Summertime in Northern Michigan!
For our Lake Michigan 4th of July sailing adventure, we chartered a 34' Jeanneau SUN ODYSSEY 349 from Great Lakes Sailing Co. in Traverse City, Michigan. The boat was just built this year, so she was brand spankin' new! A stunning french beauty named Venteux (pronounced Ven-too... and means windy in french... the whole french boat thing). Venteux was great! When we had even a slight burst of wind - she just flew! She's is a dual helm and twin rudder set-up. So much fun to sail!
Great Lakes Sailing Co. is under new management and they're superb! We couldn't recommend Doug Holst and the staff there more! Everything was handled with ease and great professionalism. Our plan was to sail around from port to port in Lake Michigan - specifically in the Grand Traverse Bay area. So we charted out a course which would span nearly 200 nautical miles - which if you look at a map or chart of Lake Michigan - that only covers a very, very small surface area of the lake. We had primarily a two person crew: Myself, the skipper, and First-mate-'Stacia. Our passengers, who we took from port-to-port, were Anastacia's folks, the lovely Cathy and Stace.
Traverse City to Elk Rapids
Our first destination included a 26 nautical mile sail up and around the old mission peninsula.
We headed north up Grand Traverse Bay and around the light marking shallow water at the northern tip of the peninsula and then we turned and headed down to Elk Rapids.
The approach to Elk Rapids has a lot of rocks to watch out for, so following the markers was essential. There are range markers to help pilot into the marina.
We tied up to a dock for the night and hung out with Cathy and Stace for a bit on the boat.
We then went to explore the town of Elk Rapids.
We found the most "local looking" pub we could called: "The Town Club". Town club carried the local beers that are brewed in Elk Rapids, so I figured it was only fitting to sample them. "Shorts" (Shorts Brewing Company) is the local beer for Elk Rapids. The folks at the bar were quite proud of their "shorts".
Elk Rapids to Suttons Bay
Cathy and Stace joined us where we left off at Elk Rapids.
We started the morning with some coffee and snacks from the local shop in town. Cathy was even able to pick up a new patriotic scarf.
We departed the marina en route to Suttons Bay.
Today's trip was 17 nautical miles and we would head north and pass Mission Point Light and then southwest into Sutton's Bay. As you can see - Anastacia made sure that we were dressed as patriotic as possible for the 4th.
The marina at Sutton's bay was quite cozy, and the town was quaint and fun to explore.
While in town, we found a little shop selling handmade goods.
We found a wine rack in the shape of a boat. We loved it, so we so we bought it and shipped it home to New York.
As any good American should, we grilled steaks and enjoyed the beautiful Independence Day afternoon.
After dinner, before the fireworks, we strolled back into town for a little local flavor. We stumbled upon the VI Grill and had a cocktail there before making it back to the boat.
No sooner than sunset, the fireworks shows began. Anastacia and I got to see several different town's fireworks shows from our vantage point: the stern of the boat.
The evening of the 4th we were treated to at least 3 different fireworks displays that we got to enjoy from the cockpit of Venteux.