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Old 18-02-2012, 07:19   #1
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Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

Can anyone give tips on traveling from Tampa, FL to Chicago, IL. We have our boat in Sarasota, FL and plan on bringing it to Lake Michigan in Chicago, IL around April 25th. We have never made this trip and would like any helpful information.
Thanks,
Kim
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Old 18-02-2012, 08:50   #2
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

Hi Kim, we are just above you at the bottom of St Petes and are looking to make this same trip around the same time only ultimately we are going on up to Georgian Bay or around & down Huron to Lake St Clair. I have posted this very same question and the majority of responses have urged taking the Atlantic side ICW, the key benefits being fuel and time savings ie:no locks and bridges until you get all the way to the Hudson. The other reason cited was fighting the current most of the way up the Mississippi, Ten-Tom & Illinois. (Most loopers do the ICW counter-clockwise so I'm told. I note that it is close to the same mileage to go from where you/we are down and around through Lake Okeechobee & up to the Georgia border as it is to get to Mobile. ie: roughly the same point North. We still haven't made up our minds yet though which way to go and I'm not embarrassed to say that even with a lifetime of boating experience I find the trip a little intimidating, mostly due to the unknowns. I'm assuming you bought the boat in Fla and are taking it home as we are? Would be nice if we could run together, misery loves company, but unfortunately the speed of our trawler is no match for your Silverton.

Cheers & Good Luck
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Old 18-02-2012, 09:05   #3
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

I would suggest contacting the Erie Canal authorities to see if/when it is open. Last year because of a hurricane, some of the locks were damaged.

One of our friends had to take their boat to Florida on a flatbed truck, because the canal was closed.
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Old 18-02-2012, 18:04   #4
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

Another potential glitch may affect you.

The Moorhaven lock was to be closed for up to two months starting mid April.

They had a meeting on the 16th and this is the latest.

http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisi...120217_OWW.pdf

The lock closure closes the whole ditch trip down - mine anyway.
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Old 19-02-2012, 06:29   #5
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

That is extremely valuable information guys and may change everything. What a disaster it would have been to travel hundreds of miles and dead-end at a lock closed for months. Things like this must have a huge impact on the local communities and business's that rely on the boating traffic. Many thanks for posting this.
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Old 19-02-2012, 08:31   #6
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Wait till late May/June to head north on the ten-tom, after spring rains have settled down. You will still be heading upstream most of the way so fuel burn will be much higher than normal. You will have a 250 mile run on the ohio/ miss between fuel docks. The miss will be running at 3+ knots against you.
We did the trip down and enjoyed it a lot. Very interesting to me. Took us 25 running days chi to mobile, daylite only, in october, with the current.

Or call m & n trucking!
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Old 20-02-2012, 06:59   #7
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

Hi Gettinthere, I am delighted to hear from one who has actually made this entire trip, thanks for the reply. I was keen to note that coming down only took 25 days running, could you advise roughly how many hours a day you were underway? and your average speed? Also, I assume the current at some point must go the other direction and run toward Lake Michigan, did you happen to note where this occurs? Any places along the way you would urge caution or recommend stopping at?

Many thanks.

Apologies to BelleIsle, I seem to have taken over your thread but I think the questions are relevant to the spirit of your original post.
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Old 20-02-2012, 07:49   #8
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

On the Ten-tom you'll have the curent against you basically the entire way as all the rivers you'll be on are draining away from Lake Michigan into the Mississippi. (with the exception of the last few miles on the Illinois ship and Sanitary canal and a bit on the Ohio) . But the current is not too bad on the Illinois river portion. And based on your location, this would certainly be the most direct route. You would surely burn more fuel going around up the ICW and over via Erie or St Lawrence.
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Old 20-02-2012, 08:20   #9
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1000 islands View Post
I would suggest contacting the Erie Canal authorities to see if/when it is open. Last year because of a hurricane, some of the locks were damaged.

One of our friends had to take their boat to Florida on a flatbed truck, because the canal was closed.
I contacted the canal and received this response.

"The historic and beautiful New York State Canals will open for the 188th continuous navigation season on May 12, 2012.

You can sign up for free Notices to Mariners at the weblink New York State Canals: Notices to Mariners for updated information about the canal system."

Good News.
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Old 20-02-2012, 14:12   #10
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This should be a good spring on the Mississippi because the snow up north is below normal. That means less current & very little debris if the spring rains do not cause flooding. Good luck, it should be a great trip, if you don't already have it get a copy of Quimby's cruising guide, it gives all the information you need on marinas, locks, fuel stops & bridges on the inland rivers.
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Old 20-02-2012, 16:03   #11
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

Go to "The Rivers & Waterways of America's Great Loop". It's by a guy who has done it several times and it's loaded with information. There are some turns you don't want to miss, best fuel stops, resturants and just stuff. Also talks about the boats of the GL and draft required and the bridges. Hope that helps.
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Old 20-02-2012, 17:03   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krawdad
Hi Gettinthere, I am delighted to hear from one who has actually made this entire trip, thanks for the reply. I was keen to note that coming down only took 25 days running, could you advise roughly how many hours a day you were underway? and your average speed? Also, I assume the current at some point must go the other direction and run toward Lake Michigan, did you happen to note where this occurs? Any places along the way you would urge caution or recommend stopping at?

Many thanks.

Apologies to BelleIsle, I seem to have taken over your thread but I think the questions are relevant to the spirit of your original post.
Very little of the system runs north. Some of the canal/river near chicago has little to no north current. The Ohio flows 'down' to the Mississ. The Tennessee has little north current. Most of the system flows south. The Miss always has a strong current. The Illinois can vary widely dependent on rain, but is usually fairly slow, same for the ten-tom & the Mobile river.

I think we had about 8 hours of daylight. Never travelled at night. Some days were short but I'd guess we did 6 to 7 hours most days. We spent about 14 days off. We had EXCELLENT weather, maybe 2 or 3 days of rain in 6 weeks.
Average speed? Hard to say. We were doing 11 or 12 on parts of the Miss. Probably ran 6.5 much of the time in slack water. 7 to 8 with current push.

The lock schedules are the big unknown. Some were open & ready for us. Half hour delay. Others were backed up and caused a 3 hour delay. Impossible to predict.
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Old 26-02-2012, 06:44   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavewacker
Go to "The Rivers & Waterways of America's Great Loop". It's by a guy who has done it several times and it's loaded with information. There are some turns you don't want to miss, best fuel stops, resturants and just stuff. Also talks about the boats of the GL and draft required and the bridges. Hope that helps.
Send to me
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Old 26-02-2012, 07:15   #14
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

Lot's of info on the Great Loop here. The River Details section in particular.

How to cruise America's Great Loop
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Old 26-02-2012, 08:40   #15
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Re: Boating from Tampa Fl to Chicago, IL

Great info all!! My profound thanks.
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