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.