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Old 22-08-2016, 09:31   #1
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Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

Thinking about leaving Duluth/Superior traveling out the Saint Lawrence Seaway then down to the Chesapeake Bay. Wondering if leaving September 1 is too late in the season. That would put us by Nova Scotia around mid October then heading south. We'd be sailing our older C&C 33'. We were planning originally on leaving in the spring but were thinking about leaving earlier. What kind of weather could we expect? Thoughts?

Jessica


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Old 22-08-2016, 09:48   #2
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

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Thinking about leaving Duluth/Superior traveling out the Saint Lawrence Seaway then down to the Chesapeake Bay. Wondering if leaving September 1 is too late in the season. That would put us by Nova Scotia around mid October then heading south. We'd be sailing our older C&C 33'. We were planning originally on leaving in the spring but were thinking about leaving earlier. What kind of weather could we expect? Thoughts?
===

I wouldn't recommend it. We just finished going that route in late July/early August and experienced quite a lot of cold windy weather. End of season in September/October will be much worse. Also, many marinas start shutting down after labor day weekend.
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Old 22-08-2016, 14:12   #3
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

When would you recommend it then Wayne?


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Old 22-08-2016, 14:36   #4
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

It may be chilly clear to the Carolinas & snotty from N.S. to Cape Cod.
Perhaps the Erie Canal?

These folks left in late summer & complained of the cold following them well south.SAILING AWAY FROM WINTER | Silver Donald Cameron

Hope this helps. Fair winds/Len
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Old 22-08-2016, 17:12   #5
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

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When would you recommend it then Wayne?
===

I would want to be south of the Maritime provinces by mid-August and into Chesapeake Bay before the end of September. We have done the New Jersey coast in late September and it can get very stormy. North and South Carolina in late October/early November are cold also.
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Old 23-08-2016, 08:08   #6
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

I agree with all posts so far - Sept.1 is too late to be leaving for the proposed trip, unless you are masochists!
I left from Whitby on Lake Ontario, Sept.3, crossed to Oswego and went down the Erie canal and Hudson R. This is a much shorter route, timewise, than the one you are planning. I encountered several really nasty storms and bitter cold weather all of September and October. (including horizontal driven hail / snow / fog and very high winds) I did not get to put the heavy sweaters and foul weather gear aside until I reached the top of Florida!
With the right boat and experience, sure, it can be done, but I will never try that again!
I would recommend leaving by the end of July, latest - rather difficult to do this year!
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Old 23-08-2016, 08:13   #7
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

The standard advice for that trip is to leave in early June. That will put you in the Gulf of St Lawrence in early July.

Duluth to the northern end of Nova Scotia is about 2,000 miles, with about half of that in open waters of the Great Lakes. You would have to average about 50 miles a day every day. That would be a challenge. The weather on Lake Ontario in September and October can keep you in port for several days at a time.

And then you have to make it another thousand miles south to get to Virginia.
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Old 23-08-2016, 08:19   #8
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

Jessica,
I have made that trip several times, twice in December (which I would not recommend) but September IMHO is not bad at all. There are several places from Canso to Sable island to tuck in if a low moves over you and it is a beautiful sail. From Sable if you have a good forecast you can run down to Sandy hook, or if it is iffy it is only a day to Bar Harbor. Only thing you need to watch out for is September is THE month for hurricanes and some tend to wander up that way. I had a really great run from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor with the remnants of one south of us, we had a big sea on the stern but only about 25kts of wind out of the SE and it was a really great sail.
You can expect a bit of fog at times and some chilly nights, but it truly is a beautiful sail.

Enjoy,

Michael
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Old 23-08-2016, 08:37   #9
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

That late in the year I would take the Erie canal amd avoid the Gaspe area and Maritimes. Too much seriuosly blustery wx up there after August .
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Old 23-08-2016, 08:50   #10
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

Safest, most picturesque, and with plenty of restaurants go Erie to Hudson to crossover canal to Chessy.
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Old 23-08-2016, 09:02   #11
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

I live in Clayton, about 10 miles from the headwaters of the St. Lawrence. September is usually very nice and this year we've had a very warm summer. The surface water temperature on Lake Ontario is currently about 75*. Not sure when your plans put you on the St. Lawrence, but seems like a September 1 departure would put you there fairly late, with a very long trip still ahead. The Erie Canal might be the better bet, but you would have to unstep your mast. As others have said, might be wise to wait until next year.
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Old 23-08-2016, 10:59   #12
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

I recommend waiting until next spring or summer unless you are experienced offshore sailors with cold-weather experience. If you go, you should have a dependable source of heat on the boat and plenty of cold-weather clothing. Your plan is extremely ambitious at 50+ miles per day, and you should have both radar and AIS for the St. Laurence. I definitely would not go via the Maritimes at this time of year. Cold fronts, fog, ship traffic, fishing vessels, tides, lack of harbors,--lots to think about. However, if you get started right away, the Erie Canal is stunningly beautiful in the fall, and saves about 1800 miles of travel.
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Old 23-08-2016, 11:40   #13
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

I just did the reverse. Right now in St Anthony, NL.

It's a crap shoot. Earlier and you get constant SW headwinds. Ivemotored or motor sailed the whole way from NL to Chessie ..... twice.

Later season you have more chance of favorable winds. More chance of storms.

Without personal experience, THEY say, the best month to sail NL is September. Be off the Labrador by Oct. 1. So I think you MAY have a decent trip arriving as late as mid November. But be prepared to wait out weather or cut your trip short if necessary. Or do the Erie.
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Old 23-08-2016, 19:49   #14
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

This idea sounds crazy to me, but . . .

However, bottom line, imho whatever schedule you pursue must get you to Norfolk, VA no later than October 15, and preferably earlier. This means you need to be in the Chesapeake by roughly October 1, and while September weather in the maritimes and New England can be gorgeous, it can also be cold and severe, and there will be delays. Fwiw, we left Norfolk around October 15, 2014, and like a previous commenter froze our bippies off practically all the way to Jax.
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Old 23-08-2016, 21:01   #15
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Re: Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chesapeake Bay

I did the trip from Duluth to New York City, then Chesapeake last fall. I left August 22nd from Bayfield and pushed through Superior and Huron, arrive Lake St. Clair (near Detroit) by the 29th and Buffalo by Sept 1st, with my third crew. We arrived in NYC on the 18th via the Erie Canal - it was somewhat leisurely, with a full 2 days to build a cradle and dismast and another 2 days to step the mast. I really liked the Erie Canal. I recommend this route at this time of year. After 2 weeks in NYC, I went to Annapolis for 2 weeks, then sailed down the Chesapeake, holing up in the Solomons until January. Departing January 9th, I arrived Miami on January 31st. I missed ALOT, as many people pointed out, both before and after. I'll return the same way, but WAY slower. The only way I would do the St. Lawrence is in-bound because then I'll have a handle on the weather and route for the Atlantic. Beautiful up there, though, I have been to Nova Scotia.
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