Originally Posted by Kokoda Road
Question; Can I get from Florida to the great lakes
by sailing. (The ICW
has been calling me since I discovered it existed) Where can I get to that is west of the lakes.
One idea was to purchase
the boat in Florida or down that way and then make my way home [to Australia] the long way round.
Yes, you can, but if you stay inside (the ICW), instead of going outside (the Atlantic), you won't do much actual sailing.
If you purchase a vessel between now and about May or June, then head
north, you will have lots of company, as that's the usual state of things as people head
out of the hurricane
belt before summer, as often as not because their insurance
requires it. You will have to go outside around New Jersey
, then sail back into New York
Harbor and up the Hudson
You can have your mast
stepped and enter the Erie Canal at Albany (actually Waterford, just north of Albany), head west, and 524 miles later you'll emerge at Buffalo (actually Tonawanda, just north of Buffalo.) Or you can keep going north up through Lake Champlain, into the St. Lawrence much further east and north than Buffalo. You also have the option of taking the Oswego Canal into Lake Ontario
Once you're in the Great Lakes, you can get quite far west - but if you want to get out of the northern latitudes before you get caught by cold weather
, you'll want to head south from Chicago down the river system to the Gulf. This will leave you on the "wrong" end of the Panama Canal
, however, so you'll need to go through the Ditch to take the short route
home to Aus.
There is a book written by William Least Heat-Moon called River Horse
. The author is, or was, an English
professor at The University of Missouri, and the book is about his 5000-mile journey across the US from east to west entirely by using the nation's navigable rivers. (Except that, in parts
of the West, it was necessary to portage his 22-foot Cape Dory
power vessel around various impedimenta - usually dams.) I don't think I would want to attempt a replication of his journey with an underpowered sailboat with a stepped mast
across the cabin
top from stem to stern.
Anyway, good luck with your quest.