Northport, a quaint village toward the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, offers up some great sailing for us and our WindRider 17. Actually, the place we stay is just south of Northport, a small motel on Traverse Bay called Sunrise Landing. They are conveniently located just two driveways north of a private marina where we can launch the boat. The motel's owners are very friendly, and allow us to anchor just off their beach, which gives us easy access to the boat (although the wade can be a bit cool early in the year).
The WindRider anchored offshore of Sunrise Landing
Our first trip up there was in July 2006. We had such a great time, we returned twice in 2007 and twice again in 2008. The motel is quiet and the view over the bay provides a great spot to relax, read and enjoy wine after sailing. The bay itself has never been busy in that area. If we get up to Northport itself, there is a small amount of boat traffic, but that is minimal. The land mass of the Peninsula often provides protection from large waves building, and there are great places to anchor for a quick lunch.
Sunrise Landing Motel
Notes from our journal July 9, 2006:
We've had a great vacation up at the Sunrise Landing Resort and Motel. We don't leave until tomorrow, but we pulled the WindRider out this afternoon, in anticipation of some scattered storms later. We've had wonderful weather thus far, with sunny skies and winds from 5-15 knots. They've been mostly from the west or southwest, which has aided in anchoring offshore at the hotel. We have been able to anchor out in water still shallow enough to wade comfortably back to shore. Although the bottom is rock, the anchor has held with some extra rocks piled on top of it. One thing that would be nice is to have cockpit covers made of waterproof nylon, so they could be stowed aboard. It is a bit of a pain to have to bring the hard shell ones back and forth from the truck when we close up the boat for the night. The sailing has been good, with a trip out by Gull Island the first day and a nice trip up to Northport and back the next.
From June 23, 2007:
Well, we are having wonderful weather for our long weekend at the Sunrise Landing Motel. The weather forecast has had daytime temperatures in the 80's with winds of 5-10 knots, perfect for sailing. We arrived yesterday afternoon and launched the WindRider at the ramp next door. After a sail around "Gull" island, we anchored offshore the motel. Today we sailed in the morning, read on the lawn in the afternoon, and kayaked this evening. Tomorrow, we plan more of the same.
Remains of a structure on Gull Island (also known as Bellows Island)
June 14, 2008:
We got our of bed late this morning, had a leasurely breakfast then launched the boat. The westerly breeze helped the boat turn around at the ramp, so we motored directly out the channel into the bay, where we dropped anchor to set the mainsail. As I was tensioning the downhaul, I noticed the water rushing past us. Looking up, we were speeding out into the bay. Fortunately, Kathy was sitting in the aft cockpit and could take over sailing. Our anchor was skipping along merrily on it's rode, far aft of the boat. I hauled it in, and we headed north a while before switching seats and speeding south. We registered a record 12.2 mph before setting anchor for lunch off the beach just south of the Sunrise Landing. We were quite surprised to see the lack of other boats out on the water. We saw two sailboats north of us and a few power boats, but we pretty much had the lake to ourselves. The forecast was calling for scattered showers and thunderstorms, and increasing winds (they were running 15-17 knots with gusts into the low 20's), so we decided to head back to the motel for some wine and reading. The weather actually stayed quite nice, although it did get windier.