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
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
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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