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Old 08-01-2016, 19:54   #1
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Reverse Downeast Circle Route

Has anyone cruised "up" the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes? Most of what I read is people venturing "down" the St. Lawrence into the Canadian Maritimes from the lakes, not the other way around. It looks like the flow can me pretty swift at times.
I'm taking my 45' boat from the coast of New England into the Great Lakes via the Seaway in the Spring, and am looking for thoughts and experiences.

Thanks,
-eric
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Old 08-01-2016, 21:29   #2
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

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Originally Posted by enjaku View Post
Has anyone cruised "up" the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes? Most of what I read is people venturing "down" the St. Lawrence into the Canadian Maritimes from the lakes, not the other way around. It looks like the flow can me pretty swift at times.
I'm taking my 45' boat from the coast of New England into the Great Lakes via the Seaway in the Spring, and am looking for thoughts and experiences.

Thanks,
-eric
===

Not only is the reverse loop against the current, it is also against the prevailing wind. Have you thought about going up the Hudson River and through the NYS Barge Canal to Oswego? That's a very interesting route although if you're a sail boat you'd have to unstep the mast at Albany, NY or farther south, and re-step it in Oswego.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:34   #3
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

I've considered going up the Hudson, but I'm not keen on unstepping and stepping. I have family in Maine, so I wanted to stop in for a few weeks on my way up from Virginia. It just seems that crossing the Bay of Fundy and up, around, and down into the St. Lawrence may be a battle until I get to the lakes.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:53   #4
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

Never sailed up the St. Lawrence but live on the river in the Thousand Islands. Have traveled extensively throughout this area from Gaspe, Qc. and throughout the Great Lakes. From what I understand, the worst currents are from Quebec city to the bottom of Lake Ontario and I know that it can run 7kts at Ivy Lea going under the International Bridge there. Have seen many underpowered sailboats fighting the current for hours and making little headway.

Big Tides east of Quebec City so an incoming tide will slow the current down and progress can be good up till there. After that you will be fighting upstream for 300 miles or so. Beautiful scenery that you won't see going the US side and having seen a lot of the world there are not many places that compare.

Winds are generally out of the NW to W but the river runs SW most of the way so you should be able to do quite a bit of sailing or motor sailing a least. Good Luck you should have a great time and you will especially love the people in the Maritimes.
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Old 09-01-2016, 08:00   #5
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

I'm also in the 1000 Islands undercutter, where do you keep your boat ?

I'm in Ivy Lea, just west of the bridge.
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Old 09-01-2016, 08:48   #6
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

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I'm also in the 1000 Islands undercutter, where do you keep your boat ?

I'm in Ivy Lea, just west of the bridge.
We are presently in Australia having spent the last five seasons in SE Asia. All we run on the river are Seadoo's. By the way we live in Mallorytown Landing across from Guild Marina and above the old Bridge Island Motel which we tore down over the summer. You may have seen the new solar array the we installed as part of cleaning up that site.

I have seen you on the forum before. maybe we can hook up sometime when we are home.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:22   #7
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

I've made that trip on a 135' topsail schooner. Waiting for the appropriate tides is a must. Be sure to take time to explore the Saguenay River and the Beluga whales therein.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:49   #8
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

My wife and I have sailed the St Lawrence in both directions between Halifax, NS and Lake Ontario in an Endeavour 38 sailboat. The upstream trip is doable but you have to work with the tides and currents. The document you need is produced by the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) called "Atlas of Tidal Currents (St. Lawrence Estuary)". This shows a pictorial representation of the currents linked to the times of high and low tide. I consider it mandatory. Your route will be east along the south coast of Nova Scotia, north-west between mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island to the Gaspe. Follow the south shore of the St. Lawrence, cross to the North Shore at Tadoussac, the Saguenay River. You will have to stop at Quebec City (lock in to the marina) and catch the lock to make the run west past the worst current. Towns along the St. Lawrence River are 30 to 50 miles apart to make day sailing reasonable. Plan ahead. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:52   #9
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

You might want to take at look at Ben Zartman's blog. He and his family did a very late season trip from Newfoundland to the Hudson River up the St. Lawrence.

Quickly through Quebec Archives - Cruising with the Zartman Family
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Old 09-01-2016, 18:36   #10
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

Further to my previous comment above which ended at Quebec City, the remainder of the trip is straight forward. Tidal effects slowly reduce and disappear by Trois Rivieres (Three Rivers). The river currents are fairly strong for several miles west of Quebec and then diminish until Montreal Harbour. From Montreal, take the St Lawrence Seaway to Lake Ontario. There are some currents to manage through the Thousand Islands but it can be done by sailboat. Good luck.
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Old 09-01-2016, 19:17   #11
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Re: Reverse Downeast Circle Route

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Trois Rivieres (Three Rivers).
You may want to spend some time on Ile D'Orleans. A beautiful island.
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