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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
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  #1  
Old 04-04-2009
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From the Hudson to Champlain

I am thinking about buying a 25 footer on the hudson and sailing her home to champlain, I have never sailed on a river or gone thru the locks,I have sailed champlain for years. So i am just looking for info any good books on the river? how "sailable" is it u north when in narows down? how narrow is it? How tiff is the current? What about good ancorage? Any special tips for ancoring in a river?What have I missed?
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Old 04-04-2009
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The Champlain Canal connects the Hudson to Lake Champlain, starting in Troy and ending at Whitehall. Counting the Federal lock in Troy, you will have to pass through 13 locks. You will be under power the entire way. After you get out of the Hudson and into the canal, you'll be cruising in a big, straight ditch.

You will have to step your mast before you get to Albany as there is insufficient bridge clearance from there on. Many persons have their mast stepped in Catskill (Riverview Marina or Hopponose), although there used to be a do-it-yourself crane at a yacht club in Castleton. You can re-step your mast when you leave the canal.

Passing through the locks shouldn't be a big deal. After a couple, they become pretty routine and the lock tenders are usually quite pleasant and helpful. Having one person stay amidships with a 50 ft. line, while you stay at the wheel, will make for an easy day. For a vessel your size, one line will be all you'll need to secure your vessel to the lock wall (either a ladder or a vertical pipe). Your line-handler may also wish to wear a pair of gloves.

Just make sure you've got fenders out on both sides. Some cruisers will pick up burlap sacks, fill them with straw, and use these as fenders. The nice thing about this method is that you can empty them out and fold them away when you don't need them, or even throw them away.

In order to enter the canal you will need to purchase a cruising pass from the State of NY.

Good luck your boat search and enjoy the canal!
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Old 04-04-2009
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Not a problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigvalveturbo View Post
I am thinking about buying a 25 footer on the hudson and sailing her home to champlain, I have never sailed on a river or gone thru the locks,I have sailed champlain for years. So i am just looking for info any good books on the river? how "sailable" is it u north when in narows down? how narrow is it? How tiff is the current? What about good ancorage? Any special tips for ancoring in a river?What have I missed?
You need to take your mast down to go through the canal. If the boat is on the hard now with the mast down it would not make much sense to put it up (unless for survey reasons) until you get to Champlain. If the mast is up you can take it down at the Castleton BC south of Albany if you feel comfortable doing it (you need a cradle to hold it on deck - easy to make out of cheap lumber and deck screws - you really don't need bolts for a mast that size. If you want someone to take the mast down for you several of the marinas south of Castleton do it.

Not sure where on the Hudson you are starting but the tide really makes a difference in your speed. It is much more pleasant not to fight a foul tide. Some parts of the river are wider and sailing is easier there but some parts are fairly narrow. The wind seems to funnel down (or up) the river so you tend to be running (spinnaker would be helpful here) or motoring. Overall you will be relying on the motor a lot so make sure it is reliable.

Locks are not hard to handle with two people on a boat that size. Some locks have ladders and some have cables hanging down. What works well is to have one long line tied fore and aft with enough slack to form a loop that you can pass around the cable or rungs of the ladder. One person moves this up or down as the locks fills or empties. The other person can fend off as needed. You need a decent boat hook and gloves as it is mucky (the long line will not be clean at the end of the process - start with an old one)

Not too many anchorages on the river. In the canal you can generally tie up at the locks for free - good idea to pass a lock and tie up above it so you can get an earlier start in the morning without having to wait for the lock keeper. Also some towns offer free docking for the night.
Have fun it is a pleasant trip.
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Old 04-04-2009
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For the Champlain Canal, every lock except for the Federal Lock (before the split of the canal system into the Erie and the Champlain sections) will have lines hanging off the walls to hold on to. Make sure you have a set of gloves. If you plan on tying up to the docks at the locks at night, have several LONG THICK lines. When we tied up south of Lock 4 (I think it was lock 4), my 50' 5/8" lines were barely long enough to reach where they needed to go to tie off. Some of the locks are better than others - Lock 9 has normal (albeit LARGE) cleats lining the walls.

Killarney is spot on with regards to currents. Plan your day to keep the current with you. You can easily do 60-75nm days when the current is with you, but plan on 35nm days when it is against you. There are not many good places to anchor, but they are there. Most of the Maptech chartbooks will show you where they are, and if you pick up the Skipper Bob guide it will also tell you where you can anchor.

Check out my post specifically on travelling the Champlain Canal - Traveling the Champlain Canal

Chris
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