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post #11 of 21 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
The canal, as well as the river marinas, all took a real beating in the hurricanes and tropical storms last year. Best to research their current status.
When I went thru the system in late May, I was surprised how intact everything seemed to be... Troy Town Docks was pretty much the only place that did not have everything back in place, they were late in getting their docks back in, but everything else appeared to be back up and running in a normal fashion...

Of course, the damage to locks and dams on the upper reaches of the Mohawk River section was extensive and obvious, but aside from a few lock walls being under repair and off-limits, there was little effect for boats transiting the system...

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The locks are now set up so that you are directed to come alongside on your port side which, as Jon indicated, is what you want for a RH prop.
Hmmm, other than Lock 17 heading upbound, I don't know of any other locks where you don't have a choice of which side you'd prefer. Occasionally, going upbound a locktender might direct you to one side or the other if he's having a problem with his valves, and filling might create turbulence across the lock which would make it difficult to hang on one side opposed to the other... I haven't been thru the Champlain section in maybe 20 years, so perhaps things are different there, but on the Erie and Oswego, the choice is yours as a general rule...

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I rig up fender boards between two big fenders. They are a big help. Large fenders far forward and aft also will keep you off if you make a mistake and may keep the mast from hitting. Some of the walls are quite eroded with big holes which a single fender could get lost in. They also save your fenders from the rough walls, mussels, etc.
Could be just me, but I don't like the idea of fender boards, or anything too rigid riding along the walls,... Just too much risk of getting caught on some of the rougher walls, and tearing out whatever they're hung from... They're probably fine on most of the newer, smoother walls, and in most of the down locks, but I'm still not a fan... Your fenders will certainly get dirty on this trip, but that's about it, they'll no longer really get torn up on the Erie, especially going downbound from Oswego to the Hudson...

One thing's for certain, you do NOT want to hang anything from your lifelines - that's always a bad idea in any case, but especially going up in a lock... Any fenders should be hung from deck level only, attached to the rail, cleats, or stanchions only at the bases...

Always been one of my pet peeves, seeing fenders hung from lifelines at or near a midpoint between stanchions... Amazing, how common that practice is... (grin)

Last edited by JonEisberg; 08-13-2012 at 08:26 AM.
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post #12 of 21 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

Last time I went through the Champlain Canal, at least some of the locks had signs saying to keep left and I believe last year I read on the NYS Canal Auth. website that it was the policy for all locks.
Yes, hanging anything from lifelines is not a good idea. I tie the boards off to the stanchion bases with fenders behind them, they have always worked very well and have never hung up on even the roughest walls. Some of the holes in the concrete are big enough to swallow up anything but a very large fender. Some really large, maybe 24" round buoys, might actually be the best fenders for locks but this boat had some nice rubber faced 2 x 4 core fender boards so I use 'em.

One other note of caution; If you travel through the GE cleanup area on the Hudson be sure to check Notices to Mariners. You can get them right on the Canal Authority website and sign up for updates. The whole area is an absolute mess and you can never know what may be taking place. They move buoys around, block the river with barges, etc. Last year I was waved into a lock only to have to make an emergency maneuver to turn around when bumped by a toxic waste barge coming through. The Canal Authority and the GE clean-up contractor are not sure who's running the locks. I was pissed, the lock keeper was pissed and unsure who was calling the shots. A mess.

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post #13 of 21 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

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The locks are now set up so that you are directed to come alongside on your port side which,

When did they do this? I always used to go starboard side to except Lock 17 which is a side fill lock and northbound you have to go port side to. In a busy lock there was often boats on both sides (except 17).

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post #14 of 21 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

Jon Eisberg: If I'm not mistaken the photo was taken while southbound south of the Bear Mountain Bridge. Out of curiousity, why did you still have your mast down?

When the bridge opened in 1924, it was the longest suspension bridge span in the world.
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post #15 of 21 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

Just a couple of thoughts to add to the many great tips posted above:

1. Think about whether or not to detach your spreaders from the mast. When we did this the first time, we left the mast pretty much fully rigged and ready to re-step. We pulled the lowers but left the uppers attached. It still made for some nervous moments when docking, it also meant that keeping the shrouds organized and out of the way was a bit challenging.

2. Do yourself a favor and pick up a roll of stretch plastic packing wrap: Use it liberally to secure your stays & shrouds. Much easier than trying to do it with line or bungie cords, and unlike tape won't leave adhesive residue after it comes off.

3. As others have mentioned, ratchet straps are gonna be your new best friends. Get as many as you think you need, then add another half. I'm a big believer in "it's better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them..."

Last edited by PorFin; 08-13-2012 at 11:23 AM.
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post #16 of 21 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

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When did they do this? I always used to go starboard side to except Lock 17 which is a side fill lock and northbound you have to go port side to. In a busy lock there was often boats on both sides (except 17).
I noticed it just last year. This is on the Champlain Canal. I don't know if it's true of the rest of the canal system. Sounds like you are referring to the Erie Canal as there is no lock 17 on the Champlain.

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post #17 of 21 Old 08-13-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

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Jon Eisberg: If I'm not mistaken the photo was taken while southbound south of the Bear Mountain Bridge. Out of curiousity, why did you still have your mast down?

When the bridge opened in 1924, it was the longest suspension bridge span in the world.
That's the Bear Mountain Bridge, alright, but I was actually northbound at the time...

This was the delivery of a Gozzard 44 from Annapolis to Cleveland... We decided to put the rig on deck from start to finish. The boat had just been sold to a new owner, the rig had been down for service and survey in Annapolis anyway. But, there was a major problem with the electric in-mast furling system that was going to have to be dealt with in Cleveland anyway, so it was pretty much a no-brainer to just do the whole trip as a powerboat delivery...

The crew at Port Annapolis did an awesome job building the supports for the rig - I ran into some pretty snotty weather down Delaware Bay, and up the Jersey coast, and of course on Lake Erie, and the whole affair never budged a single millimeter... Had a few days of snap rolling like you wouldn't believe, however... (grin)
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post #18 of 21 Old 08-14-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

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I ran into some pretty snotty weather down Delaware Bay, and up the Jersey coast, and of course on Lake Erie, and the whole affair never budged a single millimeter... Had a few days of snap rolling like you wouldn't believe, however... (grin)
Jon,

BTDT -- we crossed Lake Michigan in October with the mast down as well; the seasonal storm systems kept the lake pretty bumpy. I think my heart was in my throat for most of the trip. Not having that counterbalance aloft really makes for an, er, intersting motion...
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post #19 of 21 Old 08-26-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

For anyone looking to step or unstep their mast for the Erie canal you should look at this blog Fair Point Marina near Oswego NY has started on helping cruisers new to it all.
Fair Point Marina The perfect place to start your journey down the Erie Canal
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post #20 of 21 Old 08-29-2012
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Re: Mast Supports for Erie Canal travel

thank you , one and all this has been most enlightening for me, as i plan a great loop trip next year, I had planned this year but med problems prevailed over my plans, I am learning so much now from all of you I feel glad I was forced to wait. Super comradrie here folks, Wow!
Don Bland , Bristol 26'
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