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Old 03-09-2015, 12:25   #16
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Pretty sure the Okeechobee bridge is less than 50ft, I looked at doing it a while ago but it was lower than my mast height, at 50'
51' clearance when we went through in June. We still had to get tipped, but that wasn't a huge deal. They can get up to 53 feet under with no problem at normal 48' bridge height, so if assume they could do 56' currently with the low water.


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Old 03-09-2015, 20:14   #17
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Sailing North in Spring

Go up the Tenn-Tom. You can make it without taking your mast down if you wait until later in the spring when there is no flooding. I brought a Cabo Rico 38 down in fall 2007 with just over 51 feet with no issues. Bridge clearance on Tenn-Tom is 52 feet at normal pool. I have a Hunter 356 with a mast height of 58.4 feet to my antenna tip, so my mast went down at Turner Marine in Mobile. I had to even have them lift the lift bridge at Jackson, AL. I was 17 feet with my temp antenna, and the day I got there, flooding had reduced the bridge clearance to 18 feet. The bridge tender raised it for me and was very accommodating.

Spring flooding can create some strong currents and water can be much higher. I returned from Florida in March of 14 to just south of Kentucky Dam. I was on a schedule to get back and went against current. Took me 4 days to Demopolis from Turner in Mobile, going down, it was 3. Normally cruise at 6 knots, some days made 2.9-3 knots SOG on the lower part. Water was 15 feet higher in lower part, and we dodged a lot of debris. I didn't really get out of current until north of Stennis at Columbus, MS. From there, it was less, probably 1/2 knot. If I make the trip again, I'll go back up in late April or May, and wait in Mobile until rains have cleared up north. It is also much prettier when green and water is not muddy. I run my generator all the time for heat and cooling and have a full enclosure for the cockpit, so on a sunny cold day, I am still nice and warm as the enclosure acts as a greenhouse and I get some heat up the companionway. March was cold and windy on some of the legs. Left Midway Marina at 27 degrees, but by midday it was in the 50's and sunny.

I really enjoy the Tenn-Tom and like the serenity of a largely undeveloped river. There are good stops along the way and the people are very friendly at marinas and are used to loopers and cruisers. ActiveCaptain is an excellent resource for anchorages and marinas.

To Kentucky Dam from Turner Marine we did the following:

Turner to Demopolis - 4 days (with normal current can be done in 3) all anchorages ending at Demopolis Kingfisher.
We stopped at Bobby's Fish camp at mile 118.9 and got fuel. We had a great lunch and enjoyed the ambience and memorabilia. We didn't stay there, due to a midday stop, but you can. If you only stay 30 minutes, don't miss this. It is a classic place.

Demopolis to Tennessee River - 4 days (end at Grand Harbor Marina with 1 anchorage, 2 marinas - Columbus and Midway

Tennessee River to Kentucky Dam - 3 days, stops at Clifton Marina, Peeble Isle Marina and then Lighthouse Landing just south of Kentucky Dam at mile 24, which is our home port.

I haven't been north of Paducah, so not any help. Others on this forum can give you guidance north to Chicago.

The link above is a link to the river stages. They will give you a good idea about the water levels and flow rates.

Have a good trip.

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Old 05-09-2015, 06:40   #18
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

Check out the AGLCA American great loop cruising association. Great resource.

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Old 08-09-2015, 12:30   #19
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

If you do decide to enter the Mississippi from the Gulf, don't get anywhere near the South Pass. It's all shoaled over and many/most nav aids are gone. Check LNMs and Light Lists before entering anywhere off of the Gulf. Otherwise, have fun. Cheers, Pappy
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:25   #20
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

Great information everybody. It will go a long way in helping me make my final decision.
I'm still listening so don't hesitate to put your two cents in.
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:53   #21
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

If you have the 7 foot draft model, be darn careful. The Mississippi and the Ten-Tom are dredged to 9' in the channels. Keep in mind that's after dredging and dredging money has been tight for a while now. Be prepared to go aground and have a way to kedge off. That takes two people to do safely in a current. Towboats aren't as common in the inland waterways.

Even if you have the 5'-4" draft model, I'll bet you'll have a grounding story to tell.
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:59   #22
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

Yeah my boat drafts 5'4" with a 61'6" bridge clearance

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