The Admiral Bayfield Award

In January, 2014, Dan and I attended the annual dinner and meeting of the Lake Superior division of the Great Lakes Cruising Club (GLCC), an organization of boaters dedicated to cruising and promoting the Great Lakes since 1934. We joined that night. We knew several members and realized that the club offered information, support and camaraderie for our sailing aspirations. Later that year we moved Gaviidae (our 37-foot Gozzard sailboat) from Duluth, MN to Bayfield, WI and the Apostle Islands area. The Bayfield area is far more conducive to cruising than Duluth. We had great plans to sail and explore the Apostle Islands, master overnight anchoring and explore a bit of Lake Superior.

The First Big Cruise

July 5 2015 Niels and Vicki as we approach the Canadian Lock at the Soo

Enter Niels Jensen, Commodore of the GLCC. Niels and his wife, Vicki, convinced us that we should buddy-boat with them sailing from the Apostle Islands to Rogers City, MI for the GLCC Rendezvous in July, 2015. Hoping to learn a few tricks from Niels and Vicki, we tossed our summer plans out the window and prepped our boat for the 370-nautical-mile cruise. It was a journey that would include long passages, the Soo lock, and new places to explore.

The GLCC Bayfield Award

Most of the trip to Rogers City was covered in an earlier post – but this journey convinced us to go after the GLCC Admiral Bayfield award. This award has been given out to members of the GLCC who have cruised all five of the Great Lakes with specific requirements regarding time spent and distance cruised on each lake. It does not need to be completed in one season – but your cruise to each of the Great Lakes must be while you’re a member of the club.


The Admiral Bayfield award was initiated by past GLCC Commodore James Acheson in 1981. Requirements for the award include cruising at least 5000 nautical miles and must be done entirely for recreational purposes. When I was in doubt as to whether we would be covering enough distance (north/south/east/west) on a lake, I would reach out to Mr. Acheson for advice. His response was always “sounds like a lovely cruise”. I had hoped that Mr. Acheson would be the one to present the award to us. We actually received the award last October, but we were in France at the time and Jim passed away before the spring meeting. If you’re ever in Port Huron, MI, look for the places that bear the Acheson name as he, and his family, contributed greatly to the local community.

Who was Admiral Bayfield?

Henry Wolsey Bayfield was born in 1795 and joined the Royal Navy at the age of 10. He saw Canada for the first time at age 15. In 1817, Bayfield was made the admiralty surveyor for North America and surveyed Lake Superior, Lake Erie, and Lake Huron. He was promoted numerous times throughout his career and his contributions were so significant that Bayfield ON, Bayfield WI, Bayfield NB, and Bayfield NS are all named after him. Our boat has visited the first two, perhaps we will visit the Bayfields in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia this summer! Side note: Bayfield Yachts were designed by H.T. Gozzard in the town of Bayfield ON, before starting Gozzard Yachts in nearby Goderich ON.

The Original Goal

Our initial goal, in going after the Admiral Bayfield award, was 5 lakes in 5 years and then on to salt water. That goal was delayed when we managed to buy a slightly larger Gozzard in Rhode Island in 2017. We renamed that boat Gaviidae. Since we hadn’t finished our tour of the Great Lakes, we opted to bring the boat up the Hudson/Erie Canal. Numerous blogs were written about that adventure and the number of issues we encountered pushing a boat that had been a day sailor for five years!

COVID-19 slowed us down for two years as our boat was in Canada. We sailed the North Channel of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay exploring some of the more remote areas that we had not seen before during this time.

Lake # 5 – Finally!

During the summer of 2022, we cruised down the Detroit River into Lake Erie, locked down the Welland Canal and finally made it to Lake Ontario – the last of the five lakes to visit. With 8500 nautical miles under our keel, our master chart showing our travels completed (see the map below for detail), along with annual logbooks dating from 2015 to 2022, we submitted our materials to the GLCC. Our logbooks cover each day underway. We log our position every hour from when the engine starts until we stop for the day.

A couple of months later, we learned that we had satisfied all the requirements and we became the 81st recipient of the Bayfield award!

We received the award at the 2023 Spring Launch get-together in Niagara, ON in early May. GLCC Commodore Doug Jackson made the presentation. Gaviidae now has one more plaque to adorn the saloon and we will proudly fly our new yellow and white GLCC burgee as recipients of the Admiral Bayfield award.

Cruising Area
  • Lake Superior
  • Lake Huron
  • North Channel
  • Georgian Bay
  • Beyond the Great Lakes
  • Lake Erie
  • Lake Michigan
  • Lake Ontario
Multiple Visits
Cruise StartJune 28June 21June 1June 29June 11July 9June 13June 6
Cruise EndOct 9Sept 20Sept 9Sept 23Sept 21Sept 14Oct 3Sept 26
Nautical Miles116211591734153014647331002919
Max Travel Day10296173171595759
Days Underway47554953354451

Favorite Places and Adventures

During our 8500+ nautical miles, we have some favorite places and experiences. Here are some of them:

Old Dave’s Harbour and Cascades and Pits – Lake Superior, Canadian shore – A rocky entrance!

CPR Slip – Lake Superior, Canadian shore

Confederation Basin – Kingston – Lake Ontario – Captain Ron was at the helm!

Cove Island – Lake Huron

Crossing Georgian Bay – Lake Huron – what to do when you lose the engine water pump in the middle of a lake.

Lake Michigan – weeks of new places!

Oiseau Bay – Lake Superior, Canadian shore

Gaviidae at anchor in Covered Portage, North Channel, Lake Huron


    1. Thank you Clare and Jerry!
      Meeting you so many years ago helped solidify our cruising dream, you both inspired us! And such fun we’ve had together over the years!
      Till the next time our paths cross!
      Julie and Daniel

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