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Old 05-20-2009
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Question about stepping the mast for the Erie Canal

To be honest I just want to get my boat home & want to make it as easy as possible. I hope these questions don't come off as trying to over simplify this process but I have not seen much mentioned in reference to this & we are fairly inexperienced in this area. We purchased a boat in NJ this winter and plan on heading up the Hudson & through the Erie canal next week. We will be taking the canal to Lake Erie then across over to the Detroit area I have a few questions for those of you with experience that I have not seen posted when I did a few searches here:
  1. Do I need to make an appointment to have my mast taken down or can I just pull up & get in line?
  2. Can I simply pay someone to take it down, package it up & do the supports for me? If so any idea on what this would cost?
  3. I have seen a number of marina's referenced with cranes to take masts down and let folks do a lot of the work as I am looking for more of the full service type are there any suggestions?
  4. How long should I expect to spend getting this done this time of year? Is it a full day, half day or several day process?

thanks for the help...

Last edited by wright1d; 05-20-2009 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 05-20-2009
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To all of these questions, it depends on where you are. But, generally you'll need half a day and an appointment.

If you're looking to have it done near NY Harbor, you might want to check out Chris of NY Harbor Service (nyharborservice.com). He's experienced, knowledgeable and efficient. Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City requires a rigger to step masts and Chris is their recommended guy. You'll be looking at $330 for 3 hrs of service and $200 to the marina to use the crane. I hired him to help me step mine and he pretty much does anything and everything.

It's not cheap, but it looks like that's about the going rate for the area. You might save a few dollars south of the Verrazano or north of the Tappan Zee.




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Old 05-20-2009
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I was hoping to get it done closer to the locks to avoid having the mast down the extra few days going up the river.
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Old 05-20-2009
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You're absolutely right, You'll want to get your mast pulled in Troy or Catskill, NY. Browse any recent issue at BoatingontheHudson.com to find ads for the folks who provide the service.
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Old 05-21-2009
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You may wish to consider going out at Oswego and putting the mast up there. Then you can sail Lake Ontario until you get to the Welland Canal, where in all likelihood you can lock through to Lake Erie with your mast up. I think it costs $80 or something, and you need to rent a third hand.

Just an alternative. Motoring that distance in a canal might be tedious. The good news is that the canal water levels should be high (I don't know the minimum depth vs. your draft) as this entire region had loads of winter snow and spring rain...Erie and Ontario themselves are nice and high.
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Old 05-21-2009
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Yea, that would be a nice trip but my understanding is that will add a day or two & unfortunately I don't have the extra time this go around, maybe next time?
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Old 06-09-2009
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Just wanted to update this in case someone else has the same question.

I ended up getting my mast stepped at Hop-a-Nose marina in Catskill, NY. It ended up being pretty much a first come first serve thing, there were 4 boats in front of me when I arrived, if the caption was well prepared (meaning stays loosened, sails down, boom off, and stands made) the process took about 90min.

I was able to do everything other then build the supports, which they did for me in about an hour (They had wood & tools available if you wanted to do it yourself and encouraged folks to dig though the free materials left by other boaters). I was very happy with my experience there, they were friendly, helpful, close to town, and had good food. I ended up paying $400 which included 2 nights in the marina (power & water), getting my mast down, labor & materials to make the supports and tie downs.
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Old 06-10-2009
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I'm not familiar with the grounds here, but is getting the mast stepped on a sailboat the only way to get into the great lakes cruising grounds? Is there no way to go through with the mast up?
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Old 06-10-2009
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Unless you want to do the St. Lawrence Seaway, it is the only way. Doing the St. Lawrence would probably add almost 3 weeks to the trip.
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Old 06-10-2009
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I wonder what they'll make of my boat. There's a pivot in the tabernacle that allows me to take my mast down myself, although I dare say it adds to the length if I leave it pinned (I guess I wouldn't...) and the use of a hook would make things safer.
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