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Old 16-07-2010, 10:14   #16
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Bill S, are you still in the Great Lakes to did you make it to the coast? Just curious what route to sea you are taking/took and what experience/advice you have for us for making the trip.

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Old 16-07-2010, 18:19   #17
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Cruising out of the Lakes

We choose to go out the St. Lawrence and are currently between Montreal and Quebec. We left Chicago May 22 and have about 1300 miles and 15 locks behind us. We are on a 39' sailboat. We traversed 4 of the great lakes, mostly in long offshore passages. Our goal is to get to the south part of the US east coast before the snow.

Pros to this route: Only route out where you do not have to take the mast down. After Quebec City it is natural, wild, undeveloped and not crowded. Nova Scotia, PEI, Saguenay, etc very beautiful. Fewer locks than the Erie. Cities along the way have been interesting (i.e. Montreal). 1000 islands was beautiful.

Cons to this route: Very long - 1000 miles longer than the Erie Canal. Lake Ontario to Quebec City is mostly motoring. Extreme tides from where I am now to Saguenay(18' @ Quebec City), must coordinate movement with ebb tide (spending a lot of time on passage planning). Water level is at record low making anchoring of keelboat difficult to not possible, consequently staying in Marinas a lot. Dealing with the Seaway locks & bridges a pain, but doable (their priority is commercial). Lots of commercial traffic, AIS a big help.

Note that coming into the lakes from the ocean via this route in a sailboat would be difficult, as there is strong adverse current part of the way (Sagueny to 1000 Islands), power boat would be easier.


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Old 16-07-2010, 20:02   #18
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Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
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Thanks for the film clip Sarafina. Had never seen that and hadn't heard Gordon Lightfoot sing this in 20 years. Lakers are generally built for short wavelength seas and withstand Great Lakes storms quite well because the waves are short (except on occasion on Lake Superior with its great depth and long fetch, witness the Edmund Fitzgerald). Many of these lakers were pressed into service for North Atlantic convoy duty during WWII and many never made it to the other side. They weren't sunk, they broke up because they were never built to be suspend between waves of roughly their own length. A high crest on the bow and the next crest on the stern, and repeated flexing... broke in two. I remember watching lakers pass, and dock when growing up in Toronto. I don't know if it's still the case, but insurance on commercial ships used to terminate Nov 15 and not reinstate until maybe April 15 on the Great Lakes. The Fitzgerald went down in November.
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Old 16-07-2010, 20:02   #19
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Bill I am sorry we didn't bump into eachother I was just up there shadowing your route. I just got done with a delivery from Sister bay, WI to Port Clinton, OH. I feel like I got a good taste for the lakes.

Now we are putting our 24 ft Blackwatch in up in Erie and starting a 3 month cruise down the Erie Canal. Since it is such a small boat we will be very cautious.
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Old 16-07-2010, 20:28   #20
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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
I found even the little 2-3 ft. square ankle-biters the most uncomfortable water I’ve ever sailed.
i live ten minutes from port burwell.gord your damn right.after a season in the bahamas with no seasickness, 3 footers standing straight up make my stomach beg for dry land.
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Old 17-07-2010, 04:04   #21
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Originally Posted by countrybimm View Post
... 3 footers standing straight up make my stomach beg for dry land.
3 footers standing straight up, and coming from every direction (confused).
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"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?"

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Old 26-08-2010, 09:08   #22
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Not having anything to do with sailing Lake Erie, seeing that video of the Fitzgerald brings back some strong memories.

I was going to college in Sault ste Marie Ontario when the Fitzgerald went down. I remember the day well, dark n grey, slashing rain, just plain miserable. As the bus went down the hill toward the main drag of the Sault, we watched as the winds sucked windows out of the store fronts on some of the streets n I was happy to get home to a warm dry place. Over the next few days the news came out of the loss, and various boats went out looking for her. I had met a Tug captain who was tied up on the St Marie river, and went down the next day to see if he was going out and wanted a extra pair of eyes, so off we went. We found NOTHING. Searched for about 10 hrs, and saw zip. The following summer, my wife and I went put to Gros Cap, the point on the north shore at the entrance to Whitefish Bay. Huge rock cliff, sticks up about 150-200 feet over the water, with the most photographed tree in the world on top of it. (that was why we went, part of our photography class). A beautiful sunny day, the sun directly over head, and as you looked out over Lake Superior you could see the shadowy shapes of 7 different wrecks arrayed around the base of the cliff. Lot of history down there, and a lot of lost souls who never made it home.

We do what we do because its in our blood. We challenge nature every time we go out. But it pays to keep in mind that Mother nature doesn't care. And she's a hell of a lot bigger than we are. So take all precautions, and go dance with Mother.

SV Sabre Dance, Roberts Offshore 38
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Old 26-08-2010, 09:59   #23
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I was out sailing (crew) on lake erie friday night, at one point the wind went from 15 to 3 knots and the starboard tack was netting us 1knot of boat speed, port tack was for whatever reason getting us 3kts. Passed 60 ft off the windward shore of gull point ,presque isle with a foot under the keel. that is my only memorable sailing experince on lake erie. In presque isle bay last night we got a squall that bumped the wind speed from a steady 12 to 25 knots. I have no idea why the skipper didn't want to reef, he was having problems with an overpowered helm.

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