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Old 05-11-2009, 00:26   #1
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Great Lakes Cruising Guide

I live in the San Francisco Bay area. In searching for a boat to purchase I found one on Lake Superior (I hope that I remember that correctly) that I really liked. More searching and I realized that in general the pickings were much better on the Great Lakes or Florida as opposed to California. The number of boats for sale is larger and the prices more competitive. So I'm thinking about alternatives to purchasing in CA and sailing to Panama and then to Carribbean.

If I purchase a boat in Florida getting to the Carribbean is straight forward. If I purchase somewhere in the Great Lakes area, then I have been thinking about starting in the spring, sailing on the Great Lakes, and hitting the Atlantic coast in time to reach the Carolinas just after the hurricane season. Then it's off to the south or to the Bahammas.

I know almost nothing about cruising on the Great Lakes. With one exceptionn, all the books I've found are for small parts of the Great Lakes. The one exception is Cruising Guide to the Great Lake and Their Connecting Waters, but it is rather old (1985). But I can't find anything more current. Can anyone direct me to other useful book(s) on the area.

Cheers.

Marcus
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Old 05-11-2009, 00:29   #2
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Just found what I wanted

I just found

Waterway Guide, the Annapolis, Md.-based publisher of cruising reference books, has released its 2005 Great Lakes edition.

This looks good. Any other suggestions.

Marcus
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:42   #3
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Bonnie Dahl's Superior Way, 4th Edition, Lake Superior Port Cities Inc., PO Box 16417, Duluth, Minnesota 55816-0417 will get you out of Lake Superior
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:51   #4
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How big a boat Marcus? You can also bypass the east coast route via the Erie or Champlain canals which would make for a more enjoyable trip. Finding your way out of the Great Lakes is easy via the St. Lawrence Seaway if you're intent on going the east coast route. Depending on how late in the season you want to transit the seaway there are fewer and fewer small boat services below Montreal on that route. You can also get south on the Chicago sanitary and barge canal into the Mississippi which will bring you out on the gulf coast.
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Old 05-11-2009, 07:14   #5
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How big a boat Marcus? You can also bypass the east coast route via the Erie or Champlain canals which would make for a more enjoyable trip. Finding your way out of the Great Lakes is easy via the St. Lawrence Seaway if you're intent on going the east coast route. Depending on how late in the season you want to transit the seaway there are fewer and fewer small boat services below Montreal on that route. You can also get south on the Chicago sanitary and barge canal into the Mississippi which will bring you out on the gulf coast.
IIRC, the Sanitary and Ship Canal is closed by that electric fence. So it's either the Eire or the Seaway. I had no problems finding spots all the way to the Gaspe on the St Lawrence. Lakeland Boating "Ports 'O Call" will get you to the Welland or Eire.
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Old 08-11-2009, 19:42   #6
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How big a boat is the issue.

If it is a sail boat and your draft is 6 feet or less and you can bring your mast down the Erie canal to the hudson and New York will save you a lot of distance and time compared to the st. lawrence.

If you have a power cruiser, then you have to be less than 15 feet to make it through Rochester NY on lake erie, if you are higher than 15, then you need to take the Erie at Oswego NY on lake ontario.
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Old 08-11-2009, 20:09   #7
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IIRC, the Sanitary and Ship Canal is closed by that electric fence. So it's either the Eire or the Seaway.
Yes, but they do allow sailboats to go into the locks, up the Chicago River into the Illinois (and down) in the spring and fall. Check here.
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Old 08-11-2009, 20:17   #8
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I believe your comment about the sanitary canal not being navigable because of the electric barrier is incorrect. Their web page indicates the barrier does not impede navigation.

Also for Great Lakes info try the Great Lakes Cruising Club web site.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:06   #9
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The definitive answer is.....

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Yes, but they do allow sailboats to go into the locks, up the Chicago River into the Illinois (and down) in the spring and fall. Check here.
Which winds up in the San & Ship canal.

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I believe your comment about the sanitary canal not being navigable because of the electric barrier is incorrect. Their web page indicates the barrier does not impede navigation.

Also for Great Lakes info try the Great Lakes Cruising Club web site.
Talked to the Corps of Engineers today and here's the story (as of now).
The canal is closed for vessels under 20'. For vessels over 20' the vessel has to call the USCG at 630-336-0296 for permission to transit.
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Old 25-11-2009, 20:57   #10
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Marcus,
Check out Lakeland Boating or www.PortsBooks.com. The books use a similar format and I've found them very informative. Maybe these are the ones you mention that cover "small parts" but most cover an entire lake and its surrounding water (i.e., Lake Ontario and the 1000 Islands). I can assure you that an entire Great Lake is by no means small!

I grew up near Duluth, MN (Lake Superior) and now live in Rochester, NY (Lake Ontario). I've boated on all 5 Great Lakes; they are beautiful! No salt water to deal with AND you're at the top of the food chain!

If you get near Rochester, please look me up.
Ken
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Old 06-01-2010, 20:21   #11
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Bonnie Dahl's "Superior Way" is basically a reproduction of the Great Lakes Cruising Club cruising guide's section on Lake Superior. Her book is hands down the one to own. I would recommend joining that GLCC if you need even more information of the great lakes.

Places to check out on Lake Superior
-Apostle Islands (21 islands part of national park)
-Copper Harbor, MI
-Grand Marais, MN
-Silver Islet, ON
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:54   #12
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Bonnie Dahl's "Superior Way" is basically a reproduction of the Great Lakes Cruising Club cruising guide's section on Lake Superior. Her book is hands down the one to own. I would recommend joining that GLCC if you need even more information of the great lakes.

Places to check out on Lake Superior
-Apostle Islands (21 islands part of national park)
-Copper Harbor, MI
-Grand Marais, MN
-Silver Islet, ON
Don't forget about Isle Royale, one of the crown jewels of the US National Park system. Some of the best diving in the world is on the 10 major shipwrecks on the island. Also, the best US Lakes Superior cruising ground.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:18   #13
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Isle Royale is a good spot. Washington Harbor is a nice spot on the island and its quieter than Malone Bay. Be careful in that area as I have found the electronic charts to be particularly unreliable around parts of Isle Royale. I remember the chart showing me in the middle of land (while sitting at anchor) by Washington Harbor.

My favorite areas are north of Thunder Bay. The numerous islands between Rossport and Silver Islet. Fjords, sparkling green waters, and small secluded anchorages with cell reception (not that it is important to have a working phone while sailing). I know the comment about cell reception is strange, but it oddly works in the middle of nowhere. That area is an easy day sail from Isle Royale too.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:20   #14
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You can check this place out for Lake Superior Brokerage

I have known several people to make the trip out the great lakes, through the St. Lawrence and down to Trinindad. It is supposed to be quite the trip.
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Old 15-01-2010, 19:45   #15
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Are you getting a good blue water boat, ready for the sail down the coast? Make sure the boats ready for the trip, I live here in MI and I have seen a lot of boats for sale that for lack of a better term was not maintain to teh standard you would a ocean going boat, since most of them never get out of site of land. But the plus side they do not have years of salt water wear on them either.
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