sailing log 2013-06-30: Ford Lake

welp, it was the last day of June, but I finally got out and sailing on my Sunfish this year.  seems like May & June are always a blur of wrapping up the boys’ soccer seasons and end of the school year activities.  excuses, sure, but that’s how my sailing works for now.

it was a pleasant Sunday afternoon: my boys are staying with their grandparents for a couple weeks and my wife was off on a wild goose chase of her own on the other side of Michigan.  so I had the afternoon all to myself, and I decided to test out a new lake in my area.

Ford Lake, near Ypsilanti, is a 975 acre (1.5 square mile) impoundment of the Huron River. the lake was created when a dam was built to provide hydro-electric power to nearby factories for Ford Motor Company.  like most of the dammed up rivers around here, it isn’t incredibly deep, with a maximum depth of about 30 feet.

ford lake map

Ford Lake is home to the Eastern Michigan University sailing club.  I’m not sure how active the club actually is, but I do know that Derrick Fries is a faculty advisor for the sailing club.  Derrick is a Sunfish champion and author of  “Successful Sunfish Racing” and “Start Sailing Right“.

one big difference I noticed with Ford Lake is that there didn’t seem to be any significant amount of weeds – at least in the area I ended up sailing – which is a huge improvement over a lot of the inland lakes in my area.

I used the Ford Lake Park launch ramps on the south side of the lake (marked by the “A” on the map above).  there is a $8 daily fee for boats (annual passes are available).  the ramps are paved and nicely sloped, with several docks to tie up your boat while you park your car and trailer.

ford lake ramps

the sailing that afternoon was quite nice – the breeze wasn’t too strong, but was quite gusty, with shifts catching me by surprise a couple times.  not enough to capsize, but it kept me on my toes!  I think the long and narrow lake plays a bit into the shiftiness of the wind.

here is a screen capture from the video I took with my GoPro camera.

Ford Lake sunfish sailing

overall, it was a great afternoon for sailing, and I had a great time out on the water.  a bit late, but not a bad start to my 2013 sailing season.

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4 Responses to “sailing log 2013-06-30: Ford Lake”


  1. 1 capnrehab July 8, 2013 at 7:43 am

    I’m glad you finally got out there. It’s nice to find a new place to sail, isn’t it?

  2. 3 Mike September 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    The EMU club is not very active but Derrick holds the sailing classes there. There is an EMU ramp (mostly for the rowing club) on the point near the dam. I’m hoping to get the sailing club boats stored there as well. The lake suffers from algal blooms and so the water can be rather murky. I’ve found it a satisfactory lake to sail on, but not particularly asthetically pleasing.


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