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Old 07-12-2019, 04:50   #1
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Lake huron to lake erie

Hi!
Taking my 38' sailboat from lake Huron ( sarnia) to lake erie ( buffalo). Hard to find information on the space between the lake specifically
St Clair River
Lake Sr Clair
Detroit River
What cruising guide is available?
Mast height ok?
Anybody make the trip can give us a run down?
What guides are available for this section?
Thanks!!
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:43   #2
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

Unless your mast is higher than a freighter .. lol .. then that's fine.
Captain bob's guides are good, along with AC and waterway guides.
If your doing this in the spring , you will be riding some pretty strong currents down , especially at the north end.
In the Detroit river especially , watch your depth outside the channel - but then again , the same thing applies to the west end of Lake Erie . Not much on the Canadian side after leamington on Erie.
When is the time frame you are doing this?
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:54   #3
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Talking Re: Lake huron to lake erie

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Originally Posted by Svsumurun View Post
Unless your mast is higher than a freighter .. lol .. then that's fine.
Captain bob's guides are good, along with AC and waterway guides.
If your doing this in the spring , you will be riding some pretty strong currents down , especially at the north end.
In the Detroit river especially , watch your depth outside the channel - but then again , the same thing applies to the west end of Lake Erie . Not much on the Canadian side after leamington on Erie.
When is the time frame you are doing this?
Our boat is in Bayfield now. Will do the North Channel in summer then make the above mentioned trip mid august, early sept. Winter in Buffalo.
Whats the time line from Sarnia to Lake Erie?
Lol@mast height....fair enough. Guess I dont need to worry about that then.
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:17   #4
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

Depends if you are in delivery or cruising mode... a couple days in delivery mode .. once in Lake Erie , a lot of those ports at that end are pretty shallow , especially that time of year, so I would try to time it to get to leamington or the islands after you leave the river .
Sept winds start to fill back in usually , so you'll be able to sail the lake.
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:35   #5
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

Ok. Thanks! I used to sail out of Dover, Lake Erie can be a bit of a surprise sometime!
Any pointers / hints re the rivers? Lake st clair?
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:43   #6
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

The Lake St Clair system (St. Clair River 40mi , Lake St. Claire 26mi, Detroit River 28mi) is a link in the St. Lawrence Seaway system, and is the busiest shipping waterway in the world. With over 5,000 ships transiting each year, it is busier than both the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal combined.
The current ranges from 3.5 kts to 6.0 kts, but can vary considerably due to lake levels.
The 2 bridges on the route (Ambassador Bridge at Windsor-Detroit, Bluewater Bridge at Sarnia-Port Huron) allow significant air draft and pose no problems for recreational sailors.
Every ship shall maintain a continuous VHF Radio listening watch on:
(a) channel 11 between Lake Huron Cut Lighted Buoy “11” and Lake St. Clair Light; and
(b) channel 12 between Lake St. Clair Light and Detroit River Light.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:47   #7
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

Having sailed out of Lake St Claire many times, what I recall is the heavy ship traffic when you reach the Detroit River. Keep a constant eye out for what's bearing down behind you.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:01   #8
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

From Sarnia, we usually stop in Detroit. Anchor on the south side of Peche Island or stay in the harbor at Windsor. If you are entering the US, we've stayed at Grosse Pointe YC, Bayview YC and Detroit YC (be sure Detroit directs you to a dock near sailboats. It was very shallow near the powerboat dock they initially sent me to. Probably better with the high water this year).

2nd day is to Leamington, Peele Island or Middlebass Island.

We have done Pt. Huron to Cleveland trying to beet strong east winds in ~27 hrs. Would have been ~22hrs if we had beat the wind shift.

The current will help going down the rivers but a south wind can create an annoying chop.

Charts are easy to follow - I use Richardson's chart book in the rivers. The Great Lakes Cruising Club is a wonderful resource. It was invaluable in the North Channel and Lake Superior before the cruising guides started covering the the lakes.

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Old 07-12-2019, 10:46   #9
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

Great stuff!! Thanks. On the Detroit River....what is " the tube" about?
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:57   #10
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

I sail out of Sarnia, you'll love the ride down river with the current.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:08   #11
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

We did the trip a few years ago. It's not hard. Watch the channel through the rivers and Lake St. Claire. The currents can run high through the rivers, but you're going the right way (downstream). Traffic can also be heavy, but a good watch and AIS can make it easy. Bridge heights are no issue for your boat.

For guides I think we used Waterway Guide and Ports. Online look at Waterway Explorer. It's great for marina info and any current alerts.
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Old 07-12-2019, 15:25   #12
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

There are several decent anchorages on the Canadian side if you don't feel like staying in marinas or crossing the border:

- Bassett channel, between Bassett and Squirrel islands, just off the main shipping channel in St Clair river before you go into Lake St. Clair. A bit of current but good holding and quite scenic;
- North tip of Bois Blanc (BoBlo) island in the south end of Detroit river
- Erieau on Lake Erie - anchor just east of the channel as soon as you enter Rondeau Bay. Sand bottom and good swimming. Brewery and restaurant in town.

From there east I don't think there are any more good places to stop in Canada (except maybe Port Stanley)...so I would probably cross over and follow the south shore...or go straight to Buffalo.
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Old 07-12-2019, 16:24   #13
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

It should be a relatively easy downhill/downstream journey. Take your time in the N Channel- as this has some beautiful cruising areas. In the St Claire/Detroit River section, we enjoyed exploring Belle Isle. In Lake Erie, we also had a nice time in Port Clinton (repairs and provisioning). Cleveland, while not the most scenic place, has a few decent marinas to stay in and surprisingly good cuisine within walking distance of the harbors. Outside of electronic/paper charts, we find Active Captain to have lots of useful info. Safe travels and have fun!
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:20   #14
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
The Lake St Clair system (St. Clair River 40mi , Lake St. Claire 26mi, Detroit River 28mi) is a link in the St. Lawrence Seaway system, and is the busiest shipping waterway in the world. With over 5,000 ships transiting each year, it is busier than both the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal combined ...
OOOPS! Busy, but not nearly busiest. Suez and Panama each see more shipping traffic than the St Clair.
As brendanwalls pointed out, in a PM, “the English Channel, La Manche, is the busiest seaway in the world with 500 ships a day”.
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Old 08-12-2019, 21:55   #15
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Re: Lake huron to lake erie

Hi
I did this trip earlier this year on a 35 foot boat.
Watch the currents under the Bluewater Bridge. I travel just outside the channel as much as possible, watch your charts and watch for freighters. I went from Bayfield to an anchorage behind Stag Island. From Stag to an anchorage at Peche Island. Peche to Pelee Island anchorage south of ferry wharf . I had to stop in both Erieau and Port Stanley for repairs.Port Stanley to Bluff Bar anchorage around Long Point. Bluff Bar to Port Maitland, anchored up the river( lots of water) Port Maitland to Port Colbourne where I took my mast down ( $3.50 cdn as opposed to $7.50 us)per foot. Then across to Buffalo and into the Erie canal.
You can download chart 14853 (Port Huron to Lake Erie) and 14786 (New York Canal System) for free from NOAA
My travelling time on the water was 8 days Bayfield to Buffalo (although I had to haul in Port Stanley for 10 days)
I hope some of this helps
Cheers
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