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  #41  
Old 08-22-2013
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We're planning a similar trip, but our timeline is far more relaxed. Starting at the far end of the Great Lakes (Thunder Bay), we now plan to winter the boat in L. Ontario or perhaps near Montreal. The next season we plan to take our time going out the St. Lawrence. We may make a run for the Bahamas that year, but hopefully will spend a season or two exploring the Maritimes and Newfoundland.

My sense from the research I've done is that your schedule is very rushed. It could be done, but it will be a forced march all the way. Not much time for enjoyment, nor for dealing with the inevitable problems and delays.

If timing is the paramount factor, then I would chose the canal or the Mississippi route.
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  #42  
Old 08-22-2013
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Re: Best Route: Great Lakes to East Coast?

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Originally Posted by Seanlinnan View Post
I'm not in a hurry... This is why I'm trying to find out how long it takes. Let me know a good timeline. I'm all ears! I don't want to unstep the mast and definitely want to see the whales in Canada. But we want to get south before fall really kicks in. We will winter over in the Carribbean and need to get through Panama before the 2015 hurricane season. Any advice about where to be and when... We need it.
Without knowing the type of boat, etc, it's pretty tough to attempt to estimate your timeline... I think you may be seriously underestimating the amount of ground you'll have to cover going out the St Lawrence, but perhaps more importantly, all the wonderful exploration to be done along the way, before you even reach New England - an area that alone can occupy many cruisers for the better part of a summer...

I think the desire to "get south before the fall kicks in" seems a bit misguided, as well... There are many good reasons why most people don't proceed south of Norfolk much before mid-October, hurricane season being the most compelling, of course...

When you say "wintering in the Caribbean" do you mean the Eastern Caribbean? Are you thinking of sailing offshore, direct to the islands? From your mention of the Keys, I had assumed you mean to head down the coast, no? If so, you're not gonna have much time in the Lesser Antilles, before it's time to head for Panama by April, or thereabouts...

If you are headed down the coast or ICW, I think you'll have more fun doing it as part of the seasonal southbound migration of cruisers, rather than doing it earlier more on your own... Particularly, with children aboard, as you're far more likely to meet up with other 'Kid Boats", a consideration that often seems to dictate the movements of many cruising families...

Unless you plan to shoot straight for the Virgins from Norfolk in early November, you might want to re-think getting all the way out to the Eastern Caribbean... The Thorny Path with young children aboard might not be much fun... I'd think about a nice leisurely trip down the ICW/coast, spending the holidays in FL and the Keys, then head over to the Bahamas for a few months, thence down to Jamaica for a pit stop, and wait for a good window to head for Panama...

You can always save the E Caribbean for the tail end of your circumnavigation, after all... :-)
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  #43  
Old 08-23-2013
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Re: Best Route: Great Lakes to East Coast?

This is great advice. We have 48 months to do the trip and rushing the beginning will be a mistake. I'm just worried that if we are not on schedule to get from Panama west to the Galapogos, Fr. Poly islands, and ultimately New Zealand by November of 2015...we will need to winter over in the carrribbean twice and then be on a real time crunch as it pertains to the rest of the trip. On the other hand, if we rush the great stuff...and the familiar stuff like Canada and the East coast, Florida, and the Bahamas... The crew may not be able to tolerate the inevitable conditions of heading Westward. I'm struggling with time frames and the points made about underestimating distances and time requirements are spot on. I'm a pilot and have 9 hours of sailing experience. I have spent the better part of the last several years planning the boat, budget, and children's needs and now have 8 months to consider the actual charts and time frames. We want to spend a majority of our time in the Carribbean, French poly and New Zealand, and the Med. the rest we had planned on hopping through, but starting out easy on miles and time frames will be best for overall morale and experience level. I'd hate to miss Canada and the whales. How much of a headache is the unstepping process? How long are we talking about having a mast on deck and what's the restepping cost? We have a 2000 Dufour Classic 43 Sloop rigged mono. We JUST rebuilt the mast and all standing and running rigging including a cracked mast. We're burned out on taking that crap down to motor through a river for 500 miles. I will do it if its the right plan, but I'm more easily convinced that Canada is worth the time.
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Dropping a mast is not that big a deal. Have done it more times than I care to remember on both our current 37' cutter (double spreader, very heavy mast) and our ketch (twice the fun). Carrying it on deck while motoring won't be fun, but thousands of boats have done it (I have not), so it must be OK.

My understanding is that there are professionals that will do the job at both ends. No problem, no fuss, just money.

I agree with you that the St. Lawrence and Maritime provinces/states would be a shame to pass by quickly. But given your schedule (which seems way too rushed to me) I really think you need to bypass Canada for now.

Why the rush? You could easily spend two years anywhere. Why race around the world?
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: Best Route: Great Lakes to East Coast?

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Originally Posted by Seanlinnan View Post
We're burned out on taking that crap down to motor through a river for 500 miles. I will do it if its the right plan, but I'm more easily convinced that Canada is worth the time.
The Erie Canal, especially from Buffalo to the Mohawk River, is ideal for a family. Lots of free dock tie ups, quaint towns, good supplies etc.

Heading out the St Lawrence seaway and down the east coast is tough going. If you have limited sailing experience it might be deadly.

If your goal us to keep your wife and children on board the Erie Canal might be a good choice.
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Old 08-25-2013
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xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about
You have 9 hours sailing experience?

You'll qualify for a Darwin long before you reach Galapagos!
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