Saturday, March 28, 2015

Planning your summer vacation - Don't forget your boat

Awaiting her crew on Grand Traverse Bay
One reason SailMichigan was built was to provide an opportunity for recreational sailors to maximize their sailing time and fun. One time consuming task is to find a suitable lake or launch venue when on vacation. This may not be as much of an issue if you are going to be in a coastal town like Port Sanilac or Holland or Algonac, but what if you are camping or staying more inland? Or what if you want to sail from destination to destination along the coast? Simply search your destination, and your choice of distance radius, and see what pops up? If you have a large boat, you can customize your search further to include lake size and depth. If you have a sailing kayak, you can customize your search for river impoundments or lake chains.

As an example, let's say you want to camp or stay in Interlochen, Michigan. The name Interlochen tells you that there are lakes nearby, but not all ramps and not all lakes are equal. Using the site, you can actually locate a campsite in Interlochen State Park which is right next to the boat ramp.

Although I do my best to provide as much useful detail as possible, some lakes/ramps have more detail than others. All will have the basics: location, depth, orientation, ramp location, wind forecast and DNR map (where available). Others will have a more extensive narrative and/or ratings from other sailors. If you visit a location this summer, please consider rating the lake yourself when you get back home (or from your mobile phone). Do this even if the lake has already been rated. Multiple ratings or points of view are very important and give a truer picture of the sailing experience.

More importantly, take your boat with you this summer. Find the best spot, the best day for weather, have some fun, take some pictures, and tell us about it. To borrow from a popular phrase - Your journey begins at

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