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Thought I would post here in the sailing section for more specific advice. I posted in the general section about a trip I was planing to PIB and got an "Are you crazy!" type of reply about taking my 16' sailboat (Com-Pac 16) to PIB. Im sailing out of Monroe (Brest Bay) and planning to head over to the islands (PIB) for the 4th. I know its going to be a long trip 8+ hours, given decent wind. Maybe overnight if the wind dies...my motor is only good to get me in and out of the marina (3.5horse).

Is it really all that crazy to do this trip? Is there something about the "open water" that Im missing? Ive never sailed across Erie, just in the bay around the Monroe area. But, Ive been out in some pretty stiff wind and dealt fine with 4 foot rollers just fine. The cockpit self bails. No worries.

Any advice would be great!
 

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Crazy is a relative term, depends on your attitude and ability. I think the warnings you are getting is because over an 8 hour trip the weather can turn nasty quick. And the west end of erie is known for some sloppy wave conditions. Your small boat will have a difficult time maintaining any appreciable headway if the conditions get bad. Myself, I wouldn't attempt it in a compac 16. But these days I'm more into that "comfort" thing than I was 20 years ago. But if you are seriously prepared for the crap to kiss the fan and are ready to ride it out if the winds get tough, then it's your choice. Maybe the trip will end up being totally boring.

I recall conversing over the net with some guy who sailed from some city in the UP to Charlevoix, in April, in an open boat like a thistle or lightning or something similar. So he's crossing Lake Michigan with water temps maybe in the 40s during erratic spring weather. I thought he was crazy, but he had a full survival suit, provisions, etc. Again, not something I would do, but his attitude, ability, and preparedness got him through.
 

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I have been sailing for many years and have taken a Venture 22 to Mackinaw, North Channel, and most of Lake Erie. I know it can be accomplished however, you need to pick your weather window very carefully. Another thing that can get you in trouble is having to be "home" at a specific time or day and chancing going out in foul weather. Try and pick a travel day with a good beam reach and don't try and beat into large waves. If you get in trouble alter course to a safe harbor down wind. Have a fall back plan.
 

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Watch your weather window carefully.

Don't try and follow a schedule, play it as you see it. Waiting is better than drowning.

Bring extra fuel, that 3.5 will get you to safety, I had a 4 on a 23 foot. It wasn't a speed demon, but sufficed to give me some control in poor conditions. Don't be ashamed to use it.

One steady rule of either small boat or short handed cruising... Reef early!!!!! By the time you really have to reef, it may be too late to do it safely. It's not a race, don't take chances.

Boat smart and safe and it will be an adventure.
 

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I don't have any experience on Lake Erie, but crossing and of the "big water" with a 3.5 hp motor makes me more than just uncomfortable. If the big winds and waves hit is a 3.5 going to be enough power to keep you pointed into the wind? I can just see a big wave hitting you on the beam and rolling you over.

All of the replies you've received already make a lot of sense. I like the adventure side of what you're planning, but from a safety standpoint I don't feel comfortable at all. Sailing a 16 footer in good conditions is one thing, bad conditions is another. You have to be prepared for both.
 

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QUOTE(A.Schmidt @ Jun 25 2009, 12:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...Im sailing out of Monroe (Brest Bay) and planning to head over to the islands (PIB) for the 4th. I know its going to be a long trip 8+ hours, given decent wind. Maybe overnight if the wind dies...my motor is only good to get me in and out of the marina (3.5horse)....

So, how did it go?

Here is an interesting perspective...when I was at Isle Royale I heard the story from the park rangers how two guys sailed from the Michigan mainland to the island in a 16' open boat in Novemner and made it! The advneture did not last long as they got snowed in there and one ended up dying, but hey, this is summer on Lake Erie we are talking about here not winter up on Lake Superior.

Your plans were to make the voyage over the 4th so I am interested in hearing of your adventure!

Dan
 

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How did the trip go? I was thinking about sailing from Breast Bay to Kelleys Island. I have a 26' Mac that we can stay overnight in and I was thinking about hugging the shore and making it a 2 day trip. I'm new to sailing and very interested how your trip went and how long it took.
 

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They way I look at it if someone can swim across the lake, a sailboat can do it. Just a mater of going prepared, watch the weather, monitor the weather the entire trip, keep a good watch. It can be done and done safely.

Hopefully we hear how it went
 
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