2018 Mullet Lake Fall Color Cruise

Accounts of trips taken in Boston Whaler boats; organization of rendezvous for Boston Whaler boats
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2018 Mullet Lake Fall Color Cruise

Postby jimh » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:12 am

The Mullet Lake Fall Color Cruise has been an annual event since 2005. The 2018 gathering was this past weekend, September 28, 29, and 30th. Early arriving boats were launched on Friday and moored at the dock at Bybrook. Others arriving late on Friday were launched Saturday.


There were 11 Boston Whaler boats in the water:

  1. ANNA C 1996 11-footer with custom interior powered by c.1991 Mercury 25-HP two cylinder, captained by Sam D, arriving on the water from Cheboygan (pictured below)
  2. GIDDY UP 1983 Center Console 15 powered by c.1980 Mercury 115-HP six cylinder, captained by Bob D, arriving on the water from Cheboygan
  3. Mischief 15 powered by 2018 E-TEC 60 H.O. not captained but available for guest use, already at the rally point
  4. EMMARIE JEAN 1966 Sakonnet 16 powered by 2-13 E-TEC 90 captained by John R, trailered from Minnesota
  5. 1978 Montauk 17 powered by 2007 E-TEC 115 captained by Dave B, trailered from Cedarville (Upper Peninsula)
  6. DON'S DAUNTLESS 1995 17 Dauntless powered by 2003 Evinrude Ficht 115 captained by host Don J, already at the rally point
  7. BW-1 1987 Outrage 18 powered by a 1987 Johnson 150 captained by Con B, arriving by trailer from Suttons Bay
  8. PAU HANA 1978 Outrage V-20 powered by a 2004 Suzuki DF115 captained by Dave H, arriving by trailer from Detour Village (Upper Peninsula)
  9. WHITEWATER a 1973 Outrage 21 powered by a Yamaha 200 captained by Don M, arriving by trailer from Port Huron
  10. CONTINUOUSWAVE 1990 Revenge 22 W-T Whaler Drive powered by a 2010 E-TEC 225 captained by Jim H, arriving by trailer from Grand Traverse Bay
  11. INVICTUS a 1983 Outrage 25 Cuddy powered by twin 1991 Yamaha 200 captained by Matt B, arriving by trailer from Harbor Springs

Fig. 1. The ANNA C was captained by Sam, 14-years-old, and crewed by Wilson, six-months old. Wilson adjusted his position in the boat to help maintain proper trim. At low speeds, as seen here, Wilson was stationed forward, and at higher speeds he moved back slightly and laid down on the deck, helping reduce air resistance and aiding boat trim by lowering the center of gravity--quite good insight in one so young. This little boat had astonishing performance in wind and waves. I would not have believed it had I not seen it myself. Photo credit: John R.
SamAndWilson.jpg (46.65 KiB) Viewed 7843 times

Fig. 2. The 11-foot ANNA C was modified by adding this Super-Sport style interior. The Mercury 25-HP engine is mounted on a set back bracket and has a stainless steel propeller. Top speed was over 30-MPH. Photo by the author.
11-footer.jpg (69.5 KiB) Viewed 7815 times

In addition to the captains mentioned above, there were first-mates Mindy, Elsa, Martha, Kathy, Gail, Chris, and Carmen, two children, a grandmother, a grandfather, and two old friends. Also boat dogs Wilson, Gus, and Jack, and house dog Patience.


The distance from Rally Point to Alanson and return was about 50-miles.

The weather on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. was very cool (45-degrees) and cloudy (solid low gray clouds) with a west-southwest wind of about 10-knots. By about 10 a.m. the fleet was assembled off Silver Beach in Mullet Lake, with the exception of the MISCHIEF 15, which was available for anyone who came without a boat but had no takers, and WHITEWATER, which was starting from the Indian River.

The nine boats headed south on Mullet Lake, through the Indian River marsh delta where we met the tenth boat, thence through the town of Indian River, and on to the southeast end of Burt Lake. At that point the conditions reached their most unfavorable, as there was still no sign of the sun, and with the long fetch on Burt Lake at the mouth of the river the waves were mostly two-footers and nearly white caps. Two boats elected to defer and turned around for lunch in Indian River, and eight boats went on to cross Burt Lake and enter the Crooked River.

Due to the generally not pleasant boating conditions, the eight-boat fleet had the Crooked River all to itself, and all boats were able to make uninterrupted high-speed runs in the river in the permitted areas without having to shut down for oncoming traffic. (In these parts of the river the no-wake rule is only implemented when another boat is 100-feet away.) About this time the sun began to appear, making the 55-degree temperature more tolerable.

Because of the lack of other traffic, the fleet reached Alanson around 1 p.m. and found the town docks had eight slips available, again due to the absence of other boats on the water.

We had a nice lunch in a warm dining room, and then got underway for the return trip about 2:30 p.m. The return trip is always faster as all the no-wake segments--many miles of them--are now with a favorable current boost. All boats returned to the rally point except one that hauled out at the ramp in Indian River. The whole route, Bybrook to Alanson and return, was about 50-miles by water.

Due to a declining forecast for Sunday, many boats hauled out or returned to their home port late Saturday afternoon, but all crews returned for the wonderful Saturday evening dinner, hosted by Don and Elsa at their cottage. A record crowd of 23-people were seated.

After dinner a number of boaters had to depart, leaving a core of diehards who sat up late into the night, telling stories and reviewing pictures and recordings of this trip and the NC2018 cruise this summer.

Some recognitions:

Boat brought the longest distance: EMMARIE JEAN from Minnesota
Oldest boat: EMMARIE JEAN 1966
Newest boat: ANNA C 1996
Smallest boat: ANNA C 11-foot
Largest boat: INVICTUS 25-feet
Least horsepower: 25 on the ANNA C 11-footer
Most horsepower 400 on the INVICTUS Outrage 25
The youngest participant: Wilson, a six-month old German Shepard
Youngest human participant: Matt B's youngest son
Youngest captain: Sam D, age 14
Smallest crew: one aboard (tie with four boats)
Largest crew: INVICTUS with six aboard
Engine brands: Evinrude direct-injection two-stroke on five boats (four E-TEC, one FICHT), Yamaha classic two-stroke on two boats, Mercury classic two-stroke on two boats, Johnson classic two-stroke on one boat, and Suzuki four-stroke on one boat. Ten of 11 boats had two-stroke power. One one boat, BW1, had its original 1987 engine, the other ten boats had been re-powered.

And very special mention and our gratitude for hosting goes to Don and Elsa, particularly to Elsa for the fabulous dinner she prepared for Saturday:

--mixed green salad with pears, bleu cheese, and dried cranberries in a raspberry vinaigrette dressing
--pork tenderloin in a brandy and cream sage sauce with apples
--roasted squash with pecans, brown sugar, and butter
--roasted brussel sprouts with bacon

The dessert course was a collective effort of brownies, fudge, and cherry pies.

The 2018 Mullet Lake Fall Cruise was a success, even if the weather was not ideal. The boating was fun, the food and drink were excellent, the company was most pleasant, and the hosts were--as always--fabulous.

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Re: 2018 Mullet Lake Fall Color Cruise

Postby jimh » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:22 am

I waited for the sun to appear before taking pictures. The sun's appearance was rather brief and unpredictable. Thus my pictures were very limited.

Fig. 3. The classic 1966 Sakonnet 16 EMMARIE JEAN and its captain John R were nicely illuminated by the spotty sunlight in the Crooked River. The Mustang jacket or float coat was almost sufficient to keep the pilot warm.
EMMARIE_JEANinSunlight.jpg (88.66 KiB) Viewed 7811 times

Fig. 4. Three classic hulls: Outrage 18, Sakonnet 16, Outrage 20. Here are BW1, EMMARIE JEAN, and PAU HANA (left to right).
BW1_EMMERIEJEAN_PAUHANA.jpg (63.73 KiB) Viewed 7807 times

Fig. 5. In late afternoon the fleet returns from Burt Lake and enters the Indian River. Seen here are DON'S DAUNTLESS, PAU HANA, 11-footer ANNA C, and CONTINUOUSWAVE. Photo credit John R.
lateInDayEnterIndianRiverFromBurtLake.jpg (67.64 KiB) Viewed 7788 times

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Re: 2018 Mullet Lake Fall Color Cruise

Postby jimh » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:03 pm

Fig. 6 At 9 a.m. on this cold Saturday there was no waiting at the ramp on the north end of Mullet Lake. Two E-TEC powered classic 16/17-foot hulls prepare to launch. Photo credit John R.
morningLaunchRamp.jpg (79.72 KiB) Viewed 7781 times

Fig. 7. The 15 Center Console GIDDY UP at the fuel dock, with captain Bob off looking for the dock attendant. The classic six-cylinder 115-HP makes this boat rather fun to drive. Photo credit John R.
sport15atFuelDock.jpg (79.69 KiB) Viewed 7783 times

Below is a link to a GoPro camera view of a three-minute thirty-second high speed run in the Crooked River, starting downstream from Alanson and heading toward Burt Lake. The sound is quite good, too. The rattle noise at low speed is not from the engine but from a loose windshield glass pane. The boat was hitting close to 40-MPH. The river depth is about four to five feet at best. Careful piloting is necessary to avoid fallen trees and dead heads. I think you will enjoy watching John pilot the 16 Sakonnet with E-TEC 90 through this run. The classic 16-footer is remarkably stable and shows no sign of the bow oscillating, a result of proper set up, good trim, and relatively moderate engine weight:


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Re: 2018 Mullet Lake Fall Color Cruise

Postby Dutchman » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:46 am

That was a quick two-miles up of the Crooked River and a nice video. To have no traffic must have been great. All the times I've gone thru there the traffic was bumper-to-bumper or boat-to-boat traffic, and boat speed was idle-neutral-idle-neutral as some boats went slower than others.
"Clumsy Cleat"look up what it means
50th edition 2008 Montauk 150, w/60HP Mercury Bigfoot

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Re: 2018 Mullet Lake Fall Color Cruise

Postby jimh » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:34 pm

Dutchman wrote:That was a quick two-miles up of the Crooked River...

If the group couldn't run most of the Crooked River at 35-MPH, the trip would take about an hour or two longer to make. The advantage of cold, cloudy weather is no one else is crazy enough to go boating that day.

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Re: 2018 Mullet Lake Fall Color Cruise

Postby jimh » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:15 pm

Here are two more nice pictures from the 2018 Mullet Lake Fall Color Cruise, all taken by John R:

Fig. 8. At 9:45 a.m. on Saturday (September 29) a brave group of boaters gathered at the rally point on chilly Fall morning in northern Michigan.
satMornBoatBybrook.jpg (123.26 KiB) Viewed 7596 times

At the dock above and left to right are
  • CONTINUOUSWAVE (Revenge 22 W-T WD)
  • a Mischief 15
  • EMMARIE JEAN (16 Sakonnet)
  • PAU HANA (Outrage V-20)
  • GIDDY YUP (Center Console 15)
  • ANNA C (Super Sport 11, somethat hidden)

Inbound toward the dock are BW-1 (Outrage 18) and INVICTUS (Outrage 25 Cuddy).

Outbound from the dock is a Montauk 17.

Only the Mischief 15 was left behind when we departed a few minutes later. As seen above, the weather was not exactly the most perfect for boating, nor was the air temperature. But the wind was calm, the lake was calm, and the collective enthusiasm got even the most reluctant participants onto their boats and underway.

To add some faces to the boat pictures, here are some of the attendees at the Friday night pot-luck dinner. Starting at bottom left and going around the table we have Don, Dave, Mac, Chris, Gail, Martha, Elsa, and Jim. Not pictured are Kathy, Con, and John (taking the picture).
Fig. 9. Friday night pot luck dinner table.
fridayPotLuckDinner.jpg (81.76 KiB) Viewed 7593 times