- Nov 8, 2010
Hi all! I'm still here, and definitely interested in any advice/tidbits/local knowledge.
We just got back from a weekend in Michigan getting things ready on the boat. We're still planning on June for the actual sail. The trip as I've laid it out (if everything went perfectly):
Start Finish Miles Hours @ 5.5kts Overnight Type Services Night St. Joseph, MI Holland, MI 50 7.9 Marina 1 Holland, MI White Lake, MI 50 7.9 Marina 2 White Lake, MI Ludington, MI 50 7.9 Marina 3 Ludington, MI Frankfort, MI 52 8.2 Marina 4 Frankfort, MI Charlevoix, MI 73 11.5 Marina 5 Charlevoix, MI Mackinac Island 60 9.5 Marina 6 Mackinac Island Mackinac Island 0 0.0 Marina 7 Mackinac Island DeTour Harbor 40 6.3 Marina 8 DeTour Harbor Sault Ste Marie 45 7.1 Marina 9 Sault Ste Marie Whitefish Point State Dock 45 7.1 Anchor 10 Whitefish Point State Dock Grand Marais, MI 50 7.9 Anchor 11 Grand Marais, MI Munising, MI 40 6.3 Anchor 12 Munising, MI Marquette, MI 40 6.3 Marina 13 Marquette, MI Pequaming Point 70 11.1 Anchor 14 Pequaming Point Houghton, MI 22 3.5 Marina 15 Houghton, MI Ontonagon, MI 52 8.2 Marina 16 Ontonagon, MI Washburn, WI 80 12.6 Marina TOTAL MILES: 819
I'm hoping to average 5.5 knots or greater. Mostly Marinas as we make our way through Michigan, with the idea that we can work some in the evenings and not use up all our vacation time. As was noted, once we get to Superior Marinas are few and far between and, with the 6.5+ foot draft of our boat some of the marinas may not have docking available. That said, ideally our anchoring will be in harbors or refuge or with in dinghy distance of the various marina's/cities.
From what I can see Ontonagon should be a viable option Houghton and Washburn--so my plan is to stay there (vs. across the lake to Isle Royale or ports in Minnesota). I realize we may be into the wind, but feels on par for much of the Superior leg of the journey.
Of course, all of this is subject to change due to weather, wind, boat issues, people issues, or just because we feel like staying an extra day somewhere.
Part of my choice in mostly 8 hour days is to arrive at the Marinas before they close. If we're feeling like pushing things we MAY choose to pursue some longer days on Lake Michigan and anchor instead. Much of that will depend upon weather and how we feel.
Regardless, we're excited! It should be a big adventure!
I'll write more later, but some initial notes:
1) LAY DAYS. Plan 1 in 4 as a day you don't sail for any given reason, normally weather. A fixed schedule is a disaster waiting to happen.
2) 50 mile MAX for normal days. Thats still a LOT of sailing. And your 5.5 knot is not boatspeed, but needs to be actual VMG. When sailing into any breeze you will be a lot slower. On days more then 50, leave before dawn.
3) Skip Ontonagon. Too shoal. Figure on that being a big day to Bayfield. MAYBE Saxon Harbor, but you have to make sure depth is OK. Its been touch and go every year for 6+ draft.
4) The sail to Isle Royale from the upper entry is an amazing trip, and sailing Isle Royale is a bucket list deal.
5) You could easily spend 1/2 your trip in the Apostles and still think you left too soon.
6) You cannot plan for how cold nights on open Lake Superior are.
7) There is NOTHING in Washburn. You want Bayfield. Really.
8) At all cost, get a copy of 'The Superior Way'. AKA 'The Bonnie Book' AKA 'The Bonnie Bible'. Honestly, you cannot enter the lake without it. 40 years of Lake Superior sailing distilled into one cruising guide.
9) Houghton/Hancock are my home town and college town as well. Super fun and great places to dock and stop.