I just finished moving my boat
from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario/Thousand Islands region. While preparing for the trip I did a lot of research
, but had a hard time estimating how long the trip would take. I figured I'd post a report to help any future readers have a better idea.
Some notes: My boat's a 37ft sailboat with a draft
of 6.5ft. My cruising speed is around 5.5 to 6 knots. I unfortunately had to break the trip up over a couple weekends and two weeks due to work
constraints, as well as the Canals not opening on time due to high water
levels. I was also Solo except the last leg after Utica. Solo locking is nerve wracking, but wasn't too bad.
May 18th, 1st day - Got lift
to Rouses Point day before. Depart Rouses Point at 8am with full Fuel tank
. 1pm near Plattsburgh had engine
issues, diverted to Plattsburgh boat
bassin. 24 Miles. Took train back from Plattsburgh home to Montreal.
May 24th, 2nd day - Drove from Montreal to Plattsburgh, arrived around noon. Depart Plattsburgh at 4pm due to engine work
south in calm conditions. Passed Split Rock Point at Dusk. Awesome night sky with no moon/clouds. Saw Starlink satellite
cluster pass overhead when near Port Henry! Anchored at Crown point around 12:30am. 48 Miles
May 25th, 3rd day - Left Crown point Early. Heavy Fog
until Fort Ticonderoga. Made it to Whitehall Marina by 2pm. 35 Miles. Had to leave Boat at Whitehall Marina as Canals not open yet
Took train back to Plattsburgh to get car and drive home.
June 7th, 4th day - Drove car to Whitehall, Refueled Boat. By the time ready to go it was 2pm. Made it through 2 locks, arrived at Champlain Lock 9 15 min before closing, but too late. Only 15 Miles.
June 8th, 5th day - Started 7:30am at Lock 9 of Champlain Canal
. Made it to Waterford at 5pm. Helpful current
43.8 Miles. Left boat at Waterford City free dock
to return to Montreal for work. Uber to Albany-Rensselaer Train station, then train to Whitehall, then drove home.
June 11th, 6th day - Returned to Waterford by car. Ready to go by 230pm, but winds too high to start locks. (If I was not alone would have been fine though)
June 12th, 7th day - First westbound locking of Erie was full, 2nd locking started at 10:30am. Many tourists and a couple school
field trips, no pressure... Made it to Lock 9 (high side) at 5pm. Could have continued to Lock 10, but decided to start early next day as Lock 9 had convenience store close to it. 27 Miles
June 13th, 9th day - Left Lock 9 at 6am, made it Lock 17 (Low side) at Little falls just before 5pm. Could have made it through lock 17, but had important work call to take... Light rain all morning. 49 Miles
June 14th, 10th day - Lock 17 started at 7am, Arriving in Utica around 3pm (Aqua Vino Restaurant) dock
. Light rain until afternoon. Had to wait 3.5 hrs at Lock 19 for 2 Barges + lineup of pleasure boats. Dangerously low on Fuel
... Not enough depth
at only place I had found that should have been deep enough. 21 Mile day. Could have made it further but no where else to leave boat close by. Left boat here for another work trip to Montreal. Took train from Utica to Albany-Rensselaer, then Uber back to car in Waterford to drive home.
June 18th, 11th day - Drove back to Utica. After groceries etc only get to boat at 3:30pm. Brought two full Jerry cans of Diesel
from Montreal, gave me 1/3 tank. (enough to make next refuel stop) Did not make it through the next lock (E20) before closing.
Only 4 Miles.
June 19th, 12th day - Go through Lock 20 at 7am, arrived in Pheonix (Oswego lock 1) at 5:30pm. Beautiful day, hardly any wind
crossing lake Oneida (so no waves) Refueled in Brewerton. 56 Miles!
June 20th, 13th day - Lock O1 to Lock O7. Heavy/Very Heavy rain all day. Late start at 10am due to Thunder/Lightning. Berthed between Lock O7 and O8 under a bridge at free city dock. 20 Mile day.
June 21st, 14th day - Oswego City Marina. Arrived at Marina at 8:30am. Had been told that masts were first come first served. When we arrived I was told might not be able to do mast
same day as they were busy putting in boats
Might be better getting there in the afternoon and staying the night, so they can fit you in the schedule for the next day when they plan. After a bit of prodding finally installed mast
around 2pm. 2:30pm - 8:30 pm installing sails/lines/rigging... Stayed in Marina that night.
June 22nd, 15th day - Crossing Lake Ontario
. Left at 7am, arrived at 5pm at Collins Bay near Kingston, Ontario
. Sailed about 3 hours, but winds were somewhat light and time concerns encouraged us to motor
. (we had to import
boat into Canada
and some other things to take care of). 55 Miles. Managed to make 8:30pm bus back to Montreal. Next day took Taxi to Airport
at 10am, rented car, drove to Utica's car rental location to drop off car, Uber to my car, then drove home, arriving around 9pm.
Stuff I wish I knew before:
stops seem to be rare. Make sure you fill up whenever you can and bring Jerry cans in case the only option is to walk into town and fill up at a gas station.
- Places to leave the boat for more than a day or two are also rare. Sure there are plenty of free docks, but usually limited to 48 hrs on them. Power
boats probably have more options since they have less draft
. This was my biggest stressor as I needed to return to Montreal for work...
- Have a plan for the rain.... Was my first time unstepping a sailboat mast, didn't think to leave room for my Bimini
Ended up standing in the rain 3 days during the trip.... not the most pleasant.
Some other notes:
- I had a small propane
(Mr. Buddy). It saved my bacon on 3 of the mornings when it was quite chilly in the cockpit
. Allowed me to warm up my hands etc. Highly recommend if you don't have enclosed cockpit
. Worked in the light rain as well.
- There were some sections with a lot of logs/debris :O
- I had Skipper
Bob's guide to the Canals. I recommend
- If you can, leave more time to enjoy the Canals. There looked to have been many a place that would have warranted a stop.
- My mast is 55ft so sticks out a lot both ends when on deck
. I took some pool noodles and wrapped the masthead with them. Being solo in the locks there were a few times the masthead bumped the side of the lock. Not hard, but I was happy I took the time to do that.
Importing into Canada
Our boat was a US boat. (Bought from a US guy in the US and never came to Canada). So when we arrived in Kingston we needed to import
. When we first planned on moving the boat, Canada had the 10% tariff which included boats. That was on top of the 15% Quebec
tax we would have to pay. (Original plan was to head
north into Richelieu/St-Lawrence, so importing into Quebec) With a boat value of $40,000 we planned on paying $10,000 total to import it (ouch).
A few days after leaving Rouses point though the tariff was ended. Yay!. (funfact, if we had headed north via Richelieu/St-Lawrence as originally planned, we would have crossed border on first day and got hit by tariff :O ) Arriving in Kingston the Customs
officer said cool that will be 13% tax (Ontario tax instead of 15% Quebec) so even cheaper Yay!. But then when he actually filled out the paperwork, it turns out that since I am a Quebec
Resident, I only needed to pay the Federal tax? Honestly I have no idea the details on how that worked, I just kept my mouth shut and said thank you
so only 5% tax or around 2k to import out of the 10k we set aside... Party time!
Hopefully this helps some future traveler!