Take your mast
down at the Oswego Marina. Put it back up at Riverview marina in Catskill. Many use the diy crane at Castleton to step their masts but I have seen an accident
or two there so I used Riverview after the first few trips.The canal trip is very pleasant and hopefully all the locks will be operational in the spring. If possible delay the trip till July or later, the spring run-off will be over by then. Take your time, maybe five or six days to get through the Oswego and Erie canals. You can tie up every night at a lock. I used to pick the ones by small towns so I could do a bit of checking things out.
Once you're in the Hudson you can either anchor
or visit marinas
or yacht clubs every night. I always anchored as there are some nice anchorages
, mostly on the west bank as the squalls come from the west and the protection is better. You can try sailing down the Hudson but I have found the valley funnels the wind
and it is either on the nose or behind you. For me it was usually on the nose. The Hudson is deep all the way (ocean going boats go up to Albany) but watch the marks as there are bars and the river snakes a bit.
Make sure you have a hand-held vhf
or an emergency vhf antenna
that you can plug
into your main vhf. All the locks monitor
vhf and usually the lock-keeper will phone
ahead and tell the next lock you're coming. Keep an eye on this site http://www.canals.ny.gov/index.shtml
before you set out and you'll have a good idea of the canal conditions. One other thing, always tie up for the night on the high side of locks. Much more pleasant and the boat won't be pushed around when the lock is dumped.
I've only been in Long Island Sound
a couple of times on deliveries so don't know anything about it except we never did worry about tides, just get up and go. Same for up and down the Hudson. Why wait half a day for the tide?