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Lake St. Clair anchorages

Jul 1, 2010
856
Seaward 25, Catalina 350 Erie, Pa
To those who either sail Lake St. Clair or transit through there...do you know of any anchorages where you can get a decent night's sleep?

Seriously, we've anchored 3 times in a couple of places there when transiting between Lake Erie and Lake Huron and have yet to get a whole night's sleep even if you add up the hours slept over all 3 times!

We stopped there last about a week ago and, once again, pitched and rolled all night even though the wind dropped way down and all the power boaters went home to bed.

At one point, I got up, having been thrashed in the v birth, and went to have a look-see outside. It didn't look that bad, but then I noticed the waves were like a standing wave from all directions.

We decided maybe it was due to the freighter traffic down the channel of the lake and the fact that the lake is so shallow? Either that, or as my wife suggested, that all the marinas got together and purchased a giant plate compactor and put it in the lake to ensure everyone would rent slips.

Either way, we're learning to dislike that lake. Did we just happen on 3 bad days? Local knowledge, please explain.
 
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Feb 19, 2008
200
Catalina Capri 18 ann arbor
I have a slip on lake st Clair, and I’m learning to hate it too. Probably won’t be back next year.
 
Jul 1, 2010
856
Seaward 25, Catalina 350 Erie, Pa
It can't be all that bad! Maybe you just need to hook up with the Jobbie Nooner crowd:).

Thank goodness we never came through when that was going on!
 
Aug 21, 2019
107
Catalina 315 18 Grosse Pointe Park, MI
I keep my boat on Lake St. Clair and love it. As for an anchorage, you can try the lagoon at Metro Beach. No freighter traffic anywhere near there.
 
Jul 1, 2010
856
Seaward 25, Catalina 350 Erie, Pa
Thanks. We may try that one next time we're in the lake. We did take a look at Ford's cove the last time we were there. Too many boats in the cove, so we didn't try it. Ended up in the anchorage at Gross Point. Won't go to that one again. Have anchored there twice, and it wasn't a good nights sleep either time. Best night at anchor we found so far was at the side of Peche island, just outside of the river current. That was out this year as it's on the Canadian side.
 
Jul 8, 2005
454
Jeanneau 389 Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Thanks. We may try that one next time we're in the lake. We did take a look at Ford's cove the last time we were there. Too many boats in the cove, so we didn't try it. Ended up in the anchorage at Gross Point. Won't go to that one again. Have anchored there twice, and it wasn't a good nights sleep either time. Best night at anchor we found so far was at the side of Peche island, just outside of the river current. That was out this year as it's on the Canadian side.
What was wrong with anchoring near Grosse Pointe? A couple nice coves near Grosse Pointe Farms where we dock our boat. Just south of Grosse Pointe Farms Pier Park Marina is nice.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,526
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
You might try what folks often do here in open anchorages. Anchor bow and stern, bow toward the incoming wavelets. Then put on a “flopper stopper.” Best to rig one from the spinnaker or whisker pole. It helps reduce the amplitude and duration of rolling/pitching, but doesn’t eliminate it.

Generally, IMHO, if the wind blows strongly most of the afternoon then there remains a lot of “energy” in the surface waters after the wind drops at night. If it is too light, the boat does not orient into the incoming wavelets. So, a set of even very small wavelets can set it to rocking. It’s preferable if the wind stays up around 10 knots.
 
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Jul 1, 2010
856
Seaward 25, Catalina 350 Erie, Pa
What was wrong with anchoring near Grosse Pointe? A couple nice coves near Grosse Pointe Farms where we dock our boat. Just south of Grosse Pointe Farms Pier Park Marina is nice.
We were just north of Gross Pointe Yacht club. As I mentioned above, we had standing waves there. We weren't close enough to the seawall by the marina so that shouldn't have been a problem. The anchorage area was rocky earlier in the evening, which settled down once the power boats were off the lake. Then around 10 pm, the uncomfortableness started. By 2 am my wife moved up to the cockpit cause she couldn't sleep in the bow, but had to brace herself to keep from landing on the floor. It stayed that way until early morning. Wind and waves appeared to be out of the south and southeast (10 knots of wind, maybe a little more). I got up to see if there was anything I could do with the bridle to pull the boat one way or the other in case it was a wind / wave direction thing. A look off the stern showed that would be wasted effort as the lake was bouncing up standing waves all around us, so it was like a washing machine. Not big waves either. Just enough to make our Catalina 350 pitch and roll 2-4'. Not anchoring there again, no way. As I mentioned, we have anchored on Lake St Claire 3 times on our trips between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, with similar sleepless nights, though that one was the worst. I really am leaning toward thinking that the freighter traffic through the lake sets up this wave situation due to the fact that the lake is so shallow.

Too bad, as Lake St. Claire is a good half way stop up the Detroit and St. Claire rivers. Just looking for that decent anchorage, but not loving that lake so far.
 
Aug 21, 2019
107
Catalina 315 18 Grosse Pointe Park, MI
We were just north of Gross Pointe Yacht club. As I mentioned above, we had standing waves there. We weren't close enough to the seawall by the marina so that shouldn't have been a problem. The anchorage area was rocky earlier in the evening, which settled down once the power boats were off the lake. Then around 10 pm, the uncomfortableness started. By 2 am my wife moved up to the cockpit cause she couldn't sleep in the bow, but had to brace herself to keep from landing on the floor. It stayed that way until early morning. Wind and waves appeared to be out of the south and southeast (10 knots of wind, maybe a little more). I got up to see if there was anything I could do with the bridle to pull the boat one way or the other in case it was a wind / wave direction thing. A look off the stern showed that would be wasted effort as the lake was bouncing up standing waves all around us, so it was like a washing machine. Not big waves either. Just enough to make our Catalina 350 pitch and roll 2-4'. Not anchoring there again, no way. As I mentioned, we have anchored on Lake St Claire 3 times on our trips between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, with similar sleepless nights, though that one was the worst. I really am leaning toward thinking that the freighter traffic through the lake sets up this wave situation due to the fact that the lake is so shallow.

Too bad, as Lake St. Claire is a good half way stop up the Detroit and St. Claire rivers. Just looking for that decent anchorage, but not loving that lake so far.

I suggest you look into the Great Lakes Cruising Club harbor report "D-44 Metropolitan Beach (Black Creek)" or check a good chart of Lake St Clair. Besides a very nice Marina there, you can also anchor in the well protected lagoon for free.
 
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Jul 8, 2005
454
Jeanneau 389 Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
We were just north of Gross Pointe Yacht club. As I mentioned above, we had standing waves there. We weren't close enough to the seawall by the marina so that shouldn't have been a problem. The anchorage area was rocky earlier in the evening, which settled down once the power boats were off the lake. Then around 10 pm, the uncomfortableness started. By 2 am my wife moved up to the cockpit cause she couldn't sleep in the bow, but had to brace herself to keep from landing on the floor. It stayed that way until early morning. Wind and waves appeared to be out of the south and southeast (10 knots of wind, maybe a little more). I got up to see if there was anything I could do with the bridle to pull the boat one way or the other in case it was a wind / wave direction thing. A look off the stern showed that would be wasted effort as the lake was bouncing up standing waves all around us, so it was like a washing machine. Not big waves either. Just enough to make our Catalina 350 pitch and roll 2-4'. Not anchoring there again, no way. As I mentioned, we have anchored on Lake St Claire 3 times on our trips between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, with similar sleepless nights, though that one was the worst. I really am leaning toward thinking that the freighter traffic through the lake sets up this wave situation due to the fact that the lake is so shallow.

Too bad, as Lake St. Claire is a good half way stop up the Detroit and St. Claire rivers. Just looking for that decent anchorage, but not loving that lake so far.
Sounds pretty bad! Sorry. Next time, try the small cove just south of the Grosse Pointe Farms Pier Park Marina. About 1.5 miles south of where you moored. It is very calm and protected.
 
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