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  #1  
Old 04-25-2007
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Lake Ontario to St. Lawrence to Atlantic

At the end of June of 2009 we're looking to start a 1.5 year cruise.
I have to admit to not really knowing ANYTHING about this route to the Atlantic. Originally we were thinking of starting in Cape Cod, working our way north through Maine and then heading south in September and not reaching the more hurricane prone areas until the end of October.

Instead of going north and then doubling back, we're thinking of starting in Lake Ontario (pre-positioning by going up the Erie Canal) and then heading up the St. Lawrence and out to the Atlantic, then south.

A few questions:

1) Where can I get info about this route?
2) Is this a feasible route or am I smoking something?
3) Am I going to have any mast clearance issues (once on Lake Ontario) or draft issues going up the St. Lawrence? Does anyone know the height of the lowest non-raising bridge and the shallowest navigable channel?
4) Is it interesting?
5) What kind of weather can I expect at this time of year?
6) Is it reasonable to sail up large portions of the St. Lawrence?
7) How long is this route?

I wish the Canadians would put their charts online so I could plan!!

Thanks!
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where are you starting from?? Are you going up teh Hudson and erie Canal to Ontario then across the St. Lawrence or is yout boat in Lk. Ontario now?? I'm a bit confused
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Old 04-25-2007
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It makes a really big difference, as you must take the stick down in the Erie/Hudson Canal, but not in the Welland Canal from Erie.

Where is your trans-Atlantic destination? As I said before, if it's Ireland, you can consider going to Newfoundland for a shorter leg on the northern rhumb line. If you are going to France or south, just leave from New England/New York.

Tell me your boat, your location and your destination, and perhaps I can help.
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Old 04-25-2007
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Valiente - Ireland was a different person in a different thread. I started a new thread so I didn't hijack his...

Assume our boat would be in Utica, NY on Lake Ontario. We live near Albany, NY so it's easy enough for us to "stage" a boat out of Lake Ontario. If we did this, we'd probably have her there the prior Fall to prep for our trip. Assume the mast will be up.

I'm just wondering if a Lake Ontario to St. Lawrence to Atlantic, around Newfoundland and down through Maine, then along the east coast of the US and farther south, would be a feasible trip for a sailboat, or if it's more of a trawler type of journey.

I now know that I shouldn't have to worry about bridges and draft... Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System : Seaway Map has info on the trip.

But what about the other questions?
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Old 04-25-2007
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It sounds like a pretty trip if you have lots of time and want to explore.
But if your trying to get South, I would think that you would want to go the Canal Route to the Hudson.
Its a long way around the trip you have planned, but if that is your desire, than why not.
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Sailing the St. Lawrence, then proceeding down the Atlantic coast of the US will definitely be an interesting trip, and you'll be sailing along some of the most beautiful coastline in the world doing so.

AFAIK, the route is feasible, and shouldn't pose too many problems, although I don't know how much sailing you'll be able to do on the St. Lawrence to the northern Atlantic.

I don't believe draft—either air or water will be a major concern. However, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, tidal currents and tide levels will be. If they're anything like the nearby Bay of Fundy, the tidal changes will be relatively massive compared to further south—on the order of 20-30' IIRC. However, I don't have any personal experience with sailing the St. Lawrence, so I could be wrong. (For full disclosure, I haven't sailed the Bay of Fundy either, but I've been there and seen the tide change...very impressive, and damned dangerous if you're not careful).

I'd imagine that June would be rather nice, if a bit cool on the St. Lawrence, and fog will be a factor along the coast of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Maine. Nights can be pretty cold that far north as well. Might be worth packing the fleece... Since you'll be sailing on those waters, it might also be wise to pack either drysuits or "gumby" survival suits, in case of an emergency.

If you want, I can run this through VPP and see what it says for distance, time, and time spent motoring and such.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
(For full disclosure, I haven't sailed the Bay of Fundy either, but I've been there and seen the tide change...very impressive, and damned dangerous if you're not careful).


Ummmm... Wow!!!! I can't even imagine 20' to 30' tide changes. I'm assuming they must use some sort of floating dock? I think having to use the bosuns chair to get on the boat might be interesting with a bag of groceries!
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Originally Posted by sailingdog
If you want, I can run this through VPP and see what it says for distance, time, and time spent motoring and such.
I'm not sure what VPP is - I'm assuming it's nav software? Regardless, I'd love to hear what you have! This route sounds a lot more interesting than staging out of Cape Cod, heading north, and then heading south again (covering the same ground).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortjk1
It sounds like a pretty trip if you have lots of time and want to explore. But if your trying to get South, I would think that you would want to go the Canal Route to the Hudson. Its a long way around the trip you have planned, but if that is your desire, than why not.
We're not trying to get anywhere in particular... I'm just trying to plan the route for our 1.5 year cruise. We wouldn't stage out of Lake Ontario if we didn't go this route (St. Lawrence) - we'd stage out of Cape Cod and then go north, and then south.
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It actually sounds like a very nice route.
Dog gave you good advise on what to be aware of.
I would also be aware of freighter traffic on and in the vicinity of the St. Lawrence. I don't have any personal experince, but that would seem to be a bottleneck for the large ships in the area.

The Great Lakes are a great place to sail. Might be a lot of fun for you.
Thousand Islands area is supposed to be a premier crusing area.
Good luck with your planning.

Last edited by sailortjk1; 04-25-2007 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 04-25-2007
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VPP- Virtual Passage Planner... And, yes, doing the St. Lawrence river sounds like a lot more fun than doing the NE coastline twice... however, I love the NE coast line, so I'd probably do that twice... rather than the St. Lawrence river...
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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