Sailing Detroit – Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair
Sailing out of Detroit, Michigan provides some of the most diverse freshwater sailing on the planet! An international city, Detroit shares its lakes and waterways with Canada, bisecting jurisdiction rather neatly. In just minutes, one could easily sail from the U.S. To Canada and back again! What's more, one can sail to literally anywhere in the world from Detroit. You may not want to take your sloop over to England, but it's great to know that you could!
What's even more amazing to note are the sheer volumes of marinas on the U.S. Side of Lake St. Clair. Indeed, one could hop from Anchor Bay along the 80 miles of U.S. Coastline, exploring them for days before ever leaving that lake! The Great Lakes decidedly constitute a chain of inland seas. The state of Michigan indeed deserves the title "The Third Coast".
Perhaps because of the cold climate and the need to put boats in dry dock during the winter, there are several boatyards, chandleries, and ship's stores to help the boat-owner find all of the tools he may need for maintenance and repairs. Moreover, many of them also offer restaurants, taverns and other recreation opportunities! Stock up or replenish the stores for your vessel's ice box, get brightwork goods, bait and tackle, or pick up an upgrade and install it yourself!
During the summer months, yacht clubs have several regattas every month. Boating in general is very popular in Detroit, and sailing is huge! Everything from sunfish to bluewater vessels can be found gliding through the waters on wind-filled sails! The rigging is humming, the boat is heeled over - sailing is exciting as ever!
Of course, the most famous sailboat races are the ones between Chicago and Mackinac Island, and from the Mackinac Island to Detroit. Each of these races attracts hundreds of participants from all over the globe, and traverses hundreds of miles of ocean-like waters, to end up at Mackinac Island. Even if you're not racing, sailors gather to meet the contestants and cheer them on. The celebrating is intense, as boats ranging from 26 to over 80 feet long each compete, each vessel being measured for the appropriate handicap. There are few sailing competitions as exciting!
Lake Erie is over 240 miles long by 57 miles wide, with an average depth of 62 feet, and a maximum depth of over 200 feet! It connects to the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence seaway. Though it's by far the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume, (Lake Ontario is smaller by area) Lake Erie is quite an impressive inland ocean!
Cruisers will enjoy all the ports along the way, and that they can visit Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York state and Canada without ever leaving Lake Erie! Throughout the year from late Spring through Fall, Detroit sailors are in their glory! With so many places and opportunities, this inland ocean may just be the best place in the country to hoist a main!