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Old 30-04-2019, 10:57   #1
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Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

Hi!


I need to move our boat (37ft sailboat) from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario, and I'm trying to decide which route to go. I can either go north via the Cambly Canal and into the St-Laurence seaway, or south through the Champlain and Erie Canals.



I would prefer to go north as I live in Montreal, so will be passing closer to home and I think it would be fun too. That said I'm really having a hard time finding information as to how much current there is along the seaway? I usually average 5 knts when I cruise, but I've seen some mentions of 8 knots of current? (that I would have to go against) How do people sail/motor up the St-laurence?


Is the St-Laurence a No-Go?


Thanks!
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Old 30-04-2019, 11:39   #2
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

St. Lawrence River is by far the more beautiful route. That said, right now Lake Ontario is at critical level and going up; they are increasing the outflow. Now is not the time to try to head west on StL. You'd be better to wait for July.
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Old 30-04-2019, 11:54   #3
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

Thanks for the info. Do you know how bad it would be on the St Laurence? I'm paying for docking in Kingston, Ontario this summer, so hoping to get there ASAP (otherwise I'm paying for docking a two marinas :O)


If I can't do St Laurence, there should be no issue using the Champlain/Erie Canals right?
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Old 30-04-2019, 13:26   #4
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

Iirc in the 2017 flood part of the canal was closed too.

Well for that matter so was Kingston. And Oswego and fairhaven and sodus and...
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Old 30-04-2019, 14:05   #5
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

I went downstream on the St. Lawrence in 2017 during the Lake Ontario flooding. I encountered a pretty consistent 2-4 knot additional current over normal flow rates. So at times we saw 5 or even 6 knots, although 3 to 5 was more common.

It was great for us. I doubt I would feel that way if I was going upstream.
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Old 30-04-2019, 18:54   #6
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

From what I understand of the currents in the St Lawrence, especially early summer, I would definitely go down to the Erie Canal and then out onto Lake Ontario at Oswego. You then have a straight shot over to Kingston.



I have not done the Canal but know many that have and they enjoyed it. Lots to see. You will be motoring, but you will be on the St Lawrence as well.


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Old 30-04-2019, 19:50   #7
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

Check to see about the opening date for any of the canals. It is later than it used to be for budgetary reasons. I have done both routes and each has its advantages but both were later in the season. One year we were going to Bermuda from Lake Ontario and had to go through Champlain because the Oswego/Erie was closed by high water. It was closed for two weeks as I remember. For the St Lawrence check current conditions. Right now they are trying to get as much water as possible out of the Ottawa River without making the Montreal flooding worse. To do this they are restricting flows from Lake Ontario. They can only do this for so long though so at some point a lot more water will be coming from LO.
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Old 01-05-2019, 10:29   #8
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

Here's the canal website New York State Canals




Pay special attention before you go, as if the water goes up they may close sections. Watch also Notice to Mariners for marine hazards (a few years ago two sailboats were pierced and sank by debris at the same location)


In summer 2017- when I'm guessing the outflow (eastward flow) was less than it is now (or will be for the next month) a Canadian inboard racing sailboat headed upriver spent a lot of time making 2.0 knots OG at full speed. They said it was an awful experience.
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Old 01-05-2019, 11:43   #9
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

If you want to take the Erie Canal it doesn't open until May 17 this year. Good news though fees are waived for recreational boaters until 2021.

You will need to take your mast down to go through the EC. I don't believe you need to take your mast down if you go through the Cambly Canal.

There is a counter current of ~1kt when traveling E to W in the EC, which would be a piece of cake compared to the St.L.

All things to consider.


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Old 01-05-2019, 12:07   #10
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

From the "Blue Seas Richelieu River - Chambly Canal" website

"Because of fixed bridges and overhead power lines, vessels with masts exceeding 26’ (8 meters) must un-step their masts. Northbound vessels may use the services at Saint-Paul-de-l'Íle-aux-Noix, Canada."

I guess the Erie canal is not the only one to require un-stepping of masts.
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:29   #11
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

Quote:
Originally Posted by mxtommy View Post
Hi!

I need to move our boat (37ft sailboat) from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario, and I'm trying to decide which route to go. I can either go north via the Cambly Canal and into the St-Laurence seaway, or south through the Champlain and Erie Canals.

I would prefer to go north as I live in Montreal, so will be passing closer to home and I think it would be fun too. That said I'm really having a hard time finding information as to how much current there is along the seaway? I usually average 5 knts when I cruise, but I've seen some mentions of 8 knots of current? (that I would have to go against) How do people sail/motor up the St-laurence?

Is the St-Laurence a No-Go?

Thanks!
I bought my boat when it was at Lake Champlain. I planned to bring it to Toronto via the canals (which I had done previously) or the seaway. Unfortunately time was a factor and I trucked it.... in the end the cost was not much more than if I had done it by water.
Skiper Bob's guide is very useful.

https://www.waterwayguide.com/shipst...products_id=63
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:45   #12
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

I've done this trip twice in the recent past

Late June 2016 Quebec City to Iroquois/Gananoque in a First 29
Day1 - Quebec to Trois Rivieres
Day 2 - Trois Rivieres to Varennes (anchor overnite)
Day 3 - Varennes to St. Zotique, through all locks + bridges in Montreal in a day (anchor overnite)
Day 4 - St. Zotique to Long Sault (anchor)
Day 5 (1/2 day) Long Sault to Iroquois

Sept 2017 - Contrecoeur to Cornwall in a CS34
Afternoon day 1 (1/2 day) - Contrecoeur to Longueil
Day 2 - Longuiel to St Zotique (again, thru Mtl in one day, never thought I'd ever repeat that feat)
Day 3 - St Zotique to Cornwall
The following weekend my buddy (the owner) finished the trip to Iroquois.

Fall 2017 trip, outflows at Moses Saunders were probably somewhere around 8000 m3/s and we managed without issue, felt like "normal spring" conditions

Entering St Lawrence at Sorel, you will have little/no tidal influence to worry about, just aim upstream and watch for freighters...

I don't think you'd have any issues in a First 375.

For what it's worth, the worst stretch of river is from Iroquois to Johnstown, can see 4.5-5kt current there. The ILOSLRB can provide you with a nice guestimate map of current based on water levels and flow rates @ Cornwall, if you ask nicely...

In spring 2017, when the dam was wiiiiddddeee open, I made the trip from Iroquois to Gan with a Contessa 26, 1GM and 2 blade prop. It was slow going, but clawed my way past Cardinal/Johnstown and made it the 55nm to Gan in 1 day (a 14 hour day...)

Cheers
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Old 01-05-2019, 13:00   #13
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

I have done both in my boat. I did the Erie Canal from Willsboro NY to Kingston in June 2012. Boring in the Erie and the freight trains at night can be noisy. Other than that painless. Good marina at Oswego to put the mast up. Do not try crossing Lake Ontario to Kingston with mast on deck. I like others here did the St Lawrence River in 2017 Kingston to Gaspe and return. We flew down to Quebec in 4 days, at 2000 rpm on the motor, never put up the sails, 11 and 12 knots speed. A bitch to return though. The tough spots for me coming back were Ile aux Coudres and Sorel which you should avoid in Erie route and also Valleyfield for the stretch above the Beauharnois locks to Lac St Francis. The dam at Cornwall required all of my 40 hp Yanmar to get up to the lock. I could not risk doing Chambly and Sorel route because I have 7 foot draft and Sorel says the mast raising area is only 5 foot guarantee. I was worried about stretches along the Richelieu R as well. MY boat is same size as yours. Remember in the locks that the mast and furler are much longer than the boat so it will stick out the front and back of boat when going thru the locks. That is the key thing to watch as you go thru the locks. You do not want your mast grinding on the old cement walls. Also I hung 2 x 4 's over my fenders to save them from the old dirty cement.
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Old 01-05-2019, 13:05   #14
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

Follow up: I put my boat in the water yesterday in Bath, Ontario. I live in Kingston. At this point in time the water level of Lake Ontario is lower than the peak of 2017. I would thumb suck it to be about 1 foot lower as we speak. I suspect it will eventually go higher than 2017. Of note in the river was the debris of docks, logs, etc moving down the river. They were dangerous and another reason to choose the Erie. I have seen debris out on the river already this year.
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Old 01-05-2019, 19:27   #15
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Re: Lake Champlain to Kingston, On

Do you need crew? I live in Kingston.

FWIW, I would take the canal. The river is all uphill and the locks are built for ships. You'll get plenty of time to see the islands once you start cruising out of your new dock in Kingston.

And if you see any decent boats for sale along the way, please let me know...I'm looking.

Edit: On second thought...truck. Not as expensive as you might think. Launch at Anchor Marina in Cape Vincent, so you aren't crossing the border on a truck (saves a lot of paperwork). You move the boat in ONE DAY. Think of all the costs associated with the trip, and the wear and tear on the boat as well. From Cape Vincent its an easy day sail into Kingston.
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