Tawas Bay & Tawas Bay Yacht Club
Tawas Point, located on the western shore or “Sunrise Side” of Lake Huron at the north end of Saginaw Bay, has been called the Cape Cod of the Midwest. The long, flat sandy point, with its picturesque lighthouse, shelters the bay from the large waves of the big lake, making for excellent sailing conditions. The water depth in the bay averages 15 to 20 feet, with water temperatures near 70 degrees near shore in August. High average air temperatures in September are in the mid 70’s, with an average night temperature of 52. The temperature differential between the warmer bay water and the cooler water of deeper Lake Huron produces a dependable “sea breeze” developing generally around 11:00am from the southeast, shifting to the south and southwest. Wind speeds in September 2011 averaged 12 to 18. Weather information from Navigation Buoy No. 2 located near the tip of Tawas Point, as well as other useful information on Tawas Bay, is available at www.buoy2.com.
Established in 1865, Tawas Bay Yacht Club has a long history of sailing competition. In addition to “big boat” racing throughout the summer months, TBYC has hosted many one design regattas. Tawas Bay has long been a popular venue with the Lightning Class, with many large regattas over the years, and the National One Design class holds their Worlds at Tawas most years. Many other classes have also enjoyed the waters of Tawas Bay, including the Lasers, Wayfarers, and Sunfish. TBYC is the home of J/22 Fleet 44, a vital and growing fleet of enthusiastic and skilled sailors of all ages. In addition to fleet races from spring to fall, Fleet 44 also hosts the popular “Bay of Pigs” regatta some years, since all of the boats in the fleet are required to have pig-related names. The 2011 J/22 Class President, Chris Princing, races his boat Pork Star in the fleet. Tawas also sent a women’s team, skippered by Chris’ wife Jennifer Princing, to the 2011 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship.
The towns of East Tawas and Tawas City on the shore of the bay, as well as Tawas Point State Park, offer many kinds of accommodations and activities for out of town visitors, both competitors and families. The area is a very popular tourist destination in the summer months, and when the crowds have thinned in September, it’s a great place to be. Tawas Point State Park offers beautiful sandy beaches, clean water, the lighthouse, an excellent campground, and well maintained nature trails, all within easy walking distance of TBYC. The waters on both the lake side and bay side of Tawas Point are popular with kiteboarders and windsurfers because of good breeze and varying surf conditions. The Audubon Society has designated Tawas Point as an Important Bird Area due to the large number of bird species that pass through the area during migrations, and bald eagles that nest in the area are a common sight throughout the year. Families can enjoy poking through the shops in town, grab an ice cream cone, and take a walk on the State Dock to check out the boats and see if the fishermen are landing any walleye or perch. The nearby AuSable River is well known for canoeing and fly fishing, and several excellent golf courses are available in the area.