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Old 17-03-2014, 18:31   #31
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

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...But having no experience in this area that is a guess. Thank you for sharing your experience with someone who is used to seeing a shore on both sides of the boat.
The coldest I have ever been on a boat was on Lake Huron in the third week of June. Also saw the largest seas I have ever seen then, too.
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Old 19-03-2014, 12:59   #32
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

Hey Drsm
I store at Torrensens in the winter and we bought a slip at Harbour Towne 2 years ago. We have Blue Bottle a Columbia 29 MK I. Those Fuji's are a beautiful Alden design. Congrats in the purchase. I hope to see you on the lake this spring... Err should I say middle of summer when the ice finally thaws!
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Old 19-03-2014, 18:38   #33
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

appick,

I know I've seen that name on the water (Blue Bottle). We would have been in Buen Tiempo, a Telstar 28 Tri. I'll keep an eye out for you.
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Old 25-03-2014, 15:26   #34
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

Yea we are since last spring a dark blue with gold shear line columbia 29. It looks a lot like an Alberg 30 or Pearson Triton.
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Old 13-04-2014, 08:04   #35
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

Ice is gone in Racine, boat goes in this week. Not ready in the North...

http://www.boatnerd.com/news/news14.htm
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Old 13-04-2014, 08:43   #36
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

Ice is off Lake Muskegon. (APRIL 13) Northern harbors are still spotty or ice packed. I spoke to my Marquette brother yesterday. They still have waist deep snow, 30s and the inland lakes have 4 to 6 feet of ice. Harbors a no-go. Grand Haven and Holland Michigan astill have ice pack to the horizon. What may appear as open water is ice with water over the top. There is no way I would sail out there until its gone. You may not even find safe harbor reliably for another 3 weeks in the south. I can't speak for the north.

USEFUL LINKS: many of these have links to multiple weather reporting stations and 3-hour to 5-day plots. Pictures = 1000 word or more.

NOAA/GLERL Realtime Meteorological Observation Network

NOAA/GLERL Realtime Environmental Coastal Observation Network (RECON) Station Map Index

Weather and Webcam

CableAmerica: Lake Superior

EarthCam - Lake Superior Cam

Webcam # 1 Snapshot from Granite Island Light Station - Lake Superior

NOAAPORT Realtime Great Lakes Weather Data and Marine Observations
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Old 13-04-2014, 16:58   #37
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

Check out the forum on beaverisland.net for their predictions for the first run of the ferry to the mainland. They are still breaking ice at the north end of the lake. Spring storms frequently have winds out of the NE - right on the nose. Waves on the Great Lakes are something to behold. 15' seas on the ocean are very different than the short steep walls of waves you see on Lake Michigan.

Also, you will want to make sure you post a lookout or radar watch 24/7. While most freighter traffic follows the rules and the shipping routes the barge/tow traffic doesn't. Several years ago a fishing vessel crew out of Port Washington learned the hard way. No watch after hauling nets. The 6 barge tow also didn't post a watch or man the radar. Clear blue sky mid day. The barges ran the tug down. All hands lost on the tug. Lake Michigan is a SEA. Treat her as you would the VERY busy stormy seaway that she is and you will do fine. Treat as a mill pond and you WILL get spanked.
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Old 28-04-2014, 11:11   #38
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

The CG is still breaking ice on Lake Michigan, I'am starting to think it may be June before we can leave Chicago. We are 5 days from Chicago and the Mississippi is on the rise and I imagine the Illinois also, midweek we'll be 5' over normal pool here. I don't consider the high water a problem while traveling but I would rather not anchor out because of the debris that become tangled in the anchor rode. It is what it is and we'll just have to deal with it, it's good to not be on a schedule.
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Old 28-04-2014, 17:56   #39
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

So glad to hear you stayed put. You will find it clear now to Muskegon for sure. You will find good holding and protection in the wave expander ponds in Muskegon and Ludington. You can get into Harbortown Marina on the SW end of Muskegon Lake. There is transient docking, gas dock etc. there. They have been mostly fair on fuel prices. You can probably dock at the wall at Dockers Restaurant The low dune, buildings and sea wall will give you great shelter. You can also dock at Torresen Marine. Haab's restaurant delivers to both places - best sandwiches anywhere. Pizza too.

NORTH: In order

White Lake. White Lake Yacht club. Transient last year 1.00/ft. 110 VAC or 220 with a combiner. Restaurant in walking distance just north.

Stay out of Pentwater. Nice place but shifty bars in the channel. We bottomed & stuck hard. If you go into Pentwater, you may not get out if the wind turns into the channel.

Luddington: Anchor out in the wave pond or in the lake. New city marina is nice. I think about 2.00/ft. Walking to down town & restaurants. The gas dock is in a hole. Do not attempt to dock near the ferry dock (the Badger). His prop wash will make life rough.

Manistee: You can sometimes tie on the wall. There is a nice place, Seng's Marina in the lake past the 2nd bridge and around the point to the south and back west. Good holding almost anywhere in the lake.

Portage Lake: Same as Pentwater - watch out. If you go into Portage, you may not get out if the wind turns into the channel.

Arcadia: DITTO shallow

Frankfort: Wave pond. Easy access. Great headlands (dunes) provide holding. You can also get into the public docks. We prefer the docks in front of the Library at the east end of the dredged area. Ask locally if the fish fry is open. If you anchor here be prepared to deal with gook.

S Manitou Island: The C shaped bite on the east side has great holding. Go in close about in the center. Your charts will show a rise to about 15 feet. Don't use the dock. It is reserved for the ferry (assuming the park is open) You Will probably need to buy a par pass to go ashore. Its worth it if you hafe time to hike.

I assume you will not go into Traverse. If you need shelter, go to Northport.

Lake Charlevoix: Inter at Round Lake. You can anchor in Round Lake assuming light traffic. There is a sand sucker barge and the Beaver Island ferry that use this lake too. If you pass into Lake Charlevoix, have a great sail, big long deep lake. Oyster Bay on the north side, fist bay on the left is good shelter. Sand bottom everywhere.

If you have an E wind you can follow the shore to Sturgeon Bay. You will need to follow the markers through Gray's Reef. You can sail between the rises but be careful. Do not short-cut Waugoshance Island.

Mackinaw Island: Probably out of your way but good accommodations.

Cheboygan: Not been there but has an anchor basin and I think you can tie off on a wall along the river.

Prevailing winds make most of the E coast sheltered. Follow your charts and pick any of the harbors. Presque Isle is the next 'big' town.

ALPENA: anchoring basin up river and good shelter.

OSCODA: check your guides. Very small place

TAWAS: well maintained state docks. Walking to town.

AU GRES: It has been many years since we were there. Check your guide for water depth. The state docks are up river at the bridge on Rt 23.

The rest of Saginaw Bay is shallow so watch carefully near shore. There are places on the Saginaw River if you went that far. I suspect you will skip directly to the tip if the thumb & south.

HARBOR BEACH: Good shelter.

Watch your charts and guides entering and transiting port Huron & Sarnia. The current moves right along. Plan your moves well ahead. We on the W side have heard some legendary tales of the MIB on the border. You are permitted to sail in Canadian water as long as you don't stop. If you so stop, customs of course & customs on return. PASSPORT!!
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Old 28-04-2014, 18:25   #40
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

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You will find good holding and protection in the wave expander ponds in Muskegon and Ludington.

Watch your charts and guides entering and transiting port Huron & Sarnia. The current moves right along. Plan your moves well ahead. We on the W side have heard some legendary tales of the MIB on the border. You are permitted to sail in Canadian water as long as you don't stop. If you so stop, customs of course & customs on return. PASSPORT!!
What is a "wave expander pond"? Are you talking about anchoring in the outer breakwater arms? I wouldn't recommend that unless it is forecast to be calm conditions. It's not that far to go into the local lakes for much better protection.

Also, going into Pentwater and some of the smaller ports are nice unless you are particularly deep draft or conditions are bad.

Downstream at Port Huron is no big deal. You just make really good time. Upstream in a slow boat, you almost have to hug the Canadian side under the bridge to make it against the current but it is really only an issue for maybe a 1/2 mile right under the bridge.
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Old 28-04-2014, 19:33   #41
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

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What is a "wave expander pond"? Are you talking about anchoring in the outer breakwater arms? I wouldn't recommend that unless it is forecast to be calm conditions. It's not that far to go into the local lakes for much better protection.

Also, going into Pentwater and some of the smaller ports are nice unless you are particularly deep draft or conditions are bad.

Downstream at Port Huron is no big deal. You just make really good time. Upstream in a slow boat, you almost have to hug the Canadian side under the bridge to make it against the current but it is really only an issue for maybe a 1/2 mile right under the bridge.
The Wave Expander ponds at Muskegon, Ludington, Frankfort leave a small opening so that even very large waves are flattened. The wave passes the entry and immediately radiates outward in all directions. Energy is dissipated quickly. You can easily anchor inside the windward arm of any of these ponds. Most boats head into the adjacent lake but you will also find the channel totally flat.

Entering or leaving at Pentwater, Grand Haven or any of the others with two parallel long arms facing into a wave train will be impassible in tall waves. BTW, we draw only 6-8 and grounded hard in Pentwater. The attached is Grand Haven in 10 to 12 footers. Those waves are in the channel and spilling over the top. Even a 4-foot wave straight on at Grand Haven will travel well past the state docks on the East side of the "singing fountain". If you tie on the wall in these conditions, you may sustain damage. The water may appear flat but the action below water is easily observed on deck. If you tie in the slips at the state docks, crosswise to the river, the oscillating current will swing your mast.

Another thing, you may find no one to take your money in some of the facilities at this time of year, too bad
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Old 28-04-2014, 19:44   #42
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

No anchoring basin up the river in Alpena. In fact the overflow on the 9th St dam may have the river swift. The marina is left just inside the entrance to the river however.

Alpena is 9 miles in and 9 miles out. The hop from Presque Isle to Harrisville will save miles. Presque Isle is a better choice. Make sure the buoys are out going in next to the breakwall.

If you go into Alpena don't cut inside Thunder Bay Island.
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Old 28-04-2014, 20:15   #43
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

Recommend you get a Great Lakes cruising guide. Lists phone numbers and critical information about ports all along the way.

We all have made the assumption you are taking the rum-line from Chicago. The West coast is an option too and you can run a lee shore all the way based on prevailing wind. It might not be as many extra miles as one might think.
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Old 29-04-2014, 04:56   #44
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

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The Wave Expander ponds at Muskegon, Ludington, Frankfort leave a small opening so that even very large waves are flattened. The wave passes the entry and immediately radiates outward in all directions. Energy is dissipated quickly. You can easily anchor inside the windward arm of any of these ponds. Most boats head into the adjacent lake but you will also find the channel totally flat.

Entering or leaving at Pentwater, Grand Haven or any of the others with two parallel long arms facing into a wave train will be impassible in tall waves. BTW, we draw only 6-8 and grounded hard in Pentwater. The attached is Grand Haven in 10 to 12 footers. Those waves are in the channel and spilling over the top. Even a 4-foot wave straight on at Grand Haven will travel well past the state docks on the East side of the "singing fountain". If you tie on the wall in these conditions, you may sustain damage. The water may appear flat but the action below water is easily observed on deck. If you tie in the slips at the state docks, crosswise to the river, the oscillating current will swing your mast.
We spent 6 yrs cruising this stretch and spent another summer slowly looping around Michigan's lower peninsula. It makes sense but never heard them referred to as "wave expanders". It was always just the "outer arms".

That said, I will stand by my statement that if the big lake isn't forecast to be calm, far better to go inside. For an afternoon anchored and swimming, they are nice but then you are right there to take action if the weather turns.

No question the ports with inner and outer arms are easier to enter but if you are a more typical 5' or less draft, the smaller ports are great to visit.

If you are on the big lake with 12' waves, picking the port is not your first mistake. There is no reason to be out in those kinds of conditions. They have good forecasting.
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Old 01-05-2014, 19:54   #45
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Re: Question for Lake Michigan cruisers

VAL, remember the OP is a delivery skipper driving someone else's big boat. He will have trouble with the several small ports that are silted & scheduled to be dredged this season. A boat about his size was wrecked and crew lost as they went aground entering Portage Lake Harbor harbor following the MAC a few years ago. Same place we grounded in less than 5 feet where it was charted 9 or more. https://www.google.com/search?q=Lake...w=1142&bih=745

I agree on the outer harbors. All are at the entry to inner lakes suitable for anchoring. We also often see cruisers anchored in pretty good wind in these places. With flat water & a big boat its pretty easy riding.

The wave ponds are only placed in front of harbors that handle larger (commercial) vessels so they are also well maintained and with good depth.
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