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Old 18-04-2011, 06:09   #1
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Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

I'm trying to find someone who has sucessfully transited the Chambly canal with a six foot draft. The published depth is 6.5 feet and I want to know if I'm pushing my luck my six foot keel (probably close to six feet, three inches loaded for a long cruise).

I did the trip a few years ago on a friend's Bene that drew about 5.5 feet and had no problems. I can't remember what the depth sounder was reading, but I understand that the 6.5 foot restriction is just at the lock sills; elsewhere there is plenty of water.
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Old 18-04-2011, 06:38   #2
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, RidgeRunner.
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Old 18-04-2011, 08:39   #3
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop from Lake Champlain, Richelieu, St. Lawrence Seaway

Thanks Gord - I'm a first time poster but I've been following the discussions here for years. Your information has helped me many times - we all appreciate your dedication.

I should add that my question could be a general one about how prudent it is to take your boat into thin water, and how much of a safety margin is reasonable. Personally I like at least four or five feet under my keel, but in the case of the Chambly Canal I'm wondering if it's ok to venture in with only six inches to spare. Unlike my home cruising waters of Lake Champlain, where the water level varies several feet dependeing on the season, the water over the canal sill is (presumably) exactly controlled by the gates of the lock.
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Old 21-04-2011, 10:21   #4
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

Ok, my girlfriend was able to get through to someone at Parks Canada. Here is the info she emailed me:


-I called the Chambly Canal (450-658-6525) (Actually I called their toll free number and they transferred me (888-773-8888).
She said 6 feet is definitely fine. I told her we would be loaded down and drawing probably 6' 3". She said that was still fine... said it is 6.5 feet everywhere except one little spot in the canal that they have trouble maintaining and it is mud bottom... said at 6'3" we might drag a little there but it's just a second and you're out. She saw no problem with it at all.-
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Old 10-07-2011, 18:31   #5
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We draw 6'7" and went through the Chambly Canal. A few spots were tricky, but there is only one lock where the concrete floor is only 6'5" deep. We advised the lock master of our draft and he did his best to raise the level higher than normal for our entry. No troubles. Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:47   #6
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

Is there any chance of a boat with 7' draft transiting the Chambly Canal?
With the reports that the Erie Canal is substantially damaged after Hurricane Irene and expectations that the Champlain Canal although closed will likely reopen soon we are looking at options to get south.

C&C 44
Lake Ontario/Kingston
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:56   #7
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

Chambly Canal National Historic Site of Canada
Technical Fact Sheet
Draught 1,98 m (6.6 Ft)
Overhead clearance 8,84 m (29 Ft)
Dimensions of lock 33,52 m (110 Ft) x 7 m (21 Ft ) *
Canal length 18,96 km (12mi)

*dimensions on smallest lock.

Parks Canada - Chambly Canal National Historic Site - Technical Fact Sheet
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Old 05-09-2011, 14:57   #8
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

More Questions about Chambly!
We are a Searunner Trimaran with a 22' 6" beam. Is Chambly actually 21' as described by Parks Canada or is it 7 metres (22' 10")?
Many Thanks
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Old 17-09-2011, 19:09   #9
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

7 meters is 22.965'. Let us know how you make out. Pls. take pictures.
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Old 18-09-2011, 06:51   #10
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

Thanks. Given the uncertainty of Champlain Canal & the Troy lock, plus extenuating family matters, we have decided to winter the boat here & look at the situation again in the spring. If we don't have the option of the Canal system, we will leave much earlier & go east or west & enjoy the trip, not just make a delivery.

We have decided to go to Spain for 3 months instead. Thanks for the info.

Pat & Karl
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Old 26-09-2011, 08:50   #11
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Mast-Stepping for tall mast before Chambly

Hello all,
I'm currently stuck in Montreal (trying to go down the Chambly/Champlain now that Erie canal is closed) aboard a 46' sailboat with 6' draft and a mast 63' off the water.
I have been desperately trying to find a facility to step my mast, but can't seem to find one. Sorel says my mast is too tall for them, and I ran aground trying to enter Marina de la Rive Nord (the two popular choices). I've even been contacting local crane/boomtruck companies, but they can't find a spot on the water to operate.
Any ideas/experience on where I could step the mast?
Also, any more reassurance that I'll be able to transit the Chambly with 6' draft would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 28-09-2011, 08:50   #12
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

Hi Adios, How did you make out unstepping your mast? I'm leaving Lake Ontario monday for Sorel and the Riehelieu and will have the same problem. 45' boat 5' draft 62.5 off the water, keel stepped. It's 300 NM from here and I don't care to do it with the mast on deck. I'm hoping to find a marina near Sorel to unstep.
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Old 28-09-2011, 10:08   #13
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

Sorry, I have no idea what the OP can do, but have a question.

Why do boats such as the OPs not have a hydraulic ram that could lift the mast from the step and lower it? I get it that it's a 50+ foot mast, but can't it go forward in a cradle, disconnected and winched back some?

A gizzmo like a hay hook for picking up bails of hay that mount on the back of a pickup would probably do it with a 3' ram.....?
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Old 30-09-2011, 21:07   #14
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

Success!
I got the mast stepped by a boom truck on a pier in Old Montreal. They usually don't do mast-stepping there (we got really lucky!), so no promises to anyone else trying. The boom truck operator had never done a mast before, but we are experienced and got the job done perfectly, for only $70!

Also, we made it through the Chambly fine. We did drag through the silty bottom in one spot, but the trick is to get up lots of speed and power through it. The staff will explain where it is. The Chambly is really busy these days, and there were quite a few boats waiting to get through (due to the Erie Canal closure of course). The staff there are great, and made the passage enjoyable.

As for a self-stepping rig on a sailboat like ours...forget it. Even if you did build some contraption that was strong enough, it would be way to expensive/heavy/large to be practical. I realize 60 foot aluminum masts aren't extremely heavy, but neither is a 8' long 4x4...until you try to hold it horizontally from one end.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:09   #15
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Re: Chambly Canal Downeast Loop

Hi, I found out that The Royal St Lawrence YC in Doval Quebec has a self serve mast crane large enough to pull a 65' mast. The YC I belong to has retroprocity with them. The only problem is the club manager told me they will only allow a max of 750 lbs. I called the manufacturer of my spar and found mine is more like 1000. I finally threw in the towel and hired a truck to transport to Coeymans Landing Marina on the Hudson just south of Albany. I'll still get south but the wallet's lighter. See you on the water. Otis from Sodus.
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