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Old 27-05-2015, 14:21   #16
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

I found the trip up the Hudson, through the Erie Canal, and then the Great Lakes to be a wonderful end to my cruise - don't miss it!

As others have said, put the mast up for the Great Lakes. You will have a lot of good sailing west to east (not so much the other way), the boat will be more stable, and you won't lose the mast overboard (it happens more than you might think, particularly on Lake Oneida). When you do have the mast down on deck make certain it is supported - including sideways - at multiple points and lash well. Oneida is the main place that waves will be encountered on the Erie Canal, and it is very easy to be complacent until reaching it.

There are choices at both ends of the canal for pulling the mast. Craning is the easy part; you need those mast cradles to fit right and hold well. Consider making them up before leaving home. It is an easy job with a bit of lumber, but best done beforehand. The most common place to unstep on the western end is a yard on the left just at the first (impassable with stick up) bridge. I don't recommend there. There is another crane closer to the lock on the Niagara river which I would consider. On the east end you can pay a small fee at a yacht club and DIY; I did it but probably wouldn't do it again. There are also commercial yards further down the river.

The overhangs in the locks are not a problem. Passing through the locks is easy but do have adequate fenders (consider the spherical ones) and keep control of the bow and stern so that the boat doesn't twist in the lock. Not a problem really, but some people apparently have a short attention span... [I did the entire canal alone - helming and rope handling. It just isn't that hard.]

Finally, do schedule ample time for the passage through the Lakes, the Erie Canal, and the Hudson River. The area is beautiful, historical, and quite busy with recreational activities and festivals. It would be a shame to hurry through. Plan lots of time to smell the roses...

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Old 27-05-2015, 14:29   #17
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

I should elaborate on my comment about the spherical fenders. By having a large sphere both fore and aft, with the usual long fenders at amidships, the boat will present a straight contact to the lock wall and will not tend to yaw and risk hitting the mast into the wall. With all of the fenders the same size they will define a curve (the side of the boat) and won't resist twisting. Buy two big spherical fenders and use them often!

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Old 27-05-2015, 15:42   #18
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubstuff View Post
ebs001: If you consider taking a sailboat through the Erie Canal a "hassle," you must be an open-ocean, long-distance type cruiser. I respect that a lot; been there too. But the Great Lakes and the rivers and canals that connect to them are cruising destinations in their own right, not unlike European canals. OP said they wanted to cruise the Great Lakes and Erie canal, which are challenging in their own way, as well as being scenic, historic, and full of things to see and do and wonderful people. Why would a serious cruiser skip them by taking interstate highways?
I have done over 500 locks and thoroughly enjoy transiting canals but canals were never designed for sailboats nor sailboats for canals . I have done canals in houseboats, cruisers, runabouts and my sailboat. Of those sailboats are the worst. Not once in any are of the world have I seen sailboats for rent to cruise canals. Do you think there might be a reason?

The trip from Duluth to Buffalo or Oswego will also be a wonderful experience and sailboats are better suited than the others. However the o/p only says he wants to get to paradise and I was just suggesting an alternative.
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Old 27-05-2015, 16:50   #19
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

I'd suggest you offset your mast from the centerline, outboard opposite whichever side your prop walks to... i.e., if your prop walks to port, laying the mast along the starboard will make your life a LOT easier...


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Old 27-05-2015, 18:07   #20
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

Quote:
Originally Posted by anchorman View Post
You have great sailing in the Great Lakes, so leave the mast up until you get to Oswego, NY. YOu can take your mast down there and go through the Erie Canal and then step it in the Hudson River.
PS you can go through the Welland Canal with your mast up.

I built a trestle for my 60ft mast in the Oswego Marina from odds and sods lying around, no charge.
Then left it it at a marina on the Hudson.
You'll have no trouble with mast on deck in the canal providing it's held down securely.
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Old 27-05-2015, 18:41   #21
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

Take a look at this post regarding mast stowage: Erie Canal Actually the whole thread is relevant to the OP's question. [Note the two spherical fenders.]

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Old 27-05-2015, 19:02   #22
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

You cannot always tell which side you will moor on, so I would recommend placing the mast on the boat's centerline, not offset, which could cause a list in any case. That said, most of the OP's lockings will be down, very easy to handle, especially with the vertical mooring wires in the Erie system. Also, remember that its possible for various parts of the system to be shut down for weather or maintenance. Hurricane Irene closed locks 8-17 for weeks and ruined a lot of cruising plans. Lots of info and updates here: New York State Canals.
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Old 27-05-2015, 19:42   #23
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

When we left Michigan in August, we hurried towards the Erie with fear of another shutdown would happen like from Irene...then hurricane Sandy came and did the same thing (we were already down to Virginia at that point). It can happen so be prepared.

I love the Great Lakes and the Hudson River, but the Erie canal wasn't for us at all. We didn't find the towns that interesting or much different than any other rural village in the region. If we ever go back home to Michigan, we'll do the St Lawrence.

Oh yeah, the locks are no big deal with the mast on deck. Even easier if you're a shorter deck stepped mast.

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Old 27-05-2015, 20:05   #24
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

A little info on Cruising the NY State Canal System
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Old 27-05-2015, 20:36   #25
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

Quote:
Originally Posted by darylat8750 View Post
No worries on the overhang. It's done all the time. There are a couple of good places on the Hudson to put it back up.

Consider doing the Trent Severn waterway through Canada while you are in the area. It was one of the high spots for us. Georgian Bay is great. Midland Ont. Has several full service marinas.
I concur on Trent Severn. Sail into the NORTH CHANNEL and around the top of Lake Huron & down into Georgian Bay. At the foot of the Bay is the Trent Severn waterway. Make sure on your depth (don't know what you are sailing). There are about 70 locks covered with one low fee. Also of note is the Big Chute Marine Railway- look it up on Youtube. This rout avoids having to lock around Niagara Falls. You would then enter the Erie canal at Oswego on Lake Ontario.

We sailed to Houghton/Hancock in the Keweenaw last year from Lake Michigan. Locks at the SOO are free, efficient & quick. Many recommend the Lake superior northern (Canada) rout. We followed the Michigan shore. Kraft brewers in almost every village. You may wish to sail the Apostle Islands, transit the Keweenaw in the canal. The wall at the lift bridge permits free tie-up for as long as you want to stay. The East wall at the parking garage is convenient to a coffee shop with good food, free internet and public toilets. Brewery nearby. One other note on tie-up. The concrete jetties at both ends of the canal are designated anchorages. Also no charge. There are HUGE bollards back in the bushes. Plan on long lines. The one at the east end has a small boat launch on the south side. Short walk to pit toilets in the park.

Enjoy the view as you pass the Superior Islands.

In Marquette, we tied up at the wall in the south marina. Electric & water, toilets & showers Cinder Pond Park. Good food & three craft brewers nearby. The north basin is a tight squeeze for large boats.

Heading east, your next port is Munising. You can hike on Grand Isle or anchor in the south opening bay on Grand Isle. There is a public dock in Munising as well. Coffee shop with a fine library about a block away.

Plan the next leg to be able to loiter along Pictured Rocks National Seashore. If you have clear & calm this is an unforgettable view. We hovered pretty close to the rocks in dead calm.

Next port is Grand Marais. Anchor out in a well protected basin. There is some facility to dock transient boats but don't count on it. Dinghy ashore and eat at the Lake Superior Brewing Company. Great bar food & beer. Note the agate front windows. Agate is a locally found stone. Very excellent breakfast place opposite corner to the brewing company. Hubcap sized sticky buns.

We made the next run all the way to within sight of the locks and put down the hook on the US side in one of the bays off the channel.

Morning run was through the locks. You will probably be directed to the south lock. This is a total piece of cake. One warning - they get upset if you try to leave your boat or otherwise set foot on the property.

Just below the locks is Skipper Bud's on the Michigan shore just short of the museum ship. They let you tie up at a very low price for the day. We toured the museum ship, went up the tower (can't miss it). The power station below the museum ship is the longest horizontal turbine in the world. Note the fishermen casting into the turbine outflows for Atlantic salmon.

The down-bound current can be a couple of knots at some of the narrows. I recommend you DO stay in the marked main channel as there are rocky areas if you stray out. We found one near Detour Village. If you decide to anchor in any of the bays along the St. Mary's, be very alert for fisherman's nets and markers. These will be too shallow to avoid in a shallow bay. There are two places with ferry boats crossing the waterway. They wait for no one and seldom announce departures.

St Mary's deposits you into the North Channel, west end. Once you enter Canadian Water you will need to check in. I think the closest place will be Meldrum Bay. This is probably a phone call from the tiny, probably unoccupied immigration office. PASSPORTS ARE MANDITORY. Be sure you have the Canadian Hydrographic charts on your plotter &/or Paper charts. Get a cruising guide. Places of particular note here are the Benjamins, Baei Fine, both jewels in this vast place. In the back end of Baie Fine you can take a short hike to Topaz Lake and swim in the clearest, most sterile water ever. Copper leaching into the water prevents all algae, bacteria etc. The swimming was great. Many people spend the entire summer in the NC. The town of Little Current offers free day-dockage including water & power so that you will be encouraged to shop & eat.

If you follow the NC into Georgian Bay you will be mostly protected and you will always be able to find a sheltered anchorage. There is an ICW type of designated channel through parts of Georgian Bay. There will be places where this passes through rocky shallows.

If you do choose to transit Lake St Clair & Lake Erie, there are nice state docks at Put-In Bay on S. Bass. You might also plan a day in Cedar Point Amusement park. They have a marina. I used to race Lake Erie. I can attest that there are not a lot of interesting places but there are harbors with transient facilities all along. You can probably anchor inside the wall at the east end at Cleveland. That basin is adjacent to Lakeside YC. There is a large sheltered natural basin at Erie PA. Check it out on Google earth. You can anchor or tie up here.

Hope this helps your rout planning.
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Old 27-05-2015, 20:49   #26
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
I concur on Trent Severn. Sail into the NORTH CHANNEL and around the top of Lake Huron & down into Georgian Bay. At the foot of the Bay is the Trent Severn waterway. Make sure on your depth (don't know what you are sailing). There are about 70 locks covered with one low fee. Also of note is the Big Chute Marine Railway- look it up on Youtube. This rout avoids having to lock around Niagara Falls. You would then enter the Erie canal at Oswego on Lake Ontario.

We sailed to Houghton/Hancock in the Keweenaw last year from Lake Michigan. Locks at the SOO are free, efficient & quick. Many recommend the Lake superior northern (Canada) rout. We followed the Michigan shore. Kraft brewers in almost every village. You may wish to sail the Apostle Islands, transit the Keweenaw in the canal. The wall at the lift bridge permits free tie-up for as long as you want to stay. The East wall at the parking garage is convenient to a coffee shop with good food, free internet and public toilets. Brewery nearby. One other note on tie-up. The concrete jetties at both ends of the canal are designated anchorages. Also no charge. There are HUGE bollards back in the bushes. Plan on long lines. The one at the east end has a small boat launch on the south side. Short walk to pit toilets in the park.

Enjoy the view as you pass the Superior Islands.

In Marquette, we tied up at the wall in the south marina. Electric & water, toilets & showers Cinder Pond Park. Good food & three craft brewers nearby. The north basin is a tight squeeze for large boats.

Heading east, your next port is Munising. You can hike on Grand Isle or anchor in the south opening bay on Grand Isle. There is a public dock in Munising as well. Coffee shop with a fine library about a block away.

Plan the next leg to be able to loiter along Pictured Rocks National Seashore. If you have clear & calm this is an unforgettable view. We hovered pretty close to the rocks in dead calm.

Next port is Grand Marais. Anchor out in a well protected basin. There is some facility to dock transient boats but don't count on it. Dinghy ashore and eat at the Lake Superior Brewing Company. Great bar food & beer. Note the agate front windows. Agate is a locally found stone. Very excellent breakfast place opposite corner to the brewing company. Hubcap sized sticky buns.

We made the next run all the way to within sight of the locks and put down the hook on the US side in one of the bays off the channel.

Morning run was through the locks. You will probably be directed to the south lock. This is a total piece of cake. One warning - they get upset if you try to leave your boat or otherwise set foot on the property.

Just below the locks is Skipper Bud's on the Michigan shore just short of the museum ship. They let you tie up at a very low price for the day. We toured the museum ship, went up the tower (can't miss it). The power station below the museum ship is the longest horizontal turbine in the world. Note the fishermen casting into the turbine outflows for Atlantic salmon.

The down-bound current can be a couple of knots at some of the narrows. I recommend you DO stay in the marked main channel as there are rocky areas if you stray out. We found one near Detour Village. If you decide to anchor in any of the bays along the St. Mary's, be very alert for fisherman's nets and markers. These will be too shallow to avoid in a shallow bay. There are two places with ferry boats crossing the waterway. They wait for no one and seldom announce departures.

St Mary's deposits you into the North Channel, west end. Once you enter Canadian Water you will need to check in. I think the closest place will be Meldrum Bay. This is probably a phone call from the tiny, probably unoccupied immigration office. PASSPORTS ARE MANDITORY. Be sure you have the Canadian Hydrographic charts on your plotter &/or Paper charts. Get a cruising guide. Places of particular note here are the Benjamins, Baei Fine, both jewels in this vast place. In the back end of Baie Fine you can take a short hike to Topaz Lake and swim in the clearest, most sterile water ever. Copper leaching into the water prevents all algae, bacteria etc. The swimming was great. Many people spend the entire summer in the NC. The town of Little Current offers free day-dockage including water & power so that you will be encouraged to shop & eat.

If you follow the NC into Georgian Bay you will be mostly protected and you will always be able to find a sheltered anchorage. There is an ICW type of designated channel through parts of Georgian Bay. There will be places where this passes through rocky shallows.

If you do choose to transit Lake St Clair & Lake Erie, there are nice state docks at Put-In Bay on S. Bass. You might also plan a day in Cedar Point Amusement park. They have a marina. I used to race Lake Erie. I can attest that there are not a lot of interesting places but there are harbors with transient facilities all along. You can probably anchor inside the wall at the east end at Cleveland. That basin is adjacent to Lakeside YC. There is a large sheltered natural basin at Erie PA. Check it out on Google earth. You can anchor or tie up here.

Hope this helps your rout planning.

Trent Severn route means dropping your mast at Port Severn then either raising it again or crossing Lake Ontario with it on deck , not wise.

There are no where near 70 locks, there are 44.

One low fee ! - I suggest you check current prices and limited hours due to cutbacks on the system oh yeah ... there is no free docking anywhere .... you got a surprise coming.

Locking around Niagara Falls involves 8 locks in the Welland Canal, one of which is so easy you don't even tie up and you can keep your mast up through the canal for the sail down Lake Ontario
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Old 28-05-2015, 07:35   #27
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

Ken and Paula, I'm sure your head is swimming by now so I'll just try and answer your original question. Many members of AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers Association) are sailboat owners and most do the entire Great Loop including the canals, locks, most of the Great Lakes and the river systems with their mast down, From the entrance to the Erie Canal to Mobile, AL. That mean hundreds of locks. Many will ship their mast to Mobile, but just as many will carry it on deck. As long as you have it well secured I doubt you will have any problem whether in the canals or locking through. Both processes are slow and easy and we have seen many single handers with masts on their decks locking through or tied to walls in the canals. If your comfortable handling your boat in those conditions there is no reason for you to constantly have to raise and lower the mast and the added expense and delays that will cause. Chuck
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Old 28-05-2015, 07:38   #28
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

I've done the great lakes from the Atlantic as far as Toronto in a 3-masted tallship. There's some great sailing in the lakes and i'd be worried about having a mast bouncing around on deck. Also, having stuff sticking out the ends is pretty inconvenient in the locks as there is a lot of current and it's easy to get spun around and whack your mast on the side of the lock. Why do you want to take it down?
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Old 28-05-2015, 08:40   #29
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

Yes, definitely put the mast in for the lake transits. You won't have any problem with the overhangs once in the Erie. You'll be lock masters by the time you hit the Hudson. We had no problem finding discarded mast cradles at the west end. History galore. Great overnight facilities all along the way. Not sure paradise still exists in the direction you're headed.
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Old 28-05-2015, 20:08   #30
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Re: Transiting a canal with the mast on deck

I'm not sure if I understand the question, but I think you are asking if you should sail about 1000 miles on open water with favourable prevailing winds to avoid a mast stepping?

Sail her down, I bet you cwould make decent speed one day into under sail if not 2 days in three.
If you get into dicey weather between Duluth and Oswego- which you will, many times, you'll want the mast up to make your motion more tender and to dampen motion if you are under sail.

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