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Old 28-08-2016, 08:12   #1
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So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Most people erroneously believe that the Great Lakes are, in fact, lakes yet, from a geological perspective they are really inland seas. For those of us who have experienced the Great Lakes in comparison to ocean sailing, we know the seriousness of sailing in these waters. Photographer, Dave Sanford, has captured some remarkable photos of Lake Erie in its most volatile moments.
Good luck and safe sailing.
Liquid Mountains: I Captured Lake Erie On The Day It Came Alive And Showed Its True Power | Bored Panda
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Old 28-08-2016, 12:28   #2
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

I have seen some of his work previously rognvald. Truly awe inspiring. One of the overlooked hazards is spring and early summer sailing. Water temperatures remain in the mid 30s F creating the danger of hypothermia. This can occur without falling in the water which is usually fatal due to the gasp reflex. I've been on both ocean and lakes. I'll still take the lakes for raw beauty and exciting sailing. For storms I would definitely prefer the ocean. At the least the wave period is longer and you get a break while in the trough. Here you get hammered with short interval very steep waves that can come out of multiple directions at the same time. Stay safe and enjoy. We Lakers have icewater in our veins. That or our brains have frozen.
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Old 28-08-2016, 13:45   #3
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Awesome.
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Old 28-08-2016, 14:31   #4
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Meh. I grew up sailing on the Great Lakes. While they can be deadly and need to be respected these are old photographs of a winter storm and have been seen before by many and are of little relevance to the subject of cruising as most know it.

Why are you posting these? It's summertime! To make a point related to some other thread?

Yes the Great Lakes can be tough. Many here know the song about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, singing it again won't make the inland seas I love so much the same thing as the ocean. I have personally seen +70 knots windspeed confirmed on a Mac race in Lake Michigan. It was intense but it only lasted about about twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, I grew up and moved on in life and have since experienced gale force conditions that lasted for six days during an Atlantic crossing. Sure, fresh water is not as dense as as salt so that waves are more square but regardless the amount of energy in a three meter wave that is ten meters long is not the same as a three meter wave that is a hundred meters long no matter the aspect.

Do the math. A three hundred mile fetch is not the same as a thousand. Sorry, no one is out sailing in the middle of the winter on the Great Lakes in the photographs you link to. This has no relevance to the subject of cruising in the context it is normally discussed on this forum.
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Old 28-08-2016, 18:38   #5
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Just have to add, the photos you link to are all photos of breakwater slop so...

...maybe useful to cruisers who wonder what it would be like to fail at navigation and not make a breakwater cut but otherwise don't have much value other than their inherent artistic merit owing to the circumstances of their formation.

They certainly are interesting photos though.

Then again, to put things in perspective here is a nice photo of some guy balls-out surfing an ocean sized wave in Portugal.
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Old 28-08-2016, 18:44   #6
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Contrast that with this photo of a guy surfing big bad waves on the Great Lakes which was the photo of the biggest waves I could find anyone surfing on.
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Old 28-08-2016, 18:53   #7
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

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Then again, to put things in perspective here is a nice photo of some guy balls-out surfing an ocean sized wave in Portugal. Enjoy!
Amazing.
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Old 28-08-2016, 19:09   #8
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Hey, don't get me wrong. I think the Great Lakes are a challenging environment to go sailing in and a true test of any sailors mettle. They are not to be trifled with and have killed those who thought themselves the wiser.

But they aren't the ocean and any comparison between the two borders on the silly. For example here is a photo of what it looks like after a tsunami washes ashore. Makes Cleveland looks pretty even on a bad day.
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Old 28-08-2016, 19:30   #9
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

The photos in the article are shot from the shore, or a pier, not from a boat in the middle of the lake.

But...

I have already use my catch term tonight: never sail in the wrong season.

So i wonder why we get threads "whats the latest time i can sail the Great Lakes".

The song of the Edmund Fitzgerald is a wonderful lyric of folklore that must be obeyed.

"The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy

When the gales of November came early

Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealin'

In the face of a hurricane west wind

as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered

never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early"

I had a wonderful sail from Lake Michingan to Nova Scotia... But it wasnt in October!

Remember those lines: As the mariners all know...
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Old 29-08-2016, 08:11   #10
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

"Meanwhile, I grew up and moved on in life and have since experienced gale force conditions that lasted for six days during an Atlantic crossing."
Delancey


Delancey,
Congratulations! "Moving on" in life from one skill level to another higher level must be exhilarating. Six days offshore in a North Atlantic gale must be certainly one of the few great accomplishments experienced by any of our Forum Members. Did you sail your 40 foot sailboat? What type is it? Did you sail in company or did you singlehand? Was your experience of "moving on" similar to a spiritual awakening or was it taken in characteristic diffidence? Although your response might be considered by some as thread drift, I am certain there are many on this Forum, myself included, who could greatly benefit from the wisdom and sea-sense you now possess. It doesn't need to be a lengthy and learned dissertation on heavy weather sailing, but a few "gem-like" lines would certainly elevate the substance of our Forum. Thanks for your time and consideration. We eagerly await your retelling of a profound life experience and the lessons it will provide as a valuable learning tool to those less experienced than yourself. Capt. Rognvald
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Old 29-08-2016, 09:21   #11
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
The photos in the article are shot from the shore, or a pier, not from a boat in the middle of the lake.

But...

I have already use my catch term tonight: never sail in the wrong season.

So i wonder why we get threads "whats the latest time i can sail the Great Lakes".

The song of the Edmund Fitzgerald is a wonderful lyric of folklore that must be obeyed.

"The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy

When the gales of November came early

Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealin'

In the face of a hurricane west wind

as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered

never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early"

I had a wonderful sail from Lake Michingan to Nova Scotia... But it wasnt in October!

Remember those lines: As the mariners all know...
Thanks for posting the lyrics and your wise statement too.

Those lyrics reminded name of another ship lost quickly "without a trace" (until later found on the bottom). The El Faro.

I just started a new thread with an update on the fate of the El Faro.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...21#post2200221
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Old 29-08-2016, 09:27   #12
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
Most people erroneously believe that the Great Lakes are, in fact, lakes yet, from a geological perspective they are really inland seas. For those of us who have experienced the Great Lakes in comparison to ocean sailing, we know the seriousness of sailing in these waters. Photographer, Dave Sanford, has captured some remarkable photos of Lake Erie in its most volatile moments.
Good luck and safe sailing.
Liquid Mountains: I Captured Lake Erie On The Day It Came Alive And Showed Its True Power | Bored Panda
Great photos, thanks for sharing them. As for other posts some just like to talk too much.
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Old 29-08-2016, 19:56   #13
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
It doesn't need to be a lengthy and learned dissertation on heavy weather sailing, but a few "gem-like" lines would certainly elevate the substance of our Forum.
My first line would be that I sailed the Great Lakes as a youth and quite literaly "grew up and moved on" so don't let your underwear get all bunched up.

The second line would be to take MarkJ's advice and not make the wrong passage at the wrong season.

The third is quite simply that no one goes sailing on the Great Lakes in the middle of winter when your photos were taken so what's the point?

Because you live on a lake that can get nasty in the wintertime that somehow makes your summertime sailing experience comparable to sailing on the open ocean? I don't get it.



Re: my crossing, delivery of a friend's NA 40 that came from the Great Lakes as a matter of fact, we did it double handed and we hand steered pretty much the entire way across the Atlantic after steering gear failed.

One on one off watches for six days straight during the gale, never really slept the entire time except for a few odd moments here and there, never left the cockpit except to navigate, ate about a two dozen chewy granola bars and a pound of beef jerky and didn't go poop once. I think we covered about seven or eight hundred miles with nothing more than a blade jib set in that time. Watched the sunrise every morning and thought "Is this ever going to end?"

It was beautiful though and more than once I was on top of waves so tall I felt like I was looking down on the horizon which is an experience I never had in a dozen years and 20,000 miles sailing on the Great Lakes where I never saw a bad storm that lasted more than a couple days max and where you can't sail much more than three hundred miles in a straight line without hitting land.

Maybe if you ever have a chance to get out there you will see for yourself there really is no comparison.

Cheers
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Old 29-08-2016, 20:02   #14
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

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Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Yes the Great Lakes can be tough. Many here know the song about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, singing it again won't make the inland seas I love so much the same thing as the ocean.
I've been trying to convince my partner that we should not only live aboard, but we should plan on cruising.

We were sitting at our local floating pub yesterday waiting our a rain storm and enjoying a few cold ones with friends, and I started explaining the Great Loop to them.

When I got to the Great Lakes portion, the argument was ALL about the Fitzgerald. LOL They all absolutely REFUSED to ever even consider doing the loop because of this story.

Of course all the other arguments came into play as well... leaning sailboats, sinking, drowning, no contact with the free world. LOL They just haven't researched as much as I have, and aren't as gung-ho as I am.
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Old 29-08-2016, 21:53   #15
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Re: So You Think It's Just A Lake, Right?

Delancey

20,000 miles assuming statue miles over twelve years sailing the great lakes. That is extremely impressive. That is over 1600 miles a year. Given a 6 month season that is a lot of Great Lakes sailing. Maybe you could impart some more of your wisdom upon us measly lake sailors.

My observations are the 20 foot waves in Lake Michigan are significantly closer and steeper then any ocean wave I have ever seen. Granted my experience is not as vast as yours. I am sure that I would much rather be out in the ocean with twenty footers then be on Lake Michigan. September - May is a rough time on the Great Lakes and weather changes a lot quicker here then in the middle of the ocean. Sure a barometer, eye on weather, wind direction and not sailing 8-9 months of the year is pretty safe but if you do get caught there is a lee shore not too far away and that water is pretty darn cold. 20K Great Lakes miles in only twelve years you must have some pretty intense stories.
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