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Old 26-04-2012, 17:30   #1
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Erie Canal

Anyone done this. How long does it take-trawler speed.
(and also anyone know how long it takes to do the Chesapeake from Virginia Beach to Cape May on the inside.)

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Old 26-04-2012, 17:59   #2
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Re: Erie Canal

Anyone done this. How long does it take-trawler speed.
a VERY long time if you do it right. You'll have sections on the canal with 6 knot speed limits. Ideally you'll do this in the nicer weather and enjoy along the way. I grew up on the canal thought I've never transited the whole thing by water but have boated on much of it and been to all the towns.

VA beach to Cape may can be done in a week or less but then you'll miss all the possible nice things on the Chesapeake. Going up/down the middle is pretty boring. The nice parts are in the waters inland from the bay and the less well traveled sections. The Delaware River is hell! Wicked currents and lots of large boat traffic and few places to tie up. You time the tide and try for the free ride.

Bottom line is it's not how long it takes it's how long can you take. We are 9 years on the Chesapeake and no where near close to done. Your boat won't win a speed contest but you could have more fun than you ever had going slow. We have friends having done this trip you talk about at least 5 times for a whole summer each time and always found something new to do and see.

You really need to be on the one or the other side of Sandy Hook, NY / Cape May by mid September to make the outside leg in good weather. The weather after that gets spotty and you could have to delay a long time to get the right window. You don't do long outside legs without good weather ahead. The rest of the trip you can hop a day at a time. Lower Chesapeake can be good into Novemeber. The Erie Canal gets iffy when the leaves finish turning and can be hostile in early June. August here sucks while New York State is in it's prime. Spring and Fall are quite nice here and are both a month longer than where you live.

Don't try a speed trip because you'll never see much of anything.

Paul Blais
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Old 26-04-2012, 18:19   #3
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Re: Erie Canal

I assume you are going from Toronto so would be going through Oswego. How fast depends on how much of hurry you are in. Assume 4 days from Oswego to the Hudson if you going longish days - limit comes from when locks are open and daylight. Better to slow down and enjoy the trip. There are some nice places to visit along the way. You can extend your day by stopping just after you have done a lock so next morning you can go a few miles to the next lock before the locks are open.
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Old 26-04-2012, 18:38   #4
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Re: Erie Canal

The Erie Canal (Hudson to Lake Erie) has 57 locks over 338 miles- and a lot of stuff to see along the way.

Albany to Oswego can be done in 3 days, and Albany to Buffalo in about 5, if you really push it- but that would defeat the whole point of cruising the Erie. Better to do no more than 30 miles and 5 locks in a day (i.e. 10-ish days for the whole thing), that way you have some time to see the towns along the way.

Trying to do more than 5 locks a day, on any canal, drives you nuts.
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Old 29-04-2012, 06:52   #5
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Re: Erie Canal

We did the whole Erie Canal from Buffalo to the Hudson River. If memory serves I think we took about one week, maybe 8 days to do it.

The Erie Canal is a treat! Long stretches of quiet canal cruising with very few boats, nice small towns along the way that are happy to have you tie up for free or for a nominal sum.

Some parts are true canal cruising, other parts use existing rivers and lakes. The locks seem innumerable after a while, but they are not too difficult if your boat has good side decks and you carry plenty of BIG fenders. Be sure your boat can slide under low bridges -- I think the lowest fixed bridge is about 15 feet. Our Albin 35 CB height was about 13' 6", and there were a few low bridges that I thought we were never going to slide under.

If you have a chance to cruise the Hudson you are in for another treat. It is incredibly scenic, especially in the upper stretches around West Point, navigation is utterly simple, and there are lovely towns and places to stop.

Have fun!
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