At 200 square miles in size or 132,000 acres, Mille Lacs is the second largest lake in Minnesota. At it's widest it is 14 miles across and from North to South it's longest span is almost 18 miles. The prevailing winds are from the Northwest but on occasional summer days you might get a nice Southerly. At it's deepest Mille Lacs is only 40 feet deep. This allows it to de-ice quickly and maintain a nice warm temperature during the summer allowing for some of the best swimming and windsurfing in Minnesota.
Our goal was to circumnavigate the entire lake in our sailboat stopping at resorts/marinas for meals and the night, all in the span of one week. We started at Terry's Marina in St. Albans Bay on the West shore of Mille Lacs, 2 miles south of Garrison. We planned a clockwise route around the lake ending up back where we started at Terry's Marina.
Our Boat, our Sailing Experience.
We have chartered a bare boat Sea Sprite 30' around Green Bay, WI; we have sailed up and down Lake Michigan on a Freyers 38', and several Chicago to Mackinac races; but for the last six years we have mostly sailed Lake Minnetonka, MN; in our Erickson 23'. Lake Minnetonka is a very crowded 11,000 acre lake West of the Twin Cities. The lake is divided by a system of bridges, making it impossible to sail it's entire breadth, hence it offers a very limited sailing experience and is better suited for Sunfish and wind surfers during week days only. On weekends the throngs of jet skis, power boasts and their wakes are intolerable and make sailing practically impossible. At one time we had a small peaceful enclave at Shorewood Yacht club, a "sailboat only" Yacht club in Gideon's Bay. But just last year they started accommodating power boats as well. That, their exorbitant price (more expensive than any other inland yacht club that we know of) and the poor sailing conditions on the lake, made us decide it wasn't worth it and a move was in order. So we moved our boat to the next closest large body of water around: Mille Lacs. After being here for one summer, with all the open wide spaces at a fraction of the price, we could kick ourselves for ever having wasted our time on Lake Minnetonka.
Mille Lacs is simply the best Minnesota sailing!