Showing posts with the label Lake Michigan sailing

Sailing North - A Cruise Summary

"Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air." - Ralph Waldo Emerson It seems many of the trips I plan have a mission statement similar to Emerson's prose. The sun, the sea and wild air sum it up nicely for me. This trip began with an amber moon setting quickly in the west as we motored out the channel to Lake Michigan at about 4:45am. We raised the main and motorsailed north for about an hour before the winds were up enough for full sails and the quiet calm that comes when the motor sleeps.  And so the motor slept all the way to the Manistee channel where our first night began at the recently renovated municipal marina. The last time we were here (~2010) the shower facilities were akin to standing under a leaky pipe in a musty basement. I'm happy to report that the new clubhouse features private showers (with doors!), painted walls, and just about all the amenities (cable TV, WiFi, nautical periodicals, etc.) many of us leave port for in the f

Trying to Reason with Blizzard Season

 Snow blob  We finally got some accumulating snow here in the Great Lakes , which has got me looking at pictures and videos from sailing seasons gone by. Multimedia has a remarkable way of changing my mental climate like a fast approaching low pressure system out on the water.  So to contrast the first picture and give myself and excuse to try out iMovie for iOS on the iPad, I whipped up the following video.  Take a quick one minute sail aboard  Island Bound ...

Weekend Cruising Destinations: South Manitou Island

The following post is a reprint of an article of mine that was published in the July 2011 issue of SAIL Magazine.  Enjoy! Weekend Cruising Destinations South Manitou Island, Michigan (Lake Michigan) by Kevin Walters As we approached the southern end of South Manitou Island the wreck of the cargo ship Francisco Morazan came into view resting in shallow waters where she ran aground in 1960. My daughters had plenty of questions about how the wreck got there, what happened to the crew (all survived) and what was left inside. If we had more time we could have anchored nearby and took the dinghy and snorkeling gear over for a closer look. Earlier that morning we departed the harbor at Frankfort, Michigan bound for the quiet calm we hoped to find in the lee of South Manitou Island. The 26-mile passage provides a perfect daylong sail. Our southern approach to South Manitou Island included rounding Sleeping Bear Point and eventually crossing the busy shipping lane in Manitou Passage. Our

Off-season Charting

As I sit down and gaze at the nautical charts, GPS maps, and guide books for various ports I am warmed by thoughts of exploration for the summer of 2010.  Even though my body is in our home office on this cold January day, my spirit is sailing throughout the blue waters of northern Lake Michigan.  Who says you've got to head south to get to the islands?  We've got North and South Manitou, North and South Fox, Beaver, Garden, Hog, High, Gull, Washington, St. Martin, Horseshoe, Poverty, Summer, St. Helena and Mackinac Islands all plugged into the waypoint list on our GPS.  It's a special feeling for an islomaniac (one who has an irresistible attraction to islands) to know that s/ v Island Bound will be living up to her name in the near future. We've found a couple of websites that have been very useful in the charting/planning stages of our Lake Michigan cruise.  1) OpenCPN  - Awesome free software to convert your laptop into a GPS chartplotter. 2) NOAA Nautical

A night on the hook

On what turned out to be a rather spontaneous decision, we threw off the docklines and headed south towards Port Sheldon and Pigeon Lake. The crew consisted of Erin, Hannah, Isabel, Shasta and I. The weather forecast was perfect...10-15 knot winds out of the north with waves 1 foot or less. We rounded the south pier head of Grand Haven at about 11:30am and enjoyed a perfect broad reach for 8 nautical miles to Port Sheldon. The wind and waves were so very right that day that we did not even once take a tack or pull on the jib sheet. Just awesome sailing! Port Sheldon is listed in the chart books as simply a "port of refuge" with no services or marinas. Fair enough, we were looking for a bit of relaxation and quiet before the busy holiday weekend that lay ahead. The channel into Pigeon Lake is a bit narrow and sometimes shallow, but well worth navigating because of the clear blue water and narrow sandy beaches on the shorelines. We motored down the channel and into Pigeon L