Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 20-04-2009, 15:26   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 25
NYC to Chicago Questions

I am considering purchasing a boat on the East Coast next year and I have a few questions. Approximately how long would it take to sail back to Chicago from NYC, via the Hudson and the Erie Canal. I would obviously need to motor up the river until I get to the Great Lakes, but from there I would like to primarily sail. I realize this is one of those questions that has no solid answer, but could this be done in a week? 2 weeks? A month? How many nautical miles is it?

My other question is about bridge clearance. What is the highest air draft acceptable for doing this trip without taking the mast down?

Thank you very much for your help. -Jake

somasized is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2009, 03:43   #2
Moderator Emeritus
GordMay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 29,381
Images: 240
You might make an express delivery (NYC to Chi) in as little as 20 days, but it would be brutal.
Because of speed limits, the Erie canal (Troy to Buffalo) alone, will take at least 5 days.

The clearances for navigating under bridges over the Canal System are:
New York State Canals: Excursions and Vacations: Boating on the Canal: Bridge Height Tables
Three Rivers Junction to Tonawanda 15.5 feet

The Cruising Guide to the New York State Canal System is available ($20) at:
New York State Canals: Excursions and Vacations: Boating on the Canal: Purchase the Original Cruising Guide

Check out the Free Guide (& links):
Main Page - NY Canals - Guide to New York's Erie, Oswego, Champlain, and Cayuga-Seneca Canal System

Distances between US ports:

Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

GordMay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2009, 03:52   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,259
The quickest I've heard of NYC to the Black River was ~7 days via the St Lawrence. Big boat and a pro crew running 24/7.
Joli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2009, 05:44   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 25
Thanks guys. Those links are great Gord, particularly the US port PDF. I'm sure I will end up consulting that a lot. -Jake
somasized is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2009, 10:15   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Cayuga Lake NY - or on the boat somewhere south of there
Boat: Caliber 40
Posts: 929
5 days is pushing it on the canal but you might be able to do it. on the other hand, there isnt much traffic and it goes through some nice places. Free places to tie up or with only a nominal cost when there is an electric hookup. But you cant go at night so that will slow you down a bit. And taking the mast down and putting it back up will take some time and money too.

also, if you need to do it, there are places you can leave your boat with no problem at all if you need to break the trip up. the canal never has rough water, most places are very safe and the towns are dying to have boaters use their facilities.
sck5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 15:41   #6
Registered User

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Boat: Fountaine Pajot Venezia 42 - Cat-A-Tonic
Posts: 6
I've done the leg from Sandusky to Chicago

I've done the leg from Sandusky to Chicago, that's about 7 days with one overnight run on Huron, and one overnight run on lake Michigan. One thing we learned the hard way was that there are a lot of logs and tree trunks in lake Huron near the southern end as you come out of the Detroit River. We hit a 15 feet long tree trunk head on at 7.5 knots. It had about a 2 foot diameter, no joke. In our catamaran it made a loud noise for sure but amazingly no damage at all. It just rolled under the boat. We could not believe the size of the thing. Anyway if we were in a power boat it would have taken the props or the outdrive off. So keep an eye on the water for debris. We didn't see anything like that in lake Michigan.

I'd figure a solid 2 weeks for that trip.

Best of luck,

Cat_A_Tonic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-07-2009, 19:47   #7
Registered User
S&S's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Boat: 48' 1963 S&S yawl
Posts: 851
Images: 6
For us, from Rockport ME to Chicago was 3 solid weeks via the St Lawrence.
S&S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2009, 07:19   #8
Registered User
mnrsail's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Liveaboard since July '06.
Boat: 35' C & C Landfall
Posts: 10
Hey Jake,

If you take the Erie Barge canal, of which I'd recommend, the mast needs to come down. There are several places along the Hudson to get it lowered. (The maximum air daft is something like 19 feet). I'd plan on a week, and enjoy this section some. It's a nice area with friendly, accommodating people. Once in the Lakes, wind direction permitting (somewhat difficult on Erie), I'd put in some overnights and just get it done. Yes, there is always the chance of debris in rivers as Chris mentioned. But if you're in a hurry, I'd recommend traversing the rivers at night. The ships and barges are actually easier to see at night, along with the shipping lanes. This would help maximize you're sailing time on the Lakes. Ten days overall on the Lakes should be sufficient, depending on your abilities and what you do with the weather that comes your way.

Good Luck,


mnrsail is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Looking for a good shipwright/yard near NYC GB Man Construction, Maintenance & Refit 12 25-08-2015 17:21
Questions about the Hudson River and NYC Kriscappiello Other 2 31-01-2010 13:00
Liveaborad Marinas Near NYC? swabbmob Liveaboard's Forum 24 28-10-2007 22:53
Long Island Sound - NYC turkish6 Navigation 9 04-10-2007 16:00
NYC liveaboards on NPR sneuman Liveaboard's Forum 0 24-05-2007 04:02

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:58.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.