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 Post subject: Sailing Trip in Superior
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:54 pm 
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I am looking at taking a trip from Duluth MN to Grand Marais MN which is 110 miles on the north shore of minnesota in superior. I have been sailing catamarans for about 5 years on inland lakes, but this is my first great lakes trip. If I am planning on staying within sight of the coast line and camping at camp grounds on the way up, do I need to file anything with the coast guard?

What other things would you bring, I am thinking GPS, VHF, wet suits, camping supplies, flare

I am sailing a Hobie 18, crew and I are combined 410 lbs

Any advice is appreciated


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:23 pm 
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That is such a beautiful drive.. It would be an amazing sail.

I head up to NW Ontario every year to fish.. and every time through there I can't figure out why I am driving right on by..


I am interested in maybe one day doing a similar adventure.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:31 pm 
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I agree, I drive up to Lutsen/ Grand Marais every year and wonder why i don't just sail up there. My only concern is the rocky coast.. if anything we to go wrong you wouldn't have much of an exit plan

There is a guy that has a youtube video where he sets out from grand Marais to isle royal

To broaden my sail plans in case it is to rocky, can someone comment on sailing near apostle islands? camping locations? which islands to hop to? I know Hobie fleet 444 does a yearly trip, but it always conflicts with my schedule


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:46 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
The North Shore of Lake Superior is one of the most beautiful places I've been to! The only thing that I would suggest is to know exactly where you CANNOT beach. When kayaking along the north shore in Ontario, we are always warned that one of the biggest dangers is that the weather can change quickly, and you can't always get off due to cliffs, or other types of unfriendly shores.

It might be different where your trip is planned because thats along the western part of the North shore, and I can't remember what it's like over on that side of the lake, but on the Canadian portion of the north shore, that's a concern, especially since, if there's no room for a kayak, there REALLY won't be room for a Cat.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:22 pm 
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Location: Hopkins, MN
You mention Fleet 444. Have you sailed Lake Pepin? I've done Pepin with my 16, and have been nervous the whole time because of the current. It's never turned out to be an issue, but if you've experienced some of the tricky winds on Pepin, it gives you some idea what the Apostles are like. I've done the Apostles from time-to-time, but only on monohulls in the 33-39 foot range.

There are certainly more shelter options in the Apostles, but since it's a National Park, it has strict limitations on overnighting, and on which specific islands. You need to reserve a site for overnight stays, and I have no idea how they tend to book up at various time during the season. You can find an 800 number to call the National Park Service for inquires.

I'm sure you already realize, but I'll remind you the water temps on the north shore are insanely cold. The water temps in and around the Apostles are better, but still cold enough to fully retract your reproductive organs for the reminder of the summer, wet suit or not!

Maybe I've just grown too old to consider such an adventure. When I was younger, much to the dismay of the National Park Service, I took a 16 foot open runabout with an 85 hp outboard to Otter Island and camped a few days. When I think back on how little freeboard I had, and that my 3 year-old was along, it still gives me the chills.

On the other hand, I still want to do Lake Mille Lacs on my 16 some day! Much warmer and shallower, but still kick-ass big.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:24 pm 
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Location: West MI
On my bucket list is to sail all of the great lakes on my 18. Michigan, Huron and Erie are done. Second daughter is heading up to NMU in the fall. Maybe Superior then, in September. But it is a nine hour drive.

I went swimming in Marquette last July 4 and froze them off. The first daughter went through NMU orientation then. Beatiful but dam cold.

I would love to do the Apostles with fleet 444 someday, but I have no crew as the wife gets sea-sick.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:47 am 
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Location: West Michigan (Grand Rapids, Holland Area)
have a float plan (detailed plan of your boat, person(s) on board, equipment, and route, etc, google it if you have to) - hand it off to your wife, family or friend, they can hand it off to the coast guard if something were to happen, like you not checking in at a checkpoint well over a given amount of time.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:35 pm 
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Location: Northfield Minnesota
Superior is butt ass cold. The three rules of distance sailing:
1. Stay near shore.
2. Stay near shore.
3. Stay near shore.

The Apostles are worth it, I'm hoping to make it up there again this year. It's been a couple since I've been up there, and there really is no place like it.



hownowcb wrote:
You mention Fleet 444. Have you sailed Lake Pepin? I've done Pepin with my 16, and have been nervous the whole time because of the current.


I've never experienced current on Lake Pepin. The river goes from a couple hundred yards in Red Wing, to well over a mile wide. I have experienced trees though.....


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:33 pm 
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Location: Eagan (St Paul), MN
Regarding equipment: in the Apostles I've found that cell phone coverage is much better than VHF (though I'd carry a VHF too). I carry my cell and pouch in my life jacket pocket in case I get separated from my boat. In a separate pouch and also in a water tight (small zip lock baggie) I put my bluetooth headset. My thinking is this: If I'm floating out in the water separated from my boat, I'd like to have several chances to call for help. I can get the bluetooth out and voice dial from that to my phone while my phone is still dry in my life jacket. If that fails, I'd pull the phone itself out. Just this year I've started entering phone numbers into my phone before I sail so that I can voice dial a specific location from the headset. However, suspect '911' would get the job done fine too. (Also: if I need to make a call while sailing, the bluetooth earpiece is a hell of a lot easier to use vs use phone.)

I'd also suggest buying a personal locator beacon (PLB). You can find a small one at Amazon. They last for years, can fit in a life jacket pocket and require no charge beyond the charge to purchase. If you get in trouble, they send a signal to a satellite and the coast guard comes out to get you out (or that's the way it's supposed to work: fortunately never had to use mine).

When 444 visits the Apostles, we also now have the luxury of having someone (Todd Bosch) on a keel boat who hangs around us and can offer a hand if trouble arrives. So far the only trouble we've had was running out of wind and needing Todd to tow us to Madeline Island for a cold drink at Tom's Burnt Down Bar....

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