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Old 08-10-2014, 09:06   #1
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NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

Hi All,

I've never taken a boat through any locks before. Of course having many hands on board always makes things safer and easier.

BUT I might have to take a 41' sailboat solo in case my buddy bails on me last minute. I've read from other blogs that some have done it solo without any issues. But wanted to get other stories and advice.

Two questions I do have. #1 will the lock master even let me go in alone? #2 If I do go alone what could go wrong other then me falling in the water or hurting myself? LOL

Thanks!
Flex
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:23   #2
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

Do you know how to use a midships spring line? Really...
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:39   #3
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

With a 41 ft boat you are REALLY going to want a crew. Forget the "midships spring line" nonsense--that only works if you are not going up and down. What can go wrong is that you will lose control of your boat and it will bash its nose or stern into the concrete wall. If you are OK with that, go ahead solo.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:40   #4
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

You should also read up on crossing Oneida Lake by sailboat if you are traveling with the mast on the deck.


Joe
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:00   #5
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

Talk about fallling in! Check this guy out!
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:59   #6
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Flex.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:17   #7
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
... What can go wrong is that you will lose control of your boat and it will bash its nose or stern into the concrete wall....
I agree - but the boat's nose will not bash into concrete - the mast will and it could be pushed overboard - ouch. Crossing Oneida as it was said is another challenge.

I planned a solo transit but changed my mind. You will need huge fenders and fender boards, sometimes you have to adjust the lines as they may get stuck when the boat goes up or down, so you have to act very fast. I don't anticipate that it will be a fun transit - on a otherwise very scenic canal. Out of the locks the transit does not pose any challenges, you will need a handheld VHF regardless and have the anchor at the ready prepared to drop ensuring you can go around the mast supports and lashings.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:22   #8
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

Add gloves and poles to the list of must haves


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Old 09-10-2014, 09:33   #9
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

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Originally Posted by flexpadawan View Post
Hi All,

I've never taken a boat through any locks before. Of course having many hands on board always makes things safer and easier.

BUT I might have to take a 41' sailboat solo in case my buddy bails on me last minute. I've read from other blogs that some have done it solo without any issues. But wanted to get other stories and advice.

Two questions I do have. #1 will the lock master even let me go in alone? #2 If I do go alone what could go wrong other then me falling in the water or hurting myself? LOL

Thanks!
Flex
Speak nicely to the lock masters they can make the ride easy or a bitch.
Don't fall in on the way down, your body would probably beat your boat out.
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Old 09-10-2014, 13:36   #10
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

In Answer to your 1st question, the Erie Barge canal did not have any rules about solo operators when I questioned them 3 years ago.

If you are nimble and have lots of solo docking experience with that same vessel, entering and exiting a lock should not be a problem. The problems start when they start filling or emptying the lock. You may get pushed around a bit or a lot depending where you are in the lock and the boats around you. You might have to be a very quick chimpanzee fore and aft. I did it on a 34 foot sloop. Some abrehensive moments but nothing to induce an overdose of adrenaline. I have a lifetime of lock and single handing experience. A 41 foot boat would be a big challenge. If you have NO locking experience, hire a kid for a week. Your boat will thank you.
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Old 09-10-2014, 14:59   #11
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

This may be a stupid question? Have you unstopped you mast? I think you said sail boat as I recall even tugs had hydraulic wheel houses for bridges.
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Old 10-10-2014, 18:42   #12
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by flexpadawan View Post
Hi All,

I've never taken a boat through any locks before. Of course having many hands on board always makes things safer and easier.

BUT I might have to take a 41' sailboat solo in case my buddy bails on me last minute. I've read from other blogs that some have done it solo without any issues. But wanted to get other stories and advice.

Two questions I do have. #1 will the lock master even let me go in alone? #2 If I do go alone what could go wrong other then me falling in the water or hurting myself? LOL

Thanks!
Flex
I did this solo about 12 years ago from Toronto. Frankly I found it to be a piece of cake. The boat was my 31 Searunner. I was concerned about the width (17')and sometimes it was tight with another vessel coming the other way but it turned out all right. I used a lee-board and fenders to protect the boat from the lock and concrete walls. For sure you got to hold on to the side rope to prevent twisting but it shouldn't be that bad.

The lock tenders were super nice and helpful. Call ahead and they will keep the lock open for you and even time your arrival.

IMO. Keep some fenders out, not much can go wrong that can't be easily solved. I did get turned side ways in one deep lock. The lock tender just walked over and said, "Do you want me to throw you a rope?" He had 100' sitting right there. I think they've seen this before!

Crossing Oneida Lake with the mast lashed aboard? For me that was the hard part. I tried once and turned back due to the chop. Then a big rain came and flattened the water - I took off and made it fine but it wasn't the best experience.

It's a nice trip. I was sorry I had to do it alone and didn't have company to share it with.

NIce time of year to go if the weather holds.

Jim
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Old 12-10-2014, 14:07   #13
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Re: NY Hudson to Oswego Locks Advice

Earlier this summer we completed a trip from Buffalo to Oswego on the canals. That trip is all down hill and the down hill locks are easy. The water drains out and tends to pull the boat away from the wall.

Each lock has lines, cables amd/or ladders that you hold on to as you lock through. After entering the lock stop at one of these and hold on.

Have at least 2 boat hooks. Preferably ones that float. One of mine is sitting on the bottom of a lock. Oh well. Cheap work gloves are essential, the locks are really slimy and muddy.

The lock master can control the rate water enters or leaves the lock. If he sees you are by yourself, he can slow the water entering the lock to keep the turbulence down making it easier to control the boat.

Can you do the trip by yourself? Probably, although it would be easier with an extra hand. When we went through the locks there were times that either my wife or I controlled the boat by ourselves for one reason or another.

Know how your boat likes to dock. It is much easier for me to dock port side to, so when I always went to the port side of the lock. No use fighting that prop wash. By the time to get to Oswego, you will be a master at docking.

I lived on Oneida Lake for 10 years, it can be nasty or a mill pond. Pick your weather window carefully. Fortunately is is only 22 miles long. If the wind has any west in it and is above about 12Kts, it can get choppy. In a SW wind you can skirt the south shore for quite a while, but you do want to have a good chart or chart plotter so you can find the shoals the easy painless way. Take advantage of the early morning when the wind tends to be lighter. This time of year you won't have to worry about the fools in cigarette boats.

Diesel is hard to come by on the canal. I think you can buy it in Sylvan Beach (east end of Oneida Lake) not sure where else between Albany and Oswego.
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