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Old 07-27-2007
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Niagara River Current

Does anyone on this board have experience on the Niagara River and the Black Rock Canal between the Port of Buffalo and North Tonawanda where the NY State Canal system starts? I'm specifically interested in the strength of the current in that area. I'm wondering if I will have any trouble with the current either on the river or on the Black Rock Canal as I will be motoring both ways later in the summer. I wonder if the river is anything like the St. Claire River out of Lake Huron where it can be difficult to motor heading north because of the current.
Thanks for any advice and/or suggestions.
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Old 07-27-2007
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We have motored up the river to the blackrock no problem. First time with a 30' Hunter with about a 15 hp Yanmar. The current is about 3-4 knots. There is no current in the Blackrock canal. Locking is done on the hour and 1/2hr. Of course going down is no problem!
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Old 07-28-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotAir06 View Post
We have motored up the river to the blackrock no problem. First time with a 30' Hunter with about a 15 hp Yanmar. The current is about 3-4 knots. There is no current in the Blackrock canal. Locking is done on the hour and 1/2hr. Of course going down is no problem!
Where exactly did you motor from and to? The current in the Niagara river near the Peace Bridge is pretty fast and I have never seen a sailboat there (power boats do it all the time), I certainly would not want to try it in my boat. Although the river does slow down quite a bit in Tonawanda and it may be fine. The Black Rock canal basically has no current at all I would recommend you use the canal both ways, thats what it is for.
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Old 07-28-2007
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Sailboats do not venture under the Peace Bridge. The current is wicked under there!!!! We have motored from N. Tonawanda where the canal ends up to the Black Rock Canal.
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Old 07-29-2007
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Thanks for your clarification Hotair. The original poster was talking about getting from Buffalo to the Erie Canal in Tonawanda and that would take you under the Peace Bridge, and when I read your response I thought you were referring to the same stretch of river.
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Old 07-29-2007
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From Buffalo to the Erie Canal going downstream you would still use the Black Rock Canal, you don't want to go under the Peace Bridge in the river. Once we were in a small powerboat under the Peace Bridge, hit a rock and lost our prop, not good.
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Old 07-29-2007
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From Buffalo to the Erie Canal going downstream you would still use the Black Rock Canal, you don't want to go under the Peace Bridge in the river. Once we were in a small powerboat under the Peace Bridge, hit a rock and lost our prop, not good.
That sounds like a scary experience, where do you sail hotair?, we have never been in the Grand Island area in a boat and wondered if folks sail anywhere in that area.
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Old 07-30-2007
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Wow... I was just looking up the currents under the Peace Bridge out of curiosity - 7.5 - 12 miles per hour! I wouldn't want to be caught there!
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Old 07-30-2007
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River sailing

I"ve been sailing the Niagara River for the past 30 years, coming from Lake Erie down the River to the canal at Tonawanda, if your mast is up the the current under the Peace Bridge is not really the issue. About 3 miles down the river is the International Train Bridge which is about 18' + - above the water, this is a mast killer for sure. Coming from lake erie go thru the lighthouse entrance opening and follow the bouys to the Black Rock Canal, You'll come to the Ferry St. lift bridge, call the Black Rock Canal Lock, or the Ferry st bridge, some time sounding your horn works also. After they lift it for you, you'll come to the train swing bridge, sound you horn for him. Then you go into the lock if it's open and either drop 5' or raise up 5' then you'll be in the Niagara River follow the bouys and stay to the right side of the river in the channel. I sail a Newport 30 just about everyday on the river and the current doesn't bother me at all. Give me a call 716 693 0247 and I can tell you a lot more and maybe arrainge some docking for you
Capt Al
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Old 08-01-2007
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Thanks for info

Thanks to everyone who has replied to my original post about the current on the Niagara River, especially to Pogo2 (Capt. Al). I leave the western basin of Lake Erie on about August 25 and will make my way to Buffalo and then to the NY State Canal system at N. Tonawanda. Plan to have the mast unstepped at Wardells Boat yard, meet my wife in Buffalo (she's not a keen sailor and that's an understatement -- she will try the canal though as it should be more like riding in an RV!!). I really wasn't worried about going downstream as I have no intention on being out in the current that goes under the Peace Bridge, and had always intended on using the Black rock Canal. I am a little concerned though about coming back the other way when we return from Thousand Islands which is our destination. My boat, a 26' Cape Dory, uses a ten horse outboard in a well and I was a little concerned about making it back up the river to Lake Erie in mid-September on the way back. I'll be able to make 3-4 knots though as long as we don't get one of those late in the season westerlies that last for a week or so and push all of Lake Erie's water to Buffalo.
Thanks again for your help, and Capt. Al I will take up your kind offer to give you a call.
Fair winds
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