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Old 10-01-2016, 11:18 AM   #1
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South From Michigan in October?

Let's say one found a 8-9 kt trawler on Lake Michigan and wanted to start it south to Florida this month. Is this trip doable this time of the year? I know that weather fronts would be a problem but am wondering about the other variables such as:

Transient docking available between Chicago and Pickwick on the Tenn Tom? I don't like to anchor unless it is the only option.

Fuel availability also might be an issue but the boat in question has a pretty good range.

I have made the trip from Mobile to Pickwick once in December. 17 degrees upon arrival.

I made the return trip exactly one year later and leaving Pickwick in 20 degree weather.

Both times I was very cozy in the pilot house of my 42' Nordic Tug.

My best guess is that the purchase process would take a couple of weeks on the Michigan boat setting a departure date close to the end of October.

My question is are there any deal breaker problems in doing the trip?
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:35 AM   #2
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Where in Michigan is the first question. We cruised northbound in Lake Michigan from Chicago on year in April and found little open. But we were able to anchor. Likely you will be too late to use the Marinas in the southern end of Lake Michigan. Whether you will arrive in late October or early November will make all the difference in the world. Once you can determine that you need to make some calls.

Another issue is range, even on Lake Michigan the fuel docks will be closing so can you make it to an open fuel dock.

I have known people who have left Chicago in late October for Florida and they have made it. They were able to anchor and did not have limited range.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:59 AM   #3
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October is generally a great time to cruise on the Illinois, Mississippi and the Ten Tom. Once past Chicago you should have no Marina issues, but by late October your window will be closing. The days are shorter, so you are slowed down to probably 70 miles per day, so factor that in.

A few calls to the marinas and fuel stops along the way would answer your questions. Me, I'd not do it this time of the year in a "new" vessel. Too many mechanical unknowns.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:06 PM   #4
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What boat did you find in Michigan?
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gmarr View Post
What boat did you find in Michigan?
47' GB south of Holland is of interest.
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:57 PM   #6
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Active Captain will give you the dates most marinas close for the winter. I would still confirm by telephone, but AC will give you a good start on planning.
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:18 PM   #7
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Where the boat is now, many marinas are shutting down for the winter. However, if you have fuel and can get headed toward Chicago quickly, you'll have no real issues. You must make it to Chicago by October 31, however, as that's when the city harbors all close up shop. I think you could probably find a marina still open but you're pressing your luck by that point. It then becomes not just Chicago, but also the Illinois River. I'd really try to target getting to Chicago by October 15, if possible. You're talking a 7 to 10 degree temperature drop from October 15 to October 31. Your trip from Holland to Chicago is only around 90 nm. However, this time of the year, conditions can be bad. One day 7-10', the next 2-3'.

Our plan is to leave Chicago on October 10. We anticipate having some cold days pop up on the way down, but mostly decent days to travel.

I also would carry as much fuel as I could find when leaving as in some of these areas, even those saying they're open, may not be. You will be running well behind the loop crowd.

One other issue, though nothing major. There is a lot of dredging taking place right now on the Illinois River so at three areas you need to give advance notice and travel at your slowest speed.
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:20 PM   #8
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Active Captain will give you the dates most marinas close for the winter. I would still confirm by telephone, but AC will give you a good start on planning.
Very few marinas have that information shown on Active Captain. To be sure i wasn't overlooking it, I just checked AC in that area.
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:30 PM   #9
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Our stops from Chicago down are planned to be:

Joliet, IL 54 nm
Ottawa, IL 40 nm
Peoria, IL 69 nm
Grafton, IL 141 nm
You might want to add a stop prior to Grafton. You might want to eliminate the Ottawa stop.

Imperial, MO (Hoppie's) 52 nm

From Imperial you have no marinas before Kentucky Dam Marina which is 200 nm. We're planning on doing an overnight run there and you may not have the crew to make that a good option or the equipment that makes you comfortable or the desire. There are some anchorages on the way down. We might even change our minds and anchor for a night, especially if there are many limbs, etc. on the river. The lock on the Ohio River can be a significant delay.

My biggest concern would be making sure of the mechanical condition of the boat prior to the trip. It's not an area where it's good to have major problems.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:53 PM   #10
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While the chicago Marinas slam their doors on Oct 31, if you are here past then, try Marina Services off of the Calumet River. They are privately owned and may still have space, though they may get stacked up as they are one of the larger winter storage facilities here.
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:02 PM   #11
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While the chicago Marinas slam their doors on Oct 31, if you are here past then, try Marina Services off of the Calumet River. They are privately owned and may still have space, though they may get stacked up as they are one of the larger winter storage facilities here.
Crowley's and Skyway do a lot of winter storage, but the only fuel is at Sunset Bay. I don't know their schedule.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:32 PM   #12
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We just closed on our GB 41 EU yesterday in Holland and will be departing Chicago for St Simons Island on Oct 10. Hopefully we'll see you on the way.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:47 PM   #13
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Lot's of Grand Banks activity around Holland today. Just make sure you have it dependable and trustworthy before heading south.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:24 AM   #14
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We just closed on our GB 41 EU yesterday in Holland and will be departing Chicago for St Simons Island on Oct 10. Hopefully we'll see you on the way.
Zeus drives?
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:55 AM   #15
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Yes, Zeus.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:24 AM   #16
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Yes, Zeus.
Nice setup, you may want to have a full Zeus dealer servicing done on them prior to departure.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:31 AM   #17
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Yep, all done. Boat and mechanicals are all serviced and other than provisioning, we are ready to go. This boat was in the middle of doing the loop when plans changed and it became available so it's well and properly set up for our trip home.

Darryl
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:51 PM   #18
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Yep, all done. Boat and mechanicals are all serviced and other than provisioning, we are ready to go. This boat was in the middle of doing the loop when plans changed and it became available so it's well and properly set up for our trip home.

Darryl
Most likely you'll see weather in the 60's along the way, a couple of days warmer, and just be prepared for a day or two here and there to be colder. Still I think you'll have a very enjoyable trip. Probably some days you'll start very layered and bundled and during the course of the morning remove a layer at a time.
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Old 10-07-2016, 11:03 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by seasalt007 View Post
47' GB south of Holland is of interest.
I think we were looking at the same boat, Lady Ann? We bought it! Doing the service and little piddly things now including props and bearings... Hurricane Matthew has disrupted our departure plans of this coming Monday. If you are delayed at all we will probably be leaving the following week.
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Old 10-08-2016, 06:12 AM   #20
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Keep an eye on the Erie Canal. If a left over hurricane or other big rain event happens, it could close early.

We just bought our 43 foot trawler in Detroit and did a non-stop run to Buffalo overnight. (Not the smartest thing to do with a "new" boat but bad weather was coming and I was going to lose my delivery crew due to closing delays.) It wasn't particularly windy but blowing straight down the lake. I would still have to rate it as one of the worst nights I've spent in a boat in 30,000 plus miles of cruising. That lake is a nasty place.
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