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Old 28-06-2008, 11:43   #1
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Navigation NE USA, Lake Champlain to Atlantic Ocean

Hello, My inquiry is two-fold:

First, I hope someone out there will have the firsthand experience to provide a simple yay-nay answer to the following.

Second, I hope someone may have a good resource (web or book) for someone starting their nautical nav and chart education.

Question: Is it possible to sail/motor a cruising class boat with a traditional mast to/from Lake Champlain to the Atlantic Ocean and to/from the other Great Lakes?

-The information I find on this topic is so segmented I am not sure how to piece it together. If one sails South from Lake Champlain to the Hudson River it looks like there are fixed bridges of 15' so I surmise that the South passage is out. Is there a North passage with mast-friendly bridge heights or draw-bridges?

**forgot to mention, draft is not a concern but beam is around 22ft (cat)
Thanks so much for the help.
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Old 28-06-2008, 11:54   #2
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Yes quite doable but you have to unstep your mast. You can go north to the St. Lawrence or west thru the Erie canal to L. Erie or thru the Oswego canal to L. Ontario. Controlling height is about 22 ft. Northbound unstep the mast in Catskill on the Hudson.
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Old 28-06-2008, 17:48   #3
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Thanks Rick,
Please bear with me for one more sec. My understanding is that unstepping a standard mast for a boat this size requires hired, external, heavy equipment dockside and cannot be performed manually while at anchor. Is this correct?

Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2008, 17:43   #4
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Mast unstepping

Quick update,
I found information on unstepping a mast. It looks as though for a sailboat in the under 40' range using a single, unstayed or lightly stayed mast it is not difficult to unstep while at anchor in calm conditions and might be a 30 min to 1 hour long process depending on rig specifics.

Thanks all.
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Old 13-07-2008, 00:18   #5
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For most cruising class sailboats it is a bit more complicated than that as all mast electronics and all stays must be disconnected and then you have to construct an on-board cradle and suppor system for the mast that lets you motor with it on board.
Still...done by hundreds of boas every year...and thousands more for winter storage in the northeast. No big deal.
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Old 14-07-2008, 18:14   #6
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camaraderie,
Thanks for the input. I can imagine a cruising 52' ketch requiring a bit of muster to drop trow. fortunately for this application I am looking at relatively short, aluminum, single masted soft wingsail rig with gaff that should come down pretty easy -I mean when I want it to... I hope.
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Old 14-07-2008, 18:24   #7
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Thre are a couple of places to unstep your mast. You can do it yourself or go to a marina. Not a big problem. If over a hundred feet you'd have to rent a crane but otherwise you'll be fine.
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