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Old 03-29-2013
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Single-Handing thru locks ?

Hi All,

Semi-new to this sight, and I am loving all the helpful info.

Question - I do a lot of solo sailing on Superior (Duluth, Apostle Islands, etc.).

I was wondering how hard / easy it is going through locks single-handedly ?
Are there any regulations requiring more crew aboard ?

If so, can you always ask / pay someone to help out just before you enter ?

Is the whole thing fairly easy to get through or do the BIG SHIPS create real hazards ?

thanks for any info, Gregg
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Old 03-29-2013
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Re: Single-Handing thru locks ?

Don't know about Lake Superior. In the Welland (Lake Erie-Ontario) you are not permitted to lock through single-handed but they have assistants for hire.
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Old 03-29-2013
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Re: Single-Handing thru locks ?

I do it all the time in the NYS locks- Champlain Canal. It just takes good planning, knowing your boat, and SLOW maneuvering. I have long lines from bow and stern that I can grab right where the center of the boat is. The trick is to come to a STOP exactly parallel at a pole or hanging pennant. If it's a lock with pennants, just grab the line and plant yourself where you can move back and forth as required to move bow or stern in or out. Lean and keep heavy pressure on the line pulling the boat in against the wall of the lock. You need boards or big fenders. I prefer boards because some of the old locks have huge holes in the deteriorated concrete that could swallow a single fender.

If coming to a stop at a pole, wrap lines either way in back of the pole and pull on the ends to control bow-stern movement. This works very nicely. I guess the most important thing is a good footing position. I can stand on my cabin top and readily control the movement of the boat by just moving a foot or so forward or aft. If you had to do it from close to the wall, standing near the gunwale, it would be difficult-impossible. You need the pull/friction INTO the wall.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Single-Handing thru locks ?

Thanks All,

Smurphyny - thanks in particular the detail description; I am going to study it step-by-step.

Gregg
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Re: Single-Handing thru locks ?

One other thing is that I always use the port wall so that I can slowly angle in toward a point and then when I hit reverse, the prop wash will straighten the boat parallel to the wall. The important thing is to stop the boat completely where you want so you have time to calmly get up on the deck and work the lines. If you're alone, remember you need to sometimes fill out paperwork, so you'll need to tie off. Have your documentation or registration numbers ready to tell the lock tender when/if asked.
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