Annapolis to Lake Erie in April ? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-11-2009
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Annapolis to Lake Erie in April ?

A friend of mine has purchased a 35 foot cat with a beam of 23 feet in Annapolis. It has to make it's way to Lake Huron on her own bottom so we will be doing that this spring. The new owner has very heavy work commitments starting about May 1st so he would like to start the trip April 18th. The plan is to go as far a possible by the end of the month and then we may park it for a week or two to come home and get our own boats in the water.

The third member has made this trip up the Hudson etc. many times so he has lots of local knowledge but he has not done it in April. Now of course the weather is unpredictable but I would appreciate any comments on the timing. Are the locks likely to be in service? Marinas open?

Thanks in advance.
Gary
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Old 02-11-2009
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Most marinas on the Hudson should start to open April 1st. The canal opens May 1st.

New York State Canals: Notices to Mariners
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Old 02-11-2009
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The canal opens May 1st as Bubb said. But almost every year, it closes at some point in May or early June due to flooding. Considering the heavy snow this winter I'd expect some delays in May.

Can you move the boat as far as Albany in late April and then come back in June for the rest of the run?
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Old 02-11-2009
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As Joe said, Castleton is a place you can go to drop your stick if you can do the work yourself (including cradles) or if there are other cruisers there who can help you (unlikely in April). Otherwise, head to Catskill and get it taken down at Hop-O-Nose or Riverview. We had ours done at Riverview - it was cheaper - and they did a good job, but both places are experts. They can also provide cradles - a lot of cruisers will drop off their cradles on the way south so there may be some pre-made ones. Outside of that, the canals will open May 1st AT THE EARLIEST, dependent on ice and flooding. They have opened as late as the second and third week of May. More information on the system is located at The New York State Canal System - Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga Seneca Canals. If you do a search for "Champlain Canal" you can find a bunch of tips I put up a year or so ago on traversing a canal system. They should be just as applicable to the Erie.

By the way, the trip up along the Jersey coast in April may be pretty rough. We did it at the beginning of May and it was foggy and very bumpy. Depending on the size of your boat and the motor condition, just watch weather conditions carefully. There's lots of info on the trip if you search around this board.
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Old 02-11-2009
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Just re-read and saw you said it's a cat... Castleton for do-it-yourself and Hop-O-Nose are your choices (unless you drop the stick farther south in Poughkeepsie or Kingston). Riverview wouldn't be able to do a cat.
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Old 02-11-2009
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The Erie Canal system can handle 23 feet of beam?

May 1st can still be quite cold in upper NY state, if not usually frosty at night. Bring your own heating and plenty of it.

The lake levels were as high as I've ever seen them last spring at Toronto, and we are on track to beat last year's winter snow and rain and in fact are expected over an inch of rain over most of Southern Ontario in the next 24 hours. I would suspect that if "too much water" stops the canals, that you could get into a pickle if they close the thing while you're in transit, because where the hell would you pull over?
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2 summers ago there was a flood and it took out floating docks and sent boats downriver! the canal system was closed for over a week. you sit tight and wait it out wherever you are in the system.
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The locks are 40-45ft wide and a few hundred feet long. Some rather large boats have been through them before. With regards to water level, based on the amount of snow in central New York, my expectation is that the canals will be open late unless we have a really early defrost in the mountains.
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Thanks folks this is great info, I kinda thought we were pushing the time of year a little.

Gary
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Old 02-12-2009
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Thanks, Labatt. I knew you would know. Even though I intend to go down them in a couple of years, I actually had only a mental picture, not actual dimensions. I was picturing a Trent-Severn size, but they sound more like a mini-Welland Canal.
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