#Saillocal: Have You Sailed Lake Erie?

By: Destinations, Learn To Sail, Schools

If you have never visited the Great Lakes region, do you really understand how large these lakes are? For a segment of the population that has no clue about the geography of the Great Lakes, they appear as a body of water somewhere between Canada and Chicago. That may sound like a generalization but until you get out on a boat in the Great Lakes it is hard to realize that multi-day charters are required if you want to see all of Lake Erie or Lake Michigan. There is a large, welcoming and active sailing community on Lake Erie.

The Great Lakes are also a very large body of water that beg for you to explore by sailboat.

ASA asked the instructors at Erie Islands Sailing School about the Lake Erie Sailing experience. They shared plenty of reasons why you should sail locally at Lake Erie.

What Are Your Top Three Reasons To Sail Lake Erie?

Why choose only three reasons to sail Lake Erie with Erie Islands Sailing School?  The top reasons include:

  • Fresh water…salt-free sailing.  
  • Geographically closer than getting to the ocean.  
  • Many great destinations both near and far.  
  • Canadian destinations are just a day sail away.  
  • There is a place to sail for sailors of all experience levels.  
  • If you can sail on Lake Erie, you can sail anywhere.

What Are Three Things To See While Visiting Lake Erie? 

If sailing is not enough for you and you need a diversion while out on the water or if you decide you want to charter a boat on Lake Erie, there are plenty of destinations within a day sail or two away. The birding populations are significant and they attract serious and amateur birders seasonally. Take a look at Pelee Island in Canada and West Sister Island in Ohio as destinations on your daysails. Your sail adventure on Lake Erie can take you anywhere from Toledo, Ohio to Buffalo, New York. Another destination is Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio.

And the greatest assets of lake Erie,  the unforgettable sunsets (and sunrises).

Is It a Good Spot for First-time Cruisers or Is It More for Experienced Sailors?

Sailing Lake Erie is excellent for anyone from the novice through lifelong sailor.  The weather can change at a moment’s notice…that keeps it interesting.  Erie Islands Sailing School is located on Sandusky Bay.  This gives us a nice body of protected water for the entry-level classes, but quick access to the Lake for the advanced classes.  A cruiser can spend a couple of years sailing the Great Lakes.

Sail With Captain Tim Mckenna

Tim McKenna is the founder of Erie Islands Sailing School.  He began sailing as a child on Lake Erie and has competed in most of the Lake Erie races as well as more than a dozen Port Huron – Mackinac races.  Although a life long Great Lakes sailor, Tim has also enjoyed the opportunities to do some extensive “Blue Water” sailing in the Atlantic, Pacific and Caribbean.   Tim has sailed through or around most of the Islands in the Caribbean and even managed to live on his sailboat for two winters in the Bahamas.

Tim holds a USCG 100-Ton Masters license and is certified to teach sailing by the American Sailing Association.

Erie Islands Sailing School offers you access to sailing Lake Erie from three locations, Catawba Island, Sandusky, Ohio and Cleveland, Ohio. Their season runs typically from May through October or as they will tell you “unless you are into ice boating” there is not much sailing going on November through April.


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