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Old 31-03-2010, 20:10   #1
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Anyone Ever Sail the Lower Mississippi River ?

I have been looking for info on sailing from Kentucky lake to Florida via the Mississippi River. But I can not find anyone who has done it. I have talked to several who have taken the Tenntom. I do not want to go the Tenntom. From what everyone has told me, it is motoring the whole way on mostly narrow channels. I know the Mississippi is fast and there are barges. I am used to strong currents and lots of barges. I want to mostly sail and use the iron genny when I have to, not do a whole trip under power. I know people say it is not senic, but it has to be better than listening to your motor all day.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-04-2010, 00:05   #2
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Thats a trip I want to do!
I have looked at doing it from the Great Lakes down.

Where the bund walls block the view I'm thinking a few mast steps etc could do the trick.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:33   #3
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The river is fast,dirty 7 barge/ship traffic on the lower part.I will be crossing it in a couple of days .That is bad enough.I would hate to travel it in sailboat.marc
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:01   #4
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I just found this couple who have taken it in a trawler 5 times. They have some good info.

Calypso Poet: Leg 1 Maumelle, AR to New Orleans, LA
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:09   #5
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Read Tom Sawyer. And he didn't have a keel. I would imagine that trip to be about as much fun as riding a bike on a freeway. Without lanes.

Looking at the wind plots at airports along the way, I don't see any long stretches you could sail without tacking back and forth across all that traffic.

Put it on a trailer and drag it to Mobile Bay.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:17   #6
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The Mississippi has extremely strong currents, lots of debris, very little in the way of facilities for pleasure vessels, especially fuel stops, tons of commercial traffic, few spots where you might stop and anchor, and all around not very pleasant scenery. For a cruise, this is less than ideal, which is why very few do it and there is not much information out there. We have done short spells on the river and are usually quite relieved once we are off it. Consider a mechanical breakdown with a 3 to 5 knot current running, trees floating past, 90 feet of water to try and drop an anchor, and ships, tugs and barges over 200 feet long and commercial ferries passing you going north and south at the same time. As to sailing most of the way, you have to depend on the wind being available. So what do you do with no place to stop when you have a day or two with either no wind or it is coming from the wrong direction. You don't want to be out there tacking back and forth across that river. That is just not our idea of a fun trip. WG
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Old 22-04-2010, 14:53   #7
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My cousine, rowed the missisipi (S to N) now he's rowing from Key west to the Canadian border. He's probably made it past Georgia now. If you can do it rowing you can sail providing you do it in a dinghy. Any boat club, marina or or water front store would be a good place to ask about a crazy Finn in 21' wooden rowboat.
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Old 22-04-2010, 14:57   #8
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As the above said... very much a commercial experience...
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Old 22-04-2010, 18:51   #9
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Hey Waterwayguy, Love your signature, thats exactly what I want to do "explore, dream, discover" Mark Twain had good advice.
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Old 16-05-2010, 18:05   #10
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In college I took off almost a year and worked on a Cruise Line that traveled the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Minneapolis/St. Paul and the Ohio River out to Pittsburgh. I was on the Mississippi Queen Steamboat. I traveled this section quite a bit during that time. As stated earlier this section of the river is very commercial and muddy. It is all woods along the banks and you can see wildlife and just relax and watch the river wind south. You would have a hard time trying to sail this river and should expect to motor. Farther north you see more pleasure type crafts and property built up closer to the river but not where you are talking. We had daily stops along this route for passenger excursions so you will come across towns that are on the river and should be able to stop but I do not know of any marina type facilities along this route. You would have to possibly cab it to a local station with fuel containers to fill up. Would be a fun/different/relaxing experience. I can say it is a neat way to see the country from a different perspective that is not the norm. There are some great stops along the way including plantation homes and quaint towns, Natchez MS being one of my favorites. If you do make it there make a point to stop and go to Under-the-Hill Saloon at the launch by the bridge and casino. Claimed to be one of, if not the, oldest bar in existence that was always that. Built in the 1700's as a saloon and brothel it is a very cool bar with lots of river history. If you go tell Andre' hello from a Steamboater.

Hope this helps.

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Old 16-05-2010, 18:42   #11
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Hey Far Niente,

Thanks for the reply. That's very interesting. We're still planning on doing it in Nov.
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Old 30-08-2010, 19:05   #12
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We are still planning on leaving November 3rd. We've got paper charts and a chart plotter now. I have spent the last two monthes getting the boat ready. I still have some things to do, but am on track to easily be finished. We started a blog to cronicle our trip. If any one is intrested here is a link to it.

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Old 30-09-2010, 17:35   #13
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I sailed the lower Mississippi Dec '09 (mile 600 to 304) and I can tell you it is quite a trip. The river is fast... seriously fast, to anchor for the night I would find an island and drift past it then motor upstream behind it to be out of the passing barge wakes, the only tricky thing is to make certain that you will not be land locked in the morning, the islands change shape. I would spot the desired island about 2 miles ahead of time and scope it out as I approached, met some odd characters out there camping on the islands.

There is fog, thick crappy fog.
there are logs, lots of them, try not to rip your rudder off.
any time anything goes wrong there WILL be a barge train bearing down on you, the barges are limited to 7 wide and 8 long but will often tie up together and be 14 wide, some throw 2' wakes, some throw 10' wakes, what is fun is when the wakes converge bouncing off the bottom and sides and make a big top hat in the middle..... wheeee....

the wind flows upstream, never mind what NOAA says the wind will be in your face. There were a few days that I had a north wind following me, I was able to make 130m in one day.

for fuel contact a barge and they will instruct you which are the re-fueling vessels, you can pull up and tie up to a re-fueling barge and buy fuel

Greenville "Yacht" club in Greenville MS has fuel, but the temperament of the marina owner had to be dealt with, and the docks are lined with old tire "fenders"

the Mississippi is a grand river and a force to be dealt with, I took out at mile 304 and took the Atachafalaya River to Morgan City, the traffic was too heavy for my little boat.
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Old 30-09-2010, 17:52   #14
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Thanks for the reply Hillbilly, Very interesting. We are getting excited as the time for departure draws near. Did you do it in Waltzing Matilda?
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Old 30-09-2010, 18:01   #15
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yup... got some tales of the adventure on my blog.
Waltzing Matilda: Waltzing Matilda on a "Serious River;" Crew Mutinies
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