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Old 27-08-2010, 10:08   #1
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Help with Itinerary

Hi all, My hubby and I just bought a 27ft Compac and we are contemplating doing a Great Lakes Sail....not sure how long, probably 2 weeks to 1 month. Of course, I would prefer the month, but depends on the funds then. We will probably do it in 2-3 years. We live in MO. Any ideas on itineraries. Please forgive me if this question is too open ended. We plan on trailering the boat ourselves and we want to dock each evening....what is the best time of year??
Thanks for any help!!
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Old 27-08-2010, 10:39   #2
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I sailed Lake Michigan for years. I would go to ActiveCaptain and play around. It will give you enough of an idea about marinas for you to narrow down the Great Lakes to doable areas. It is a BIG area with much shoreline.

2 years is a long time away so I wouldn't buy any cruising guides (if you can find any) just yet.
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Old 27-08-2010, 10:54   #3
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If your looking at this year, you better get packing. The easy answer is the Great Lakes are so easy to sail, you don't need too much of a plan. If I was you, head up to Michigan City and put the boat in there. Sail up the coast of Michigan until you get tired of it, which hopefully gets you at least up to Manistee. Then, sail over to Milwaukee, then back down to Chicago.
The lake has a lot of harbors. You can use Google Earth to check them out.

Ok, as I was typing this I started re-thinking what I would do, so scrach that. I'd keep driving up I-94 to US31. Keep going all the way up to a port named Frankfurt. Put your boat in the water and rent a car at a local agency. Then take your car and trailer up to the West Bay of Traverse City. Leave it at the Municipal landing. Then use the rental car to get back to Frankfurt.

Now your in position to enjoy the BEST of Lake Michigan. Sleeping Bear, Leland, Manitou Islands, Northport, Charlevoix, and Grand Traverse. That's the ticket - for sure.
Our course is set for an uncharted sea
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Old 29-08-2010, 05:33   #4
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Wow...what a good idea! I just got back from Traverse City and sure was beautiful....
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:16   #5
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The North Channel of Lake Huron was named one of the Top Ten Cruising Destinations in the World by "Sailing" or one of the other magazines just a couple years ago. I've sailed my own boat and chartered there and I have to agree that it is a world-class place to cruise.

You could trailer your boat to the Straits of Mackinac or Manitoulin Island, Ontario, or just sail from Traverse Bay. You could spend a couple weeks or all summer. July and August are the prettiest time, but the sailing/breeze is better in the fall. Temps are cool and fog is likely in June and Sept.

The Trailer Sailing Association has taken a cruise in the North Channel every year for many years. I've never joined them (my boat isn't trailerable) but they seem to do a great job for trailerable boats and you cruise in company of other boats.

Also, the Great Lakes Cruising Club ( is a great source for "Local Knowledge". I'm a member and highly recommend their Harbor Reports. As a member, you can download these reports which detail every port and anchorage throughout the Great Lakes (some 2000 of them!) and they have local Port Captains you may contact for more info. These Harbor Reports are updated by memebers online, so the info is usually very good, detailed and current. The GLCC will be opening an online "School" featuring webinars about cruising the Great Lakes. You may want to check those out in a few weeks when it opens up.

In addition, there is wonderful sailing in all the Great Lakes. The prior posts are excellent info! Also check out Lake Erie (the Islands of Western Lake Erie, Long Point, the many ports on both US and Canada's shoreline), Lake Ontario (the Thousand Islands at the eastern end), and Lake Superior (the Apostle Islands, Isle Royale).

The Great lakes are a tremendous cruising ground with everything from big cities to small towns, major ports to complete wilderness, fresh water where you can see the bottom in 40+ feet. Make your cruise happen and you'll be very happy you did!
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:57   #6
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I have sailed the west end and central parts of Lake Erie for many years and would be glad to help you with your plans. Consider the Erie Islands, primarily Catawba (West Harbor), South Bass Island (Put In Bay) and Kelley's Island. Sandusky Ohio has good facilities and the Cedar Point amusement park is there (it also a nice marina with transient dockage). Huron Ohio has a nice boat basin where there are live bands at the marina. Vermillion Ohio is a nice place too, and has some great places to eat. Lots of options around Cleveland as well. There are plenty of other areas to cruise, just explore the internet a bit and let me know if you have questions.

As far as time of year...the water affects the air temperature and is pretty cold until June. The last 2 weeks of June is May Fly season - winged insects about an inch long that swarm at night. They don't bite or anything but some people freak out about them. August and September are usually good sailing months with September being my favorite. Boat traffic and crowds die down after labor day and the warm water makes for a great Fall season.
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Old 07-01-2011, 09:12   #7
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You might want to check out the Great Lakes Cruising Club, association of over 2500 US and Canadian boaters. The big benefit of belonging to the Great Lakes Cruising Club is their extensive set of harbor reports - by all accounts far superior, far more extensive, and much more current (with real time member updates to our wiki-based reports on the GLCC web site) than any other cruising/boating resource for our cruising area. All told they have over 1200 separate harbor reports covering everything from ports in towns and cities to wilderness anchorage spots. for more information go to: The Great Lakes Cruising Club

GLCC runs the GLCCSchool which is an internet-based program presenting webinars of interest to Great Lakes cruising boaters. check out GLCC School. They offer w wide range of webinars. The GLCCSchool is based on the Seven Seas University (Welcome to the Seven Seas U), which was launched by Seven Seas Cruising Association.
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Old 18-01-2011, 12:35   #8
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We just finished a nearly 3 month, 1000+ nautical mile cruise from Grand Haven, MI (Lake Michigan) to the North Channel (Lake Huron) this past summer. Since you have a trailerable boat I think the best option would be to put in somewhere in the northern portion of Michigan (perhaps Detour Village) and then explore the splendid North Channel and northern Lake Michigan if you have time. Check out our blog below if you want to get an idea of ports, pictures, etc.
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Old 15-03-2011, 16:01   #9
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Re: Help with Itinerary

I spent the month of July last summer cruising from Milwaukee north to the North Channel and back via Green Bay. Some of our favorite places were Frankfort, MI, Beaver Island, Leeland MI, Mackinac Island, and the entire North Channel. This summer we are heading up to Lake Superior possibly to Isle Royale if we can find somewhere to board our dog while we are there. We also live in Missouri (St Louis) and would be happy to give you some suggestions.

s/v Aventura
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