Pleased to discover this discussion. I am planning a similar voyage, only in reverse (initially) - from the Keewenaw on Lake Superior downstream to Newfoundland is the dream.
I am sailing an O'Day Mariner 19 2+2, the keeled version. Brilliant little sloop. I know it is on the small side, but I love the quote, paraphrasing: "Big boats attract big forces."
[Around the world at 73, in a ten foot boat... excellent prior r/Sailing post](Present Project
I have a lot of work and preparation ahead of me, and I an glad for the Mariner, because scaling these preparations up for a larger vessel would be an order of magnitude more expensive, consuming and daunting:
+I am going to reinforce the entire transom, both for the outboard mount and rudder gudgeon security, as well as to keep the transom firmly attached!
+get 3000 gph, at least, out of two bilge pumps, keep the spare or mount it somewhere remote/hard to access. Route the auto pump out the transom high, instead of the less than ideal factory arrangement of through a companionway hatch to two cockpit scuppers. I also don't like the vulnerability of the scupper throughhulls vis-a-vis the floating cabin sole ply board. Rework. Back this gph with serious juice:
+Overhaul the entire electrical: from dual deep batteries secured in a custom box where the portapot used to go - centered, just forward the keel timbers - instead of in a lazarette, as designed. LED lighting throughout, including running, reading rechargeable anchor light, and lazarette illumination.
+ got the perfect humminbird plotter/sounder combination, JUST sprang for the superb HX851, looking to replace the fixed vhf with Standard Horizon's AIS-VHF combo, proximity alarms, in lieu of radar for the fog and shipping. Score a large-ish, flexible solar array for chargin the bank on calm days, and a square panel permanent into the forward hatch cover for a small constant trickle (i have a long shaft outboard, but no alternator)... wondering if wind generation is better for up North here, but like the idea of solar. Several other electrical concerns I've likely forgotten now. Here's one: I'd like to glass in the fuel tank lazarette section, and replace it with a plastic tank to fit, as the metal can corrodes, and the lazarettes are open to the bilge: fume explosion risk with no blower planned, gimbaled tiny alcohol stove, and the current sitch just moves striping to much.
+I'd like to have a water tank opposite eventually, but we will just filter the lakes until Southern Huron if we drain the onboard beverages while out there.
+JUST picked up Bushnell scopes with illum compass, beautiful, too. Need to arrange for paper chart table on the v birth. Thinking of ditching all the cushions except maybe one quarter birth's, for space, covering the horizontal surfaces with seatek for some comfort and getting one great waterproof ocean style sleeping bag and some sort of flat waterproof clothes storage to dual porpoise extra sprawl "comfort" padding. Space is tight, but I figure I have the displacement, and need, for 850 pounds of gear.
+ at fifteen pounds, 800 some bucks, gonna carry a two man life raft. Have drysuits, helmets, wetsuits, type three vests with whistles and strobes, knives and spikes.. Need some more booties and gloves, caps.. It can be a somewhat wet cockpit.
+ need fore and aft webbing, harnesses, pulpit and lifelines. May just redo the entire rubrail and stapled hull-deck joint during this process. Reinforce the bow, shroud areas, as transom, beefy cleats, couple good mount small winches for whatever, more anchor options, 6 foot sea anchor... there's ALWAYS a lee shore in the Great Lakes. A series drogue seems ill-advised for such a small, low, boat with a large exposed cockpit. Running rig is good. Spring for new standing rigging, probably never been done. A roller furling heads'l would be beaut, especially without a pulpit currently, or cut a storm jib. Reefing points. Got a good amount of sail repair supply, tools, backup lighting. Flares. Just picked up waterproofed iPad to augment charts, stealing marina wifi, going ashore, occasional movie and extra books and reading. Might have to bring a Mac to get work done. Gah! Pelican case. Paper reading? Bowditch's, Calder's, Pardey's, even Esquemelin. So many titles you want to bring, so little dry space on a nineteen foot boat. Apart from that, need a Coast Pilot. Odds and ends are set.
+Note to self: bring peanut butter, French Press. Some safe way to make hot coffee when everything is rough. Maybe I should stick to electric kettle instead of gimbal wall-mount stove? Battery draw vs. discrete fuel. Any suggestions? I can't be entirely without comforts (coffee).
+ there's SO MUCH to do, and I am aiming before forty, when I might have more self preservation interest that argues for a larger boat.
+ replace & augment all the floatation to all but guarantee positive buoyancy. Only worry is the keel ripping off or hitting a partially submerged tree. The away bag is already packed.
+ maybe a family member cares enough about me to invest in an EPIRB.
+ carry plenty of little odds and ends, hardware, curved/curvable wood "scrap" and plenty of 5200 for breach repair while underway.
+ a good friend as avoid as myself, as no precaution compares to being awake and rational at the helm.
I know I'm forgetting some plans...
Oh yeah. Learned not to trust outboards, especially for river duty. She's gonna have an oar station in the big beautiful cockpit, double as boat hook, strap them to stanchions while sailing.
Inspired by the Norseboat and [ArcticMariner.org](ArcticMariner.org), but cannot afford the Norseboat. I think I will appreciate the full keel, unless Crazy Eddy's take me, or too many missed beachable stopovers make me long for the swing keel... but I think better stability, windward performance and solidity is worth the additional permanent draft and weight.
So, the plan is the big Lakes get a thorough exploration, especially my childhood home of Northern Lake Michigan. Perhaps the following season, Toronto, St. Lawrence, winter in Montreal ou Quebec. Perfect the French (with 17th Century bumokin Northwoods French!), Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland following season, where I've dreamt of exploring, then make it around the Fax to Rockland, where I get the Mariner outfit for Blue Water at Stuart Marine.
Do I risk jumping the big pond in this??!
I was taken aback by how encouraging r/Sailing was to the inexperienced circumnavigation hopeful. A lot of thought and prep, and/or money, and/or blind guts need go into such a thing.
I'd REALLY like to get her to the Mediterranean, and ultimately the Indian Ocean, or the Caribbean as runner up. Returning back to Newfoundland or Northern Michigan to farm quietly.
Am I crazy?
I have 45 foot ketch charter, sailing instructor, commercial fishing experience, so I know what it potentislly takes if you want to do it safely. I have fast tidal experience aboard my old Pearson 30, in San Francisco Bay, and I've worked on marine systems up to the point of going aloft on Bill Buckley's old schooner, Cyrano... but one can never be too prepared.
It IS a nineteen foot vessel, and I hate sharks!
I am worried about reengineering the self-draining cockpits to be larger diameter. I would like to put seacocks or some such... the bare hose clamps on thru hulls worry me a great deal.
I am also considering rerigging as a bowsprit cutter as I replace the standing rigging... gaff rigged, shorter, sturdier mast, beefier mast support arch or post, reefing and stays'l options, and short bowsprit to meet the legal requirements of 20 foot LOA of the St. Lawrence seaway locks.
Any advice is welcome. Who am I to second guess the elegant Rhodes-designed sloop, but a strong, shorter, monolithic mainmast and a gaff main with rings instead of a bolt rope would make me a lot more comfortable.
Besides, then I could get all new tanbark sails!
I am open to any other ideas to make this laker a seaworthy as possible.
The little Mariner has a Dansk name, and a Celtic skipper... it's bound to go well: they've always gotten along great! ;-j
Here she is now: