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Old 18-01-2016, 07:28   #1
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Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

This isn't one of the busier forums here, but I may change that a bit =)

I am bitten by the sailing bug! It happened on a 60' Catamaran after a snorkeling adventure. My son was sleeping on the trampoline and all I could hear was the wind and the waves, it felt amazing.

I was looking to buy a family cottage on a lake since I love water (and grew up in the Muskokas) but this puts that plan on hold. I have a summer to sort if I want a cottage, or a boat that I can sleep on (and take my cottage with me).

Caribbean cruising full time isn't a reality for me, but I live in Kingston, Ontario (Canada) right on the footsteps of the St Lawrence, 1000 Islands, and Lake Ontario.

SO, Step 1: I am taking a Marine Mechanic course (part time, evenings) at the local college. From most of what I have read, boats are a better hobby if you are handy. While it is an introductory course, figured some knowledge is better than none =)

Step 2: I am taking a 6 day, live-aboard monohull basic sailing course early May on a 30' boat. Jumping right in!

Step 3: Researching and Reading anything and everything I can =)Asking questions and absorbing.

So, Cruisersforum nice people, I have a couple starter questions about where I live and cruising there =)

1) What sized boat specifically for the 1000 islands and Kingston area? I heard smaller is better for the islands and I think much of what I read on these forums at least is to get the smallest boat that fits your needs. Wasn't sure if there was a better or worse size for weekend living and trips to Brockville one way, and Picton the other.

2) Buy a boat to get sailing experience or are there enough sailors in the area who would be happy to have a crewman on board? Trying to sort out the best way to learn. (I know its a bad time to buy a boat right now since they are priced in USD and the dollar is so brutally bad currently).

3) Any general tips or suggestions on how to spend my winter preparing for my summer? *Grin*

Thanks!

Chris
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Old 18-01-2016, 11:11   #2
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Founts,
1 + 2/ Buy a cheap 22 to 27 foot sailboat, they are many in your area, and sail it for a year. Big enough to sleep on, and take a guest or two. If you don't like it after a year, you can put it up for sale, and buy the boat you KNOW you want.

Example: ( no connection ) 26ft-grampian-sailboat for $1500 349 Wellington Street, Kingston, ON
26ft. Grampian Sailboat | sailboats | Kingston | Kijiji

3/ Look for one on a trailer, or look for a marina with available slips. I know the marina in Iriquois has room, or the marina just west of the Belleville Yacht club. I don't know of openings in Kingston, but try Treasure Island, east of Kingston.
That is something to keep you busy till April.

I spent a month last year sailing in your area, and wow, is it beautiful!
( there is even free WiFi when you anchor in Wapoos! )
Keep reading the forum!
- Kim
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Old 18-01-2016, 11:39   #3
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

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Originally Posted by Founts View Post


1) What sized boat specifically for the 1000 islands and Kingston area? I heard smaller is better for the islands and I think much of what I read on these forums at least is to get the smallest boat that fits your needs. Wasn't sure if there was a better or worse size for weekend living and trips to Brockville one way, and Picton the other.

2) Buy a boat to get sailing experience or are there enough sailors in the area who would be happy to have a crewman on board? Trying to sort out the best way to learn. (I know its a bad time to buy a boat right now since they are priced in USD and the dollar is so brutally bad currently).

3) Any general tips or suggestions on how to spend my winter preparing for my summer? *Grin*

Thanks!

Chris
Hi Chris and welcome to the forum.

As to #1...It depends on where you will be spending your time, Lake Ontario or 1000 Islands.

They are quite different waters, Lake Ontario is open, windy and can kick up some big waves, where the 1000 Islands is a river and behaves as one and can get fairly windy also, but there are lots of islands to use to help block the wind.....1856 actually....LOL

The biggest issue in the 1000 Islands is the draft of your vessel, there are lots of shoals and some areas where there will be 50 feet of water below and suddenly 5 feet then back to 50 feet. These aren't marked with bouys but are on charts and with the level changing the 5 can become 4 feet and if you have a deep keel, crunch.

I have a 36 foot powerboat and my draft is about 4 feet when loaded, so some of the rocks and shoals aren't as concerning as with a full keel sailboat.

The biggest issue with size is getting dock space on a Parks island.

Some are only about 4 feet deep, but most have good depth.

Another thing to consider is docking space...it's more difficult to find space for a bigger boat as apposed to a small one.

But there are quite a few good anchorages if you want.

As to #2, I don't know about crewing on a boat, all the sailing people I know bring their crew with them.

And as you will discover, it is a buyers market and will continue to be until the economy turns around, so buy, buy, buy.

And #3, research boats, learn as much as you can about sailing.

Good Luck
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Old 19-01-2016, 07:36   #4
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

This is a terrific are to get your keel wet. That 26 foot Grampian...well one could do worse than a Grampian. Smallish sailboats are handy to sail, often rigged for single handing and yet have room for weekends or couple of weeks cruising. I have known more than one person that has lived full time on those small Grampians.
You should have no difficulty finding a suitable boat at this time, just get a survey,and perhaps a trusted second set of eyes.
There is lots of sailing in islands, the reaches and into the county, lots of wind and weather conditions to learn on and most of all lots of fun. Look forward to seeing you out on the water.
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Old 19-01-2016, 08:01   #5
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Thanks for the repl(ies)!

Good to know under 30' is ok - a few friends told me that anything under 30' (in a powerboat) isn't ideal in the area.

I want to do both, 1000 islands and Ontario, but will keep in mind a shallow keel.

Its funny, I set a pretty healthy budget but would probably be way smarter to go small and cheap for a year just to get my feet (umm wet? probably a bad analagy to use! ) to get some.. wind in my sails? =P That better?

Appreciate the thoughts and insights =)
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Old 19-01-2016, 10:20   #6
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Well just to start the topic good luck with your journey!! I started playing with boats in my teens now I'm 55 still learning?? Sounds like your on the right path. My wife and I cut our teeth on a Bristol 29 on Lake Erie last ten years . Living on it at our marina in the summer and cruising all over Lake Erie both sides for 2 to 3 weeks a year. Great learning how to handle the boat and the crazy weather!!! Last year we moved up to a 37 footer so we can go down the the icw and explore more??? In the winter months instead of just dreaming of sailing about it for 5 months of the year. I think the 29 is just the right way to go we have shallow draft with centerboard.can get in skinny water and still go to the wind .sounds like you have a great place to sail and learn the ropes haha.hey if you ever need to talk about sailing or boats and stuff give a ring gotta go shovel more snow for now


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Old 21-01-2016, 11:14   #7
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Also note that there are boats available for charter on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain - another way to get experience and see some different areas. After considering the pros and cons of boat ownership that's the approach I plan to take for now. The biggest challenge at the moment is finding friends who are interested in sharing the fun and costs.

Although if I lived in Kingston my decision might have been different. It's actually the nearest place where I would be interested in having a boat in the water, but right now that would mean a 4 - 5 hour round trip each time I wanted to visit it.
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:22   #8
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Member "1000 Islands" offered great advice and gave important points to consider.

You'll want to know how to anchor properly and read charts.

The best way to cruise and enjoy the Thousand Islands region is to follow another boat that knows the area. It is not for the light-hearted or novice to pick through the area. A cruiser with experience in the area can show you how to get to popular places as well as hidden holes.

You don't want to rely on having to dock all the time. A more pleasant experience is nights at anchor. But to explore the wonderful islands you'll need a dingy of some sort.

Also, read up on the history of the area so places have meaning. Right in Kingston harbor is a historic War of 1812 wreck that can be snorkeled. Carleton Island was the center of French, the British, shipbuilding! Of course there is also Boldt Castle.

Natural wonders include Featherbed shoal, which makes a great place to swim, fish, and play on a hot windless day. Most people avoid it, many fear it- but if you know about it, you can love it! Endymion Island is well known and popular- but the "unknown" north shore has beautiful anchorage. Main Duck is one of my favorite places- but it's not too popular to those who hate snakes.

So whatever you do, latch onto somebody who will let you follow them around your first year.
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Old 25-01-2016, 11:35   #9
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

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Member "1000 Islands" offered great advice and gave important points to consider.

You'll want to know how to anchor properly and read charts.

<<snipped for shortening, but read thoroughly!>>

So whatever you do, latch onto somebody who will let you follow them around your first year.
Thanks Tetepare. That makes perfect sense, and will also help greatly with confidence no doubt. That was part of my mindset about finding skippers who could use an extra hand. I need to start hanging out at the yacht clubs in my spare time =)

I also see the water really busy most the time so yeah, getting the right routes will be critically important.
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Old 25-01-2016, 11:58   #10
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Founts

Pretty much any of the boats for sale in the area are fine for the area. I know that's pretty general but there's a lot of cruising area variety. There are several clubs/marinas around Kingston and not too difficult to get a mooring at a reasonable price. 30ish feet is a good size for the lake and not too large for the islands, myself I like the lake more less motoring and fewer shallows but you still need to be up on your nav skills.

All in all a great place to sail out of.

Feel free to PM me if you want some specific info.
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Old 11-02-2016, 21:10   #11
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Founts Lucky you got the bug!

I'm guessing that the course you are taking is the Sail Canada basic cruising and it's excellent to get you started. If you can get the book in advance, that will lead you to other reading material and courses such as the coastal navigation course, which should be good for the area you want to sail in.

Then get a subscription to GAM magazine, or go to their web site which has a great classified section in CAD$ and with local boats for sale.

To hone your sailing skills, learning to sail a dinghy will teach you lots about the connection between wind, sail trim and how to steer.

Have fun! And dream.
Jim
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Old 12-02-2016, 06:18   #12
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Founts
Yes any of the boats mentioned should do, but how big is the family, do they share your passion. You mentioned being on a 60 foot cat which are spacious A 30 ft boat will seem small in comparison .
As to the area ,there are great sailing ,40 acres, north channel, the lake when you get some experience . The islands have lots of places to anchor . Most shoals are marked but have good charts and chart plotter will help. The Parks Canada islands and docks will set you back approx $4-500.or pay as you go.

Lots of good Marinas and Yc's from Gan to Kingston
Get a good survey if you decide to buy.most boats in the area are listed with Harris & Ellis check their web site also check out for private sales drive to all the places talk to the members they know which boats are for sale as well.
Good luck and enjoy the nice days out there and prepare for the bad
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Old 12-02-2016, 07:56   #13
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Today's Cruising Report for Kingston/ Thousand Islands:

Plenty of dockage available on the park islands.

Camelot and Endimyon anchorages far from capacity, lots of swing space.

Shipping traffic negligible so anchoring overnight in the channel is safe.

There is currently no vessels moored at Main Duck, and not a single snake has been spotted in months.

Water clarity is excellent. Boat wakes are nil.

Mostly sunny, light winds.
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Old 12-02-2016, 08:23   #14
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising

Chris, I believe that you have received excellent advice concerning starting out small. To that I would add - and sound. While a Grampian 26 at $1500. may be a great buy, I suspect it is in need of a massive refit. Do you reallly want to start the sailing experience for yourself and your family on a boat with a worn-out outboard that fouls the plugs at low rpm's and dies just as you are approaching the dock? Do you want to learn sail trim on a boat with blown-out sails? Do you want to worry about standing rigging that might fail, bringing the mast down?

Spend a little more, but get a boat that has been loved and well cared for. That has relatively recent sails, rigging and outboard and you will not regret it. Once you have looked at a few boats then post here for opinions on the pros and cons of specific models.

Welcome to the forum and good luck in your quest!

Brad
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Old 15-03-2016, 19:54   #15
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Re: Kingston (Ontario) Cruising


Hi Chris. I totally agree with Brad (above post). I sail out of Collins Bay. Will be launching about 1st of May and spend every nice day on the boat. I'm always looking for friends to sail with, so you're more than welcome.

Send me a PM and I'll send you my email.
David

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