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Old 20-10-2009, 17:16   #1
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Circumnavigating 'The Rock' - Newfoundland

Hello all!

I have a 30ft Excalibur steel sloop that i have refit extensively.I am planning to leave Lake Ontario next May,travel down the St Lawrence,thru the seaway to the Gulf. Then around the rock.

Anyone have any experience with the St Lawrence seaway locks with a vessel like this? Costs? Cant seem to get anywhere on the web.

Also am in some quandary about clockwise..Folllow the north shore up to Straits of Belle Isl. Thru then south..Or counterclockwise..North Sydney to Port o Basques, then the southern shore. The rub is Belle isl. Very strong westerlies prevail,and strong westerly currents..Throw in pea-soup fogs and icebergs for good measure. The south shore route is initialy easier,and the prevailing westerly wind should have the breeze of the land most of the time,but then Belle Isl Straits must be faced,probably getting late in the season and everthing in the teeth..probably a lot of waiting for weather on whole trip..Any seafarers out there been there done that at the rock? Or any sage advise from anyone.

Also charts..is there some friendly inexpensive chart dealer out there that i dont know about? Ya know sell me the charts i need,not the ones i dont need,without chomping huge chunks out of my wallet?

Cheers n fair winds BILL s/v ICEBIRD
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Old 21-01-2010, 15:56   #2
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Bill,

I have a Murray 33, 33' steel cutter with a bow sprit. Ted Brewer design.

I have not been all the way around but 60% to 70%. One year I went from Sydney, NS to St. Pierre, then I went from Sydney around the penninsula to Lewisporte. I'm now in Bonavista. Well my boat is anyway. I'm in Philadlephia.

I would think your approach to which way to circumnavigate depends upon how you approach the island. Are you going to stay along the North shore hugging Quebec and Labrador or are you going to stay South doing New Brunswick and Nova Scotia? Both ways have their advantages.

I have been across the Cabot Straits three times myself and several more times on the ferry. One night coming back from Burgeo was pretty nasty. Then one day running up the strait the wind and currents must have been counter. Waves were not that tall (3+meters) but STEEP. Many were breaking. The scary thing was the fish nets. They had BIG bouys and they were getting pulled completely under water by the waves. I didn't like to think about having my keel catch one of the nets or lines. It was a fair run but my Daughter got sick so that took the fun out of it. A couple of days later going just North of Flowers Cove I encounterd 4 to 5 knots of foul current. I could see the water running over the shoals like a mill stream.

If you are going in an even year there is the Halifax to St Pierre race. They arrive in St. Pierre shortly before Bastille Day and partake of the festivities. But the place really fills up.

The full scenic voyage would be planned to take in the Magdalens, Bras d Or, Ramea, Grey River, Francois, St Pierre, Bonavista, Fogo, Dildo Run, St Anthony, and Battle Harbour. Throw in Cows Head and Gros Morn somewhere as well.

You could split it into a two year trip and plan to leave your boat on the Rock. I would suggest Lewisporte, best yacht facilities East of Halifax excepting a couple of more expensive facilities on Conception Bay. Easy to get caught anywhere for a couple of day waiting for weather.

Get the Newfoundland Cruising Guide from Puffin Press.

Pilot Press - Cruising Guides to Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Consider radar if you don't have it. Heed warnings about chart off-sets from GPS along South coast.

Bring LOTS of spares, including your own glass and resin. Things are incredibly tough to get.

Cameras are a must.

It is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful place to sail.

And, stay off the rock in Happy Adventure. It's NOT on the chart.
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Old 21-01-2010, 17:48   #3
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Hpeer..thanks for the info. I am planning to go out the St Lawrence,from Lake Ontario,where my vessel is now. South from gaspe,then along the northumberland strait,stopping at PEI,then thru Canso gut,then up thru Bras d or Lakes to Sydney

T'Rock becons from there..As it happens,i drive a big rig,and my company is contracted to Proctor & Gamble,so have been going to nfld regular. I write this from Gander.(free WIFI on the Rock!) Tommorow i pick up frozen snow crab in Lewisporte..then take it to Montgomery Alabama,of all places!..thanks for heads up about Lewisporte..will arrive early tommorow and check out yacht facilitys.

Have seen fog out here just unbelievable..like visibility 30ft..anticipating trip i bought Furuno radar..will install in spring

Thanks again for your insight..maybe we'll share an anchorage and some rum one day,nfld has just captured me.

In St Johns in sept,came across a s/v Left Seattle in may,did the NW passage in 4mnths..have been following her..now in the falklands,getting ready for the horn,check out www.aroundtheamericas.org Very cool cronicle bout an amazing voyage. Great photography and blogs by the crew.

Cheers n fair winds behind the beam BILL
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Old 21-01-2010, 18:35   #4
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We sailed to Newfoundland in 2003 (south coast) and put together a web page with some resources; dated now, but perhaps still useful? Diapensia's 2003 Newfoundland Voyage

Definitely get the CCA Cruising Guide (Pilot Press /Puffin Press) linked to above.
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Old 22-01-2010, 04:25   #5
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As I recall, the locking costs were nominal. Canadian & American $ were accepted at par.

Check out the Great Lakes St Lawrence Seaway System website:

Seaway System - Recreational Boating

Seaway System - Recreational Boating - Pleasure Craft Guide
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Old 22-01-2010, 04:56   #6
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I sail from Montreal to Lake Ontario and back almost every season for vacation, you need to be at least 2 people on board. Bring cash, that is the only accepted currency, locking costs in Canadian funds are:

Iroquois, 1 lock $ 25.00, this is an easy lock with an 8" drop you'll either be tied to the wall with their lines or if theres no traffic you idle your way through and the lockmaster will hold out a little box on the end of a boathook to collect.

Snell, Eisenhower, 2 locks $ 60.00, significant drop at these locks, you tie up to a large yellow floating bollard recessed into the side of the wall with you own line. Make sure your line is quite long, on a 30 footer tie from your bow cleat go around the bollard twice at the widest part of your boat and then to your stern cleat. Wear gloves, lots of fending off of a very slimey wall.

Beauhornois, 2 locks $ 50.00 , again a significant drop. They will throw you their lines from above, have snatch blocks clipped onto the rail both for and aft as you will be paying out the line while you descend, having a 3rd person on board here isn't a bad idea for fending off but its not crucial I've always done it with only 2 of us on board.

St.Catherine, 1 lock $ 25.00. I haven't been through here in many years and I don't remember the proceedure. In any case you will be directed to tie up to the pleasure craft dock first so you can pick up the phone with the blue light over it and the lockmaster will give you instructions.

St.Lambert, 1 lock $ 25.00, same description as above.

Thats it your through! You'll notice the tides by the time you get to Trois Rivieres. Every marina posts the distance and amount of time it takes to get to many destinations along with the best departure time. Pay attention to these! I learnt the hard way leaving Cap a L'Aigle at the wrong time, the waves were steep and very close together and we made zero headway, we returned to the marina to many of the local boaters telling us "told you so"!
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Old 31-01-2010, 20:59   #7
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Thanks for the info. I coudnt find any info about fees on the site. They dont take plastic? There will be 2 or 3 aboard so this should not be problem. I locked up and down,all thru the trent severn from georgian bay..A beaut trip that i would recomend to anyone..the north channel of manitoulin is stunnibillng
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Old 01-02-2010, 12:11   #8
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No they don't take any plastic, cash only. You will find the seaway system different than the pleasure craft oriented Trent severn. Priority is given to commercial shipping traffic and it is not unusual to wait several hours at the pleasure craft dock before locking through.
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Old 25-01-2012, 14:37   #9
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Re: Circumnavigating 'The Rock' - Newfoundland

Bumping the thread to find out how you did?

Did you have fun? Adventure?
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Old 25-01-2012, 15:54   #10
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Re: Circumnavigating 'The Rock' - Newfoundland

have done it both ways doesn't really matter. really tough to do it all in one year! would suggest if you do the Southern route as you indicated then you probably won't get to NFLD if you want to see everything along the way. It took us two seasons each way and we still missed lots. Reccomend leaving the boat for the winter at Northern Yacht club in North Sydney. This year haulout storage membership around $625.00. then jump off next season for the "rock" East shore of Quebec up to the straits of Belle Isle also very nice and if the wind is blowing from SW to NW it is an off shore breeze so small seas. Whatever way you choose it's a blast.
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