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Old 25-05-2016, 05:55   #1
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Life on the Mississippi

My family and I are in final preparation for beginning a cruise from Tennessee to the Gulf of Mexico and then on to the Caribbean. We're debating the best route from TN to the Gulf. My brain wants to head down the TennTom Waterway to Mobile, but my heart wants to go down the Mississippi and end up in New Orleans by the end of the year. I've heard some unpleasant tales of the lower Mississippi and just wondered if anyone out there has first hand experience in this area. We'll be living aboard our 60 foot ferro ketch (family of seven). I hold a CG six pack license and we have 20+ sailing years experience - mostly inland but never the Mississippi.
Thanks for you advice.

Tim Dixon
SV Mystic Sun
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Old 25-05-2016, 05:59   #2
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Tim, The Mississippi River has never been part of my cruising area, but I do often read of preferences for the route to Mobile instead of exiting at New Orleans. Welcome to the community and keep us posted of your adventures!
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Old 25-05-2016, 06:13   #3
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

The Tenn Tom is beautiful and protected, with many spots to stop and overnight. The lower Mississippi is huge, busy and very open, with few opportunities to find a dock or quiet anchorage. If you plan on doing a straight shot down river the Mississippi would be fine. Since it is a pleasure cruise I strongly suggest the Tenn Tom. You could then head over to New Orleans from Mobile Bay.
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Old 25-05-2016, 06:29   #4
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Tim.
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Old 25-05-2016, 06:34   #5
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Thanks guys. Good to be aboard. I appreciate the advice.
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Old 25-05-2016, 06:35   #6
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Lower is perfectly safe as long as the water level isn't too high. Penalty of places to anchor and barge ports to tie up. As well as Memphis YC, and Yazoo River in Vicksburg.

Can also l do Kentucky Lake to New Orleans with 65' or so of mast depending on water level
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Old 25-05-2016, 06:46   #7
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

I am more interested in the story behind a 64 foot ferro ketch on inland waters.

Where were you sailing it in Tennessee? Or was it built in TN?

Last year a 64 foot Dashew Deerfoot went from NOLA area down the river and then to Key West. It was shipped over on another ship, from Australia. The captain joined CF, and started a thread about best route through delta etc.

Another member has posted about taking a 50 foot sailboat down the Tenn-Tom.

You could try the forums Google custom search to find those threads or other threads containing similar posts.

Here is a link to a google custom search of this forum using the search term "Mississippi River". Look over the thread titles for good topics.

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...ver&gsc.page=1

Here I used the search term "Tombigbee"

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...bee&gsc.page=1

Good luck on your voyage!
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Old 25-05-2016, 08:02   #8
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

The boat was built in Seattle, WA in the 80's. The builder/one owner circumnavigated and (long story omitted) finally ended up in Tennessee. It's been resting for a few years and now we (new owners) have it almost ready to head back out. It's been difficult to sail it effectively on the lake so most of our experience has been on much smaller boats. Should be an interesting trip. . .
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Old 25-05-2016, 08:13   #9
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Life on the Mississippi

Depends on where you are in Tennessee. I am from Clarksville but keep my boat at Lighthouse Landing, Mile 24 on the Tennessee River just above the Kentucky Dam. I've been down the Tenn-Tom twice and back once, once in a CaboRico 38 down to Punta Gorda, Fl and down and back in my Hunter 356.

Mast clearance at normal pools is 52 feet, so you most likely have to take your mast down and put it back up in Mobile. Turner Marine in Mobile does them every day and is very good and efficient at it. Once prepped, it only took them about an hour and a half to get my mast back up and tuned. I did the electrical connections for lights, radar myself.

The Tenn-Tom is a very nice trip and from Grand Harbor on the North end is about 450 miles to Mobile and 7 days is a good planning time from there. You go through 12 locks and there are marina's available and a number of convenient anchorages. Active Captain is an excellent reference for anchorages and marinas along the way. The section from Demopolis south has the fewest options for marinas and anchorages, but is manageable. A good stop along the way is Bobby's fish camp at Mile 118 and they have fuel there, great catfish dinners on the right day but you might have to raft up on their dock. It's a little over 100 miles from Demopolis and about 134 to Turner from there.

From Grand Harbor, a typical trip down is stopping next at Midway Marina (3 locks), then Columbus Marina (4 locks), then anchor out (1 lock), then Demopolis Kingfisher Marina (1 lock), then anchor or if you push you can make Bobby's, then anchor out (1 lock) and into Turner next day.

It is a very pretty trip with little current if not during the rainy season. You can reprovision at Columbus and Demopolis. From Mobile you can go to New Orleans either on the GICW or out in the Gulf.

Here is a link to a guy who went down the Mississippi River from Lighthouse Landing because it was his dream. He had a good trip. From Lighthouse Landing to Mobile down the Mississippi is about 200-250 miles further and has much less services available for small boats from what people have told me, but I have no first hand knowledge of the Mississippi.

http://mikeandsharondunsworth.blogspot.com

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Old 25-05-2016, 08:25   #10
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

It has been a long time since I made that trip ('75) from Grafton Locks to NOLA, but I doubt much has changed....IT'S BORING!!! Pretty much everything is hidden on the other side of the levies so all you see for hundreds of miles are LEVIES!

We went down to NOLA because the TomBigbee was only an idea back then. I'd go that way in a heartbeat now, though. And that's NOT because I'd prefer Mobile over New Orleans. I LIVED in New Orleans for 10 years and only spent a couple of weekends in Mobile. (Did you know that the Mardi Gras in Mobile is OLDER than the one in NOLA?)

In either case, have a safe trip.
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Old 25-05-2016, 09:00   #11
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

It can be done but is far less relaxing and less to see as most of it is behind levies with limited places to get off the boat.
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Old 25-05-2016, 09:05   #12
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Thanks y'all.
A big factor is acclimatizing and training the crew on KY Lake this summer waiting out hurricane season. Our main mast is already down and we plan to put the mast back up there and get everybody (our five kids) used to managing the boat while still on flat water. Looks like we have the necessary 60' clearance from KY all the way down to the Gulf (according to Active Capt.). Going the TennTom would require another mast step - which I'd like to avoid. Plan to make quick trip down in the fall and enter the Gulf in December.
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Old 25-05-2016, 09:21   #13
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

Last time we did that was in 1967, before the tom-tom. Gotta like bugs, currents, lots of traffic, and uncharted obstructions. Ooops here comes a tree, a steel box, a ton of excrement, and so forth. On the other hand, easy trip since its all down hill. Just do not stop. Take the tom-tom.
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Old 25-05-2016, 09:42   #14
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

I would also suggest talking to the Chattanooga Power Squadron to obtain a list of port captains for use along the way. What an awesome story, ever thought about a possible interview with the local media? My son works with tv3 if your interested. Steve
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Old 25-05-2016, 10:16   #15
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Re: Life on the Mississippi

The TennTom Waterway would be much safer I would think.

We were watching the Tugs yesterday here in New Orleans from the park they call the Fly right on the river.

First thing I saw was a large tug pushing a barge load of maybe 7 barges long by 6 wide. It was quite a site and there was lots of current and waves
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