Interesting tidbits regarding our journey from Bayfield, WI to Rochester, NY:
– All Yachting Club of America (YCA) members that we contacted considered reciprocity to mean free access to their facilities (which varied greatly in terms of amenities and appearance). Regarding dockage, interpretation of reciprocity was all over the map and did not necessarily mean free! (Something PCKC could consider?) Specifically:
— Madeline Island, Bayview (Detroit) & Detroit Yacht Clubs all considered reciprocity to mean one night free stay. (Though Detroit was so busy they didn’t have time to talk with us, so maybe they just didn’t get a chance to charge us!)
— Edgewater Yacht Club (Cleveland) considers reciprocity to mean stay one night and get the second night free (since we just stayed one night, we paid full price).
— Grosse Ile Yacht Club (didn’t stay due to timing) and Mentor Harbor Yachting Club consider reciprocity to mean you get the privilege of a place to stay and use of the facilities, but you pay full price for dockage (not cheap on Lake Erie, Mentor HYC is $2/foot plus tax – so $75 for us!). Mentor just recently changed from second night free to no nights free because reciprocity was being overused (abused?) by the large yachting population close by in Cleveland; Grosse Ile is very small yet close to Detroit, so could have had the same issue.
— Rocky River was a place we would’ve liked to stop based on location, but they needed a week’s notice in order to set up financing because they don’t take cash or credit. They could’ve made it work if our club had financing set up. We didn’t bother to check, especially since our timing was flaky due to thunderstorms. Also, turns out they are Inter-Lake Yachting Association (ILYA) members, not YCA.
– ILYA membership very big Detroit through Lake Erie area (seems more common than YCA). One tiny ILYA club was kind enough to give us reciprocity even though we weren’t ILYA members (we had grown tired of “square” waves on Lake Erie). At 35′ we were the largest boat in their marina and folks there were super friendly.
– Only Detroit seemed to really care about Letter of Introduction, though Bayview also appreciated it. Others have been more lenient.
– Facilities at sail racing clubs generally have fewer amenities and things like showers aren’t quite as nicely kept. I’m guessing racers live nearby and just want to race! It was very quiet at night.
– Most Yacht Clubs do not offer laundry. Surprisingly, some do not have diesel fuel or pump out either. Even some municipal marinas on Erie don’t offer more than a toilet & shower.
– Stayed at one huge municipal marina in Lorain just to take care of necessities. It could have been beautiful; the infrastructure was there, but it was run down and docks were filthy from geese and seagulls.
– On Lake Huron, Michigan was all about municipal marinas and safe harbors. They had every amenity and were usually spotless. We generally paid $43 a night (except at Marquette which was overpriced at $72). Many were within easy walking distance to shopping. If not, the marinas frequently offered bicycles or the managers could find transportation for you. The few YCA members we examined were far from towns and didn’t offer much. Very different from what we find on Lake Erie.
– Cutest town so far: Vermilion, OH. Five star restaurant 100′ from our dock; outdoor music and shops open late on third Thursdays.
– Most fun stop: Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island (now we finally know what our bathroom wallpaper displays!). Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial way cool. Stayed on a mooring ball. Rented a golf cart and toured the island.
– We had a wonderful tour of the Tartan manufacturing plant. Tartan recommended Mentor as the home of designer/owner Tim Jackett and the marina is gorgeous – the prettiest we’ve seen so far.
It’s been a great journey. We still have the Welland Canal and Lake Ontario to look forward to.
Terry & Mike Lamb
Mon Amie, 35′ Tartan