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chopsy 04-28-2010 10:25 AM

New York Canal System Mast Stepping?
Mornin' All,

I am sailing my Bermuda 30 from Shelburne, VT (Lake Champlain) to Florida. I have chosen to use the New York Canal system that should deliver me from Lake Champlain to the Hudson River and New York Harbor (by way of many groundings while down below, brushing my teeth, not paying attention and a few nights heeled over at 30 degrees, in one spot.....) The folks at the Shelburne Shipyard (Really nice folks, by the way...) are telling me I will need to step my mast at some point along the canal. I guesstimate the mast height to be about 40' and a she draws 4'. Anybody have experience transiting this canal system going South? Will I have to step the mast somewhere? Any other good warnings for a single-hander and a ship's cat that can't hold his own grog?

Thanks! Paul G.

eherlihy 04-28-2010 10:55 AM


Welcome to SailNet!:)

There are a couple of write ups here about making the trip.

Another Sailnetter, Labatt, has made the trip in both directions with his Passport 40. Here is a link to his excellent post. His last post here was in December, so he may not be active here anymore. However he has a blog, two kids, and a business, all of which may be keeping him busy elsewhere.

If you would like some help, send me a PM. I may be available - if I don't buy a boat, and I would LOVE to make this trip.

sailingdog 04-28-2010 11:36 AM

Yes, AFAIK, you will definitely have to unstep and restep your mast.

hellosailor 04-28-2010 02:38 PM

Paul, the unstepping will be required to get you from the lake into the Hudson. Once you are in the Hudson, you can get all the way to Florida without worrying about height or depth. (Although, there are always ways to run out of water in the intracoastal if you try.)

Watch out for barges and tows, stay clear of the commercial traffic, and make sure you are lit up when you anchor. And of course, don't anchor in the spots marked "HERE BE DRAGONS" they tend to get cranky when hit by anchors.

mooregm5 04-29-2010 08:29 AM

Champlain Canal
Hello Paul,

Along the canal you will need to take down your mast. You can make it all the way to Whitehall and have it done there, or if you are going soon and have it down for winter don't bother putting it up.

Lock 12 Marina in Whitehall is the only place in Whitehall with a crane. You can also have it done at nearly any marina further up the lake that has a few sailboats. Call around to get the best price. Make sure you get the cost of the mast, and extra fees such as cradle, radar dome, etc. Pricing is usually by the foot, mast not boat length.

The Champlain Canal is quite nice, and your going the easy way. You'll start out in an artificial section with little flow. Two up locks and then its all down hill (the easier way).

For single-handling I suggest tying a line to the center cleat and using one of the vertical poles that run down the lock. If there is no such pole (not all locks have been updated yet), then a ladder works well too, but you have to constantly undo and re-tie it.

Watch for currents along the Hudson River, especially if you stop at the Mechanicville or Fort Edward walls, approach upstream and parallel to the direction of flow.

When you get down past Albany you can put the mast back up. The options are:
* Castleton Boat Club, Castleton on the Hudson, NY; 518-732-7077 --- Note: Do it yourself gin pole.
* Hop-O-Nose Marine, Catskill, NY; 518-943-4640
* Riverview Marine Service Inc., Catskill, NY; 518-943-5311 --- Note: Cannot service catamarans, must fit in slip to reach crane.

The first is the cheapest, at about $50, but you must do everything yourself. The people in the club see hundreds, if not thousands, of boats a year, so don't expect them to help. You should be able to work a deal with someone also putting their mast up--you help me, I help you.

Hope this helps,

RonRelyea 04-29-2010 08:59 AM

Coming down the Hudson
Paul ... if you're in the vicinity of the New Hamburg Yacht Club at the end of a day ... we usually have a free transient space open on our docks ... let me know if your interested when it gets near time and I'll get you my phone number ... Certain nights, the club has dinners available (usually Thursday and Friday during the summer) and we also have showers and a bar ...

I'm not a very experienced sailor yet, but would love to just chew the fat ...

joethecobbler 05-07-2010 08:34 PM

I've stepped and unstepped at Castleton, inexpensive and easy to do.
Also a great little town w/ a laundry and place to get a meal, even a small store to provision lightly. the people are nice at the club and often have stuff going on there. I hope to be gettig there in the next couple weeks , as were in Ocracoke Island NC right now and if the weather is right tommorrow we'll be sailing up to Roanoake island ,VA

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