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They were talking about it in the power boaters group but has anyone sailed there?

Can you do the trip there in 1 day? I haven't been down to Lake Erie yet so I'm not sure how long it takes to motor the river etc.. Has anyone done the river at night? Is there a lot of ship traffic or anything else to watch out for?
 

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I sailed to CP as part of a week long Erie cruise back in Y2K. Didn't do the trip in one day but I've done Put-In-Bay in one day several times. When I went to CP, I used PIB as a layover but its only about 10-12 miles from PIB to CP.

As far as the trip down the river....on my Catalina 30, motoring at hull speed (about 6.7 kts) I can get from my dock at Miller's in SCS to the mouth of the D. river in about 4.5 hours. Its really not bad going down...but going back upriver is a killer...takes over 6 hours and the fact that its on the way home when your tired its really a slow boring trip.

I've never done the river at night but I'd suspect the ship traffic to be about the same as during the day. The freighters run 24 hrs. a day. They're not at all a problem until you get to the Livingstone Channel around Boblo island. The channel is dredged there and it is quite narrow with the material they dredged creating a long wall on either side of the channel for several miles. That is the "upbound" freighter channel and there is also a more open "downbound" channel on the Canadian side. As far as I know, the up/downbound status is for commerical traffic only, pleasure boats go both directions in both. Anyhow, there's still enough room to allow freighters and pleasure craft to share the channel there, it just might be a little hairy at night. Sailors have no choice but to use the channels down there because the "delta" of the river is very shallow everywhere else. The rest of the river from Fighting Island up to St. Clair is deep and wide open.

As far the trip to PIB, that depends (or course) on wind speed. Since I tend to be a bit conservative, I won't sail it unless I can make over 5 kts SOG. I've never had a "comfortable" sail there or back. Its always either blowing like mad (25kts) and I'm flying at 6+ kts (with a seasick crew), or its dead calm and I'm listening to the drone of the diesel for hours. Doing roughly 6 kts. gets me there in about 4 hours so the whole trip takes about 9 hours down and 11 hours back for me (any motor boaters reading this thread can stop laughing now!).

So figuring that CP is about another 12 miles past PIB, that would put a day long sail down to CP at about 11 hours. So yes you can certainly do it in a day. Leave at 6 am and get there around 5pm. But I'd highly recommend a stopover at PIB. If there is any breeze at all, Erie gets pretty rough and there really is no feeling quite like coming off of the churning and lake tying up to a mooring buoy. The transit across Erie takes alot out of me.

Every year I try to do at least one PIB weekend trip, my float plan goes as follows:

Thursday night: Get off work, head down to the boat, get it prepped, and sail or motor down to St. Aubin Marina in Detroit. St. Aubin is actually a pretty nice marina and dockage is dirt cheap (costs me $25 a night..less than $1 a foot)

Friday: Alarm goes off at 6 am, by 6:05 the motor is running and we're pulling out of the dock. This gets us to the mouth of the Detroit River by 9am and down to PIB by around 1:00ish. Plenty of time to still enjoy the day.

Sunday: Get up around 8 am....again pulling off the mooring buoy by 8:05. Get back to the marina by about 7pm. There's no two ways about it...the trip home really sucks (especially when you're the only person onboard who knows how to operate the boat!)

Hope this Helps!

StarSailor
 
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