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Old 26-01-2015, 19:21   #46
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

The family and I crossed to Isle Royale from the Keweenaw on a July 4th, (50 nm) a number of years ago. It was the coldest I had ever been. I had on 3 layers and a sleeping bag in the cockpit and froze. It was a damp 42 deg F with a good west wind. I think it was the 8 hours at the wheel. My wife spelled me at the helm only occasionally. She can be a wimp at times.

I understand more folks get hypothermic under the above described conditions than any other. I guess it's unexpected because it's not winter then If you get caught out it's tough.
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Old 26-01-2015, 19:29   #47
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

Hello,

Here is what i did on my 2 week holiday last summer from the last week of july til the end of the 1st week of august with my wife and 2 kids.

we left toronto, Ont and headed for Cobourg, Ontario...12 hours 80% motoring. (we were trying to get to the east end of the lake to enjoy as much time in the 1000 islands as possible)

one night in cobourg - then across the lake to Rochester NY. 2 nights in rochester - a great place to provision.

then off to little sodus bay, NY - anchored 1 night.

next - oswego, NY - anchored 1 night.

next - henderson harbour, NY anchored 1 night.

next - sackett's harbour, NY - marina 1 night.

next - down the st. lawerence to near clayton NY...anchored 1 night.

next - heart island (there is an awesome castle there) then we transitioned back to canada - and anchored in 3 different spots over 4 nights.

next - waupoos, Ont 2 nights anchoring. there is a winery you can dinghy to here

next - back to cobourg, Ont - one night anchoring

next - scarbourgh, Ont. 1 night at marina

and then home (which is toronto island)

i don't have the log book here with mileages and hours, but it was about 50 hours on the engine - and we do 6.5 kts not pushing hard. close to 50/50 sailing/motoring - but as i said i don't have the log here at home.

the 1000 islands were great - the whole trip was great - i wished for more wind and less motoring but we had limited time - and did the best we could.

customs clearance was pretty straight forward...but we are all canadian citizens - with nexus cards, so that helps.

the water was cold - swimming was limited - very few bugs - no mosquitoes or black flies at all - but when calmed and motoring on the lake lots of common house flies that like to nibble your feet. i do not know where in the heck they come from.

as other have mentioned, sailing all the great lakes and enjoying them would take far longer than 2 weeks...

good luck, and i'd be happy to answer any questions.

mike
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Old 27-01-2015, 01:08   #48
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

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Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
Having logged several thousand miles, from Chicago to Mackinac Island and into the North Channel and the Benjamin Islands, I'd say any trip north in the Great Lakes that ends in June will require some very heavy clothing. It's COLD at that time.

The farthest south you can go in the Great Lakes is in Lake Michigan. Even in June it can be cold there, especially when the winds blow from the north.

We pulled into Milwaukee in early July and the air temperature was 95. The water temperature that day was 48. It was fun watching beachgoers jump into the water to cool down then pop out just as fast.

Another time, in late June, we left Washington Island, WI heading for Harbor Springs, MI. We were in the middle of the lake in a very thick fog on flat calm waters. The temp was onboard 52. My hair was soaked with the fog. A radio broadcast from the shore said it was a sweltering 93.

On another trip, we left Mackinac Island around 10PM. It was late July. I was at the helm most of the night, wrapped in a ski parka and sleeping blanket. But by morning we were inside Green Bay and by 10AM we were down to our bathing suits with Pina Coladas in our hands, blistering south down the bay.

Then there was the time we had a wonderful sail to Mackinac and turned east into the North Channel, the entire way the weather was beautiful. This was late July. We left the Benjamins and the whole way back to Chicago was cold, wet and miserable. One leg had us in 12+' seas, but at least it was sunny that day.

There's so much to enjoy in the Great Lakes but if I had to do two weeks and be done by the end of June, I'd hit the southern shores of Michigan. You won't see the natural beauty you do up north but there are lots of harbors to poke into and lots of things
I think it's worth noting that although Michigans southern tip is very southerly, Michigan's winters are very cold continental winters. The lower lakes are around the same latitude as southern Michigan, but more importantly are 700-800 miles down stream of southern lake michigan. This is especially relevant because the water has an opportunity to be warmed as it travels through the shallow marshy St Clair and Detroit Rivers. Lake St Clair is like a large very shallow warming pan, then again Lake Eries Western Basin with an average depth of just 30' is another big warming basin.

The water warms again as it goes down the Niagara River and over the falls. The result is much warmer lower lakes. The water temperature is significantly higher and therefore the air temperature is too. To the point where Lake Ontario rarely freezes over completely. Although because of its so shallow, Lake Erie is by far the warmest lake.

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Old 27-01-2015, 06:00   #49
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

Looks like Lake Ontario / Thousand Islands is the go given the time of year we have available to us and our preference for the warmer climes! Mike, I'll let you know which boat we end up with so you can keep an eye out

Interestingly, I had calculated that based on average winds for that time of year, we should be able to do exactly the same trip FamilyVan suggested through the BoQ and the Murray canal to enable a 'round-trip' that includes Niagara. And thanks Mike for the tips based on your route! We are very used to motoring the German canals, and even enjoy it would you believe! Btw, the website cruising.ca has been really helpful as well. The canal can do 9' apparently, and the main route through BoQ looks fine, so hopefully the weeds aren't too bad in the narrower section at Belleville!!

Thanks, yes, we are well versed in navigating shallow waters I'm assuming the buoys are well maintained? Hey, any ideas on which iPad app / charts are best for this area? The boat should have a plotter, but I'm a fan of having the iPad as well as some paper charts so you can move around.

My biggest concern now is finding a shoal draft boat (i.e <8' draft, or even a swing/retracting keel) that is big enough for three guys for two weeks (i.e three proper beds), and has a proper (Webasto-type) heater onboard! Being a round trip, and the fact a 3hr drive is like driving to the shops for us, basically lets us charter from pretty much anywhere on Lake Ontario. Any suggestions as to where we might find such a boat?

Thanks again to everyone for participating - it has been a huge help! I'll be posting all the details of our trip as a reference for others thinking of a similar trip in future

Somehow I get the feeling this won't be our last trip up there
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Old 27-01-2015, 06:07   #50
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

Oh, you won't need a Webasto on Lake Ontario in June. It is much warmer than the upper lakes- not just a little.

Sorry, I've never chartered on the lakes so I can't recommend a charterer, but I did a quick Google search and wing keels around 5' seem to be standard for the area. I have a 5' Full Keel and rarely have problems.

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Old 27-01-2015, 07:23   #51
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

You would have to check on the availability of charter boats but the south portion of Lake Michigan on the Michigan side would be a good option.

Unlike someone implied in an earlier post, it is not a bleak inhospitable lee shore (well technically it a lee shore but with a decent eye on the weather it's not a big issue). There are ports every 20 or so miles to tuck into with the option to anchor out or take advantage of state subsidized marinas that are excelent and inexpensive. If you do get a spell of nasty weather, most of the ports are on moderate size inland lakes (3-5miles across), so you can always day sail even if the waves are kicking up on the big lake.

You could start in South Haven, hop up to Holland, Muskegon then Pentwater. On the return trip, stop in White Hall, Grand Haven and Saugatuck. It would be around 200 miles round trip so very reasonable for the short duration you suggest. All of the ports have a tourist component, so there are things to see and do.

While the water will be cold, you may get lucky and have air temps in the 80's in june.
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Old 27-01-2015, 08:15   #52
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

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Originally Posted by AussieSailor View Post
Looks like Lake Ontario / Thousand Islands is the go given the time of year we have available to us and our preference for the warmer climes! Mike, I'll let you know which boat we end up with so you can keep an eye out
Cool. If you see a rather traditional looking cutter with ratlines and lots of wood, that could be us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieSailor View Post
Interestingly, I had calculated that based on average winds for that time of year, we should be able to do exactly the same trip FamilyVan suggested through the BoQ and the Murray canal to enable a 'round-trip' that includes Niagara. And thanks Mike for the tips based on your route!
We went through the Murray canal with our 6-footer, no problem. Everything is shallow down here, but as long as we stayed between the buoys, we were fine. Weeds were amazing though. Thick and expansive. I'd assume they won't be as thick early in the season (my experience was in September).

Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieSailor View Post
Hey, any ideas on which iPad app / charts are best for this area? The boat should have a plotter, but I'm a fan of having the iPad as well as some paper charts so you can move around.
I use iNavX with Avionics 2xG Canada & SE Alaska charts. Works well.
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Old 27-01-2015, 08:56   #53
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

Hi Mike
Weeds are not bad in June, so you shouldn't have issues. Its obvious to me that charts trump local knowledge , so I wish you all well in you're sailing endeavours in the Bay of Quinte.
Good Luck
Rob
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Old 27-01-2015, 12:20   #54
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

I had a similar question last year for a trip from the upper Mississippi River to the Detroit River. Lake Michigan was the best part of the trip, we left Chicago, IL. on May 30 heading up the Michigan side of the lake. The water temp was 34f to 37f the cooler at the northern part of the lake. We anchored out and didn't have any heat on the boat after going to bed and were never uncomfortable, we did run from the lower helm it was much to cool to run from the flybridge. Do not miss stopping at South Manitou island it was a great anchorage in a beautiful area. Our next stop was Beaver Island to fill our water tank and re provision from the grocery store on the island. Here is a link to post with my question and some post I made during the trip. I do intend on returning with my boat and spending a few weeks exploring, good luck.
Question for Lake Michigan cruisers


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Old 27-01-2015, 13:01   #55
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

Whether you choose to cruise Lake Ontario/The Thousand Islands or Georgian Bay, I would recommend that you purchase the relevant 'Ports' Cruising Guide to the area:
PortsBooks.com

I have cruised extensively in both areas and can tell you that they contain invaluable information concerning anchorages, fees, provisioning, distances to various destinations and photographs that can be invaluable when sailing in areas like the thousand (or 30,000 thousand islands in Southern Georgain Bay), where you can be literally enveloped by different small islands.

Indeed, purchasing one now may assist you in making your decision.

Cheers!

Brad
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Old 27-01-2015, 13:10   #56
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

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Whether you choose to cruise Lake Ontario/The Thousand Islands or Georgian Bay, I would recommend that you purchase the relevant 'Ports' Cruising Guide to the area:
PortsBooks.com

I have cruised extensively in both areas and can tell you that they contain invaluable information concerning anchorages, fees, provisioning, distances to various destinations and photographs that can be invaluable when sailing in areas like the thousand (or 30,000 thousand islands in Southern Georgain Bay), where you can be literally enveloped by different small islands.

Indeed, purchasing one now may assist you in making your decision.

Cheers!

Brad
Good advice. These are brilliant guides. Also, AussieSailor, feel free to PM me if you make your way to the Niagara Region, I have some great local tips.

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Old 27-01-2015, 14:36   #57
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

Here is a company that charters a Gemini 105 MC out of Port Credit (actually closer to Pearson International Airport) in Toronto:

Delphia Charters: Charter a Sailboat in the Toronto (GTA) Area

I can't vouch for the company as I have never chartered a boat in the Great Lakes, but the Gemini would be a great choice in terms of shoal draft, accomodation plus lack of rolling under anchor. And if not overloaded (and a bareboat charter would not be) they actually sail pretty well.

Brad
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Old 02-02-2015, 05:24   #58
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

Thanks guys. After talking with uncle, it seems we are a go for Lake Ontario, Thousand islands up to BoQ down the channel and back. We can drive to the Falls as a day trip. Should give a lot of time for gunkholing and poking around. Now we just need a boat. (Thanks for the heads up on the cat, but we prefer a single hull)

Unfortunately the proverbial has hit the fan at work on Friday due to a contractor's error, and so everything non-work related is on hold till it gets sorted. Thank you so much for your help, I'll order the guide tonight which should hopefully turn up while I get my project back on track.

I'll be back soon, and will keep you posted as to progress. Can't wait!!

Michael
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Old 14-02-2015, 17:46   #59
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Re: Two weeks on the Great Lakes in June - suggestions?

IIRC, the Toronto-area agent for Delphia Yachts as a boat or two available for charter. These appear to be very solid, traditional construction vessels.

The arc from Frankfort MI - Sturgeon Bay WI through Alpena MI - Tobermory ON has endless, spectacular sailing, anchorages, towns. Too bad you can't visit later when the temps are more hospitable.

We have pix of us each with 4 layers on, including hoods, on 2 July on Lake Michigan off Sheboygan, WI, on a sunny day. Wind was out of the NE, crossing the lake, which was still in the 40s (F).

The Apostle Islands in Lake Superior are wonderful, though more tightly packed. Too cold in June, though.
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