Day 14 (part 2): Entering Lake Erie to off Cleveland
Lake Erie lived up to its reputation as the roughest of the Great Lakes with the wind coming from just the wrong direction (south east) and the waves making us bounce around quite a bit. Our goal was to spend the night in Put-in-bay but due to the wind we ended up heading east and then we tacked south. We had just crossed back into the USA when the wind and waves increased and shifted ahead of us.
At this point we started to think that Put-in-bay was not going to be possible as we were unable to make much headway to the south. We decided to reef and to head east while we tried to decide. Finally although reluctant to spend a second night out on the water we felt we had no choice - we were not going to make it before nightfall and due to our experience in the Detroit River we had no desire to try and enter a strange harbour in the dark.
Decision made; we aimed just south of east in order to pass through the islands, this had the advantage that we were going to pass them in daylight but it meant we were too close to the wind for the self steering to be effective. A few hours of hand steering later and we passed below Pelee Island and the above the shoals that had kept us trying to make as much northing as we dared.
Finally we were able to put the self steering on and made an easterly course parallel to the Canadian-US border. We made about 6 knots for several hours and by the time daylight arrived we were just west of Cleveland.