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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
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  #1  
Old 10-21-2007
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Lake Erie to Lake Ontario

Hi All,

Has anyone here had any experience using the Welland Canal between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario?

Specifically, controlling depths / heights; Transit time; Costs; etc.

I'm considering keeping a boat in the Buffalo vicinity during the summer and bringing it to the islands for the winter, via the St. Lawrence versus the Hudson.

For family reasons, I would rather keep it on Lake Erie, I think; but maybe sailing would be better in western Ontario than Eastern Erie?

Lots of factors to consider, but I have a couple of years to work them out.

Thanks, Fred
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Old 10-21-2007
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I haven't made the particular trip, but for some reason the figure of "$85" is stuck in my head. I think the transit takes six hours or so.

Given that Lakemax freighters use the canal, unless you have a hundred foot mast, I wouldn't worry.

As for the sailing qualities, at the east end of Erie, you are generally going to be at the end of Erie's entire fetch, and the eastern shore will be a lee shore. Erie is shallow, quite so in spots, and is known for "square waves" even nastier than Ontario's.

The Lake Ontario side, by contrast, is appreciably lower, and is sheltered somewhat at the western end by the relatively high Niagara Escarpment. On the other hand, certain winds can funnel through gaps in that feature, or can act in a katabatic fashion and basically "roll down the hill", kicking up sudden, intense but usually brief squalls.

If you want an American club, you might consider Youngstown, N.Y., which is pretty close to Buffalo but allows you access not only to the nice spots on the south side of the lake, but also to the more densely populated and more boating intensive Canadian side, as the lake is only about 30 miles wide between Youngstown and Toronto, with a broad "U" of over a hundred miles of "coastline" around what is called "the Golden Horseshoe".

Going out the St. Lawrence is a great idea, but beware that you don't end up so in love with the cruising grounds of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that you spend the entire summer there!
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Old 10-21-2007
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I happen to have just looked at the Welland stats. The clearance was listed as 117 feet so even if you have a 100ft mast you are OK!
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Old 10-21-2007
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Going down the Welland is quite easy and costs CAN$160 last time I looked. Going up is a lot more work -need several crew depending on the size of boat and costs the same. A passage takes a full day once you get moving, if the locks are busy you will sit until they can fit you in.
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lake erie vs lake ontario

purchased my pearson from a man that lived in williamson near buffalo and used to sail lake erie but moved to wilson harbor lake ontario due to the closeness and steepness of the lake erie waves.
a beautiful harbor to consider would be oak orchard , point breeze new york
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Old 10-21-2007
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Rule #1 : Always make sailing decisins for sailing reasons!

Looks like Lake Ontario it is....... Thanks for all of the great info. I looked at Youngstown, very promising...I also like the idea of being able to sail to Toronto, a wonderful city, IMHO ...............

Fred
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Old 10-22-2007
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For anyone else that's looking at the canal transit costs at Welland, for 2007, it's $25 x 8 = $200.

http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/...dule_tolls.pdf
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Old 10-22-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AjariBonten View Post

Has anyone here had any experience using the Welland Canal between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario?

Specifically, controlling depths / heights; Transit time; Costs; etc.

For family reasons, I would rather keep it on Lake Erie, I think; but maybe sailing would be better in western Ontario than Eastern Erie?
I went through the other way two months ago.

The controlling depth way exceeds any yacht and there is no controlling height. However, boats must be at least 6 meters LOA.

The transit time can be anything between 5 and 18 hours, 10 is typical. It is slow because you will always be obliged to give way to ships, this can result in several hours delay at locks.

The cost at present is $200 (whether US or CND). If the automatic machines at the ends are working, you pay by credit card. If not, you pay cash (only) at lock 3. So take both.

You should download a copy of the St Lawrence Seaway Pleasure Craft Guide which explains the regulations. Irritatingly this forum wont permit me to post the url, but just google on the above title.

Most important, be sure to announce yourself at the pleasure craft dock at either end, when you will be given instructions for proceding.

The lock walls are reasonably smooth, but use a fender board as well as fenders.

The lines are so high that it is hard work holding them. Although it is permitted to descend with just two people aboard able to handle lines, take a third if possible. Going up, there must be three people.

I agree that west Lake Ontario is a little better cruising ground than east Lake Erie. But east Lake Ontario, Bay of Quinte and Thousand Islands, is one of the best cruising grounds in the world.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AjariBonten View Post
Rule #1 : Always make sailing decisins for sailing reasons!
Well, not everyone is that clear a thinker. I get the impression that the east end of Erie is where the water constantly sloshes, and it must be a bitch to sail west from there. Good luck with Youngstown. There's other options, depending on how far from Buffalo you care to go.
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Old 10-22-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
Well, not everyone is that clear a thinker....... Good luck with Youngstown. There's other options, depending on how far from Buffalo you care to go.
Thanks Val, I said it and I STILL have to remind myself. Youngstown looks great, as does Olcott Beach. The Mate and I are going to take a ride up and check them out this coming weekend.

Apparently Y-T is closer to her relatives, but Olcott is a more direct drive. Depending on costs and sailing issues; they seem to be likely candidates.

I don't want to go as far east as Rochester; but otherwise from everything I've been reading it's Ontario over Erie all the way.

Fred
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I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
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.
..... Gordon Bok
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