Wondering? Chicago to Gulf .. How to? What? Canal, river? Just wondering .. goofing - SailNet Community

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Old 12-05-2009
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Wondering? Chicago to Gulf .. How to? What? Canal, river? Just wondering .. goofing

I remember speaking with someone who told me about taking an
old sailboat from Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico.

I was goofing, looking at google maps, and I started wondering
whether he was just kidding me..

Can a sailboat go from Chicago to the Gulf by water?

Is there a canal system or something ??
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Old 12-05-2009
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Yes, down the Chicago river through the canal currently being poisoned for asian carp, down the Illinois to the Mississippi, past hundreds of sand barsand deadheads to the gulf. Good Old Boat had an article regarding such a trip last year I believe.
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Old 12-05-2009
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There's a guy over on Anything Sailing that just did it. Look up "Porfin".
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Old 12-05-2009
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Then out to Florida, up the east coast, back through the sea way and through the great lakes... There are other routes for the "Great Loop". Something I have thought about doing myself.
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Old 12-05-2009
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If you google 'Great Loop' and 'Tenn/Tom Waterway' you will get more detailed answers.
The Tenn-Tom is preferred over the Mississippi for various reasons.
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Old 12-05-2009
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I took my bristol 24 down the Tennessee- Tom biggbee waterway last year; and then on to Florida. It's a senic, interesting route, as opposed to the Mississippi, which is full of barge and ship traffic. I was able to sail about 1/4th of the time. there are about a dozen locks, with lakes along the way. Some stretches of the river are straight enough to sail also.

You need a good motor, and at least 2 good anchors. A long, stout, sculling oar is handy for pushing off the inevitable minor groundings also.
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Old 12-05-2009
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You'll need to take the mast down to get from Lake Michigan to the Illinois, there's a 19' fixed bridge you must pass under. Thereafter you can carry 52'(I think) to the Gulf. And yes, taking the Ohio-Tennessee-TennTom-Tombigbee is preferred over the lower Mississippi as it's more scenic and there's more services for cruising boats. If you're considering making the trip Skipper Bob has a good guide for the run from Chicago to Mobile.
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Old 12-05-2009
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Jasper,
Your profile is a bit vague. what are you sailing? There are a few low areas - mast must come down etc. Also, there is not a great posibility oto sail this anyway so plan to motor the long miles.

We will be going the other way by St. Lawrence to the Gaspay Penninsula. The other option is the Erie canal and the ICW.

It may depend on what you want to see and how big you are.

You can also to it by truck.
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Old 12-07-2009
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Sail from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico

You can sail from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico on what the boating community calls the Great Loop. You will deal with taking your mast off in some places, in locks etc. There are many loopers that do this journey in a sail boat. You can meet them through the America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association (AGLCA). You need a membership which is only about $49 per year, but the loopers are very helpful and knowledgeable. You can keep in touch with the loopers during your journey as well. I would recommend attending one of the AGLCA's Rendezvous, the next one is in the Spring in Myrtle Beach, SC. Good Luck with the journey, it is a beautiful trip.
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