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Old 25-05-2016, 10:49   #16
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

My wife is from Louisiana, and I've been down here for 20 years.

Frankly, there's no way in Hell I'd take a sailboat down the Mississippi.

There aren't just logs, these are whole trees. Do you know what a 'sawyer' is? There are tows that take up damn near the whole channel. Six, eight, 10 barges. Current? Oh yeah, there's current. Ten kinds of crap floating down.

There's really nowhere to stay. No marinas to speak of.

Yeah. Go the Tenn-Tom. Much easier and far more scenic, and caters to the "Great Loopers."
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Old 25-05-2016, 10:57   #17
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Hi Tim, welcome. I know nothing about the Mississippi but I do have a 63' ferro ketch built on the west coast in the 80's. Who designed yours, ours is an Ian Ross. Built on Vancouver Island, launched in 81. PICTURES PLEASE!!

Good luck on your adventures Huck, ahem, I mean Tim.
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Old 25-05-2016, 11:01   #18
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Welcome, hope you enjoy your new boat this summer. From everything I've ever read, here, on other boating forums and in books (Jonathan Raban's Ole Miss is great, he did it in a small outboard motor boat!!!), you have two choices:

--- scenic and safe

--- ugly and turbulent

Your boat, your choice.

Good luck.
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Old 25-05-2016, 12:31   #19
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

If you take my advice, you'll "do" the Tenn-Tom. I have extensive experience on the lower Lower Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to Southwest Pass sea buoy. It's 230 statute miles from the I-10 bridge in Baton Rouge to Head of Passes and other 22 statute miles to Southwest Pass sea buoy. That bridge is the end of the line for sea going traffic and I've read that if you count the entire distance of the river to there as one port it is the busiest in the world. The river is lined with chemical and oil refineries, coal and grain docks and the supporting fleets of river barges. 40 barge tows are not uncommon, covering several acres of water. To get those unwieldy rigs around the often hairpin bends in the river they "flank" or "back up" as it's known, effectively closing off the river until the maneuver is completed. Add to the that the small towboats shuttling barges to and from the various docks and taking loaded barges from the big downbound line tows and building tows of empties for them to take back north and then you have the ship and ocean tug and barge traffic. Factor in frequent "shutout" fog and swift, unpredictable currents and there you have it. Bridge to bridge communication is on VHF ch. 67 and will frequently reference locations of which you won't have a clue but might be directly affecting you in the next few seconds. People do it and get away with it but it will take years from your life. Do the Tenn-Tom.
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Old 25-05-2016, 13:06   #20
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

I want to add that the "Big Muddy" will stain a hull. I have no idea what exposure is necessary to do so or if perhaps ferro cement is exempt.
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Old 25-05-2016, 13:26   #21
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Do keep us posted. Especially while you are en rout.
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Old 25-05-2016, 13:51   #22
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

I have a friend who owns a tow boat company on the lower Mississippi. To give you an idea of how treacherous it is, they own five crew boats to run people out and back to the tugs. They only need three operational ones, but the other two are kept as backup. As soon as one looses a lower unit the other two get put into service and the now broken one gets sent to the shop for repairs.

Out of five boats he normally has four that are operational, and one that is down for repairs. He also buys lower units for outboards a half dozen at a time. And this is with operators that run the river every day, they know what to look for and how to avoid snags.

add to that the 3-6kn current, massive traffic problems, and that there is no where to stop for supplies... I would never voluntarily do the lower Mississippi.
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Old 25-05-2016, 16:28   #23
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

O.K. - - - Tenn Tom it is! Thanks to all for the excellent advice.
(Anybody want to buy an unused set of charts for the lower Mississippi?)
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Old 25-05-2016, 16:52   #24
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Wait a minute ..... I talked to a guy that has gone down Big Muddy but he doesn't go all the way to NOLA on it. There is a river that splits off west someplace. I don't know if it is doable with a 60 ft sail boat. I'll try to get him to comment..
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Old 25-05-2016, 17:09   #25
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Quote:
Originally Posted by darylat8750 View Post
Wait a minute ..... I talked to a guy that has gone down Big Muddy but he doesn't go all the way to NOLA on it. There is a river that splits off west someplace. I don't know if it is doable with a 60 ft sail boat. I'll try to get him to comment..
That would probably be the Atchafalaya which runs down to the Gulf at Morgan City. I believe it intersects the GICW and that there is a lock somewhere along its length. Once into the Gulf you will have hundreds of oil platforms to thread your way through, supply boats aplenty, and frequent seismo boats towing up to 5 miles of cable astern. None of this is present in the eastern Gulf. As a point of interest, the Atchafalaya Basin is where the Mississippi wants to flow if the Army Corps of Engineers would let it. It would turn everything downstream from there into a backwater slough.
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Old 25-05-2016, 17:38   #26
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

You guys all have never done it. In the fall, the water level will be low and the current
under 3 knots. On a 64' boat with tall mast the Lower Miss is a much better route. Sure there are a bunch or barges but the river is WAY bigger and there is plenty of space.


The worst place is actually the alt nights anchorage near Baton
Rouge above New Orleans as you have to anchor in amongst the big ships and tugs that come that far up. But again on a 64' lump of rock should be no problem.
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Old 25-05-2016, 17:41   #27
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

I don't know the area, but will draft be an issue on any of the smaller rivers? At 60 something feet, the boat probably has some significant underwater structure.
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Old 25-05-2016, 17:50   #28
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boatguy30 View Post
You guys all have never done it. In the fall, the water level will be low and the current
under 3 knots. On a 64' boat with tall mast the Lower Miss is a much better route. Sure there are a bunch or barges but the river is WAY bigger and there is plenty of space.


The worst place is actually the alt nights anchorage near Baton
Rouge above New Orleans as you have to anchor in amongst the big ships and tugs that come that far up. But again on a 64' lump of rock should be no problem.
In the fall, the water level MAY be lower, depends on the summer rains up north and the previous winter's snowpack way up north. Big depression systems can dump billions of gallons within hours on the drainage basin. Not uncommon to suddenly find a big rush of water, strong currents, and your anchorage getting flooded.

Plenty of space? Not navigable space. His boat probably drafts 6 feet. The river is wide but sure is shallow in many spots. As far as barges and tugs go, they have the right of way and they take it. If they are coming downhill, you have to really watch out for they do not have stopping ability nor a lot of steering ability. Going sideways always a risk. Of course you know that.

Anchoring among the tugs and barges is really not a wise move for many reasons. They were built to smash against each other. Chicken wire and cement are not.
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Old 25-05-2016, 17:56   #29
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

The Atchafalaya?

You'd have to lock in at the Old River Structure, which isn't a big deal, but there's low bridges after. Simmesport bridge at 50'. 52' pipes cross at Melville, and a 53' lift RR bridge. Krotz Springs is 58'. The pipe next to it is 60'. Just past Krotz Springs you'd divert into the Whiskey Bay Pilot Channel. There's a bridge just past that @52'...

how tall is the stick in question?
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Old 25-05-2016, 17:59   #30
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

I'll also point out the obvious fact that the "under 3 kts. of current" will be generally on your stern, reducing flow across the foil and responsiveness will suffer.

And, if you are out there when the river starts rising it does a very thorough job of cleaning its banks of all the trash that's accumulated since the last high water. I've seen picnic tables, refrigerators, entire trees, and an occasional dead deer all heading for the Gulf.
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