Muskegon Lake

I will be sailing later today out of Balcom Cove.  Saturday, Sunday, & Monday were all good days there.  Why is it that the Mona Lake sailing contingent failed to share their fun here on the site ???

Tuesday on 1/16/18 showed little wind to work with.  Whistler & Arrow #422 are still on the ice though.  Wind forecast looks favorable for today, Thursday, and maybe Friday.  Visual ice checks with the fisherman out on the lake shows 5-7 inches of thickness, variable roughness of the sheet, and it is now mostly snow covered.  Ice has porosity due to the heavy rains and drainage prior to the snows.  Ice has “some” vertical bubbles in the lower layer and is a mix of white ice over black ice in structure.

Be aware that The Tug pushed through at mid-day on Monday.  It appears that his track is very consistent with the shipping channel shown for the Cross Lake Ferry that berths at Great Lakes Marina.  The channel ice that was broken by The Tug is quite visible as ice chunks pushed upward and have refrozen approximately 18″ up off the surface.

Get your boats out and sail the bigger lake before the next thaw, or be prepared to travel going forward.

3 comments on “Muskegon Lake
  1. Arrow#422 Arrow#422 says:

    BIG wind out of Balcom’s Cove / Muskegon Lake today made for some very fast & exhilarating sailing. Puffs were probably into the 30’s and quite sustained. 2 Arrows, 1 mini-skeeter (who plans to join our group), and 2 DN’s took part. Blowing snow made an easy read of the wind direction & its velocity, but a continuation of snow drifting is becoming an issue out there with some approaching, or even exceeding, 12 inches in height. Wunderground shows a velocity reduction back into the mid-teens for Thursday, so I’m planning to sail it again with morning set up around 10am. Cheers

  2. Arrow#422 Arrow#422 says:

    Update #2:

    Thursday’s sailing 1/18/17, saw much of the same conditions as Wednesday. A bit less wind, but snow drifts have increased in size & the ice has smoothed but remains very rough over much of the sheet. Temps will most likely remain above freezing, so count on continued ice degradation overnight. Ice thickness was 5-6″ today and beginning to show minute air bubble streams which will accelerate any melt off. It is becoming more air laden which greatly affect structure and strength.

    For those of you that set up today in hopes of sailing Friday or Saturday, please sail with EXTREME CAUTION. Do not sail alone, stay reasonably close to the launch area, and wear ice picks if you have them. There are currently way too many obstacles to justify any recommendation to sail this venue especially for those that are not HIGHLY familiar with this area.

    NOTE – The Tug ice breaking track is becoming more difficult to distinguish amongst the other visual interruptions out there. It has become a visual moonscape with many drifts existing both northerly & easterly from the launch site. The worst ones are east towards The Clipper with some being nearly 2 feet in height, several hundred square feet in size, and very granular in composition so they are very dense. These will stop a boat in an instant and possibly break it. Cracks are developing over most of the sheet especially westerly of the launch, 2 small pressure ridges have appeared out from The Muskegon Yacht Club, and be VERY aware that the Balcom Condos bubble their inside marina and the outflow from the entrance at the end of the sheet pile wall has begun to open up. Stay well clear of this area.

    Friday sailing “might” be doable in the morning. Ice will most likely be sticky, turning to a “snow cone” like top layer by noon or so. I do not see Saturday providing us with a sailing opportunity due to further anticipated ice degradation.

    Fingers crossed that Muskegon Lake retains its ice cover over the next few thawing and rainy days, but admittedly I am not very optimistic that It can do so.

    Keep your eyes & ears open for future sailing opportunities. And please share them here for everyone to also “be in the know”.

    Sail fast, sail SAFE – or just stay off the ice

  3. Arrow#422 Arrow#422 says:

    I just checked the Balcom Cove surf cam and the ice fishing parade has begun. At 7:39am I noticed a snowmobile heading out of the launch area towing 2 shantys.

    This does not imply that the ice is safe as many cracks, at least 2 pressure ridges, and the ever present tug channel still exist. The drifting snow has at least been whittled back some by the increased temperture, and the ice has gotten even more polished. I’d guess that it remains quite rough as experienced during my Thursday sailing venture.

    2 DN’s are shown on the ice this morning, so please be careful should you decide to sail here today. At least the wind forecast is lighter than earlier this week, as both & show wind speeds around 7mph for the day with gusts to around 12mph.

    Arrow #422

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