LITTLE CURRENT – For millennia the spot where the North Channel narrows at the eastern end of Manitoulin Island has been a rendezvous location for those plying the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Cruising Club (GLCC) has sited its annual rendezvous on Manitoulin Island many times in the past, and according to this year’s GLCC Rendezvous organizer Elliot Lake lawyer and hard core boating enthusiast Rolly Aubé, Little Current was actually key to the founding of the club.
“It was Grant Turner, the grandfather of the current owners of Turners of Little Current, who had a lot to do with making the GLCC the success it is today,” he said. “Grant Turner provided the club with a wealth of information on anchorages and sailing in the North Channel and Georgian Bay.”
This year the GLCC will be returning to the Port of Little Current from Saturday, July 11 to Wednesday, July 15—although several of the 90 to 100 boats will likely be arriving a day or so before that, cautioned Mr. Aubé.
For anyone cruising the Great Lakes, the GLCC’s distinctive burgee featuring five interconnected chain-links forming a circle is a familiar sight. That burgee (small triangular flag flown by vessels) identifies the boats’ owners as members of the GLCC.
“We proudly fly those burgees from the bow staffs of our power cruisers, or from the spreaders of our sailboats,” explained Mr. Aube. “We get around,” he laughed. “GLCC members take their boats far and wide on North America’s five Great Lakes and their tributaries. We can be found on the water from Duluth to Quebec; from Chicago to Buffalo and from Toledo to Toronto. At lot of our members are especially partial to the legendary North Channel, but we hold the rendezvous in communities on the shores of all the Great Lakes.”
The GLCC has more than 2,500 members in both the US and Canada, with about 80 percent hailing from the latter. “We are known to be a friendly bunch of serious boaters, who warmly welcome new members,” said Mr. Aube. “We are willing to share our love of the lakes and our knowledge about how to cruise them.”
Club members have been plying the waters of the North Channel for decades, he noted. “It was a very popular destination for boaters back in the 1930s and 1950s and it remains so to this very day. We have a very definite affection for the North Channel.”
The 90 to 100 boats coming to Little Current will haul at least 200 people on board and those people can drop as much as $400,000 into the area businesses, asserted Mr. Aubé. “It costs a lot to run even a two-foot boat,” he laughed. “So we will be putting a lot into the local economy.”
“The municipality (Northeast Town) has been extremely cooperative,” continued Mr. Aubé. “We are working closely with them to ensure that this rendezvous is a memorable event for everyone.”
To that end, Mr. Aubé has been seeking out local events and points of interest for the GLCC membership.
This year each of the GLCC attendees will be gifted with a “goody bag” courtesy of the North Channel Marine Tourism Council, and Mr. Aubé said that he encourages Island businesses to contact him if they would like to include information or coupons in the mix.
Mr. Aubé can be contacted at 705-677-6159 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.