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3 days w/a 25’ Checkmate in Lake Erie chop

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3 days w/a 25’ Checkmate in Lake Erie chop

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Old 09-30-2019, 01:17 PM
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Default 3 days w/a 25’ Checkmate in Lake Erie chop

The wife and I attempted one final trip to the big lake in the new boat before seasons end.
Friends joined us in their 25’ Searay trailerable cruiser.

Weather went from border line to shiiiiiit.

Im 60 and have boated there my entire life other than our 9 yrs in Fla.
The lake is shallow and controlled by wind.
As in, if it’s blowing, the lake is rolling.

The good is, w/all the islands, there is almost always a calm side to them.
If the wind is out of the north, the south side of the islands will be in the “lee”, or calm.

What normally get us in trouble up there is the wind changes direction and we’re not paying attention.
Annnnddddd, the forecasts are almost always wrong.

We were on Middle Bass Island Saturday, in steady 20 mph winds and the then/current forecast was 6 - 8 mph, w/12 mph gusts!

We launched Friday from West Harbor on Catawba Peninsula (Erie’s south shore) in 15 - 20 mph south wind, knowing we would have the “lee” for our first few miles north to Middle Bass, last few would be true conditions.
Worked perfect and played in 3’ - 4’s last few miles.

Their harbor is class A and perfectly protected.

Tied up in for prep for a blow and walked across the street to JF Walleyes for dinner and libations.
KILLER bar btw.

Woke up Sat morning to coffee on the boat (after last wks installation of a 2k watt invertor) and still strong winds (15-20) that had shifted to SW.

After our captains meeting we decided to play in the lee at the NE corner of the island and burn some gas.
Plan was to dock on and explore North Bass which neither of us had been on before but Pelee Island (due NE from us) was a straight shot and too tempting to ignore.

It normally has a mile+ sand bar/peninsula on its SE corner but w/the lakes recent high water, we were Curious if it still existed.
Was a beautiful, eight or 9 mile run to where the sandbar used to be!
Videos later.
It is now submerged 6 to 12 inches underwater which would terrorize the bottom of your boat if you didn’t know it was there.

The first 1/2 of run back put us his head on into three and 4 foot waves which reduced speed to slowest possible planning.
Or 20.

When we got close to our docks at middle bass we elected to go explore North bass like our initial plan.
The water between middle bass and north bass was calm and zero drama.
Was a fun half hour stop to explore a bit in total solitude and silence!
There is some life on the island but not much.
We needed our bicycles to explore and didn’t have them.

Returned back to the safety of middle bass’s harbor and back across to rent golf carts for exploration.
Rent those from JF walleyes so when returning them of course we had to continue the libations while watching the bucks game.

Saturday night I went to bed concerned with what Sunday mornings weather would be.
We awoke Sunday morning to realize my concerns were valid.
20 to 25 mile an hour winds from the north east!
Which means they started at the other end of the lake or Toronto Canada and had no obstruction until getting to the mouth of our harbor!
We rode bicycles to the mouth of the harbor to survey the situation of waves that looked to be 4 to 6’s in a steady wind.

Forecast Was for calming later in day.

I Gambled that to be the case And elected to wait.
Our friends in the Searay left immediately.
They texted us once arriving safely back to their trailer saying they were both scared to death and not sure they were going to make it!

We waited as long as I felt safe that afternoon hoping for improvement and got none. Spent our last lunch on the island considering options.

Do I call in sick on Monday and miss a huge company meeting and gamble conditions will improve or risk the run back with my wife at my side?
I chose the latter and we ran for it.

Waves were now 6’ - 8’s and howling wind!

It was ugly, ugly, ugly.
We made it back w/no issues other than frazzled nerves though.

I thought I might be able to keep my wife occupied by attempting to videotape part of our trip from the cockpit.
One of those things that most of us never have of these passages.

It lasted until about the third 8 foot wave.
You know it’s a big ass wave when you can count the seconds before you land in the trough between them!

Ill post pics and videos later when I have more time.

Still a way cool trip but will probably last us until next spring 😎
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Old 09-30-2019, 01:28 PM
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Went to Kellys Saturday morning from West Harbor. Left dock shortly after 1000, was at Kellys around 1100, for a beautiful fall day. Sun even came out for a bit. Spent the night and left Kellys about 0800, had a nice ride back to West Harbor.
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Old 09-30-2019, 01:36 PM
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Old 09-30-2019, 04:23 PM
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We went out of Sandusky bay at approx. 5pm Sat after the rain had cleared. Very strange weather, clouds, and what I assume were 35+mph winds at the marblehead lighthouse. One 38ft Top Gun and one 36ft Baja. Had a great run to Put-in-bay in 3-4s at anywhere between 60-70mph, fantastic ride skipping across the top of waves. Saw approx. 4 or 5 boats out in the lake, two of which were ferrys, large ferrys.

Stayed overnight, only two open cockpit boats in the marina, I was towards the end of the dock / exposed, we were rocking and rolling all night.

Woke up Sunday morning to the same, wind direction changed 180deg! We chose to leave around 11am, easy 8fters right there between Middle Bass and PIB running out of the channel into the lake. Was not so fun on the way home. Fell off plane once, chose to run it about 35-40 mph and kicking up to 50mph where possible. Kind of a quartering following sea, had to get in the trough and run them without blasting off the top into the next one. Did not hook up my gopro, one of these days I'll remember.

We'll be doing one more trip, weather permitting, to PIB Oktoberfest - Oct 12.


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Old 09-30-2019, 04:49 PM
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Should have stopped at Kellys Justin.
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Old 09-30-2019, 05:01 PM
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I know, it was raining and we didn't get to the marina 'till 3:30p on Sat. Trying to eek out some PIB time and utilize our boat club membership.
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Old 09-30-2019, 08:01 PM
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Can’t get my video to load.

Have textd it all over but won’t load on here.

Was a big Scarab with serious power at Middle Bass too.

Heres some pics of the weekend.

Notice the sky in some of the shots.

First shot was West Harbor ramp. Rest are at Middle Bass, 5 mls away!

My dad taught weather for the Power Squadron and would have enjoyed a pipe full while observing.

Last edited by Twin O/B Sonic; 09-30-2019 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 09-30-2019, 08:32 PM
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What year is the Checkmate?
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Old 09-30-2019, 08:32 PM
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Old 09-30-2019, 08:42 PM
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