BIG day on Lake Michigan yesterday

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by Stee6043, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    I made my way from Grand Haven to Saugatuck on Saturday for an outstanding evening out in Saugatuck without our kids (this was our first adults only boat weekend in 3 years). Had a blast. Got an early start back yesterday knowing they were calling for big waves later in the day. Small Craft Advisory went into affect at 1PM so we were on our way by 9:30AM.

    I didn't even get out of the channel in Saugatuck before I stuffed my anchor into a roller. The 2-3's in the forecast were more consistently 4's at 10AM.

    I tried to be on-plane for a bit but that got to be unmanageable. A few miles north of Saugatuck and we were seeing pretty regular 6 footers. Whitecaps on all sides, making 8 knots. Very, very uncomfortable. I've been boating Lake Michigan for a lot of years and this is the worst I've been out in for more than a few minutes at a time.

    I think the worst part (for me) was knowing that the lake was going to continue to get worse as I was trying to get to Holland. And it did. I was soaked by the time we got to the pier in Holland. 45 minutes in a washing machine to go about 6 miles. And the anticipation of getting broadside into the waves to enter the pier was not pleasant.

    We got in safely and found a transient slip at a very nice marina in Holland. Had a couple of beers at their yacht club while we waited for a ride back to Grand Haven.

    What a day. I know with absolute certainty I would not have left Saugatuck had we been with our kids. But I still wish I had turned around and stayed. It wasn't worth the stress.

    The ole Sea Ray performed like a champ. Though I've never felt like 34' was quite so small before...
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  2. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    These lakes can be brutal. We plowed into 3's and 4's at 8-9 knots for nearly 3 hours to go 30 miles on Lake Ontario a few weeks ago. Like you said, being on plane is impossible in those conditions. Not easy on the fuel bill either, we were turning like 2000-2200 at that speed and just chugging gas.
  3. strange weather

    strange weather Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 4, 2010
    Lake Mead
    320 Sundancer 2005,Raymarine C80 GPS SmartCraft System w/Auto Pilot 5kw Kohler Generator
    T-VD 350 Magnum MPI Horizon
    Nice job by the Captain and First mate another water story-thanks for sharing
  4. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Got her back to Grand Haven last night. What a difference a day makes. Nice calm 1-2's.

    It does indeed make for a good story. And a good gauge of what I won't accept the next time! Good times...
  5. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    Especially the western coasts! The Ontario shoreline of Huron is similar. The dockmaster in Grand Bend, ON has been known to tell boaters approaching his jetty to "stay on-plane until you can read the fuel prices on the pumps."

    It can be nerve-wracking, but I'm sure it boost liquor sales once we're all safely docked.
  6. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    I've always said that anyone can drive a boat on calm waters. Being out in the conditions you were in does few things: Builds your self confidence, builds confidence in your boat and let's you realize that the world is not coming to and end just because the wind picks up and the waves get bigger.

    Good job and a nice writeup.
  7. rmlsll

    rmlsll Member

    Oct 11, 2009
    Saugatuck MI / Cape Coral FL
    340 Sundancer 2004 /
    240 Sundeck 2007 /
    10' Zodiac
    Twin 8.1 merc,. V-Drive /
    5.0 merc., bravo 3
    We were out off Saugatuck this afternoon (flat as a pancake) amazing what a few days can do to Lake MI waves.

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