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Old 07-07-2008, 07:06   #1
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Great Loop

We are planning upon retirement in 2 years to take a boat around the Great Loop in addition to possibly over to the Europe by way of Newfoundland Greenland and Canary Islands on the return via Caribbean.

Only two of us with each over 30 years of sailing experience. Concern is depths on the Great Loop. We are considering a Catalina 38 or 40 with draft of 5'4" does anyone know if this would be a concern? Bridge clearance is between 58' to 60'
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:28   #2
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Mike, There is a Great Loop web site with lots of links to folks that have done the trip. The mast will have to come off from New York till probably Mobile. Draft will probably not be a concern and with the spars off you will be a bit less.
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:35   #3
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Don't know much about the great loop but you certainly can put the mast up and sail from Lake Ontario or Lake Erie all the way to Chicago. In fact it might be a bit dangerous to do the Great lakes with the mast on deck.
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:49   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Don't know much about the great loop but you certainly can put the mast up and sail from Lake Ontario or Lake Erie all the way to Chicago. In fact it might be a bit dangerous to do the Great lakes with the mast on deck.
Doing that will mean taking it down and putting it up several times. There are many fixed bridges along the route that you can not go under, many as low as 18'.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:28   #5
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Mast

Actually, you only have to remove the mast twice to make the most of this trip. First remove the mast at Albany NY. There are three main possible routes.
1. Erie Canal to Buffalo NY. Restep the mast. Cruise Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Michigan enroute to Chicago. Side trips are possible to the Finger Lakes, Lake Erie's western island and Georgian Bay's North Channel.
2. Erie Canal and Oswego Canal to Oswego NY on Lake Ontario. Restep the mast. This adds trips to Toronto and the Welland Canal a big ship canal. The problem with both these routes is that you are sailing against the prevailing Westerly winds and especially Lake Erie has few natural harbours.
3. Lake Champlain, Chambly Canal, St. Lawrence River, Ottawa River, Rideau Canal and the Trent Severn Waterway. Restep the mast at Port Severn ON.
This is the most scenic route by far and bypasses almost all of the westerly slogging. It problem is draft. Over 5 feet will not work if the water is low and even so will be touch and go. After restepping the mast cruise Georgian Bay's Inside Small Craft Passage through the 60 Thousand Islands and then The North Channel.

At Chicago the Mast must come down again until through the TennTom Waterway.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:34   #6
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Billyehh, That is OK but how about the route south from there to Mobile Alabama? The Mississippi is really not an option for the loop.
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Old 07-07-2008, 17:59   #7
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You're right. I am not as familiar with this area, but from what people have told me is to go down the Mississippi to the Ohio and upstream about 70 miles to the entrance of the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway. This a much more cruiser friendly than the Mississippi. It exits at Mobile.
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Old 07-07-2008, 18:42   #8
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Thanks for the information, I had never heard of the Tennesse Tombigbee Waterway, but after reading about it it does sound like a good alternate. I noticed that Billyehh is from Toronto, myself I am located in Oakville. Any comments concerning the Catalina 38 vs 40?
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Old 07-07-2008, 21:32   #9
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You don't say where you would be starting your trip but I am guessing somewhere on Lake Ontario? Your mast must come down in Chicago and I would recommend the southern entrance into the Illinois River (Cal-Sag) vs. the Chicago River thru downtown. It is less busy with barge traffic. It gets a little busy about 25 miles in where the two come together so make sure you leave with enough time to get past this bottleneck. After that it is no problem. Your draft will not be a problem on the river. The only draft issue you may face is entrances into marinas. many of these are set up for houseboat/powerboat/fishing skiffs and may have a 4-5 foot limit. Some may have a fuel dock accessible from the channel. A friend went down the Mississippi and on through the Tenn Tom with a seven foot draft with no problem. Your only exposure to the Mississippi would be from Grafton to the Ohio River entrance. The current here may be the strongest you will encounter, luckily you are going with it. Stay in the channel. If you have to anchor in this section proceed to the shore slowly, avoiding the wing dams that are marked on the chart. These are underwater structures used to channel the flow of the river. Depending on water level you may spot them by a disturbance in the water, other times you will see no evidence of them. On a very low water year they may show on the surface. . By all means take the Tenn Tom. Do not even consider the lower Mississippi.
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Old 24-02-2009, 05:15   #10
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Old 14-04-2010, 08:24   #11
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I am in the planning stage for the great loop and have hope to set off within weeks,

I would like to know what Charts do people use for the fiver parts of the trip, Right now I use Maptech and have everything but the rivers from the great lakes down.

I did see that Maptech has charts for Region 18,19 and 20 but I have not been able to find a place to buy them online of if they are electronic or paper.


Thank you,

Dutch
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