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  #1  
Old 08-31-2011
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Best Way to Get from Lake Ontario to NYC

We have been preparing this summer for a trip to the Caribbean starting from Kingston on Lake Ontario, down the NY State canals (Oswego Canal, Erie Canal) to the Hudson River, NJ coast, Delaware Canal, Chesapeake Bay and a crossing from Norfolk VA to Tortola BVI in early November. Our planned departure date is Sept 7.

Based on the reports on damage in NY state from Irene it looks like the Erie Canal has sustained significant damage and it is unclear when it will reopen again. The Champlain Canal is also closed but appears to be in better shape, again it is unclear when it will reopen.
Waterway Cruising Guide | Navigation Updates

Clearly we are trying to assess the options so that we don't have to give up on our dream of taking the boat south.
For those of you with experience making the trip south I have the following questions:
-Is it too late to rule out the long route up the St Lawrence River and down the east coast of Canada/US?
-Is the Champlain Canal route a good option (assuming the damage is relatively minor and it reopens soon). I have not looked into mast unstepping options on this route. Are there any recommended locations?
-Are there mast stepping options south of Catskill. All the options I looked at were in Catskill but that area appears to have been hit very hard.
Videos show upstate New York, Vermont Irene flooding | The Lookout - Yahoo! News

Any advice from people with experience with any of these routes would be much appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2011
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Yes, the damage to the Erie section of the canal is severe. I'm hearing rumors that the canal between Lks. E-16 east to Waterford will not reopen this year due to the heavy damage to dam & lock structures. The Canal Corp. is planning an announcemnt later this week on the status of the Champlain section & next week regarding the Erie. My suspicions are that the Champlain will open, but not the Erie. I've seen pics of 3 locks that are totally under water & significant damage to a dam. In '06 due to severe flooding that section of the canal was closed fom June to Labor Day, & the damage was less severe.

You can take the St Lawrence route to Lake Champlain, & enter the Champlain Canal in Whitehall. But, be aware that the Hudson River is probably going to be filled with debris, & many marinas have sustained damage. Good luck.
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Old 09-01-2011
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You could also go West through Chicago. I know it is what you had planned but it is possible. Welland Canal into Erie and West though the Great Lakes to Chicago and enter the river system there. You end up in Mobile Bay and the Florida Pan Handle. From there you can make the Keys and than on to your ultimate destination.
I don't know if your scheduled departure date would allow you to get South in time before it gets too cold or uncomfortable to make it, but it is a viable alternative route.
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Old 09-01-2011
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Last edited by rikhall; 09-02-2011 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 09-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortjk1 View Post
You could also go West through Chicago. I know it is what you had planned but it is possible. Welland Canal into Erie and West though the Great Lakes to Chicago and enter the river system there. You end up in Mobile Bay and the Florida Pan Handle. From there you can make the Keys and than on to your ultimate destination.
I don't know if your scheduled departure date would allow you to get South in time before it gets too cold or uncomfortable to make it, but it is a viable alternative route.
Not to me, it isn't... (grin) It would be a Mast-On-Deck Motor Job all the way from Chicago to the Gulf, then and LONG uphill slog from there to the BVI's... He'd be better off trucking it to the Hudson...

For the original poster, sounds like the Champlain route is your best shot. I've been caught twice in floods on the Erie, it ALWAYS takes longer than sooner to get going again, and this one sounds bad...

Going out the St Lawrence would certainly be do-able, but it could be a bit of a push, and you wouldn't have much time to savor that region... On the other hand, you could do Halifax-Bermuda-BVIs instead - but that's never been a route that holds much appeal to me in November...

If you make it through the Champlain, I doubt you'd have trouble finding a spot to re-step the mast on the Hudson... Hop-O-Nose in Catskill I'm sure would be back up and running, certainly Haverstraw could help you out... Worst case scenario might he to have to duck into W LI Sound to one of the yards there, or perhaps a spot like Lockwoods on Raritan Bay in NJ...

But, I'd put my eggs in the Champlain basket, and perhaps even investigate the possibility of trucking to the coast if you're committed to doing the trip this year...

This is a real shame, the Erie Canal is one of my favorite trips, I hate to hear of it getting torn up like that... Best of luck to you...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 09-02-2011 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 09-02-2011
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Wow! Add the NYS Canal system to the list of major damage caused by 'Irene'. I heard that Vermont was trashed and I saw for myself all the flotsam (debris) in the Hudson River as that is where my boat is. Our boat which is on a mooring off Nyack had a huge beard of an unidentified fresh water weed mixed with branches, logs and litter.
If you can get through the Champlain canal our club (Nyack Boat Club) suffered minimal damage and we have a mast pulling/raising crane on our dock as well as several other working electrical lifts. It is a pretty long way down river from Albany but it could be an option for re-stepping your mast.
The eastern part of the 'Erie' canal that was damaged is on the Mohawk River which is a natural drainage basin. I believe that the Champlain Canal was largely man made and hopefully suffered minimal damage.

With all this damage I can't believe that some think that 'Irene' was over hyped by the media. Those of us who survived with little or no damage were just lucking fucky.
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Old 09-02-2011
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I would seriously consider trucking the boat past the canal.
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Old 09-28-2011
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the champlain canal section is open and navigable.
Gov. Cuomo has announced that the Mowhawk river section will open briefly this year (2011) from Nov.24- Dec.8 to allow passage of sranded vessels.
Hope it's a late winter. I would not choose that start date for a departure south.
I left that area the last week in Oct.2007 and spent Halloween in Barnagat Light NJ.
Needless to say the North atlantic as well as the Chesapeake gets awfully "exciting" that time of year in a Sailboat !
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Old 09-28-2011
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Going down through Lake Champlain is doable and pleasant just longer. We went to Bermuda from Lake Ontario in the spring of 2007 and the Erie was closed by late spring rains so we went down the St Lawrence to Sorel. The distance from Whitby to Albany was twice as far as going through Oswego but you have substantial current in your favour in the St Lawrence.

There is a do it yourself crane at Sorel for mast removal and an even better setup at the Castleton Boat Club just south of Albany for putting it back up. I would call and make sure it was not damaged.

I would not suggest going down the St Lawrence. It is very long way and in the lower St Lawrence could be cold. From Nova Scotia eastward you tend to be fighting the prevailing winds. Someone mentioned Halifax to Bermuda to Virgin Islands - you would want a really good weather window for the first part.
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Old 09-28-2011
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I did the trip from Lake Michigan tp NYC via the Gulf of St. Lawrence a half dozen years ago.

The Toronto to NYC part took about 17 days. It was spectacular - Northern Lights every night and the St. Lawrence near the mouth is a world unto itself. Itty bitty fishing hamlets and great French Food.

Cold ?

You betcha - we did the trip in mid-August and wore wool caps and foulies. The mouth of the St. Lawrence is surprisingly far north. But the locals wore shorts and flip flops - they thought it was the height of Summer and blazing hot.

IceBergs ?

The Gulf of St. Lawrence has a reporting and tracking system for ice floes and bergs. We didn't need it. But I recall being schocked at how early the ice floe season started.

Last edited by WDS123; 09-28-2011 at 11:40 PM.
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