DRUMMOND ISLAND, A GREAT PLACE FOR SAILING By Meta Geyer
For twenty summers my 16 foot Com Pac, “Little ‘Un” and I sailed the waters of Potagannissing Bay on the north side of Drummond Island. It was a glorious time, full of adventure, fun and just pure relaxation depending on the weather.
Photo by J. Kelley
Though I was in my forties, my new avocation, sailing, made me feel like a teenager again. That’s when I first learned the waters of Potagannissing Bay. I was working at the resort now known as the H & H Resort and Campground. At that time my grandfather, Mynor Seaman, was managing it. Whenever we could get a few hours away from the business, we fished, searched for places to catch minnows to sell and occasionally retrieved lost vacationers. We loved being on the water, no surprise since our ancestors were the first white settlers to make their home on Drummond’s west side of the beautiful bay. They were sailors too. It was their mode of transportation. I was the lucky one. I sailed for the pure pleasure of it.
Now when I see a vehicle pulling a sailboat in the ferry line up, I can hardly resist sharing my favorite places to sail with them. Most of the twenty plus years I owned “Little ‘Un”, she was moored in the corner behind the Yacht Haven Marina. My days off from work and vacations were spent anticipating the perfect day for sailing, and over the years, I found many of them.
The really great thing about cruising in the islands on the “North Side” of Drummond, is the huge area of protected water as well as miles and miles of open spaces. Even novices like myself could sail most days.
Photo by D. Sandell
For day-sailing I loved circling Harbor Island to the East, or maybe heading West to DeTour or North to St. Joseph Island in Canada. Another favorite day trip was along the Drummond shore to Maxton and Scott’s Bays. Sharing a picnic lunch with sailing friends on Harbor Island’s sand beaches after a refreshing swim made for a fun filled day. The spots on Harbor Island I liked the best were: just around the corner to the right in the inside harbor; directly to the sandy shore of the outside harbor; directly across from the Bald Island residence on the south side of the island or for more secluded picnicking, the sandy bay on the northeast side of Harbor Island.
I have seen over forty boats moored inside Harbor Island at one time, but for the most part, it is much more private. It is one of the most beautiful and secure moorings in the area. The island is a protected preserve and visitors are welcome to explore it as long as they observe the “no overnight camping and no fires” rules.
For sailors new to the sport, the bay offers miles of sailing in sight of the Drummond shore. The few shoals are well marked and navigating the area is easy for even the least experienced. It is an area still not experiencing heavy boat traffic like many more populated areas making it a great place to practice or learn about a new boat. One of my friends who used to keep his 33 ft. C & C at the Yacht Haven called it “the last undiscovered fresh water sailing area of the Great Lakes”. His observation still applies.
“Little ‘Un” was promoted as a weekender and sported a cuddy cabin that would sleep two. She had a full keel (shallow draft for trailering) and only drew two feet of water. She sported 110 ft of mainsail, a jib and had a 10 ft. beam. Com Pacs are easily identifiable by the round portholes in the cabin. She looked like a miniature yacht, and I got lots of compliments from owners of larger sailboats over the years.
Photo by D. Sandell
Overnight trips were great. On most mild nights free of bugs, I slept outside in the cockpit. Just thinking about the nights I experienced when a million stars lit up the sky with no other light around to dilute the show, is exciting. There are so many places to enjoy if you want some solitude. Harbor Island, of course, was a good place to head if time was short. Pilot Harbor on the east side of Drummond is another interesting destination to spend several days. You enter the harbor through a narrow channel and feel like you are in your own private lake. Looking back to the west is Glen Cove, another beautiful sand beach. The next day you can continue south around the Drummond shoreline and see the limestone cliffs, Marble Head. Other fun runs are to Hilton Beach on the East side of St. Joseph Island or to Bruce Mines or Thessalon, all in Canada.
Being from DeTour Village, I liked to sail down into Sturgeon Bay and through the string of islands on the Northwest side of Drummond on my way to the St. Mary’s River. On the backside of Macomb Island, there’s another sand beach I liked to swim at.
Consider Drummond Island as your next headquarters for a sailing holiday. The Yacht Haven can accommodate any of your sailing needs. They have a 70-ton haul out; launch site as well as mechanics on duty on the North side of Drummond. Ft. Drummond Marine provides similar services on the Southwest side of Drummond. This is a sailing paradise offering the most beautiful scenery, sunsets and sunrises and views of the heavens you’ll ever find.