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Old 10-02-2013, 07:24   #16
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Re: Great Lakes to the Gulf?

I've used a handheld VHF radio through the canals with no problems--just keep it on charge so your battery doesn't run down. Distances are nil so a handheld works fine. There is a self-service crane at the Castleton Boat Club just south of Albany if you want to save some money. I think it is around $50. I did it there back when it was hand cranked, but I think it is electric powered now. Get another sailor willing to help with the process. Most of the locks are fine with some big fenders. I put out as many as I have. It can be a bit tricky handling a larger boat by yourself as there is quite a bit of turbulence at times that wants to swing your boat away from or into the lock wall. It would be better if you had at least one helper onboard.

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Old 10-02-2013, 10:28   #17
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Re: Great Lakes to the Gulf?

Don't forget that you will also have to pass through the Welland Canal from Lake Erie to Ontario. About 400.00 these days. They will not let you do this solo. Supposed to have two crew, but if you play dumb sometimes allow one. LOTS of turbulence. You will want the crew. Same for the Erie canal. Would be very difficult solo. A 2x4 fender board over your boat fenders will also help save your fenders and keep the muck off your fenders. Throw away gloves are a good idea too. In Oswego they can build you a frame to support your mast or you can do it yourself. They have a lot of experience and do a good job. Make sure you have ratchet straps to secure the mast. You have to cross open water at Lake Onieda. You don't want that mast to get away from you. If the weather is up when you want to cross, a days wait is not a bad idea. Sailboats without masts roll like mad. As stated elsewhere its a pretty trip. Take your time. The good news is west to east you are running with the current on the river sections of the canal.Much easier. Get a chart book for the Hudson there is some nav trouble to get into. When looking for your next nav aid on the river and there is a quaint old building in the middle of the water THAT IS THE AID . The Hudson is tidal and bucking the current is slow.Wait and run with it.

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Old 10-02-2013, 14:20   #18
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Re: Great Lakes to the Gulf?

In the NY State Canal system you can singlehand if you wish. In the olden days we used to use bags filled with straw for fenders in the canal but now I use two big fenders tied to the toe rail horizontally, midships. Most locks have lines hanging down, grab a line fore and aft and that's it. Helps to have two boathooks aboard to grab lines. As for tides in the Hudson I just get up in the morning and go. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but I like an early start and sitting around waiting for the tide is not my style. Sometimes you can sail. the wind seems to funnel down the valley. Either ahead or astern. Lots of anchorages, no need for marinas or boat clubs. Think I used to anchor just south of Kingston, then Haverstraw then either at Upper Nyack or just south of the Tappan Zee Bridge. Then around Sandy Hook. I usually stay around Upper Nyack and if the Atlantic is a go head from there through Sandy Hook Channel to Cape May. Start in the morning, Sandy Hook around 2 pm and Cape May next a.m.
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:25   #19
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Re: Great Lakes to the Gulf?

To all that have responed, thank you so much! It blesses my heart to see how giving sailors are when it comes to the needs of those less informed. For we all are in the same boat of the saying..(better than some,and worse off than others)?I.ll log all this info down now that im better prepared. So thanks again for the imparted wisdom!!!
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:50   #20
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Re: Great Lakes to the Gulf?

With water levels on the Mississippi being questionable, I would sail east. You sail down the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic, or stop in Oswego NY on Lake Ontario. Here you would step the mast down and motor through the New York State Canal System to the Hudson River; step the mast and motor or motor sail down to New York City.

Alternatively, you can sail as far as Montreal before stepping the mast and take Lake Champlain to the Hudson River on the New York State Canal System.

It is very feasible. There are plenty of cruiser guides for each of these trips.
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Old 21-04-2013, 13:08   #21
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Re: Great Lakes to the Gulf?

Water levels on the Mississippi are up. Just saw an article about flooding. It's a seasonal thing more than anything.

Don't worry about the river system. Every route has it's issues but nothing to be overly concerned about if you are reasonably competent. I would consider it easier than the other routes.

I would lean against the full Mississippi Route but cut up the Ohio River and do the tenn-tom is a great trip. We see lots of senior citizens handling it with no problem.

You can head east via a variety of overlapping routes.
- The St. Lawrence Seaway is probably very nice but it is a lot of extra miles. A great many outside of protected waters. If you can get your height down below 20', there are other routes I would suggest first and save this one for another time.
- The Trent-Severn system will get you from Lake Huron to Lake Ontario. From there you can cut thru the eastern end of the Erie to get to the Hudson
- The Erie Canal will get you from Lake Erie to the Hudson.
- Once on the Hudson, you head south to New York and after one run on the outside, you are intercoastal as far south as you want to go.

I suggest getting the Skipper Bob guides as they lay it out along with limits for height.
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Old 26-04-2013, 15:09   #22
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The tide on the Mississippi has started to fall;-)

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