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Old 08-20-2015, 09:14 PM   #1
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Windy Lake Michigan

Well Lake Michigan is putting it to us. We are in the first months of our great loop adventure and the Lake Michigan weather has resulted in significant delays. We are in Manistee MI. We arrived on Tuesday from Frankfort knowing that we may be here for a few days due to winds. Well, the winds are not letting up. 20-30 kts S and SW. It looks like it wont let up until maybe Tuesday of next week. We set aside almost a month to come down the east coast of the lake and we are eating it up quickly with the 2-3 day weather lay overs and now a week layover. Here is what we have to look forward to.
Tonight
West winds to 30 kt diminishing to 15 to 25 kt. Chance of showers this evening...then slight chance of showers overnight. Waves 4 to 6 ft occasionally to 8 ft subsiding to 3 to 5 ft occasionally to 7 ft.
Friday
West winds 10 to 20 kt becoming south 15 to 25 kt. Waves 2 to 4 ft building to 3 to 5 ft occasionally to 7 ft.

Friday Night
South winds 15 to 25 kt becoming southwest 10 to 20 kt. Waves 4 to 6 ft occasionally to 8 ft.

Saturday
Southwest winds 15 to 25 kt becoming south. Waves 4 to 6 ft occasionally to 8 ft.

Saturday Night
South winds 15 to 25 kt. Waves 4 to 6 ft occasionally to 8 ft.

Sunday
South winds to 30 kt becoming southwest. Showers likely. Waves 4 to 6 ft occasionally to 8 ft.

Sunday Night
West winds 10 to 20 kt increasing to 15 to 25 kt. Chance of showers. Waves 3 to 5 ft occasionally to 7 ft.

Monday
West winds 15 to 25 kt becoming northwest. Chance of showers. Waves 3 to 5 ft occasionally to 7 ft.

Tuesday
Northwest winds 15 to 25 kt diminishing to 10 to 20 kt. Waves 2 to 4 ft.

It wouldn't be bad if there was a long wave period but up here they are quick and confused.
I guess we are spoiled Chesapeake cruisers where the winds do not have 50-70 miles to build waves to 11 feet.

On a positive note. The Municipal facilities on the safe harbors are awesome. We have hit a lot of new revitalized facilities with great captains lounges, showers, laundry and staff. O yes, and cheap!

Whining complete, going back to enjoying the comfort of the salon and Traverse City bourbon.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:38 PM   #2
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Good and interesting report, Dave. Lake conditions sound boisterous, leaving only the choice between staying holed-up or getting beat up. Glad you have the flexibility to choose!

The forecast makes even bolting straight across to the lee of the western shore (on Sunday evening, maybe) sound like it could be a rodeo ride.

It's interesting to note how often "Loopers" get smacked around on Lake Michigan, on one leg or another. The conventional wisdom holds that you want to get off the lake by Labor Day or so, but apparently August is also undependable. Note to self: leave plenty of time to reach Chicago - in short sprints, if necessary.

Meanwhile, Manistee looks / sounds like not the worst place in the world to get weathered in. Hoist a bourbon for the rest of us!
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:35 PM   #3
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I always try to think that high winds are a good training opportunity and test of my boating skills, but at some point it's not worth the test if you can avoid it. Sometimes there's a fine line between a healthy challenge and just a plain miserable time on the water.
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:52 PM   #4
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fryedaz,

The last two days have been unusually windy with high gusts. My reading is that Fri and Sat look good with S/W winds below 10 mph except for two brief peaks at 11 mph.

Be sure to stop in Grand Haven at the Municipal Marina and enjoy "The Coast Guard City", and the world's largest musical fountain. The fountain is visible every night directly across from your boat slip. The downtown is directly behind the marina with many unusual shops, restaurants, and ice cream stores. There are great biking paths and the State Park with Michigan's singing sand and the piers are only a short walk. (I am not affiliated with the Chamber, just think this is a unique and wonderful port)
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:57 PM   #5
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Picture of the two piers, State Park, and sandy beaches

Taken from the air a few weeks ago. The waters are clear, azure blue, unsalted and rich with salmon.

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Old 08-21-2015, 01:28 AM   #6
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I was wondering where you Fryes were at! I just caught up with your blog the other day, but saw it hadn't been updated in a few days. I passed Frankfort yesterday afternoon, and was hoping you guys weren't out getting beat up someplace. I'm on a 120' tug, and it's not been the most comfortable day out here. You definitely made the right choice staying put. Manistee is a pleasant place, but I'd be getting itchy there after a few days, too. It's too bad we couldn't just set you on deck and give you a piggy back ride down to Grand Haven!

Hey Great Laker, I'll be bringing your fair city some rocks later this morning. Whereabouts are you tied up? Last time I was in there, I looked for you, but didn't see you.
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:45 AM   #7
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We have done 7,000 miles in the past two years. The Lake Michigan crossing was the roughest of everything we've seen.
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:06 AM   #8
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Hey Dave, what's your next port of call? I was just checking the graphical weather forecast, and it looks like you might have a weather window from 0800 to 1400 today. It's showing 2' seas and west winds 10k and below, backing to south 15 by 1400. Seas will be back up to 3' by 1700. You could probably boogie down to Pentwater, which is about 36 miles. You'd have Ludington as a bail out port if it got snotty early. Ludington has a big wide open entrance channel and no bridges to wait for, so it should be pretty easy to scoot in there, even if you're seasick.

Pentwater, I don't know anything about. It's not a commercial port, so I've never been there. Looks like there are plenty of places to spend a night or two, though.

Central Lake Michigan Maps - NOAA's National Weather Service
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:15 AM   #9
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We have done 7,000 miles in the past two years. The Lake Michigan crossing was the roughest of everything we've seen.
There's nowhere to hide on Lake Michigan. Once you get south of the Manitous, you're committed.
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:56 AM   #10
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With the different winds...is there a lee?

Often hear people grumble in the fall passing NJ deciding to sit out small craft warnings or worse for another day or two in port. The reality is the strong northwesterlies are making 6 foot seas 20NM out but barely a ripple close to shore.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:07 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info folks. NOAA makes me believe we should stay.
Today
West winds 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt and backing south later this morning...then increasing to 15 to 25 kt this afternoon. Waves 3 to 5 ft occasionally to 7 ft.


But the actual conditions look like a go. Its only 8 mph on the point now. I wonder how much memory this Lake has when it come to waves.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:26 AM   #12
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Ahhh I remember those days!
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:32 AM   #13
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With the different winds...is there a lee?

Often hear people grumble in the fall passing NJ deciding to sit out small craft warnings or worse for another day or two in port. The reality is the strong northwesterlies are making 6 foot seas 20NM out but barely a ripple close to shore.

You definitely get some protection from the windward shore. That can be a bit of a trap though. If you're running down the west shore to keep out of a west wind for example, you'll be fine as long as the wind holds. If it turns north or south there's really no protection. There are no islands or peninsulas or bays to hide in. If the wind shifts around to the east, you'll find that the lee shore could now be as far as 70 miles away in fairly short order. It doesn't take long for the waves to pick up. There are lots of ports you could put into if needed, though, and the forecasts are generally pretty good.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:36 AM   #14
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Thanks for the info folks. NOAA makes me believe we should stay.
Today
West winds 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt and backing south later this morning...then increasing to 15 to 25 kt this afternoon. Waves 3 to 5 ft occasionally to 7 ft.


But the actual conditions look like a go. Its only 8 mph on the point now. I wonder how much memory this Lake has when it come to waves.

When we put in at Grand Haven about 3 hours ago, the wind was under 10, seas were 3-4' and settling down pretty quickly. The seas generally don't hang around too long after the wind shuts off. Loads of fishermen out down this way.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:43 AM   #15
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Hey Great Laker, I'll be bringing your fair city some rocks later this morning. Whereabouts are you tied up? Last time I was in there, I looked for you, but didn't see you.
I am docked about 2/3 of the way up Spring Lake on the west side just short of Dunlevy Bay.
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:34 AM   #16
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I have always felt the winds and the lake are rougher around Manistee than further south. Not too many loopers stop at Manistee. There is a grocery store downtown (Olesons) but I suspect the new Meijers will put them out of business.

As already mentioned Ludington is about 20 miles south and Pentwater is about another 20 miles.

We have been in FL since late June and miss the cool dry air up there. We will be driving back up in about a week.
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:52 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
With the different winds...is there a lee?

Often hear people grumble in the fall passing NJ deciding to sit out small craft warnings or worse for another day or two in port. The reality is the strong northwesterlies are making 6 foot seas 20NM out but barely a ripple close to shore.
That's very interesting. What do you consider "close to shore?" We make that run every fall and I can't wait until it's behind me.

Thanks, Howard
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:03 AM   #18
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Manistee

Be sure to eat at the Blue Fish. Excellent food. We spent three days on the wall in Manistee earlier this summer and found lots to do. It was our first visit in 10 years of passing it by! Should have stopped in earlier years.
We are based in Muskegon MI and were also getting ready to depart on the Loop after moving aboard a couple weeks ago. We originally targeted this week too but for weather and other reasons we are deferring to next week as well. Perhaps our paths will cross.
Oh, and welcome to late August on Lake Michigan. Patience will be your friend...
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Old 08-21-2015, 12:54 PM   #19
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I am docked about 2/3 of the way up Spring Lake on the west side just short of Dunlevy Bay.

Ah, that would explain why I didn't see you. We can't get up that far

Looks like it's turning out to be a pretty beautiful day out here. I hope the good ship Fryedaze was able to escape from Manistee.

Current conditions off Muskegon: south wind to 10, seas 1', excellent visibility, high and steady pressure, 72* and not a cloud overhead.

It's days like today when I almost like my job.
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:06 PM   #20
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Well, we made a short run to Ludington, only 25 miles. Winds weren't bad WSW . Seas are still 3-4 and building. We ran a mile south of the inlet and turned 90 and surfed in. Not a bad day. Looks like it will get worse before it gets better today. Saw lots of small boats fishing. I don't know how the do it in all that slop.
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