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What are your favorite Lake Michigan cruising spots?

Aug 20, 2017
2
Catalina 28 mkII Elk Rapids
We sail out of Elk Rapids, and love Beaver Island, but Fayette State Harbor might be our favorite spot. Actually any place from Whitehall all around to Sheyboygan Wi is great.
 
Jun 7, 2004
245
- - Milwaukee
Fayette is wonderful, but if you're going that far, make sure to stop along the way in Door County: Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Horseshoe Island.
Also up the west shore, Racine, Milwaukee (South Shore Yacht Club), Port Washington, and Sheboygan are favorites. Manitowoc has a nice new marina.
On the Michigan shore: South Haven, Grand Haven and in that area, best of all, White Lake.
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,464
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
We purchased our Sapphire in Muskegon the owner kept her in Harbor Town Marina and sailed her back to Port Huron MI, we had the pleasure of visiting several harbors on our trip all of which were very nice, but, my favorite was Leeland MI, something about this quint little town which has a very well managed city harbor a bit of a trick getting into it as the entry is rather narrow but once in was well protected with some great services.
 

Apex

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Jun 19, 2013
891
Oday 28 Traverse City
We sail out of Elk Rapids, and love Beaver Island, but Fayette State Harbor might be our favorite spot. Actually any place from Whitehall all around to Sheyboygan Wi is great.
hey! small world, what slip? stop by #200 to say hello this summer!
 
May 25, 2012
2,367
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
Tom, we had been sailing on a hard beat for two days, we had sailed from garden island over to the garden peninsula and down it's shore as far as kregg bay where anchored for the night, wind was 25 out of the north west. the next day, while still stiff out of the nw we sailed south of the peninsula and up to fayette. we had 5 on board and plenty of sails. the boom is swung over the side to open up the cockpit. the yellow spinnaker bag can be seen on deck too. in port we will throw sails on deck to clear out the cabins for sleeping. we carried 3 jibs and 2 spinnakers on that trip as well as the 2 staysails. we had gone to fayette for protection. that night the wind clocked north and went to 35 as anticipated. first thing after breakfast we raised sail in the harbor, tacked out to clear water and swung to s by sw. we throw up "big blue" our 1 1/2 oz spinnaker and rolled out of big bay de noc , past rock island passage, wasington island, death's door, and rolled the door peninsula shore line back to sturge. 86 miles, 10 hours, dock to dock. rain clouds all around screaming down from lake superior across the U.P.. we never felt a drop.


P.M., fayette has been all rebuilt and is in great shape.
 
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May 25, 2012
2,367
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
north of fayette 2 miles is an even sweater place to go. south river bay. go all the way in the bay then dog leg south up the mouth of the river behind the sand bar. good sand to anchor. 12 ft deep. the eagles can get a little noisy. the estuary up in there is special.
 
May 25, 2012
2,367
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
love garden bay as well. love washington harbor, anchor just off the swimming area in sand. the raft at school house beach in washington harbor is by far the finest swim raft on the great lakes. the water is cold so only kids swim out while the adults watch from the shore. you can swim in from the boat and start a good game of 'king of the raft' and show those tweeks whose boss.
 
May 25, 2012
2,367
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
the state dock at rock island has room for one and is always open. right at the old boat house. the ranger is great.
 
May 25, 2012
2,367
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
if the weather goes north then there is great protection in jackson harbor, it's like 1920 in there, also on the north side of washington harbor. the sailing north of washington island up to garden peninsula is some of the best sailing winds on the great lakes and it is always deserted.
from jackson harbor hike around the estuary to the east and along the shore from there. some of the most pristine wisconsin shore line.
 
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May 25, 2012
2,367
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
the sand beaches on either side of the spit on chambers island are world class. menominee michigan is my favorite town to stop at on green bay. 'not touristy' like all the door county towns. the dock is a michigan state dock, always nice. the door county docks are run by local town councils that are not boaters and main interest is revenue. they are great if you love tourists. if shopping at gifts shops is your thing then you will be in heaven.
i live on the peninsula and don't go there by car either, just how i roll.
when the packers are playing i always have the bay to myself. i love it that way
 
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Nov 12, 2009
131
J/ 32 NCYC, Western Lake Erie
In regards to Fayette:

We were there 5 or 6 years ago so things might be different now. We sailed down from Manistique in really crap weather. When we arrived we were the only boat there, which apparently is so unusual a local commented on the empty dock. (Eventually a trawler pulled up 3 feet in front of us and proceeded to run their generator for a couple of hours!)

My recollection is that the dock is about 300 feet long, with no electricity or water - hence the generator. In a pinch one or two boats might be able to anchor off the dock, but in deeper water. There is a campground nearby with bathrooms. Some of the old abandoned buildings were open to explore with signage explaining what they were and what happened there.
 
May 25, 2012
2,367
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
fayette was all rebuilt and upgraded 2 years ago. they do not allow you to anchor in the harbor as it's full of relics, they say
 
May 25, 2012
2,367
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
i love pre-frontal winds on lake michigan. when i go cruising we play the winds, not the harbors. i prefer the wild places but i'm happy to tuck in anywhere between the gradiant winds coming through. our schedule is not day or night/sunlight or darkness. we stop in the calms and go in the winds. my favorite part of owning a boat is the boat ride. helming aeolus with a crew tickling the sails is my great joy. we stop between wind events and play and frolic in a town or the wilds. of course the shore breezes are work to their max. love sailing at night. love anchoring in the big lake in a calm. i don't sail "shorthanded" and much prefer a crew of family and friends aboard. aeolus has many many local sailors that will play with us all the time. aeolus is first rate "camper" from a different era. camping on her is easy and fun. the more modern boats are all geared for shorthanded sailing and are what i call "condos". we optimize for the sailing. we carry many sails to match the sailing. we only hand drive under sail. we have an ice box, that can stay cold for a week. it's camping skills that most now have not been taught. running lights and water pumps are about the only electric we use. pugging in is never a requirement. the food on board is better than the food up the street mostly.
my "cruising" is about the sailing which also allows us to see and visit many places. .... and on lake michigan with have lots of varied winds to enjoy. there are no bad day during the season.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,029
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
i love pre-frontal winds on lake michigan. when i go cruising we play the winds, not the harbors. i prefer the wild places but i'm happy to tuck in anywhere between the gradiant winds coming through. our schedule is not day or night/sunlight or darkness. we stop in the calms and go in the winds. my favorite part of owning a boat is the boat ride. helming aeolus with a crew tickling the sails is my great joy. we stop between wind events and play and frolic in a town or the wilds. of course the shore breezes are work to their max. love sailing at night. love anchoring in the big lake in a calm. i don't sail "shorthanded" and much prefer a crew of family and friends aboard. aeolus has many many local sailors that will play with us all the time. aeolus is first rate "camper" from a different era. camping on her is easy and fun. the more modern boats are all geared for shorthanded sailing and are what i call "condos". we optimize for the sailing. we carry many sails to match the sailing. we only hand drive under sail. we have an ice box, that can stay cold for a week. it's camping skills that most now have not been taught. running lights and water pumps are about the only electric we use. pugging in is never a requirement. the food on board is better than the food up the street mostly.
my "cruising" is about the sailing which also allows us to see and visit many places. .... and on lake michigan with have lots of varied winds to enjoy. there are no bad day during the season.
AEOLUS sounds like a local treasure. I can't think, off hand, of any boats that have stayed in a family as long.

I believe you said your Dad bought her originally and I think I may have seen some of his great grandchildren onboard? That's a testament to an amazing old sailboat design and a family that enjoys sailing.

Rare, but makes perfect sense to me. I love new boats and innovation in general. But innovation doesn't take away the certain something that an old sailboat may have in an overabundance. If it did, classic boats wouldn't be as popular world wide as they seem to be, especially today.

This 1934 Starling Burgess sloop and how it is easily rolling through the water caught my eye.

People tell a boats story. All 3 sailors onboard are under her spell.

(Not my photo below).

1934 Starling Burgess.jpg
 
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May 25, 2012
2,367
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
WOW!!!!!!!! beautiful picture Tom. yes, a vessel made for pleasure sailing. and yes, i'm under a spell with 'that blue boat' of mine. this past summer was my 46th season sailing that alden. aeolus had 8 seasons of sailing when dad bought the vessel. in better that new condition, all tweeked up. me and my buds got to bring aeolus up on the lakes for dad and my romance started. all that time and i never saw another boat that i would rather have. this new england coastal cruiser made a great great lakes scout for me. aeolus is a hoot to sail.