Sailing Across Lake Michigan

I have been crewing with Joe for the past 4 years.  While racing has been a blast, we have constantly talked about sailing over to Michigan from Milwaukee. The logistics finally worked out and 3 of us took off on Allegro, a beautiful Pearson 26.

Before we set off, we had to finish the Friday night MAST race.  

Before we set off, we had to finish the Friday night MAST race.  

After the race, we drilled a hole in the tiller to accept the autopilot pin and packed up the food and other supplies.

This is the last picture before the three of us took off.

This is the last picture before the three of us took off.

Leaving McKinley Marina

Leaving McKinley Marina

The wind was very cooperative throughout the trip. We were in beam reach all the way to Whitehall, MI.  

The wind was very cooperative throughout the trip. We were in beam reach all the way to Whitehall, MI.

 

Since the original tiller was more steep than the current unit, we had to use brass fittings from the plumbing department to have the autopilot reach the tiller. When under higher than normal force, the fitting kept pulling out. So we had to resort to duct tape and zip ties to keep the pin in. It worked pretty well till the wind shifted and we had to manually change direction before resetting the autopilot. We made sure to be always ready with a pocket knife and replacement zip ties.

Since the original tiller was more steep than the current unit, we had to use brass fittings from the plumbing department to have the autopilot reach the tiller. When under higher than normal force, the fitting kept pulling out. So we had to resort to duct tape and zip ties to keep the pin in. It worked pretty well till the wind shifted and we had to manually change direction before resetting the autopilot. We made sure to be always ready with a pocket knife and replacement zip ties.

A great sunrise!

A great sunrise!

Joe is looking for land.

Joe is looking for land.

There it is.

There it is.

Approaching the channel from Lake Michigan to White Lake.

Approaching the channel from Lake Michigan to White Lake.

Bunch of nice sailboats were out. We got to Crosswinds Marine Service about mid-afternoon, grabbed a quick lunch, and instantly fell asleep after the all nighter. The original plan was to leave the next morning but the weather report predicted an all day thunderstorm. So we left around 9PM towards Ludington for another night sail.

Bunch of nice sailboats were out. We got to Crosswinds Marine Service about mid-afternoon, grabbed a quick lunch, and instantly fell asleep after the all nighter. The original plan was to leave the next morning but the weather report predicted an all day thunderstorm. So we left around 9PM towards Ludington for another night sail.

Harbor View Marina in Ludington, MI

Harbor View Marina in Ludington, MI

Allegro rests

Allegro rests

The next morning’s sail from Ludington to Manistee was all sorts of exciting. We were in 30-35 knots of wind with 40 knot gusts. The waves were in the 10-12 ft range. It was roughest conditions that Matt and I had been in. Joe hit a nasty Atlantic storm on the way back from Bermuda a while back  but this was the worst Lake Michigan has thrown at him so far. We reefed the main, put up a storm jib, and had an absolute blast. The following video was taken when the conditions had calmed down a bit.

Sailing up the Manistee River. We had get 2 bridges raised on our way to Manistee Lake and Seng’s Marina.

Sailing up the Manistee River. We had get 2 bridges raised on our way to Manistee Lake and Seng’s Marina.

Heading back to Wisconsin the next morning

Heading back to Wisconsin the next morning

Home at last! We were originally planning on sailing to Sheboygan, which is about 50 miles north. But the wind was coming directly from that heading so we decided to head home early. We came in at about 6AM.

Home at last! We were originally planning on sailing to Sheboygan, which is about 50 miles north. But the wind was coming directly from that heading so we decided to head home early. We came in at about 6AM.