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Old 12-02-2018, 09:48   #1
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Alabama to Great Lakes

Yes, the Great Loop backwards sort of. Everywhere on the web is information about goung south in spring on the Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Tombigbee.

I'm thinking going south in late fall, overwintering in deep south, returning north to Northern Ontario in spring. Is it possible? Am I crazy? Nowhere it seems is information available this way, except one brief mention that it would cost more because of the current on the Mississippi. I'm thinking it would still be less than returning to Canada by the ICW.

As Canadians can only be put of country or visit USA for under 6 months at a time to maintain citizenship. So it perty much means Nov go south and May go north.

Surly Chicagoins would boat south to the gulf for winter and return in the spring. Also the barges run year round, or do they.

Thoughts??
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Old 12-02-2018, 13:12   #2
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

You would be going up hill, I believe. That is likely why itís not often done is my guess.
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Old 12-02-2018, 17:22   #3
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

Right. Besides being slower, the current would affect your fuel range. I believe you need a 250-300 range to cover the longest stretch between fuel stops, you'll need more than that to fight the current.

With that said, it's possible. The normal Loop route already has upstream stretches on the Ohio and Hudson Ruvers.
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Old 12-02-2018, 20:13   #4
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

River flow rates are much higher in the spring, just when you are planning on traveling upstream. If on a slow displacement hull you may have a tough time making distance, and may not have required fuel capacity for some of the stretches between fuel stations. Need to research this carefully.
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Old 12-02-2018, 20:17   #5
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

Thanks,

I know there are the upstream currents on the Ohio, in the fall going south, but no-one seems worried much about that or make much note about it.

So the question is narrowed to the spring northbound Mississippi between the Ohio and The Illinois. I did find mention of currents through St Louis so "no stopping by the arch". How/where does one find out how fast/strong the currents (on average) are in the spring.

And I'm assuming depth is not the issue if there are good flows in the spring. How are depths (usually) downstream in the Nov time frame?

It would be a problem to get south and not be able to return.
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Old 23-10-2018, 12:46   #6
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

Southbound, the upstream on the 50 miles of the Ohio River between the Mississippi River and the Tennessee River at Paducah, KY is not bad and the Tennessee is just a series of lakes so not much resistance there either. Its a pretty nice trip. Plenty of marinas and anchorages until you get to the Tombigbee River. Fuel up at Demopolis Yacht Basin but avoid Bobby's Fish Camp if at all possible.

On the Northbound leg the UMR is gonna be an issue. Current usually runs about 4mph but can run twice that during periods of high water. Although flooding is more likely during spring and fall, there really is no "normal" for the "Sippi." It all depends on how much rain has recently fallen in the watershed which is HUGE. You can find current river stage and prediction info at https://water.weather.gov/ahps/ but no historical data. FWIW, I'd go south on the Mississippi/Atchafalaya/ICW and North on the Mobile/Tombigbee/Tenn-Tom.
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Old 23-10-2018, 20:38   #7
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

A few years ago a guy stopped at the marina with a Grand Banks he had bought down south. We are at the 283 mm on the upper, the river was in spring flood conditions and his sog was 1 mph. If I remember correctly it was a single engine 32í.
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Old 24-10-2018, 00:13   #8
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

If you have a planing boat with a 400-500mile range (on plane), it's doable but will be pricey on fuel. It would likely be quicker if going Alabama to Chicago.

If you have a sailboat or displacement trawler, at best it's impractical and by most standards not possible (theoretically, you could make a herculean effort, slogging along a 1-2mph over ground hugging the shore to stay out of the worst of the current, anchor, dingy to shore with 5 gal jugs multiple times but it's not going to be easy).

Barges have fuel range in the 1000's of miles and they have commercial fueling options pleasure boats don't have. Plus due to their length, they have higher displacement speeds compared to most pleasure craft.

St. Louis to Kentucky lake is the critical section. North and south of there, locks control the currents (tenn-to to the south not on the Miss) to a degree and marinas with fuel are plentiful. On this middle section, there is almost nothing for pleasure boats.
- It's about 200 miles down the Mississippi with currents ranging from 3-7 mph.
- Up the Ohio for around 50 miles fighting a 1-3 mph current.
- Up the Tennessee for about 20 miles fighting a 1-3 mph current.

Currents vary greatly depending on flood level and river geometry but as you can see almost 75% of the trip has you on the Mississippi with it's much higher down-bound current. If you head south, it gives you a nice boost that more than makes up for the Ohio/Tenn but in the other direction, it means a lot of time fighting the heavier current.

Someone mentioned going up the Hudson as a problem but you have to remember the Hudson is a tidal river. For around 120miles upriver, you can play the tide to actually get a boost going up river...plus there are plenty of docks/fuel stations, so even if slow, it's not a problem. The end of the tidal section is at a lock which limits the current upstream and you wind up turning off onto the Erie shortly after.
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Old 27-10-2018, 17:37   #9
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

If it is similar to the Detroit and St Clair rivers the current is about 1.5 mph unless the wind is out of the north which increases the flow. Some parts of the St Clair flow at over 4 mph
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Old 27-10-2018, 18:15   #10
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

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As Canadians can only be put of country or visit USA for under 6 months at a time to maintain citizenship.
This is incorrect. Canada does not care how long you spend in the US or any other country and it has no effect on your citizenship. The US however allows Canadians to stay for only 182 days.
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Old 28-10-2018, 00:56   #11
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

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If it is similar to the Detroit and St Clair rivers the current is about 1.5 mph unless the wind is out of the north which increases the flow. Some parts of the St Clair flow at over 4 mph
Most of the Detroit & St. Clair rivers aren't bad but under the Blue Water Bridge, we have to tuck up near shore to get out of the worst of the current and I had the throttle fire-walled making about 1.5mph SOG. Top speed on the boat was a hair under 8mph. Wind wasn't a factor, it's just the normal current but it's also only about a 3/4 of a mile where the river constricts under the bridge, so it's tolerable to make the trip up river on a slow boat.

Long sections of the Mississippi would be similar fights and tucking up near shore to get out of the current is risky as there are wing dams that are often a foot or two under the surface and not clearly visible.
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Old 28-10-2018, 00:57   #12
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Re: Alabama to Great Lakes

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This is incorrect. Canada does not care how long you spend in the US or any other country and it has no effect on your citizenship. The US however allows Canadians to stay for only 182 days.
I think it's Health Insurance that is the concern. I believe it depends on the province but if you are out of the country for more than 6 months you lose the health insurance.
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Old 28-10-2018, 06:01   #13
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Alabama to Great Lakes

From Mobile to Kentucky Dam and in to Cairo, you will have some currents in the early to late spring if the Tenn-Tom is flooded. Many (including me) make the trip north from Florida after wintering there. Donít avoid Bobbyís fish camp as it is a jewel of a place that goes back in time. They are very accommodating and have fuel and great catfish! If itís flooded, you will make 3 knots for parts the trip. It only added a day to my trip north from Mobile to Kentucky Lake at KY Dam- about 650 miles. Someone said you will fight currents on the Tennessee. The Tennessee runs north from Pickwick to the Ohio so you have current with you and not against you. You will see max 2 knots near Pickwick lock for 10-20 miles, then it will fall off. The long stretch is from Mobile to Bobbyís at mile 118. Took m 2-1/2 days, then we had lunch there and moved on up and anchored for the night. Next day we were in Demopolis. Plenty of good marinas and anchorages on the Tenn-Tom going north As also on the Tennessee.
Iím not familiar with anything north of Paducah, but itís downhill from there to the Mississippi, then upstream to Chicago. Iím sure there are some on here who have gone from Cairo to St Louis and then to Chicago. Once in the Great Lakes, you are lake sailing.
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