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Old 01-09-2015, 11:20   #1
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Sailing North in Spring

Hello All
I'm a newbie so apologies in advance if I screw something up.
I recently purchase a "new to me" Tartan 4100. The boat is on the East coast. I am planning on sailing south for the winter. Any advice on getting it back to Lake Michigan in the spring? I will likely end up on the gulf side of Florida by spring.

Will I be battling a heavy current heading up either the Tenn-Tom or Mississippi.

Any advice is welcome.

Thanks
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:18   #2
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

Welcome aboard! Generally the currents aren’t as much a factor as one might assume, due to all of the locks and dams; however, because spring is typically much rainier than the fall, the waterways experience many more closures, debris, and periods of high water and heavy currents (mostly against you going north). At any rate, you’d need to plan for a longer trek.

Most people who do the Great Loop head north up the East Coast to the Hudson River, Erie/Oswego Canals since the spring issues on those canals are usually over by the time they get up that far. Hope this helps…have a great trip!
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:51   #3
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

Thanks for the advice. Because I'll be in the Gulf in spring I was trying to avoid heading South and East to go North and West but that is why I'm posing the question to an experienced group like this.
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:11   #4
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, sailawhile.
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:41   #5
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

I haven't done the Mississippi route, but my understanding is that its a tough go in a big sailboat vs the Hudson River, NYS Canal, Lake route.

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Old 02-09-2015, 09:54   #6
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

I did the downriver of the Mississippi in summer of a drought year many years ago. Very little current to contend with, but a lot of heat. On the other hand, in spring, less heat, more current. On the whole, for scenery, convenience, and the ability to sail some of the time (you'll probably have to pull your mast to do the river route, to pass under bridges) I wished we had done the Lakes and St. Lawrence instead.
Another possibility is taking the Okeechobee Waterway cross Florida, to skip rounding the Keys to go north inside and out up the east coast.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:01   #7
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

I have done the east coast both ways through the Hudson And Erie and I have done the Tenn-Tom downbound. I wouldn't try the Tenn-Tom pbound. The amound of current a devbris will make the trip seem like it would last forever.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:14   #8
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

Stick it on a truck and overland it to MI rather than going uphill. Less wear and tear on you and the boat. Probably cheaper, as well.

Have done some great sailing on the big lakes. Enjoy, no matter how ever you get there.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:39   #9
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

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Originally Posted by capnjack.morton View Post
Another possibility is taking the Okeechobee Waterway cross Florida, to skip rounding the Keys to go north inside and out up the east coast.
Not in a Tartan 4100, it isn't...

;-)

For the OP, if your basic intent is simply to get the boat to Lake Michigan as soon as possible, then the Tenn-Tom route is pretty much a no-brainer...

But if you want to make a real cruise out of the trip, I'd suggest the Hudson/Erie Canal route... Sure, it's way longer, but you'll actually be able to do some sailing, and explore more of the East coast you might have missed on your way south...

I love running up the Hudson and across the Erie, it's one of my favorite trips... Not everyone feels the same as I do, of course, but I think it's a fascinating trip, especially if you're a student of history, there are so many places of historical interest along that route... I've never done the Tenn-Tom, I'm sure it's nice, but I doubt it can touch the Hudson/NYS Canals in that regard... You won't have any commercial traffic to deal with on the Erie, and you'll have everything from the Big City, to the small towns...





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Old 02-09-2015, 11:49   #10
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

I had an excellent trip going up the Tombigbee over to the Mississippi at Cairo, up the Illinois river and the Chicago Sanitary Canal right through the middle of Chicago and into Lake Michigan. I pulled the rig in Pensacola and re rigged it in Waukegan. It is an easy trip, I singlehanded most of the way, locks are easy, a bit of barge traffic but you get used to it. I had an Alden 54 and I used a remote for the autopilot and drove from a lawn chair sitting on the coach roof, it was just a great trip.

The Mississippi had the worst current and you can not see anything over the dykes, but the Tombigbee is beautiful, lots of little parks to stop at and very easy locks. Kentucky lakes are beautiful. Sailing through the middle of downtown Chicago was pretty interesting and a lot of fun. I have sailed around the world and this was one of my most memorable trips.

I have gone out the St, Lawrence several times, and the Erie canal once, and they are enjoyable too, but nothing like going through the heartland of America.

I highly recommend it.
Michael
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Old 02-09-2015, 16:42   #11
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

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Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
I had an excellent trip going up the Tombigbee over to the Mississippi at Cairo, up the Illinois river and the Chicago Sanitary Canal right through the middle of Chicago and into Lake Michigan. I pulled the rig in Pensacola and re rigged it in Waukegan. It is an easy trip, I singlehanded most of the way, locks are easy, a bit of barge traffic but you get used to it. I had an Alden 54 and I used a remote for the autopilot and drove from a lawn chair sitting on the coach roof, it was just a great trip.

The Mississippi had the worst current and you can not see anything over the dykes, but the Tombigbee is beautiful, lots of little parks to stop at and very easy locks. Kentucky lakes are beautiful. Sailing through the middle of downtown Chicago was pretty interesting and a lot of fun. I have sailed around the world and this was one of my most memorable trips.


I have gone out the St, Lawrence several times, and the Erie canal once, and they are enjoyable too, but nothing like going through the heartland of America.

I highly recommend it.
Michael
What captmikem said. You might have to wait a bit for the current to slow down but sailing up the East Coast in the Early spring can present weather problem also. The Heartland is very, very nice.
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Old 02-09-2015, 19:53   #12
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

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Originally Posted by capnjack.morton View Post
I did the downriver of the Mississippi in summer of a drought year many years ago. Very little current to contend with, but a lot of heat. On the other hand, in spring, less heat, more current. On the whole, for scenery, convenience, and the ability to sail some of the time (you'll probably have to pull your mast to do the river route, to pass under bridges) I wished we had done the Lakes and St. Lawrence instead.
Another possibility is taking the Okeechobee Waterway cross Florida, to skip rounding the Keys to go north inside and out up the east coast.
This would be nice but there is a low RR bridge on the East end of Lake Okeechobee. I recall less than 60 ft. My thoughts are East coast or truck. You will pull the mast for either the Mississippi or the canal. Only mast-up option is St Lawrence.
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:39   #13
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

Wow great input all! I considered over the road but according to the transport company I contacted, they said I would have to remove everything off the deck including the steering pedestal, rails, stanchions,etc. to clear the bridges. I'm not ruling transporting the boat out but I don't like the idea of breaking the boat down if everything is tight and waterproof now.

I would like to go the east coast path but I'll burn up most of my free time cruising south during the winter.

Captmikem, how long did the trip take you? When did you leave to start heading north?
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:49   #14
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

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Captmikem, how long did the trip take you? When did you leave to start heading north?
Had to dig up an old logbook.
I departed Mobile on 5/26 and pulled into Waukegan on 6/16. In those twenty days I put 191 hours on the Main Engine, so looks like an average of 9.55 hours per day. I would imagine a few of those hours were spent sitting outside of locks.

I wanted to be there for the Chicago Mack race. (Didn't place well but it was fun).

Hope this helps,

Michael
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Old 03-09-2015, 12:32   #15
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Re: Sailing North in Spring

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This would be nice but there is a low RR bridge on the East end of Lake Okeechobee. I recall less than 60 ft. My thoughts are East coast or truck. You will pull the mast for either the Mississippi or the canal. Only mast-up option is St Lawrence.
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'
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