here's some tips on getting through the NY State canals:
When taking down the mast leave your genoa
on the furler
. This protects the foil and saves room as you don't need to store a sail. Also leave the main on the boom with the sail cover
on, again saves storage
room. Unless you are deck
stepped, put the butt forward. A fender
on the side of the end of the mast helps if you accidentally touch the lock wall. If it's a deck stepped mast the foil will overhang the mast so, in this case, put the butt aft. You don't want to hit the lock wall with your foil. Leave spreaders and rigging
on the mast.
Lash the mast well, both laterally and fore and aft to prevent movement when rolling or pitching. Make mast cradles just high enough to clear your dodger
so you will have protection when it rains. If you do not have mast supports with you and intend to make some when you drop the mast make sure you have a good drill and plenty of long screws with you. Also some long "u" bolts to clamp the aft support to the stern rail. There is usually spare lumber
around at Riverview.
Get an emergency antenna
for your vhf
(one of those with a suction cup on it) and stick the antenna
outside. Your communication with the lock keepers will be much better with the main vhf
rather than a battery
sucking hand-held. At the end of the day when you're going to tie up notify the lock keeper so he/she does not have to fill or dump the lock for you.
When I first started I used to use bags of straw as fenders. I think the Albany Yacht Club used to sell them. I later graduated to large fenders tied lengthwise to the toe rail. These worked very well.
Finally I always tie up at night to the high side of a lock. Much better than the low side where it seems you're sitting in a cave and the boat goes all over the place when they dump the lock. The walls on the low side are much higher and difficult to tie to. Also if it's early in the season or after a period of much rain the low side of the lock is usually full of debris.
The canal system is a delightful trip so take your time and enjoy it.