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Old 20-11-2011, 14:16   #1
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Sailing the Arkansas River

I am planning a summer sail to Miami beach...I plan to start this journey from the Kerr reservoir go down the Arkansas river... down the Mississippi and bounce along the coast of Mississippi ... Alabama and down the coast of Florida to the Everglades.. I have only sailed In bays and lakes... I read all the generic stuff on river. Flow... sandbar. And commercial traffic... what I really need are comments from anyone who actually ran these routes and an offer of PERTINENT info on marinas or gunkholes and other things useful... social outlets and networking with other cruisers is appreciated... its a solo trip and I plan on a few months to complete it... anyone?
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Old 21-11-2011, 14:54   #2
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

You are asking a lot of questions about a very long trip. i have made this trip a number of times and it is different each time. What size boat are you taking, what is your cruising range? You say solo...for the whole trip? What navagation equipment do you have? do you have any navagation experiance? if we can arrange a phone conversation it may be better, i can get a better feel for your trip and be of better help.
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Old 21-11-2011, 17:52   #3
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

I am sailing a 22 ft swingkeel that will float in 3 ft of water... she is setup for cruising as far as creature comforts and power supply as I spend a lot of time onboard drawing... I am currently taking a coastal navigation and charting course... I have only been a puddle sailor and such... I will be solo till I reach the end of Arkansas river... ... I will be under sail with a small main and Genoa but will have a 7.5hp on transom swing and a 5hp stowed as a backup... my range on these will be minimal but I will have a dingy carry addittional fuel... my concern is more about mooring at night after we get to lower Mississippi. Area... more for sleeping spots where we don't get plowed by a barge as opposed to fuel or food... although some social interaction is not out of the question... river speed and traffic seem to be my major concern... but a leisurely float is unexpected... I want a nice experience for my son who will meet up with me on the Louisiana. Part of the trip... levees. Seem to be the concern I have heard of most... and no place for dropping a hook overnight.
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Old 21-11-2011, 20:05   #4
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

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Originally Posted by Amra View Post
I am sailing a 22 ft swingkeel that will float in 3 ft of water... she is setup for cruising as far as creature comforts and power supply as I spend a lot of time onboard drawing... I am currently taking a coastal navigation and charting course... I have only been a puddle sailor and such... I will be solo till I reach the end of Arkansas river... ... I will be under sail with a small main and Genoa but will have a 7.5hp on transom swing and a 5hp stowed as a backup... my range on these will be minimal but I will have a dingy carry addittional fuel... my concern is more about mooring at night after we get to lower Mississippi. Area... more for sleeping spots where we don't get plowed by a barge as opposed to fuel or food... although some social interaction is not out of the question... river speed and traffic seem to be my major concern... but a leisurely float is unexpected... I want a nice experience for my son who will meet up with me on the Louisiana. Part of the trip... levees. Seem to be the concern I have heard of most... and no place for dropping a hook overnight.
Levees are embankments of the river bank that protect towns and other property from flooding. The concern that you refer to is probably wing dams. Not to be harsh, but you have no idea what you're talking about getting into. First, the lower Mississippi river is no place for a sailboat with a 7.5hp outboard. The commercial traffic is tow boats with over ten thousand horsepower pushing forty thousand or so tons of cargo in rafts of barges over a hundred ft wide and a thousand feet long drawing nine feet of water. Picture yourself in the wrong place among a few of these in any number of circumstances. You might by sheer luck make it downstream, but going back up would be pretty much impossible. Better have your son bring a trailer to haul the boat back if you make it to Louisiana. JMO
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Old 21-11-2011, 20:22   #5
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

In my opinion there is not much good cruising between the Mississippi River and Mobile Bay. Once you get to Gulf Shores, Alabama and turn East the water clears up the sand is sugar white and lots of nice areas to explore and hang out at anchor, or in a marina if you like.
I agree with the previous poster that the Mississippi R. can be a dangerous place for small boats. I suggest trailering your boat down to the Gulf and starting there.
The activecaptain and cruising guide websites will have lots of good informaton for you.
Good luck!
Steve W.
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Old 21-11-2011, 21:06   #6
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

Yea... I'm starting to get the feeling that a cruise up toward Tennessee. And going to mobile bay via Alabama waterway may be a more Practical run... I'm still in the planning stage but I am still planning on starting from Kerr reservoir... so... anyone wanna. Discuss that waterway..?... I was hesitant about the pissamippi. In the first place
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Old 23-11-2011, 23:49   #7
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

Nate Landry did this on Waltzing Matilda. His draft is about the same as yours, his engine, while an inboard diesel, is about as powerful as yours. He didn't try to go upriver, though. He does post on here some times but may not have seen this thread. Check out his blogspot:

Waltzing Matilda
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Old 24-11-2011, 06:22   #8
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Amra and LRHatteras.
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Old 12-12-2011, 14:19   #9
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

Going up the Mississipppi in the spring with a 7.5 HP motor on a 22' boat will be a long slow trip and probably not the safest. From the mouth of the white river (how you get to the Mississippi from the Arkansas) to Memphis is about 130 miles. the only fuel in the middle is Helena and thats about 60 miles up river. You are correct about the lower Mississippi. from Baton Rouge to New Orleans there is no place to stop for the night. If you would like to contact me directly i can give you info on both the north and south route. send me an email at stan@moondist.com i will be happy to discuss this trip with you.
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Old 18-10-2016, 02:25   #10
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

Hello all! I am currently doing this trip now. I started from Catoosa (where I live) and made it to Little Rock. That took about 7 days then I spent some time in Little Rock and then left the boat to come back to work. I'll be finishing up the Arkansas in about two weeks and am trying to figure out if I'm going to go straight down to Baton Rouge or New Orleans. The catch is I only have 10 days to get to the boat, do the trip, and get back to Tulsa to work. My range can be about 400 miles (8hp, 26' center board, jerry cans). I don't need to stop unless emergency or to park/pull the boat out if I can't leave it. Any route suggestions if i don't just head to Baton Rouge? Keep in mind I only have ten days. Thanks in advance guys!
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Old 18-10-2016, 09:23   #11
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Re: Sailing the Arkansas River

It's too late for you now, but there's a very interesting book out there that describes this trip. If you can find a copy of "White Knuckles Log", it's a fascinating read.
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