The North Channel

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The North Channel is considered one of the finest freshwater cruising grounds in the world. Pristine waters, countless islands, hidden anchorages, remote ports of call and a big sky all make this a cruising sailor's delight.

The North Channel extends from the St. Mary's River in the west to Georgian Bay on the east and runs between the mainland of Ontario and Manitoulin Island - the largest freshwater island in the world. Its breathtaking beauty has been a magnet for sailors for decades.

Here are some facts about this stunningly beautiful cruising area:

  • length: 115mi / 185km / 100nm
  • width: .5-20mi / 1-32km / .4-17nm
  • depth: 30 ft / 9m
  • surface: 3,000sq mi / 7,770sq km

Sailing the North Channel means being on top of your navigation. Water depths can vary significantly within a very short distance. The hundreds of islands can be confusing if you do not continually keep your course updated.

Part of the real attraction of cruising these waters is the isolation and remoteness. This means that your boat must be up for the task in terms of seaworthiness and equipment (and that doesn't mean the most expensive or fanciest electronic kit). Also, opportunities for refueling and provisioning will be much fewer.

No reference to the North Channel would be complete without mentioning Roy Eaton and his famous Cruiser's Net. For nearly a decade, Roy has been running Cruiser's Net from an upstairs room at the Anchor Inn in Little Current ON. Every morning in July and August, at precisely 0900, Roy signs on had provides a daily broadcast of marine weather, news, sports, business news, things happening on Manitoulin Island and upcoming events. He also serves as a contact point for sailors on the North Channel - and further afield. Cruiser's Net is registered with both Canadian Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard.

Often times, sailors tied up in Little Current will stop by the Anchor Inn and sit in during a broadcast - all are welcome.

If you are in the North Channel or on the upper reaches of Lake Huron or Georgian Bay, switch to Channel 71 at 0900 and settle in with a cup of coffee and listen to this informative and thoroughly engaging broadcast.

So cast off your lines and head up into this world-famous jewel of a cruising ground.

North Channel Ports

Aird Island, ON
Bayfield Sound, ON
Beardrop Harbour, ON
Baie Fine, ON
Benjamin Islands, ON
Blind River, ON
Bruce Mines, ON
Cockburn Is., ON
De Tour Village, MI
Gore Bay, ON
Hilton Beach, ON
John Harbour, ON
Kagawong, ON
Little Current, ON
Manitowaning, ON
Meldrum Bay, ON
Spanish, ON
Spragge, ON
Thessalon, ON


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a practical, easy-to-use yet thorough format to record all of the necessary information about your boat and any cruises you take – whether exploring home waters or voyaging to distant ports across the Great Lakes.

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