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Old 19-05-2017, 02:02   #1
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River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

I have a couple boats that I'm interested in that are in the Great Lakes. I live in Houston. Is there a navigable river body connecting from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.
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Old 19-05-2017, 03:27   #2
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

I'm pretty sure what you're looking for is the Chicago Ship Canal into the Chicago River/ Des Plaines and on from there. It's part of the Great Loop.
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Old 19-05-2017, 06:03   #3
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

Google the "Great Loop". There is a route from Lake Michigan to the Gulf though only a small portion is on the Mississippi.

It's a fun trip and doable in most boats. Only real limitation would be you need about a 250mile range (350 would be better).
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Old 19-05-2017, 06:15   #4
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

Public Interactive Map - America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association
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Old 19-05-2017, 11:56   #5
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

Went to the link for "The Great Loop". Wow, I never knew about this.

I'd have to remove the mast. I'm looking at a large sailboat. Think this may not happen though. Don't know yet.

Thanks everyone for the help. You guys are great.
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Old 19-05-2017, 12:12   #6
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

The Illinois river will take you to umr mm 220 at Grafton, Illinois. It's about 330 miles from Lake Michigan to Grafton, it's at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Pretty easy trip, I've done it a couple of times. From Grafton you have 2 choices go to the Ohio or continue on the Mississippi. The problem of going done the Mississippi is lack of marinas and fuel. You can plan stops and call for a delivery of fuel but they'll probably not deliver less than 200 gallons. The other option is to carry fuel cans and walk into towns and purchase fuel. Some people choose this route there are no locks on the mis after St. Louis. If you go up the Ohio and then head south on the Tennessee river, TennTom and Black Warrior rivers to Mobile Bay and the gulf, plenty of marinas on this route. As a previous poster said having a 350 mile range is needed to be able to reach fuel stops. I'am sure I've left some things out but depending on the boat it's very doable and it's a very enjoyable cruise.
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Old 19-05-2017, 12:13   #7
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

How much can be sailed from Chicago to the Gulf. ie how often would I need to unstep mast and restep and where?
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Old 19-05-2017, 12:57   #8
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

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How much can be sailed from Chicago to the Gulf. ie how often would I need to unstep mast and restep and where?
Depends how high the mast is.

Thru Chicago, you need to get under a 20' bridge. After that it's mostly 50' or higher. (Keep in mind river levels go up and down, so it varies).

But not many places to step a mast until you get down to Kentucky Lakes unless you want to hire a crane to come down to the riverside and do it yourself.

As far as sailing, don't count on much. The rivers are narrow, wind back and forth, there are shallows, commercial traffic has right of way, locks, etc... You might unroll the genny occasionally but otherwise, it's just not worth the trouble for most of the trip.
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Old 19-05-2017, 14:11   #9
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

20' clearance on bridge:

If my calculations are correct (anyone feel free to double check my geometry is rusty) you may be able to use boat balls and yield it over 70 degrees (30 degrees off water line) and maybe clear. That is pretty far over.
Not really sure
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Old 20-05-2017, 21:35   #10
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

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How much can be sailed from Chicago to the Gulf. ie how often would I need to unstep mast and restep and where?
None can be sailed. Drop the mast near Chicago, put it back up when you hit the Gulf.

Barge setups on the Mississippi are 6 across and 7 deep pushed by 100,000hp tugs putting out on a twisty river with a current flowing up to 8 knots in sections.

Even if you're going to Texas, you'd be better off going to Mobile down the Tenn-Tom as it is friendly and enjoyable with marinas for food and fuel - the opposite of the Mississippi.
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Old 20-05-2017, 22:03   #11
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

Another interesting source of "loop" info is captain john.
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Old 21-05-2017, 22:03   #12
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

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Originally Posted by River Cruiser View Post
The Illinois river will take you to umr mm 220 at Grafton, Illinois. It's about 330 miles from Lake Michigan to Grafton, it's at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Pretty easy trip, I've done it a couple of times. From Grafton you have 2 choices go to the Ohio or continue on the Mississippi. The problem of going done the Mississippi is lack of marinas and fuel. You can plan stops and call for a delivery of fuel but they'll probably not deliver less than 200 gallons. The other option is to carry fuel cans and walk into towns and purchase fuel. Some people choose this route there are no locks on the mis after St. Louis. If you go up the Ohio and then head south on the Tennessee river, TennTom and Black Warrior rivers to Mobile Bay and the gulf, plenty of marinas on this route. As a previous poster said having a 350 mile range is needed to be able to reach fuel stops. I'am sure I've left some things out but depending on the boat it's very doable and it's a very enjoyable cruise.

I read that Alton Marina is a good stop just past Grafton. I'm taking in as much info as I can and if I end up doing this I will refer back to this thread. Thanks for this good info.
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Old 21-05-2017, 22:07   #13
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

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Originally Posted by SeaSon View Post
None can be sailed. Drop the mast near Chicago, put it back up when you hit the Gulf.

Barge setups on the Mississippi are 6 across and 7 deep pushed by 100,000hp tugs putting out on a twisty river with a current flowing up to 8 knots in sections.

Even if you're going to Texas, you'd be better off going to Mobile down the Tenn-Tom as it is friendly and enjoyable with marinas for food and fuel - the opposite of the Mississippi.
Yep. If I have to do this I'll stay off the Might Miss-Sipp.
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:01   #14
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

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Originally Posted by CooksFraming View Post
20' clearance on bridge:

If my calculations are correct (anyone feel free to double check my geometry is rusty) you may be able to use boat balls and yield it over 70 degrees (30 degrees off water line) and maybe clear. That is pretty far over.
Not really sure
The calculation depends on the height of the mast but you can't forget the width of the opening under the bridge. It's a relatively narrow channel, so I wouldn't suggest it.
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:05   #15
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Re: River body from Great Lakes to Mississippi River.

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Originally Posted by dennymusic View Post
I read that Alton Marina is a good stop just past Grafton. I'm taking in as much info as I can and if I end up doing this I will refer back to this thread. Thanks for this good info.
Alton is nice and you can stop at Hoppies just south of St. Louis to top up on fuel. Another option if you aren't running diesel is to go up the Kaskaskia River about 8-10miles to top up on Gas (I don't believe they have diesel but it's been a while).
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