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Old 12-09-2011, 10:28   #1
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Sandbox Sailors and Fickle Winds . . . What to Do ?

After living aboard 10 years in South Florida and the Caribbean, it is an understatement to say that Lake Michigan sailing is anti-climactic at best. There are no natural harbors from the bottom of the Lake on the West Shore from Indiana to Sturgeon Bay and any anchoring must be done on a lee shore with no protection from sudden wind changes. And, cruising up or down the lake it is not uncommon to have several different winds depending upon your proximity to shore and where you are on the lake. For those of us who like to sail, it usually means following the wind lines back and forth to the marina. On the other hand, it is big water sailing for those who venture offshore but wave patterns and changeability are dramatically different from those in the ocean. What do you do to enhance your sailing experience on the Big Green? Good luck and good sailing, Ron
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:44   #2
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Re: Sandbox sailors and fickle winds . . . What to do?

lake michigan anti climactic??? ye aint caught a storm out there yet, i gather......
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:50   #3
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Re: Sandbox sailors and fickle winds . . . What to do?

Everything I have heard or read about the Great lakes is that they are some seriously challenging sailing grounds. High latitudes, and interaction between the jet stream, and the frontal bounderies, can cause sudden and severe storms. There can even be lake effect snow generated by interactions between winds across the open water. Good luck, keep an eye on the weather, and be carefull.
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Old 12-09-2011, 13:31   #4
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Re: Sandbox sailors and fickle winds . . . What to do?

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lake michigan anti climactic??? ye aint caught a storm out there yet, i gather......

Climax: transiting the deep azure waters of the Gulf Stream on a close reach and entering the pristine, turquois waters of the Great Bahama Bank off Cat Cay.

Anticlimax: transiting the dark green waters of Lake Michigan to the burnt sienna plume emanating a mile out into the lake from the Root River in Racine, Wisconsin.
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Old 12-09-2011, 17:15   #5
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Re: Sandbox Sailors and Fickle Winds . . . What to Do ?

the Great Lakes can be some serious proving grounds, heck it knocked this boat over in 1975 The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald November 10, 1975
there lots of action up here, just not the awesome water and sand everywhere. But there are sandy beaches here, good skipping stones at lots (12) best amount of skips I have ever done.
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Old 13-09-2011, 06:08   #6
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Re: Sandbox Sailors and Fickle Winds . . . What to Do ?

Sounds like the poster is referring to the beauty of the Bahamas more than the sailing aspect. I 've never been to the great lakes. I am finding the waters of Panama, and Costa Rica rather boring to look at on the Pacific side. I miss being able to see every link of the chain on the sand. The different hues of color in a band like a rainbow.

While scrubbing the bottom in 2 different locations here. I come out with ocean life crawling all over me which means the waters are rich in nutrients, but they sure are murky. I immmensley miss that gin clear water. Hopefully as we move west it improves.......i2f
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Old 16-09-2011, 12:36   #7
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Re: Sandbox sailors and fickle winds . . . What to do?

[QUOTE=capn_billl;773310]Everything I have heard or read about the Great lakes is that they are some seriously challenging sailing grounds. High latitudes, and interaction between the jet stream, and the frontal bounderies, can cause sudden and severe storms. There can even be lake effect snow generated by interactions between winds across the open water. Good luck, keep an eye on the weather, and be carefull.[/QUOTE
The first pic is a line squall approaching the Bad River anchorage in northern Georgian Bay. The second pic is of when it hit. Yeah, it can be an interesting place to sail. I'm very glad that I was firmly attached to the bottom.
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Old 16-09-2011, 13:28   #8
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Re: Sandbox sailors and fickle winds . . . What to do?

[QUOTE=Dave the Canuck;776609]
Quote:
Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
Everything I have heard or read about the Great lakes is that they are some seriously challenging sailing grounds. High latitudes, and interaction between the jet stream, and the frontal bounderies, can cause sudden and severe storms. There can even be lake effect snow generated by interactions between winds across the open water. Good luck, keep an eye on the weather, and be carefull.[/QUOTE
The first pic is a line squall approaching the Bad River anchorage in northern Georgian Bay. The second pic is of when it hit. Yeah, it can be an interesting place to sail. I'm very glad that I was firmly attached to the bottom.
Dave, you are certainly in a beautiful part of the Great Lakes. No one, including myself, would argue the challenging nature of sailing these frigid and unpredictable waters. Unfortunately for me at this time, I'm located in the bottom of the sandbox on Lake Michigan which is neither aesthetically interesting nor does it offer any opportunties for gunkholing. I have sailed the Door County area of Lake Michigan which is as beautiful as many of the "islands in the stream "but that is a 200 mile beat up the lake ( a pun is intended) before encountering these interesting cruising grounds. Ergo, smokestacks, river effluence, and man made harbours are the cruise du jour on the Western Shore of the Lake Michigan sandbox. Good luck and good sailing, Ron
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Old 16-09-2011, 14:09   #9
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Re: Sandbox Sailors and Fickle Winds . . . What to Do ?

Rognvald,
Your problem is your one the wrong side - period. It will never get better so if you really desire to sail, your going to have to cross over pretty much every time. Best to take 3 day weekends and head to Saugatuck or Grand Haven.

There where a couple of threads years ago on CF about harbors on Lake Michigan but if you want specific's, let me know which one your heading to. We have the best sand and water over here. And, the little harbors can be really fun on the weekends.

The reason for no harbors on the west side of the lake is due to prevailing winds and changing lake levels over the last 10,000 years. When the lake level went way down around 8,000 years ago, it blew dunes onto the East shore. The rivers continued to cut through the sand to excape. Then, when the level of the lake rose to it's current level, the river backwaters filled up and created all of our harbors. We have one about every 7 miles - really wherever a river flows out.

One current history note - feel fortunate about today rather then 40 years ago. Then the water was very poluted and filled with dead alewive's. There where so many dead fish on our shore you couldn't see sand for 8' from the water ashore. My summer job as a 12 year old was to rake them into piles, dig holes, and bury them. All day long!! (4 hours is a long day for a 12 year old). Coho and zebra mussles have done wonders for the water.
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Old 17-09-2011, 09:25   #10
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Re: Sandbox Sailors and Fickle Winds . . . What to Do ?

Palarran, you are absolutely correct. We have looked at the Eastern shore of the Lake and it looks very nice. I believe we may try some long weekends next year. Thanks for the nice reply. Good luck and good sailing, Ron
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Old 17-09-2011, 09:34   #11
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Re: Sandbox Sailors and Fickle Winds . . . What to Do ?

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Rognvald,
Your problem is your one the wrong side - period. It will never get better so if you really desire to sail, your going to have to cross over pretty much every time.

When the lake level went way down around 8,000 years ago, it blew dunes onto the East shore. The rivers continued to cut through the sand to excape. Then, when the level of the lake rose to it's current level, the river backwaters filled up and created all of our harbors. We have one about every 7 miles - really wherever a river flows out.
How are the East shore harbours in terms of depth?
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Old 17-09-2011, 20:23   #12
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Re: Sandbox Sailors and Fickle Winds . . . What to Do ?

Roganvald,
My sister and bro-in-law have a cottage in Racine. We also have a cottage in Holland. If you want company, let me know next year. They probably would be happy to come across with you.

Admptr, most of our coal is delivered via freighter so the depths in the center channels is great. Outside of that, well, you won't have a problem if you follow a chart.
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Old 17-09-2011, 22:03   #13
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Re: Sandbox Sailors and Fickle Winds . . . What to Do ?

Water too cold

No tropical fish
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