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Old 11-09-2011, 11:24   #1
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2012 Sailing Cruise to Lake Champlain

Planning our cruise for 2012. Have a 36-foot sailboat, 6-foot keel. Will leave Westbrook, CT, in June 2012 and head up the Hudson River through the locks into Lake Champlain, into St. Lawrence Seaway, out in Nova Scotia, back home via Maine, Massachusetts, RI, Connecticut. First trip doing the Great Northeast Journey. Just starting to plan. Any help/advice you can give us regarding any part of the trip is deeply appreciated!
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:33   #2
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Re: 2012 Sailing Cruise to Lake Champlain

The best place for taking down the mast is at Riverview Marina in Catskill. Mike, the owner is very cruiser friendly. Riverview Marine Services Inc. Hudson River, New York, Evinrude, Johnson, Sea-Doo, Sylvan, boat, watercraft, outboard motor, trailer, and PWC Dealer
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:37   #3
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Re: 2012 Sailing Cruise to Lake Champlain

Thank you very much for the info!
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Old 13-09-2011, 20:08   #4
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Re: 2012 Sailing Cruise to Lake Champlain

Sounds like a great trip. Champlain is a beautiful lake. If you don't already have one, pick up a copy of " Cruising Guide to the Hudson River, Lake Champlain & the St. Lawrence River" by Alan and Susan McKibben. Lots of good info there. You can get it and a Lake Champlain atlas of charts from the Lake Champlain Publishing Co. in Burlington, Vt.

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Old 13-09-2011, 20:28   #5
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Re: 2012 Sailing Cruise to Lake Champlain

One little bit of locking advice if you haven't done much of it. You'll have your mast down on deck, it will be longer than your boat making maneuvering interesting, to say the least! Try to keep your sight line from the helm good and not have the mast right where you will smash your skull on it every time you leap out of the cockpit--don't ask how I know this. Not a bad idea to remove anything delicate on your masthead, and wrap the ends (both of them) in protective and spongy material.
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Old 13-09-2011, 22:34   #6
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We also used Riverview marina and highly recommend them. My wife and I did the whole canal system from the great lakes and one of the things we figured out about a third of the way thru was to tieup on the down bound side if the lock. That way we could take off eailer before the locks opened. We had 4 fenders hanging on the sides at all times and just used our dock poles to keep us away from the side when locking up or down. Most but not all locks had ropes hanging in the sides that you can grab. We just both had towels that we would wipe our hands off afterwards. But we watched many with rubber gloves. My wife just laughed at it. Our boat was a 36,as well with a 54 ft mast. You will want it secured well and you do not want any fore and aft movement of the mast or side to side. Riverview sometimes will have old framing left over from other boats but I made my own and had it with us then left it at riverview. Good luck.
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Old 13-09-2011, 23:51   #7
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Re: 2012 Sailing Cruise to Lake Champlain

I'm assuming that Champlain route didn't suffer nearly the problems from Irene that the Erie canal system did?
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Old 14-09-2011, 00:28   #8
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I've been told fender boards or similar are important in the locks to protect your boat. Haven't done it myself yet but am not too far off. I've talked to quite a few that have. Enjoy! SC
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Old 14-09-2011, 05:15   #9
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Yes fron what I have read on the New York canal systems web site the Erie is the one with the damage . I have seen some pictures of the damage on the Erie canal and it was very extensive. You may want to check in the spring of 2012 to make sure they are open.
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Old 14-09-2011, 06:45   #10
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Re: 2012 Sailing Cruise to Lake Champlain

here's some tips on getting through the NY State canals:

When taking down the mast leave your genoa on the furler. This protects the foil and saves room as you don't need to store a sail. Also leave the main on the boom with the sail cover on, again saves storage room. Unless you are deck stepped, put the butt forward. A fender on the side of the end of the mast helps if you accidentally touch the lock wall. If it's a deck stepped mast the foil will overhang the mast so, in this case, put the butt aft. You don't want to hit the lock wall with your foil. Leave spreaders and rigging on the mast.

Lash the mast well, both laterally and fore and aft to prevent movement when rolling or pitching. Make mast cradles just high enough to clear your dodger so you will have protection when it rains. If you do not have mast supports with you and intend to make some when you drop the mast make sure you have a good drill and plenty of long screws with you. Also some long "u" bolts to clamp the aft support to the stern rail. There is usually spare lumber around at Riverview.

Get an emergency antenna for your vhf (one of those with a suction cup on it) and stick the antenna outside. Your communication with the lock keepers will be much better with the main vhf rather than a battery sucking hand-held. At the end of the day when you're going to tie up notify the lock keeper so he/she does not have to fill or dump the lock for you.

When I first started I used to use bags of straw as fenders. I think the Albany Yacht Club used to sell them. I later graduated to large fenders tied lengthwise to the toe rail. These worked very well.

Finally I always tie up at night to the high side of a lock. Much better than the low side where it seems you're sitting in a cave and the boat goes all over the place when they dump the lock. The walls on the low side are much higher and difficult to tie to. Also if it's early in the season or after a period of much rain the low side of the lock is usually full of debris.

The canal system is a delightful trip so take your time and enjoy it.
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Old 17-09-2011, 05:37   #11
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Re: 2012 Sailing Cruise to Lake Champlain

Check out the new Lats & Atts, three page article on Lake Champlain.If you are a DIY type, Castleton on Hudson YC, just south of Albany,has a nice electric mast crane for $50 per mast,do it yourself, also good showers and Bar!
You will be amazed in the canal,the amount of money GE is spending dredging for PCB's 24/7 and I think they are on year 3 !! Bannermans Island in the Hudson is a very spectacular ruin. A length of 2x6 hanging outside your fenders will stop them getting all scuffed up,enjoy it, Bruce.
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Old 17-09-2011, 05:46   #12
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Re: 2012 Sailing Cruise to Lake Champlain

Also,I found Troy Lock, which is your first, was also the trickiest entry, with lots of currents, after that they were easy,mind you I was doing the trip just after record high waters ,dont get too confused when markers go from 'red right' to 'red left' !!!!
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