off, which will be a higher traffic boating weekend, but an easy time frame for me to put together 10 days off in a row.

We went with the O'day specifically for the wing keel and the shallow draft of 2'11". To me, the sailboat is a vessel of exploration. Remote anchorages are the destination.
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Old 10-04-2017, 15:32   #2
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Re: Mackinaw City

If you’re willing to clear into Canada I’d suggest going up around St. Joseph’s Island, heading to Hilton Beach or Richard’s Landing area. A number of interesting anchorages for your boat along there, and those two marinas are great stop overs. Desbarats area between St. Joes and the Ontario mainland is also pretty neat, especially for a shallow draft boat like yours. Tolsmaville on Cockburn Island is a near-abandoned village with a great dock in a well protected harbour. Nothing much to spend money on there, but interesting to explore.

Of course further east along the North Channel offers wonderful cruising, with tons of semi-remote anchorages along with some neat towns. This is too far to go with only 10 days, but something to keep in mind for the future.
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Old 11-04-2017, 03:15   #3
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Re: Mackinaw City

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, PFiji.
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Old 11-04-2017, 04:36   #4
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Re: Mackinaw City

Beaver island, harbor springs, charlevoix, n end of grand traverse bay has some nice spots then maybe around to lealand
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:13   #5
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Re: Mackinaw City

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
If you’re willing to clear into Canada I’d suggest going up around St. Joseph’s Island, heading to Hilton Beach or Richard’s Landing area. A number of interesting anchorages for your boat along there, and those two marinas are great stop overs. Desbarats area between St. Joes and the Ontario mainland is also pretty neat, especially for a shallow draft boat like yours. Tolsmaville on Cockburn Island is a near-abandoned village with a great dock in a well protected harbour. Nothing much to spend money on there, but interesting to explore.

Of course further east along the North Channel offers wonderful cruising, with tons of semi-remote anchorages along with some neat towns. This is too far to go with only 10 days, but something to keep in mind for the future.
Clearing into Canada isn't a problem. If we don't spend the 10 day stretch on the sailboat, I might do a canoe race in Quebec during that time period.

Cockburn Island sounds perfect, from what I've read online.

I'd love to do the east end of the North Channel at some point, but in year #1, it probably isn't practical for us, nor do we have the time needed to really enjoy it. The couple that is likely teaching us to sail is chartering in the North Channel this summer. My thought is, that maybe in 2018 rather than them chartering, they can sail our boat over, explore for 10 days or so, and then we can meet them, swap out crew and they can drive back while we do the trip in reverse.
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:19   #6
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Re: Mackinaw City

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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, PFiji.
Thanks Gord!

Long time lurker/dreamer/reader.

Last fall the stars aligned and we jumped in with both feet. Busted her out of storage this past weekend so that I could start working on little things.
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:45   #7
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Re: Mackinaw City

Hello,

You might check out the Great Lakes Sailing Company web site under destinations. They have put together some 3 and 7 day itineraries for their charters from Traverse City and Cheboygan. About midway down on this page Sail Traverse City, Northern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron you'll find the links.

Might also consider coming down to Presque Isle. Have two lighthouses to tour and nice facilities at the harbor. Depending on conditions, would probably be two/three days assuming stops.

If you haven't already, checkout the DNR boating pages for the harbor guides.

Cheers!
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Old 11-04-2017, 08:06   #8
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Re: Mackinaw City

It's actually a great base for exploration. You've already listed some great options.

The problem with a sailboat for weekend cruising is speed. A long weekend gives you about 50miles max range if you actually want any time at your destination (shorter if you don't want to be stressed). Then finding a weather window complicates things more. (If you just want to sail and don't care about time at destinations, it's a different matter)

Before longer term cruising, we had a power boat. With a 20kt cruise, 50miles is an easy weekend trip and 100-150miles is quite doable. Even if you have to bash thru waves, you can still keep it up around 10-12kts.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:57   #9
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Re: Mackinaw City

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, MIRon.
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Old 15-04-2017, 10:12   #10
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Re: Mackinaw City

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Originally Posted by MIRon View Post
Hello,

You might check out the Great Lakes Sailing Company web site under destinations. They have put together some 3 and 7 day itineraries for their charters from Traverse City and Cheboygan. About midway down on this page Sail Traverse City, Northern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron you'll find the links.

Might also consider coming down to Presque Isle. Have two lighthouses to tour and nice facilities at the harbor. Depending on conditions, would probably be two/three days assuming stops.

If you haven't already, checkout the DNR boating pages for the harbor guides.

Cheers!
Used to fish out of Presque Isle and Rogers City back when there was Salmon. Both are nice ports.

I have a hard copy of the harbor guides that I picked up last year in Alpena. Very helpful information.

Thank you for the link with the itineraries. Gives me some ideas as to what's possible.
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Old 06-07-2017, 18:56   #11
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Re: Mackinaw City

One of the prettiest places on the lake is St. Helena island 7 miles west of the Mackinaw Bridge. There is a very secure harbor at the east end. There is a lighthouse there. The island is I believe a state park. No one ever seems to stop there.
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Old 06-07-2017, 18:59   #12
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Re: Mackinaw City

St Helena would be a perfect weekend sail.
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Old 11-07-2017, 16:44   #13
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Thumbs up Mackinaw City

Welcome!

Why not sail into Lake Erie and check out some of the Islands?

South Bass Island(Put-In-Bay), Middle Bass Island and Kelleys Island are our favorites!
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:54   #14
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Re: Mackinaw City

A sailing VLOG of quick trip we made out of Great Lakes Sailing Company: https://youtu.be/_HXB77s5puo

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIRon View Post
Hello,

You might check out the Great Lakes Sailing Company web site under destinations. They have put together some 3 and 7 day itineraries for their charters from Traverse City and Cheboygan. About midway down on this page Sail Traverse City, Northern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron you'll find the links.

Might also consider coming down to Presque Isle. Have two lighthouses to tour and nice facilities at the harbor. Depending on conditions, would probably be two/three days assuming stops.

If you haven't already, checkout the DNR boating pages for the harbor guides.

Cheers!
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