Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan
This post is about two upcoming windsurfing trips: boating to Pelee Island and camping at Muskegon State Park. I might write a follow up about each if there’s something interesting to say about these trips. Thanks to those who offered nice comments on my last post about windsurfing + camping in Empire.
Update: See my session post for more info on how it went down...
Last year about this time, my wife and I took our boat to Pelee Island for a weekend. We keep a 22’ Nautica Deluxe docked at my childhood home in Grosse Ile, which is located where the Detroit River meets Lake Erie. My plan this year is basically to repeat the voyage, but to also bring along a windsurfer!
My boat is a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RIB). RIB boats are popular with coast guard and law enforcement because they are very stable in all kinds of weather conditions. Being difficult to capsize or sink, RIB’s are very safe. They also are easy to beach, dock and rendezvous with other vessels while being light-weight, having high carrying-capacity and very fuel efficient. Should be good enough to carry two people, our stuff and one sailboard 40 miles. Though I will need to get a board bag to prevent damaging the deck gel-coat and boards non-skid surface.
Obviously, I don't know what the conditions will be like. Typical weather for this spot looks interesting. Being almost in the middle of Lake Erie, it seems there is typically more wind there as compared to the shore. I've been checking periodically, and my unscientific opinion is it seems Pelee might be a bit windier on average than the shore .
We're going to stay at the Wandering Dog (again). This is a super chill B&B on the east shore of Pelee. The nearby beach access is quite good (see below). The house pictured is a private residence (I think), but I understand that the locals are understanding about sharing the beach.
Upon arrival and after clearing customs, my plan is to run the boat close to shore or to beach it to unload everything before docking up at Scudder's Marina, which is about 7 miles to the north. The east side of Pelee seems to have beach while the west side is very rocky. Even the east side has some giant granite boulders, which require a lot of attention whenever boating near the shore. This part of the adventure will require us to exercise caution.
My sister's family and my wife and I will be camping at Muskegon State Park campground the weekend of September 20th. I'm not sure what to expect. I've never been to the campground before, but my sister tells me there is a nice beach. The reviews indicate it's a short walk from the beach campsites to Lake Michigan. Typical weather for this time of year looks like I might expect light winds and chilly water. We will see!
I plan to bring my shorty wet-suit. I've read that a neoprene cap can help keep you comfortable in chilly water. I think that would be a small thing that could keep me a little bit more comfortable. Maybe I'll get a Yulex Surf cap or similar and put the theory to a test.
As long as the weather is good enough for the journey, I'm sure we'll be taking these trips. If there's a major storm then maybe the boating trip will be postponed, but otherwise we'll be heading there regardless of the projected windsurfing prospects. Hopefully we find some good sailing!
Send me a message if you think you might want to exchange info and meet up at one of these destinations.
Happy sailing ;-)