Sailing on Lake Michigan
Jon Buckland sails an Optima101 - Zephir - on Lake Michigan
It’s been a great season here on Lake Michigan, more fair weather than we usually expect with the Chicago harbors closing later this season than ever before. When it did come time to sail down to winter storage (20 mile sail), the winter winds had picked up and were dishing out some particularly aggressive conditions. I planned on moving to the Calumet river on a Sunday which, when it came, presented us with 30 to 40 knot winds on our noses. Of the 5 boats heading out for the trip, all but Zephir turned around in favor of better weather coming later. We clocked 42 knots as a top wind speed with averages in the 30 knot neighborhood. The 101 sailed well into the wind and we made harbor with no trouble and tales of great sailing. Not everyone faired so well with the late season conditions. Though it’s a big puddle of fresh water, Lake Michigan can be pretty powerful and not something to be taken lightly.