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Day 9 
Saturday July 17      Bayfield home to Lake St. Clair

Day Nine we make the final leg of the route home. Leaving Bayfield, our last port in Lake Huron, we head southwest for the start of the Port Huron to Mackinac Sailboat race, before finishing our cruise to home at Lake St. Clair.


Lake St. Clair

Port Huron

Group Photo
Hank  Bill  Tim
Linda  Mary  Gina

We woke up real early, hoping to get a jump on the day and making the start of the annual Port Huron to Mackinac Sailboat Race. I thought I'd heard that it kicked off around 9:00 .am.

But there was a note on our cabin door from Bill saying:

"The Race doesn't start 'til 11:30, so go back to bed!"

So much for both of us leaving at 7:00 a.m. I ground up some more beans and made some more coffee, and Hank went up to the pool house to take a shower. We decided we would wait a couple of hours before leaving.

We are about 50 miles Northeast of Port Huron, and it would take us approximately two hours to get there. This was somewhere around the start of the race, although I wasn't sure exactly where the starting line was or if they staggered the boats at certain intervals.

After letting the rest of the crew sleep in a little, we started to get ready for departure. Bill and Mary decided to stay put for a while (probably to watch another movie) and would leave after us. I wound up the shore power cord and turned on the blowers at 9:00 a.m. Gina and Hank untied the extra lines and stowed the fenders away. We said our goodbyes to Bill and Mary, thinking we probably wouldn't see them again on the final leg home.
The weather this morning looked similar to the weather we experienced almost every day. Few clouds, light wind, and warm temperatures. I suppose if you were to have the "same old boring" weather, this is the kind you'd want.

I pushed the shifters forward and we made the slow reverse S trail out of our slip, around the bend, and up the river towards the Lake. We cleared the pier at 9:30 and started the last leg from Bayfield home to Lake St. Clair.

Lake Huron was again fairly calm, and we got up on plane at about 27 mph. The smooth water was making for a nice trip on a straight line to Port Huron. After an hour, Hank took the helm and I relaxed a bit, taking some more pictures. I still can't get over how flat the Lake was; a very comfortable ride. Linda and Gina were reading, and I watched the shoreline disappear in the distance.

Hate so see this trip come to an end, but as the Bluewater Bridge came into view it was time to get off the 'Big Lake' and wind on home.

Calm Water (Again!)

Sailboat Race



After a while I took the helm back from Hank, and then quickly made a hard turn towards starboard, trying to stay out of the fishing nets right in front of us. If you look back at the track on the chart plotter it's interesting. I've heard about how the nets sometimes run for miles, and we were trying to cut the corner a little coming into Port Huron. I then steered a course more towards the main shipping channel.

Now just a mile off shore we started getting all the sailboats involved in the race. There was a big line of them off to the northwest, which was probably one of the starting points. But there was a lot of activity all around. One of the sailboats had a crew member way up on the mast in a bosuns chair, as the boat rocked in the chop. Quite a sight!

We slowed down to idle speed as we approached the Bluewater Bridge, and took in the sights. Lots and lots of boats. Mainly they were sailboats still coming out the river to join the race, but also many spectator boats as well.

All these boats at the mouth of the River into Lake Huron was causing a lot of wave action. Actually it was the roughest water we had seen in a few days.

Coming off the Lake and under the bridge was an awesome sight. Seemed like we were the only boat heading into port. All the rest were heading out to the Lake to participate in or watch the start of the Port Huron to Mackinac race.

People were lined all up along shore on both sides of the channel; thousands of them. It only seemed appropriate that the American and Canadian flags were blowing in the wind as we approached. I sort of pictured it as "here are all these people applauding and welcoming us back home."

It was now 11:30. 

As we continued down the river the water smoothed out. It was just a little bit hazy out. We passed a "Tall Ship" along the way without its' sails up.

Bluewater Bridge

Almost Home

At the convergence of the North and South Channel on the St. Clair River we headed down the home stretch. Passing Algonac and out into Lake St. Clair we pulled in to the fuel dock at our home port of MacRay's at 1:30 p.m. We took on 166 gallons and then made our way to our slip.

   9   Days.
Gallons fuel

1 Great Cruise