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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 05-19-2014
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Sailing Lake Ontario

Dear List,
We are preparing a sail from Toronto to Sackets Harbor this weekend on a class B 32' boat. Crew of 4. Point to point direct distance is apprx 160 n/miles, but I am reluctant to sail so far from the shore line. I think we should cross south to Niagara Falls and continue along the shore. This will increase the distance by about 15%. The negative is probably lower winds. I would appreciate your suggestions, warnings, etc relating to this passage. We calculated that it would take about 30 hours to complete. Has anyone had such experience? How high are the seas this time of the year? Fog? Wind direction? Any tips will be appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 05-19-2014
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Re: Sailing Lake Ontario

Sail on the side of caution.
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Old 05-19-2014
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Re: Sailing Lake Ontario

Any dangers besides the obvious we should be aware of ? Thanx.
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Old 05-19-2014
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Re: Sailing Lake Ontario

There should be more traffic closer to the shore. Wind and wave on the stern for the last leg.
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Old 05-19-2014
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Re: Sailing Lake Ontario

I would expect for this upcoming weekend point to point will be fine. Sailing dead downwind most likely. Watch for rain and squalls; pretty minor. The water is COLD; let me say that again, the water is cold. So....in the middle of the lake the tempurture will be about 15 degrees cooler. (air temp)

The seas will probably be no more than 6'/2 meters. Should be fine.

Is it really 160 n/mi? That doesn't sound right. But then again that's a straight line right? The way back will be some long tacks. Work the south end of the lake this time of year.
Oswego, Little Sodus Bay, Rochester
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Old 05-19-2014
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Re: Sailing Lake Ontario

Thanx!
In fact, direct line is 160 land miles (140 n/miles), I added 15% if we go along the shore more or less. We are not sailing back - we bought this boat, so it's one way. 6' seas that seems high. Maybe we should go closer to the shore then. Does it get foggy at all? I will not be comfortable if it does.
Best. Stephan

Last edited by Strongwinder; 05-19-2014 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 05-19-2014
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Re: Sailing Lake Ontario

The side of the lake you choose should depend on the wind forecast. The idea is to pick the shore closest to the wind so that the waves will be as small as possible for as long as possible. So if the winds have a northerly component then stay on the north shore. If they are southerly get to the south shore early and go along that coast. Passage weather is suggesting northerlies around 5 knots on Saturday morning so you are better on the northern coast (note that a forecast that far ahead is not going to be exact.

Other thoughts:
- you are planning a 5+ knot average. To do that on a 32 footer chances are good you will motor a lot. Make sure your engine is reliable and you have lots of fuel
- have charts for both coasts (the Richardson's book is good) and know where you can bail out if you have to or want to. On the north shore, there are several until you get to Cobourg, then a fair jump. You can go outside, south of Prince Edward County (that big bump of land) or you can go inside (check to make sure that the Murray Canal is open - you don't need to worry about locks or mast height, just a couple of bridges that open.) Going inside gives you tons of protection and a few pleasant towns to stop at. Once you get out of the Bay of Quinte you can head for Sackett's if the weather forecast is still decent.

- south shore you can stop at the mouth of the Niagara R (Canadian or American side), Wilson, Olcott, Oak Orchard, Rochester, Sodus, Oswego, again lots of places to bail out.

- figure out where you are going to enter the US (as in border formalities); not sure Sackett's is a port of entry. Most of towns further west are and have a video phone setup. You may or may not get visited by an officer. I think we once were.

- as someone said, it will be bitterly cold, especially at night; I would want to have multiple layers top and bottom and boots with very warm socks along with the warmest hats you can find. Not just talking about being uncomfortable. The conditions could easily cause hypothermia if you are not careful.

Sounds like you do not have time to do this trip in day hops which means you should be prepared for nasty conditions. Get an early start in the morning so you get there next afternoon.
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Old 05-19-2014
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Re: Sailing Lake Ontario

You could get a bit of light fog as warm air from the land blows over the cold water. This probably would not extend out very far since the air will rapidly cool as it moves toward the centre of the lake. Looking at the long range forecast I don't see any indication of waves (or wind for that matter). i would not worry about waves of 6 feet happening unless there is a major change in the weather pattern.
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Old 05-19-2014
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Re: Sailing Lake Ontario

Killarney is right.
This time of year the lake is ussually fairly calm especially to the west. The northeast section can get rough under the right conditions.

Honestly; i think the southern route may be your best choice; If you have concerns.

Ports of call, New York
U.S. Customs - Ports of Entry
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Re: Sailing Lake Ontario

I just looked at the map. The northern route is much shorter in distance and time. From
Prince Edward county over to Sackets Harbor isn't that far, compared your offshore distance to getting down to Niagara with a compass heading close to 180 degrees, or the amount of offshore in the Oswago area. Then northeast to Sackets. Arrive at Sackets with lots of daylight left.
Toronto heading Bowmanville, then heading Picton. Around King Edward county to Traverse. (meaning crossing in French).

Last edited by sony2000; 05-19-2014 at 07:31 PM.
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