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Old 02-14-2017, 07:32 AM   #1
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Default Boating Lake Erie

Hi all! I'm new to the forum and have a question about boating on Lake Erie. I am planning on purchasing a new boat and I'm considering docking it in Ashtabula, Ohio. I'm getting a 25' open bow. do you think it's enough boat for Erie? I know I won't be out in 4' waves. But are there enough days with calmer seas to justify docking on Erie? It will be used primarily for recreation. Some tubing and anchoring near the beach at times (probably in Conneaut) mostly just cruising with the family. All input would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:18 AM   #2
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Sure. Just remember not to venture too far on "volatile" days - ie, "chance of thunderstorms" etc. Conditions on Erie can turn very quickly.

Sandusky Bay / Catawba / Island areas of the lake are full of boats much smaller than a 25 ft. There are more places to seek shelter there than on the east side, but as long as you're mindful of the weather you'll be fine.
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Old 02-14-2017, 01:54 PM   #3
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Long time Conneaut boater here.. Welcome aboard! Pick your days and you'll be just fine with a 25' bow rider. I ran a 19' Stingray for a lot of years before I got into the perch and walleye fishing.
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:03 PM   #4
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I ran a 14' aluminum boat with a 25HP Mercury on Erie for 3 years. I've been on the lake so long that I am totally comfortable in rough water. I would not recommend going out in a 14' boat but I'm still alive. You will be fine with a 25'.
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:40 AM   #5
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I don't know if you're new to boating or not Howard. All I can throw in is to take a safety course.
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Old 02-15-2017, 07:28 AM   #6
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I don't know if you're new to boating or not Howard. All I can throw in is to take a safety course.
Thanks for all of the replies. I appreciate them. I haven't been around boating for a few years. I have a military background, Navy, I was the search and rescue coxswain on an aircraft carrier. I learned quite a bit but those days are long gone. I've owned a couple of boats since but only ran on Mosquito lake. I'm retiring in January and buying myself a retirement present! I absolutely want to take a safety course and possibly other courses as well. I noticed that the Power Squadron has a bunch of courses. I'm looking at a Scarab 255 Jet Boat (my wife fell in love with it at the boat show) and I'm thinking about looking into North Coast Marina. Has anyone ever heard of that marina? I was wondering how it was.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:16 AM   #7
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Thanks for all of the replies. I appreciate them. I haven't been around boating for a few years. I have a military background, Navy, I was the search and rescue coxswain on an aircraft carrier. I learned quite a bit but those days are long gone. I've owned a couple of boats since but only ran on Mosquito lake. I'm retiring in January and buying myself a retirement present! I absolutely want to take a safety course and possibly other courses as well. I noticed that the Power Squadron has a bunch of courses. I'm looking at a Scarab 255 Jet Boat (my wife fell in love with it at the boat show) and I'm thinking about looking into North Coast Marina. Has anyone ever heard of that marina? I was wondering how it was.
Looks like the "head" on that boat is in name only and is just an "enclosed changing room." Are you sure your wife is good with that? Also, that hull is a modified V geometry. The 20* deadrise, as advertised, is pretty good; but I'm willing to bet you'll be choosing your days very carefully or wind up pounding quite a bit. Make sure you run that boat in the usual Lake Erie 2-3' chop BEFORE you buy . . .

Congratulations on the retirement! And thanks for your service.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:36 AM   #8
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Thanks for all of the replies. I appreciate them. I haven't been around boating for a few years. I have a military background, Navy, I was the search and rescue coxswain on an aircraft carrier. I learned quite a bit but those days are long gone. I've owned a couple of boats since but only ran on Mosquito lake. I'm retiring in January and buying myself a retirement present! I absolutely want to take a safety course and possibly other courses as well. I noticed that the Power Squadron has a bunch of courses. I'm looking at a Scarab 255 Jet Boat (my wife fell in love with it at the boat show) and I'm thinking about looking into North Coast Marina. Has anyone ever heard of that marina? I was wondering how it was.
Welcome (from an ex navy guy as well)! I looked at the boat online and didn't see a 'changing compartment/head - that would be my wife's primary consideration. Not sure how the boat handles but definitely agree that you should water test in a 2-3' chop. I assume it has trim tabs? If not I'd definitely have them installed as it would take some of the pounding out of it.

For Lake Erie I'd get the longest boat you can afford. as it's the frequency rather than wave height that makes the difference (between ocean and Lake Erie waves).
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:21 AM   #9
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Looks like the "head" on that boat is in name only and is just an "enclosed changing room." Are you sure your wife is good with that? Also, that hull is a modified V geometry. The 20* deadrise, as advertised, is pretty good; but I'm willing to bet you'll be choosing your days very carefully or wind up pounding quite a bit. Make sure you run that boat in the usual Lake Erie 2-3' chop BEFORE you buy . . .

Congratulations on the retirement! And thanks for your service.
Thank you! Great advice on lake testing! My wife is happy as long as there is a port a potty in there. By the time I retire she will probably change her mind 10 times.LOL
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Old 02-26-2017, 06:14 PM   #10
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Something to think about. I went from a 24ft to a 22ft. The 22 is just as safe as the 24. The 22 is a Center Console. Now I can trailer it anywhere. If I drop it in Sandusky bay I can be on an Island in no time. If I want to go inland I go. You are in a lot of open water east of Cleveland. Just something to think about.
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:19 AM   #11
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25 is plenty for Lake Erie and on any given day you wouldn't any sooner go out if you had a 30 footer. Forget deadrise as mentioned above with regards to Lake Erie, 20 degrees is fine and less is ok too--what matters on Lake Erie is the sharpness of your entry V. Deadrise is much more important in large rollers offshore and that isn't what you are into on Lake Erie, especially close to shore. A good for instance would be a 27 Sportcraft which has only 14 degrees deadrise, but a very sharp entry that rides very well on Lake Erie. Sounds like you have picked a winner for what you intend to do with the boat.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:10 PM   #12
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Forget deadrise as mentioned above with regards to Lake Erie
It should be noted that some who comment have a vested, commercial interest in the recommendations they make. http://www.happydaysboating.com/cust...?pg=SportCraft .

And as a matter of FACT, the Albemarle, with which I'm most personally familiar (but is not a hull for sale at the link posted above); along with MANY classic hull designs were designed SPECIFICALLY for the chop that Lake Erie is known for: Chesapeake Bay. Both bodies of water are similar in depth and fetch. And it's well known that a sharp DEADRISE is the aspect of any planing hull that most efficiently eases a hull through waves of a short period.

You'll have many great days with the boat you've decided upon; my comment highlights my experience and running at speed regardless of conditions; I'm not trying to sell you anything.
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Old 02-28-2017, 05:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SalmonDaze View Post
It should be noted that some who comment have a vested, commercial interest in the recommendations they make. http://www.happydaysboating.com/cust...?pg=SportCraft .

And as a matter of FACT, the Albemarle, with which I'm most personally familiar (but is not a hull for sale at the link posted above); along with MANY classic hull designs were designed SPECIFICALLY for the chop that Lake Erie is known for: Chesapeake Bay. Both bodies of water are similar in depth and fetch. And it's well known that a sharp DEADRISE is the aspect of any planing hull that most efficiently eases a hull through waves of a short period.

You'll have many great days with the boat you've decided upon; my comment highlights my experience and running at speed regardless of conditions; I'm not trying to sell you anything.

Just for clarification I did recommend Happy Days, but as a very satisfied buyer. I have no stake in the business. In terms of Sportcraft I don't have first hand knowledge of the brand. However, a lot of the charter boats out of Pt Clinton area have this brand. Not sure if it's because the dealer is here or its the best boat for the waters.
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Old 03-01-2017, 09:35 AM   #14
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Yes I do work for Happy Days and yes we do have an Albemarle in stock, used, and yes it is a well made product. I sold them for a short while and fell in love with the 24 hull for certain. The 26, in my humble opinion is a great boat so long as you are up on plane and running along at a fair number of miles per hour. However, it takes a lot of horsepower to plane and is very tipsy in Lake Erie Chop; same can be said for the 28 Albemarle; both 24 or 25 degree deadrise hulls and I have operated the 24, 26 and 28 in many and varied conditions.
I used Sportcraft as an example only and same could be said for Lyman. Not here to sell anything and you can read any number of my posts to verify. Am only here to help those with questions and I resent, salmon daze, your implication.
I also stand by what I said regarding deadrise and I'll let it go at that.
Albemarle, it should also be noted, was designed for the offshore waters of the Carolinas.

Last edited by erie skipper; 03-01-2017 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by erie skipper View Post
Yes I do work for Happy Days and yes we do have an Albemarle in stock, used, and yes it is a well made product. I sold them for a short while and fell in love with the 24 hull for certain. The 26, in my humble opinion is a great boat so long as you are up on plane and running along at a fair number of miles per hour. However, it takes a lot of horsepower to plane and is very tipsy in Lake Erie Chop; same can be said for the 28 Albemarle; both 24 or 25 degree deadrise hulls and I have operated the 24, 26 and 28 in many and varied conditions.
I used Sportcraft as an example only and same could be said for Lyman. Not here to sell anything and you can read any number of my posts to verify. Am only here to help those with questions and I resent, salmon daze, your implication.
I also stand by what I said regarding deadrise and I'll let it go at that.
Albemarle, it should also be noted, was designed for the offshore waters of the Carolinas.
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Old 03-03-2017, 11:39 AM   #16
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Funny I put 2000 hours on lake Erie and now do Ocean going...Sportcraft is no where to be found in the salt.
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:31 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by SalmonDaze View Post
It should be noted that some who comment have a vested, commercial interest in the recommendations they make. http://www.happydaysboating.com/cust...?pg=SportCraft .

And as a matter of FACT, the Albemarle, with which I'm most personally familiar (but is not a hull for sale at the link posted above); along with MANY classic hull designs were designed SPECIFICALLY for the chop that Lake Erie is known for: Chesapeake Bay. Both bodies of water are similar in depth and fetch. And it's well known that a sharp DEADRISE is the aspect of any planing hull that most efficiently eases a hull through waves of a short period.

You'll have many great days with the boat you've decided upon; my comment highlights my experience and running at speed regardless of conditions; I'm not trying to sell you anything.
Actually, Albemarle was not designed for Erie or the Chesapeake bay. I was designed to fish off of the North Carolina coast (sharp entry, high bow flare) classic Carolina design. I only know one boat that was designed for the Lake Erie chop and that boat was the 28' Lyman. There other models were also designed with Erie in mind but no for Erie only like the 28'er. Personally I like it when sales reps and dealer personal comment on this site. They tend to be very helpful and don't pass along wrong or bad information.
For the gentleman looking for a boat for Erie. The best advice I can give you is buy the biggest boat with the most horsepower you can afford.
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Old 03-04-2017, 08:32 AM   #18
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Funny I put 2000 hours on lake Erie and now do Ocean going...Sportcraft is no where to be found in the salt.
Very true. Though built in Perry, Fla for many many years-and still are today on a very small scale, they were far more popular on the great lakes. We were fortunate enough to have them in the mid seventies and were their largest dealer since then. We still are, but only selling a few a year due to the new owners of the location being focused more on custom building. The 27 was a copy from the Stamas 26, an excellent hull design. Sportcraft started building boats in Perry in the 50's and all were wooden hulls--would love to have one of them and you'd probably have to look in salt water to find one!
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Old 03-14-2017, 07:43 AM   #19
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Get a cat and don't look back. My WC246sf will go anywhere at anytime and makes all V hulls (even bigger ones) look like old ladies with canes on those rough days.
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Old 03-18-2017, 05:12 PM   #20
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SportCrafts do well in western basin as they drift fish better than the Baha Cruisers. The Baha Cruisers excel in the nasty stuff we frequently run into in the central basin. However, both can handle doing both and I know folks that run them all over Erie. HowardZ was talking of putting the boat in Ashtabula OH - that would be central basin water. This is open "ocean" in this area. I love my 30' Baha Cruiser battle wagon for fishing - we will run charters 30-miles from marina at times and you want a big boat with twin engines to get you home - I can't say comfortable as nothing is comfortable when lake erie throws more than 5'waves at you (that is Small Craft Advisory conditions) - we don't get swells very often. We will head out to fish in 4's but have to come home in whatever the lake throws at us...

I also run my 18' Alumacraft Trophy (Fish & Ski) in Erie since about 2000 and before that a relatives 16' Trojan 1956 (wood hull) boat. You just need to know the limitations of your vessel on that lake. The Trojan stayed within a few miles of shore on very good days for water ski and tubing. The Trophy could easily handle 3' waves but you would get wet with even 2' waves and any speed. We ran the trophy to about 8-10miles offshore but carried extensive electronics including VHF radio, multiple GPS and manual compass, cell phone, and SARSAT PLB. More than 2' waves is not fun in the Alumacraft - its like getting punched in the kidneys with every wave - boat is too light for Erie waves.

One piece of equipment advice that you may not have thought of... Get a canvas cover for the bow of the bowrider - one that snaps in, essentially making it a closed bow. Take it with you as if the waves get a little rough, it will help keep your bow from submarineing into a wave and you then powering right to the bottom. Sure folks run Ttops without this cover, but most Ttops have a much better water handling system (oversized scuppers) that most bow riders do not.

I dock at the Geneva Marina - about 8-miles from Ashtabula. Stop by this summer and say hi. Boat is a Baha Cruisers 299 - named Privateer.
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