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Old 25-05-2015, 07:23   #1
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Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

Looking at a few boats, one very nice option is in NYC, but its going to have to get moved to Detroit so I can utilize it until my sail away date.

I'm wondering how much time it would take to make the navigation from NYC to Detroit? Would it be possible to split it up between weekends reasonably without getting hammered on dock fees? I've seen mileage, but I just have no idea of what a realistic timeline is. I could possibly crew the boat 24/7, at a minimum 16 hour days moving.

The boat is a C&C 35 mk1 and its pretty well equipped. Engine is a westerbeke 27 hp and the sails are in good shape, so I wouldn't anticipate trouble along the way. Would probably make the move in July.
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Old 25-05-2015, 07:29   #2
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

I brought my sailboat from Newport, RI to Detroit. We went to NY then up the Hudson, through the canal to Otswego. There we stepped the mast, sailed to the Wellend canal, went through the locks and across lake Erie. The locks are only open from 8-5 and sometimes they are closed for a few days because of debris. There are actually lots of places to keep your boat for a few days for cheap, but it might take 2 months to get the distance covered, especially if the locks close for a few days when you were planning to travel. I would not suggest trying to do it on the weekend.

You could probably have it shipped or get a delivery captain to help for the days you aren't on the boat.

Hope this helps
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Old 25-05-2015, 20:40   #3
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

Ness,
Why would you advise against the weekend travel? My primary concern is the locks and being relegated to their schedule. Do the weekends turn into a mess?
Could you possibly put a guess on the number of days it took to make it through the lock system getting up to Erie?
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Old 26-05-2015, 04:57   #4
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

I think it took about 8 days to get through the locks from Albany to Otswego. It would have been another day or two to Buffalo I think. There are two challenges with doing just the weekends, I think.
1. Getting to and from the boat. When planning the trip I was struggling with the logistics of getting to and from the boat during the trip. It' not like you are in big towns and can fly to them. You are in little towns that are a few hours drive. So you'll need to figure out how to do the one way drive to/from the boat each weekend. Not impossible but it's a lot of logistics.
2. Canal traffic is thicker on the weekends and so your progress may be slower than mine.
3. There aren't really marinas along the way, just a single dock near the lock and not a place that I would want to leave a boat unattended for a week.
4. At 8 days, it could easily take 6 weeks and that's if the locks don't close for debris, which they have for days at a time.

It's not impossible but it seems like it would be very complex logistics, risky for the boat and could take a long time. It seems that it would be easier and cheaper to ship the boat.

BTW, it was one of the best trips I've ever done so if you get the chance go for it. I'm just struggling with the logistics of your strategy. Hope this helps.
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Old 26-05-2015, 05:50   #5
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

The problem with the weekend idea is drive time.

If you leave 5pm friday, it's likely around midnight by the time you reach the boat. Do say 10hrs/60miles on Saturday and then you need to find a rental car sunday morning to drive back to your car and then spend 5-8hrs driving home. A lot of time and effort for little gain.

Make it a week and you can probably get up the hudson (3-4days) and across the canal to maybe Utica (3-4 days). Come back with a second week off and you can make buffalo.

Once on Lake Erie, weekend trips become more reasonable but still tiring and a pain.

Issues:
- New to you boats are likley to break down so plan on lost days.
- Even if the canal is open, you will cover fewer miles. (We never saw any big issue when traveling on weekends. Busier but not much difference in miles.)
- On Lake Erie the weekend idea can still be problematic if the weather doesn't cooperate.
- Plan on losing a day on each end to drop and raise the mast.

Ideally, I would plan to take at least a month off and enjoy the trip (might not be possible). 2 weeks and if all goes well, you could have her home (pushing hard and no issues) but at least you should be much closer to home making the rest of the trip piece meal more realistic.
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Old 26-05-2015, 06:13   #6
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

Hi theller, I can't help you from NYC to Oswego, but I did the route from Detroit through to Lake Ontario last season. We sailed from Port Weller to Toronto (~8 hrs) and then from Toronto to the Bay of Quinte (~15 hrs), which is right across from Oswego. I'd estimate you're looking at at least 24 hrs of sailing from Oswego to the mouth of the Welland Canal. Prevailing winds are from the west/SW, so you'll likely be beating, hence the going could be slower.

The Welland took us about 14 hrs from check in to completion. The actual transit took about 9 hrs, but we had to wait a few hours to get going. Recreational boaters are a lower priority than the large commercial traffic through the Welland, but my impression is that they move our little boats through as fast as they can. Note, you will need three people on board to transit the canal upstream. Two can do it going down, but they demand three crew for upstream travel.

Lake Erie will be another 24hrs of sailing. Again, you are heading into the prevailing winds, so it might be longer and probably will be hard. Erie can kick up short, steep seas very quickly. Be prepared for a bash.

The Detroit River is a simple motorboat ride, but it has some serious current. I think we measured a max of 4 knots at times. This was in mid-summer. Your 27 hp engine will be working hard to make way, so I expect this short run will take you a while.

I don't know how viable it would be to do this journey in short weekend hops. I certainly wouldn't want to do it that way. It would give you very little room for hiccups, or for dealing with weather windows. The Great Lakes are not to be taken lightly. Weather can come up fast, and the smaller Lakes can become extremely dangerous. There are marinas along the way with transient slips (at least on the Canadian side...I didn't travel the US side. Confirm ahead of time).
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Old 26-05-2015, 09:21   #7
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

Just did that run at this time last year on our Beneteau 375 to Windsor.
You have 3 good days from NYC to Castleton on the Hudson where you step the mast. Then it is about 8 days through the Erie Canal if you don't have delays from lock breakdowns or high water issues which slowed us by several additional days. Mast back up in Buffallo. We didn't do any night sais so it was 1 day to Erie Pennsylvania, 1 to Fairport Ohio, 1 to Pelee Island and final run to Windsor.
If all goes well you are looking at a minimum of 15 days and that is assuming you have help getting the rig in and out and no weather delays.
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Old 26-05-2015, 12:23   #8
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

I'm planning to do the opposite trip in early August thru Sept,; ie, Superior to NY. What is the wind generally on the lakes, if there is such a thing, what can I expect at that time? Calm morning, picking up at mid-day and a good blow during the late afternoon.? ? Or 24hr breezes, or frustrating muthercursing unpredictability,.? ! I have 7 weeks to get from Superior to NY. Is that do-able. Thanks. K.
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Old 26-05-2015, 12:32   #9
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

You will find most of those details above

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Old 26-05-2015, 12:48   #10
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

I have no experience of weather systems on the lakes and would like feedback on what to expect between Early August and end of Sept.For a west to East trip.
Also I do not know what delays to expect at locks and river/canal transits. Thus I asked whether 7 weeks was do-able. K.
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Old 26-05-2015, 12:52   #11
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

Mike above did most of that in your direction, the locks should be about the same and that's above. The weather is still unknown but it was said to be prevailing from the west

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Old 26-05-2015, 13:37   #12
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

Quote:
Originally Posted by theller View Post
Looking at a few boats, one very nice option is in NYC, but its going to have to get moved to Detroit so I can utilize it until my sail away date.

I'm wondering how much time it would take to make the navigation from NYC to Detroit? Would it be possible to split it up between weekends reasonably without getting hammered on dock fees? I've seen mileage, but I just have no idea of what a realistic timeline is. I could possibly crew the boat 24/7, at a minimum 16 hour days moving.

The boat is a C&C 35 mk1 and its pretty well equipped. Engine is a westerbeke 27 hp and the sails are in good shape, so I wouldn't anticipate trouble along the way. Would probably make the move in July.
I came down the Erie Canal to the Hudson some years ago and left my Mast Trestle in a Marina at a cost of $200 storage. Still south and never went back for it. Yours if you want it, let me know and I'll dig out the Marina details.
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Old 26-05-2015, 14:16   #13
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

On Lake Ontario, the wind is prevailing from the SW at that time of year. Usually light overnight, increasing during the morning, biggest winds of the day between 12-4pm, then deminishing with the sun. However, it can blow hard for days in a row, with thunderstorms in the late afternoon if its hot. Storms are mostly from the north. However, most of the wind is at the east end of the lake, near Kingston. The mid lake and west end have substantially less, almost no wind. Boats in toronto have these huge genoas. boats in Kingston have storm jibs. August will be nice, but september will bring increased winds and cooler nights pretty quick. You would be best to complete your trip by mid september, latest. After that, the fall weather of cold, rain, and high winds begins most years about that time.

From Oswego, you can follow either the north (canadian) shore or the south (US) shore to the welland canal. Although shorter, the US side is less interesting. The strong US dollar will make canadian prices seem like a bargain. Customs is a breeze...usually a 2 minute phone call to check in. No check out required.

Reading the thread, above, there really are 2 ways to do this trip...in a hurry or take it slow. The Hudson, the Erie Canal, and Lake Ontario are some of the nicest cruising grounds around. It would be a shame to rush through them all. I know the feeling of buying a new boat, and just wanting to get it home...if thats the case, have it trucked...not as expensive or difficult as you might think. Otherwise, take the time, bring your family, and have an easy, safe, great adventure. The water is sweet and warm...with no predatory sea life...great swimming, great dining, great scenery, lots of history...its a wonderful trip.
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Old 26-05-2015, 15:49   #14
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

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Originally Posted by holmek View Post
I'm planning to do the opposite trip in early August thru Sept,; ie, Superior to NY. What is the wind generally on the lakes, if there is such a thing, what can I expect at that time? Calm morning, picking up at mid-day and a good blow during the late afternoon.? ? Or 24hr breezes, or frustrating muthercursing unpredictability,.? ! I have 7 weeks to get from Superior to NY. Is that do-able. Thanks. K.
Hi Holmek, as I mentioned, I sailed from the western end of Lake Superior to the eastern side of Lake Ontario last year. We took our time, and did it in about 2 1/2 months (note my signature line ). I've not done the Aswego to NYC run, but it sounds like people are saying it would take about 10 days. That leaves you about five weeks to do the rest.

Yes, it can be done in that time, but whether you can do it will will depend on your boat, the crew, the weather, and how lucky you are. It's notoriously hard to predict wind conditions on the Lakes. In general, summer months are mostly light airs, with morning calms building to afternoon breezes (mostly moderate to fresh). Afternoon/evening thunderstorms are common, especially as you move south. Frontal systems can (and will) blow through, sometimes producing extended gale conditions on the Lakes. On our sail down we were storm-bound two separate times (once in Superior and once in Huron/North Channel) for about a week each time.

And remember, it's not the wind that you need to worry about on the Great Lakes, it's the seas. Winds will build up steep, short-wavelength waves that can quickly go from uncomfortable to dangerous. Beware of any winds blowing 20 knots over any sizable fetch.

As you move through August and into September the daily winds will tend to pick up. At some point autumn will begin to take hold, with increasing winds and colder temperatures, although by then you should be well south.

With a good boat, competent crew, and descent weather luck you can do this trip in the time allotted (assuming I've got the Aswego to NYC run accurate). But it won't be a leisurely journey.
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Old 26-05-2015, 17:05   #15
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Re: Feedback from someone who has done NYC to Detroit

Quote:
Originally Posted by holmek View Post
I'm planning to do the opposite trip in early August thru Sept,; ie, Superior to NY. What is the wind generally on the lakes, if there is such a thing, what can I expect at that time? Calm morning, picking up at mid-day and a good blow during the late afternoon.? ? Or 24hr breezes, or frustrating muthercursing unpredictability,.? ! I have 7 weeks to get from Superior to NY. Is that do-able. Thanks. K.
They are called lakes, but they are big. The weather is more inland than Caribean and varies a lot. I, too, will be leaving Lake Superior in August to do Superior, Huron, Erie, Erie Canal, Hudson to NY by mid September-ish. Last year I did Detroit to Wellend Canal in 2.5 Days with one stop overnight - a beautiful 12 hour spinnaker run up Lake Erie ending in the reefed jib in short bouncy seas at the end just like Mike O'Reilly warns about. On lake Superior I believe August and September have steadier winds, prevailing NW, than June and July, so most sailors like them better, but they are stronger and can build up those short, steep seas after the long fetch of the lake. While storms can come from anywhere inland, beware of storms coming out of the NE, generally followed by warm south winds, then back to NW.

What boat are you on, and what port are you departing in August?
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