CLOSE-TO-HOME CRUISING ABOARD
For a variety of reasons, we determined that during the summer of 2008 we would cruise close to
home. The last several summers, Joni and I had taken modest cruises of 400–650 nautical miles within
a general area defined as eastern Lake Superior, northern Lake Huron, the North Channel, and upper
Lake Michigan. The float plans generally required three to five weeks.
This past cruising season, we wanted to be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in mid-August to celebrate
our 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends. We also decided it was time we reciprocated
some long overdue favors to boating buddies who had pleaded to stay a few nights with us during the
summer at our house on Lake Charlevoix. So, cruising close to home would neatly fit our calendar.
Even though our 2008 destinations on Lake Michigan were nearby, they logged us approximately
400 miles aboard Tequila III. A 300-gallon fuel top-off in late May was more than adequate to see us
through the short summer season before we flew back to Longboat Key, Florida, after Labor Day.
Tequila III is a 1989 Grand Banks 42 Classic, powered by twin Ford Lehman 135hp diesels. This
fuel-miserly yacht propels us at 9 knots with a total fuel burn of 6gph. Fuel capacity of 600 gallons
offers a cruising range of 900 miles, including reserves for running the generator four hours a day.
A 5-cubic-foot Frigibar freezer on the flybridge provides storage for 20 days of epicurean inventory
and is a real bonus, considering that we anchor out most of the time. Our pattern has been to visit
marinas for single nights only to reprovision with fresh perishables, pump out, and dispose of trash.
We are blessed with a summer home on Lake Charlevoix that features a boat slip in a protected,
deepwater harbor. Cruisers can depart our private harbor and steam forth to the Atlantic Ocean
without ever having to remove their vessel from the water.
Charlevoix, just north of the 45th parallel, is a primary seaport attraction in northwestern Michigan.
Two dozen municipal marinas and/or anchorages offer us many destinations within 60 miles, an easy
one-day run from our home port, Hemingway Pointe Club marina.
DAY I: SUTTONS BAY
Having blocked off certain dates when Joni needed to participate in Town Commission meetings
in Florida, remaining days were available for “mini cruises” early in the summer, commencing with
June 9. Our favorite weather forecaster, Weather Underground ( wunderground.com), indicated a
period of light and favorable southwest winds, moderate seas, coolish temperatures, and sunny days.
Lines were cast at Hemingway Pointe marina and we were under way at 0815, enabling us to make
the 0900 bridge opening at Charlevoix. While transiting Round Lake to the bridge, we were queued
up with four other cruising boats outbound to Lake Michigan. Even though the season was in
embryo, these few hardy cruisers dared to venture forth onto “the big lake.” Twenty minutes later, the
gentle rollers that had fetched across northern Lake Michigan welcomed us to another season on the