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Western Lake Erie

Feb 19, 2008
200
Catalina Capri 18 ann arbor
Hi All,

Any experience here with Western Lake Erie, specifically from Michigan‘s coast to the islands?

It’s < 30 nm from Monroe MI to Middle Bass Island, and that seems like a reasonable adventure.

One of my concerns would be traffic. I had my boat in Lake St. Clair last summer. That would be the perfect place to sail a small boat, except for the 50’ motor yachts blasting around at 40mph. If there wasn’t enough wind to drive through the wakes you just bob up and down like a cork! Of course weekdays were better than weekends. Saturday before noon I could usually sail.
 

Lazy1

.
Aug 23, 2019
171
Catalina 22 13425 A driveway in Pittsburgh
If you are on fecalbook there is a group called Lake Erie Boaters, a majority of the members are power boaters from the Detroit to Cleveland areas and there is a lot of talk about weekend trips to the islands. It has convinced me that I should feel lucky that I'm further east.
 
May 25, 2012
3,785
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
western lake erie and the islands are a hoot. have sailed it my whole life. it's a great lake. all the good and bad are real. have fun
 
May 25, 2012
3,785
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
you are correct, lake st clair like around mac island has non stop boat wakes. it is less on western lake erie.
 
Feb 19, 2008
200
Catalina Capri 18 ann arbor
@jon hansen
it certainly was an interesting summer. like I said, weekdays and early mornings were for me. Saturday afternoon it’s a freeway, and I have a horse and buggy.
 

BrianH

.
Feb 14, 2005
87
Hunter 44 LaSalle, MI
At last, a destination I can comment on!!

I have sailed on Western Lake Erie since 1983 or so. I have made the trip from Monroe (Toledo Beach Marine) to Put-In-Bay countless times with no problem. The only real issue you might have is with the fishing boats. They sometimes will get on a line almost boat to boat with no way to get through. It doesn't take a lot of effort though to avoid them. Oh and watch for the ferry when you are getting into PIB. It can sneak up on you quickly if you aren't paying attention.

Lake Erie is excellent for sailing!! After cutting my teeth dinghy sailing on inland lakes, I still remember one of my first trips on my dad's new to him 1963 Cal 30. We sailed from TBM for 4 hours on a single tack, turned around and sailed back again on a single tack. I was glorious especially since I was used to tacking every 3-5 minutes on the inland lakes.

Finally, your 18 foot boat, might be a little small to get too far off shore in Lake Erie. You have to keep an sharp eye on the weather!! The storms pop up fast and waves can run to 4-6 foot and more. I have been out several time with waves breaking over the bow and even in a 44 foot boat it can be uncomfortable. Half way from Monroe to PIB is West Sister Island, and is the only land you will encounter in your trip so at times you will be 7 miles from the nearest shore. (And West Sister is a national wildlife refuge and is off limits to people.)

A lot of trailerable boats I have seen will launch out of the Port Clinton or Sandusky area. A lot shorter sail if PIB is your destination.
 
Feb 19, 2008
200
Catalina Capri 18 ann arbor
@BrianH I had considered that.

The 38 Miles from Monroe seems like an epic journey, but probably more than I want to take on.
My boat hits 6kts pretty easily, but my car does 65 when trailering - so driving longer and sailing less makes sense to me.
I'm not sure how much of the epic journey I want to shave off, but there are boat launches all around the Ohio coast.