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Old 05-04-2016, 09:23   #1
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Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

We intend to transit the Erie Canal this summer.

I'm considering having the mast shipped Northbound.

Any recommendations, war stories, warnings?

In particular any good recommendations for a particular shipper? And advice on receiving the mast in Oswego.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:12   #2
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

Not worth the trouble.

They have a free crane at Castleton on Hudson to pull it and tons of A frame braces lying around to stick the mast on deck.

Takes so little effort and time and is completely free.


First marina on the right after the last bridge is a good spot to re step. They'll keep your A frames and give them to others going South.

It's goung on constantly, so it's very routine.
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:58   #3
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

Thanks for the info. I'll call them.
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Old 06-04-2016, 07:04   #4
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
We intend to transit the Erie Canal this summer.

I'm considering having the mast shipped Northbound.

Any recommendations, war stories, warnings?

In particular any good recommendations for a particular shipper? And advice on receiving the mast in Oswego.
Its VERY expensive to have your mast shipped. I enquired last summer as the hauler I used to get my boat from annapolis to Grand Island is also one of the shippers that does the mast haulling between Oswego and Troy Ny. the cost for this service...sit down...$2000 one way! not including your fees to de-step/step the mast

stick the mast on supports and bring it with you!
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Old 06-04-2016, 07:24   #5
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

I tried calling them. My he phone rings, beeps and whistles before going to a fax.

Guess I'm too early in the season.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:13   #6
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

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I tried calling them. My he phone rings, beeps and whistles before going to a fax.

Guess I'm too early in the season.

Thanks again.
Are trying to call Oswego Marina? Try 315-343-1967 If that number doesn't work, try calling the Port of Oswego Authority, they run the marina, 315-343-4503.

They should be around getting boats ready to get in the water. Fishing season starts soon. While the Oswego Marina is operated by the Port Authority, it is really a 2 person business run by a husband and wife with part time summer help. Sometimes it can be hard to get ahold of them.

It is pretty easy to carry the mast on deck with a couple of cradles. At both ends there are lots of different cradles that have been sort of abandoned. The wood ends up in a pile, next boat through takes some wood and leaves it at the other end. When I moved my boat from Buffalo to Oswego, picked up a cradle that had come from Albany to Oswego, then took it to buffalo in my truck and brought back on the boat. By the end of summer it was gone again...

Moving around the deck is easier if you take the spreaders off. Pick a side to go through the locks and use that side all the way through, much easier than swapping fenders and lines. Cheap work gloves reduces the yuck factor when going through the locks, the walls are slimy.

Only place to be concerned about with the mast on deck is Oneida Lake. It is ~22 miles long and shallow. If the wind comes up from the west, it can get pretty choppy. Pick a calm day.
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:36   #7
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

Cruisersfarm is correct. Castleton is a small member operated facility. It would be early to reach them, except perhaps on a weekend. Docks are just getting back in the water. Another facility with similar abilities would be Catskill, a couple miles south opposite side of the Hudson from Castleton. They have paid staff and charge a fee for service.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:23   #8
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

Definitely take your mast with you. There may be a lock or two that requires mooring on a specific side, so if you do put your mast on the port side (to moor to starboard), wrap the butt and masthead with carpet or old rags in case the current swings your rig into the cement lock wall. Enjoy the trip!
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:04   #9
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

What size boat do you have? As I understand it, the crane at Castleton handles masts for smaller boats. If you need a larger crane, try Hop-o-nose marina in Catskill, NY (West side of Hudson). Presume that you are entering the Canal from Lake Ontario, since you mentioned the Oewego. If leaving from Lake Erie, use Wardell's Boat Yard at Tonawanda, NY. Both have boneyards of scaffolding and sawhorses to brace your mast. For a modest fee, each place will step/unstep your mast - but you will be responsible to secure it to the boat.

Be careful to transit Lake Oneida early, in the calms. It is shallow and can get quite rough at times. More than one poorly secured mast is at its bottom. Good luck.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:15   #10
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

I did the same thing about 18 years ago northbound, delivering a C&C 35 fr BVI to Toronto. The mast thing was very easy to do, but at that time there wasn't a crane (or at least I didn't find it). I found a tow truck driver randomly on the street, offered him a case of beer, and he brought his truck and pulled the mast for us. Before that he took me to home depot to buy 2x4's to make braces to support the mast on the deck; and then after dropping the mast perfectly in them, he sat and shared the case of beer with us in the cockpit. Excellent guy, wonderful memories.

Loved the canal run too. Very nice juxtaposition of experiences on that run: tropics to downtown manhattan, Hudson river to Troy, Canals and locks and backwater towns who had seen better days (great dingy pool halls and sketchy (but fun) bars along the way... was a real rural NY state experience.); then the restepping and trans-lake Ontario. real smorgasbord of experiences. You'll love it i hope... but then that was 18 years ago.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:16   #11
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

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What size boat do you have? As I understand it, the crane at Castleton handles masts for smaller boats.
I don't know...

I pulled a 60' keel stepped spar singlehandedly with that crane.

Should be ok for most boats.

Hint: you aren't grabbing the top of the mast
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:32   #12
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

I'm 33' LOD. 35'LOA. 43' air draft with a deck stepped mast. So the mast is maybe 38' long. I have a nice gallows just in front of the cockpit so I could use that as one support, tie the mast to it.

Just worried about hitting walls.

We are Northbound.
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:42   #13
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

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I'm 33' LOD. 35'LOA. 43' air draft with a deck stepped mast. So the mast is maybe 38' long. I have a nice gallows just in front of the cockpit so I could use that as one support, tie the mast to it.

Just worried about hitting walls.

We are Northbound.
By the time you reach Oswego, the locks will be a piece of cake. Actually by the time you get out of the Waterford Flight, the locks will be a piece of cake.

When I went through I always took the port wall. The stern walks to port in reverse so it was easy to come alongside the lock wall.

One other thing, bring a spare boat hook.......
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:46   #14
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
We intend to transit the Erie Canal this summer.

I'm considering having the mast shipped Northbound.

Any recommendations, war stories, warnings?

In particular any good recommendations for a particular shipper? And advice on receiving the mast in Oswego.
Call me silly, but I believe the Canal runs East and West.
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Old 06-04-2016, 13:07   #15
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Re: Mast shipping Erie Canal: Albany to Oswego

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Call me silly, but I believe the Canal runs East and West.

Well, the NY State Canal, formerly known as the Erie Canal, runs east and west from Albany to Buffalo. However, to get to Oswego and Lake Ontario, one must take the Oswego Canal from Three Rivers (near Syracuse) north to Oswego.

Further down the canal, you can go south along the Cayuga Canal and visit Ithaca and Watkins Glen.

Or if you miss the turn at Waterford, you'll end up going north on the Champlain Canal, eventually ending up on Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence river.

So, yes, from Albany to Oswego one heads west and then north.
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