Our first Lake Michigan crossing of the season is complete!
We had been tentatively planning our first family trip for this weekend, but there’s a lot to consider when you’re sailing, and it tends to dictate the destination. I looked into heading to New Buffalo, MI – a stop that we skipped during our month-long adventure last year. But our boat draws 6.5 ft., and some Michigan harbors aren’t that deep (one of the tradeoffs of getting a boat with a fin keel rather than a shoal keel, which is only 3 to 4.5 feet.) So, New Buffalo was out.
We also considered sailing up to North Point Marina, right on the border of Wisconsin, or over to St. Joesph, Mich. But those are longer sails, and yesterday morning, the lake was powerless to a bear hug of fog that the sun didn’t burn off until right around noon. Thirty miles away, Michigan City, Ind., seemed like a great alternative and a comfortable 6- to 7-hour sail. Plus, their marinas are plenty deep.
We cast lines at about 12:30, settled into our 100-degree point of sail and more or less followed it all the way here. The winds were 5 to 10 knots out of the southeast, so we couldn’t just sail the whole way, but we were able to motor-sail for a fair portion of it with both the jib and the main flying.
Aside from a pesky swarm of biting flies that set up camp in our cockpit, the trip was lovely. Claire ate her weight in crackers, took a two-hour nap and played with some of her animals up on the bow.
We also made friends with a passing freighter.
These longer sails are also great opportunities to shake off the cobwebs a bit, and we realized that we have a potentially failing battery in our house battery bank. It wasn’t a problem during the crossing, as we switched to our other battery and always have an emergency starting battery on board. But, it’s another project for Aaron to add to his list. The boat does a great job at keeping that full.
Clarity pulled into her slip for the weekend in the Michigan City Port Authority Marina at around 6:30 and I made a chicken stir fry dinner while Aaron took Claire for a walk to scope out the sights. With full bellies and a sleeping toddler, Aaron and I collapsed on the deck with margaritas to watch the sun set over Lake Michigan.
Today, we’ve been exploring our haven right by the marina – a playground, splash pad, zoo and the beach, all a short walk. Details about our on-land adventures to come. For now, it’s time to explore!