Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel
I have done the Canal several times and found it not too bad. This included with a Nonsuch 30 which has a 50' mast on a 30' boat + the wishbone (which we put upside down when reintalling and no, you cannot make do).
We had our mast go down the centerline of the boat from the pulpit to just above the helm station with support at the bow, middle and just in front of the transom. We cut rounded shapes from old plywood for middle and aft with 2 x 4s going down to the deck and feet going outward from the verticals. Test fit the angles for the feet since they will likely not be 90 degrees everywhere. These we bolted together. First time through we realized that support along the length of the boat is just about as important and sideways. Someone mentioned Lake Oneida and it can be a bitch. It develops waves that are only about a foot high but very close together and the boat (and mast setup) develops a pumping motion that is not something you want to experience. We were frantically adding lines everywhere to make sure mast and supports did not move fore and aft too much. Cross the lake at absolute first light before the wind can start.
Do not assume you can get any wood at Oswego Marina. They keep things pretty tidy there and I assume you are going south when others are. We restepped our mast at Castleton Boat Club which is south of Albany. They have a large DIY crane and are not expensive and the people are very friendly. There always seem to be multiple boats doing their masts there so you can help each other. Only problem is that it is right on the river and the powerboat morons can be a problem - better doing on a weekday. If you are coming back you can mark your supports with boat name and date expected to return and stick them behind a shed. We did this and no one had taken them when we returned.
Overall it is a very pleasant and relaxing trip.
Back to Grenada in early December. Not sure I will remember how to sail. Will spend the winter and early spring in the Caribbean and then head to Bermuda and the northeast US. Still trying to decide if we will bring the boat to Canada, either in 2015 or 2016.