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Old 04-04-2011, 19:38   #1
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Toronto to Nova Scotia and Back... Maybe

Goona fire out a few quick questions out there and see what sticks.

We are considering an extended cruise down the St.Lawrence and beyond next summer, and I've got some preliminary questions to get out of the way to help us decide how feasible and practical the the trek is. Hopefully someone with some experience can help by answering a few starter questions.

How long does it take to get from Toronto to say Sydney, NS assuming a reasonable rate of travel? (No more than a day or so in any one place except, of course because of weather.) How about travel in the reverse direction?
What ratio of motoring to sailing would you expect on such a trip? What are the unique challenges involved?

While we are at it, other than the time involved, why do people travel the intercostal waterway instead of doing the St.Lawrence route?
How much time would it add to a trip to Bahama Islands going the St. Lawrence route? Why is it such a bad idea?

Sorry for the deluge of questions, but with the great info I've gotten in a short amount of time from CF, I'm hungry for more
Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:06   #2
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Re: Toronto to Nova Scotia and back... maybe

The Bahamas lie South of Canada, whilst the St. Lawrence River flows North and East.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:18   #3
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Re: Toronto to Nova Scotia and back... maybe

I too plan on doing this trip within the next couple years. I did some research on here and the one thing that stood out in my mind is not so much about the trip down to NS, but the return. With the current in the St Laurence you can expect to make COG of about 1 knot.

VERY slow. I still plan on doing the trip because it has been a goal since before I bought my boat, but may deter some.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:46   #4
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Re: Toronto to Nova Scotia and Back... Maybe

We are planning this as well, but I would head from Digby to NYC and "go up the stairs" to Oswego rather than back the way I came. No point in burning all that diesel head to wind, really.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:10   #5
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Re: Toronto to Nova Scotia and Back... Maybe

Do you have to drop your mast that way Alchemy?
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:45   #6
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Re: Toronto to Nova Scotia and Back... Maybe

Hello

The trip down the St Lawrence and through the Maritimes to NYC (and back to the Lakes) is referred to as The Down East Circle Route.

If you google that, loads of blogs come up by people who have made the trip.

The second edition of the Down East Circle Route cruising guide is coming out this spring. It is very detailed. It describes anchorages, ports, towns, fuel and lots of info about playing the river current. I would have to say, dont leave home without it. It can be ordered through yachtpilot publishing. their website is: Welcome to Yacht Pilot Cruising Guides

The distance from Kingston, ON to the Bras d'Or lakes is roughly 1000 nm so add a little more for Toronto and from Baddeck to Sydney. It is possible to stop every night at an anchorage or port. Then, if you need to, you can make longer passages once you are past Tadoussac--at the mouth of the Saguenay River.

In the summer, you should expect to motor a fair amount on the river. although the winds are prevailing westerly they are often light so not great sailing until the mouth of the St Lawrence and Northumberland str.

When doing the complete loop, the mast will have to be lowered on the Hudson River in order to transit the Erie or Champlain Canals. There are yacht clubs and marinas on the Hudson with do-it-yourself gin-poles for mast removal. the cost is only about $50 and same at the other end for re-rigging.

Hope this answers a few questions and sets you in the right direction for gathering data for your proposed cruise.

Don
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:58   #7
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Re: Toronto to Nova Scotia and Back... Maybe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captin_Kirk View Post
Do you have to drop your mast that way Alchemy?
Yes, but ours is rigged in a particularly sturdy tabernacle for just this reason.

Given the current and the prevailing winds, I just don't see a lot of reason to go up the St. Lawrence. Your own ideas may vary.

I see a lot of reasons to go DOWN it, however. Just be aware that the facilities in some places get a little basic. People I know who've done it say that New Brunswick and of course Cape Breton make it very much worth the length of the trip. You could easily spend the whole summer before you hit Halifax or the Bay of Fundy. RADAR is encouraged, as is AIS for the river.
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:14   #8
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Re: Toronto to Nova Scotia and Back... Maybe

Next summer is when we are planning to head down the St Lawrence, If you plan it with the tides and currents. Anchorages are good along the way and the eastloop has some great reading for working out an agenda and time frame. Of course to be modified as we actually embark the trip.
Coming back from what I have read most say the ICW is the preferred route but heading up the river can be done but you wil need a little more horsepower in the iron spinniker. More then what is needed to head down.
I gather its a couple three weeks depending on your itenary to Nova Scotia. So a full summer is an accurate guess for the full loop.
I have also read that some people have spent a month on the ICW as well, as thats a beautiful area as well.
all the best and just keep reading and working the numbers to your liking to make the trip as you see fit.
Bill
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Old 05-04-2011, 20:39   #9
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Re: Toronto to Nova Scotia and Back... Maybe

Thanks, some good info. I'll take marlinespike's advice and Google 'The Down East Circle Route' and see what pops up. I guess fighting the current back up the river has got to be one of the biggest roadblocks, but hey, it seems that the consensus is that if you're not in a hurry its doable.
So, 3 weeks down is a reasonable time? And what, 4-5 weeks back?
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Old 05-04-2011, 21:11   #10
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Re: Toronto to Nova Scotia and Back... Maybe

Side question
Where can I find a decent map online that show the intercoastal waterways in at least a little bit of detail. It seems that anything I've found online is extremely rudimentary, or they want you to buy a cruising guide (or 3). I'm not ready to buy a guide yet. I just want to see what's what. It shouldn't be this hard... sheesh.
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