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Old 28-03-2016, 19:51   #1
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Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

I draw 7 Feet, with a 68 Foot Mast, and am looking for some advice from anyone who has made the voyage from the Gulf of Mexico, into Lake Pontchartain, towards the Southshore Harbor.

I am trying to understand the best Route given these Restrictions. It looks like the Rigolets is not an option, as I am trying to get to the Southshore Harbor.

Don't take offense, I can read a Chart. So yes, I realize that the ICW may be a viable path into the Lake. I am looking to speak with someone who has actually made the voyage.
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Old 28-03-2016, 20:36   #2
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Re: Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

I actually think you can come up the rigolets. I used to race on a J-130 with a 68' bridge clearance and it wasn't much of an issue, we just had to go under the bridge just next to the center span (the girder under the bridge actually took up a few feet of clearance).

Since then the hwy 90 bridge has actually been raised a few feet to 72'.

The other option is to come up the industrial canal. It's a longer slog and all motoring instead of sailing across the lake. But you come out just west of the airport, and will have to motor around it to get back to South Shore Harbor.

Are there any specific questions?
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Old 28-03-2016, 20:48   #3
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Re: Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

Greg;

Thank you for the Reply. We are still evaluating The Rigolets as a Route; it certainly is the most straightforward. The Charts I have show the first Bridge you would encounter heading into the Lake, as 66 Feet, the second Bridge at 73 Feet.

How is the Current coming through The Rigolets?
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Old 28-03-2016, 23:18   #4
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Re: Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

That's the old Highway 90 bridge. It was a 66' bridge down the center span, but the north side of the center was a little higher. We would normally send someone up the rig (or heel over a bit) to get thru it, but it was doable by the 130.

After Katrina the verticle clearance was reported to have been increased to 72'. I haven't been thru there with a tall enough mast to confirm it however.


The current thru the rigolets is tidal only, and isn't that bad. In peaks at about 3kn, and is very predictable based on the tides. It really isn't that big of an issue unless you are on a small boat that can't motor against it. Generally for route planning I ignore it on anything over 30'. Obviously it's better if you hit it right, but worst case it's an hour or so of adverse current you have to buck. The current only runs from the L&N RR bridge to shell beach.
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Old 29-03-2016, 16:02   #5
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Re: Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

If you are approaching from the east the Rigolets is the way to go. The new Hwy 90 bridge is 72+'. The current can be strong during a falling tide. If you have good power, which I assume you do with a 68' stick, you won't have a problem. You will come to a rr swing bridge first, then the Hwy 90 fixed, then the I -10 fixed, then the Hwy 11 lift bridge, then another lifting rr bridge. Once thru that, turn to 250 degrees heading straight to S Shore harbor. Otherwise, time your arrival with rising or slack tide. The Chef pass is not deep enough. The only other option is to enter the Barataria Waterway from the west and enter the GIWW, a major headache.

Good luck
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Old 30-03-2016, 19:19   #6
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Re: Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

Often the tides are less than one foot, once per day. The wind direction may affect the current more than the tides. In any case, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. If you come through the Rigolets, after passing the US 90 fixed span, when you enter the lake be sure to stick to the channel. It can be shallow to the south of the channel.
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Old 30-03-2016, 19:48   #7
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Re: Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

The bridge at hwy 90 on the exit into Lake PONTCHARTRAIN from the Rigolets has a 65'9" clearance. The next bridge you will encounter is the I-10 which has a 73' clearance. Between the bridges is a dogleg channel maybe a total of 7 miles long. The channel is well marked with the green. The only problem is the debth which can be as little as 7 1/2'. The bottom is soft mud and is forgiving but is sticky and can sort of glue you in. Don't ask me how I know.

These clearances were secured from Garmin Blue Chart and Navionics.

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Old 30-03-2016, 20:24   #8
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Re: Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

Leocat,

The issue is that all the charts are reportedly wrong.
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Old 31-03-2016, 08:56   #9
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Re: Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Leocat,

The issue is that all the charts are reportedly wrong.
Could be Stumble as that is not unusual. I live near both the bridges in question. The fender boards for both seem to reflect at least what is now showing on Garmin etc. and sometime a bit more clearance. All paper charts are probably dead wrong, I know they are in that particular area, as I have run aground in 13', with 5' of draft approaching the Chef Pass from the Lake. Things have been much more difficult since Katrina.

Have a friend on a Pan Oceanic 46 with a 65' stick. He clears Hwy 90 but his antenna touches most of the time. I personally would not try the Rigolets route with 68' unless I could confirm in advance, that which the boards are showing at the time. A bit inconvenient to use Industrial Canal but not more so than loosing the stick to save a couple of hours.

No argument here, just saying.
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Old 31-03-2016, 12:18   #10
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Re: Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by LEOCAT66 View Post
Could be Stumble as that is not unusual. I live near both the bridges in question. The fender boards for both seem to reflect at least what is now showing on Garmin etc. and sometime a bit more clearance. All paper charts are probably dead wrong, I know they are in that particular area, as I have run aground in 13', with 5' of draft approaching the Chef Pass from the Lake. Things have been much more difficult since Katrina.

Have a friend on a Pan Oceanic 46 with a 65' stick. He clears Hwy 90 but his antenna touches most of the time. I personally would not try the Rigolets route with 68' unless I could confirm in advance, that which the boards are showing at the time. A bit inconvenient to use Industrial Canal but not more so than loosing the stick to save a couple of hours.

No argument here, just saying.
Not argument with you either. I wish I knew for sure, not knowing the restrictions into my home waters irritates me.


So I thought I had a good idea... A friend of mine does all the deliveries for Beneteau here on the Lake so I just called him. But they bring everything up the industrial canal.

I did however check the race records for last year, and a number of big boats including a J-130 with a 68' mast have made it out the rigolets. I wish I had better info for you. I am 95% sure you are fine, but I f not they its a long slog back to the industrial canal.
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