Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
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A few hints
I have done this trip several times (including with the monster mast of a Nonsuch 30 with huge overhangs) and here are few things that I have learned.
- You can take your mast down in Sodus but you really would want to have ideal conditions to motor from Sodus to Oswego.
- I have not used the mast delivery service that Collins Bay Marina provides, but knowing how Hub runs things it will be first rate in planning and execution. Having said that, you should not be intimidated by going through the canal with the mast down.
- The people who take the mast down at Oswego Marina are very skilled and sometimes will charge by the length of the boat rather than the length of the mast. Otherwise their charges are very high.
- You can stay at the Oswego YC and avoid the overnight charge at the marina assuming that you cannot get started on the canal until the next morning.
- Making mast supports is not really that hard and there is no one way to do it. I have had good success with two substantial supports (2x4 with plywood gussets (think that is the word). Prefab this at home and take the pieces with you for assembly. I had a strong bow pulpit so rested the end of the mast on it with an old flotation cushion between, although there was not too much weight on it.
- When manoeuvring with the mast down don't forget about what is behind you (ask me how I know) and be sure to take instruments off.
- You can communicate with lockmasters with a handheld VHF, we found that calling them with a cellphone was even better; in general they see you coming and you do not need to even call them
- If you are familiar with doing your own mast, the setup at Castleton is great with the exception that there can be problems with wake since it is on the open river. The price is low and there generally is more than one boat there at a time masting so you can share the workload; their crane is massive and easy to use
- You can mark your mast cradle materials (best to disasssemble) with boat name and return date (if you are coming in June 09 say Sept) and put them behind the club house.
- Really the only tricky bit is crossing Lake Oneida. You go the length of the lake (~20 miles) and it is very shallow and blows up easily. Even small waves (one foot) seem very close together and square so watch your weather; it is good to do it early in the morning.
- A final thought about securing the mast - the problem is not the mast moving sideways, any reasonable cradle will stop that; it is the mast pumping back and forward when you encounter waves or wakes. Really tie the mast well fore and aft so it cannot move. We find that a spider web approach between mast and deck fittings works well, rather than just one or two bigger lines
If you have any questions let me know. We are Canadians but are now living on our boat in Jersey City (across from Manhattan)