Question: Sailing from lake Huron to the Atlantic?
I am looking at a vessel for sale located on Lake Huron. I wanted to know about the feasibility of sailing from Lake Huron to the Atlantic (I am located on the Long Island Sound). Does anyone know how many miles it would be? I assume there are a number of locks to pass through, does anyone know the cost? Also would I be motoring most of the way or is actual sailing possible? (would I need to unstep the mast to pass under many of the bridges along the way?)
I really appreciate your help, I've looked around a bit but seem unable to locate quality information on the subject.
You should pick up a cheap book called Skipper Bob's guide to the Great Circle (or Great Loop) route.
Yes, you can "sail" from the Lake to the Atlantic.
Lake Huron to Welland Canal (canal around Niagra Falls).
Hudson River to New York.
Trip would take about 2 weeks.
Max height in the Erie Canal is 25 feet, so mast down. There are companies that pull it, truck it, and put it back up. Most people carry it on deck.
Sailing possible in Lake Huron and Lake Erie.
No sailing in canal or down Hudson.
My web site has much of this route in a photo journal.
Huron to Erie via St.Clair river
I'm not sure its the quickest route to be taking, but I found this thread to be an interesting read if you go by way of Champlain Canal.
From Huron you have direct access into Erie; No locks via the St Cair River, Lake St Clair and the Detroit River.
Once on Erie you have a few options.
1) Pick up the Erie Canal right in Buffalo New York which brings you to the Hudson just North of Albany.
2) Take the Welland Canal into Lake Ontario and pick up the Oswego Canal which will bring you to the Erie and the Hudson
Depending on how far North the boat is, you can also take the Trent Sevren water way in Northern Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. This will get you to Lake Ontario where you would once again pick up the Oswego Canal.
The Trent is a very scenic waterway but you will have to call ahead as there are many restrictions.
These are you most direct routes.
I don't recommend the Champlain system as this would take you out of your way.
You can also go the very long way and take the St. Lawrence out to the Atlantic.
New York State Canals: Maps
As said before, you have the 3 legitimate options.
1.) East through Trent Severn waterway to Lake Ontario to Oswego Canal to Erie Canal and then Hudson. This is good if your near the Georgian Bay. This option has VERY little actual sailing.
2.) Lake Erie to Erie Canal to Hudson. This is easy, quick, low cost (one cheap canal), and you can sail on Lake Erie and Huron.
3.) Lake Erie to Welland Canal to Lake Ontario to Oswego Canal to Erie Canal and finally the Hudson River. This option allows you to sail the great lakes, but may be a day or two slower than the Erie Canal route (unless you sail all night). Note: Need three people on the Welland Canal.
Of the three, Lake Erie to the Erie Canal would be my choice.
The complete Erie Canal route from Lake Erie to NYC will take about 10-13 days depending on how much you motor per day. The mast must come down before entering the canal, and can be put back up just south of Albany. There are 35ish locks, but after you do one, you've done them all. You should get the 10 day pass, which will be available at the second lock in Lockport (the first lock is free).
Once on the canal, most towns have terminal walls you can stay at for free. Some also have power, water, restrooms, etc. too (rates vary from free to $1/foot).
Once on the Hudson, its pretty narrow and thus difficult to sail till you get close to NYC. Also planning to go out with the tide can make all the difference in the world.
Let me know if you have any specific questions.
Actually you can do the canal itself in 5 days but it generally takes a day to get your mast down and most of a day to get it back up. The canal is a very nice trip even motoring with your mast on the boat. Then two days down the Hudson to NYC and I guess you are home.
You can easily make Huron to Erie in two days and depending on how hard you push 2-3 days to across Erie. Then you are near Buffalo where you take your mast down and enter the canal.
PM me if you need additional info or maybe an experienced crew to help out.
If you go, enjoy your trip.
The Trent-Severn /Erie canal route means dropping the mast twice, or taking the mast down at the start of the Severn, and leaving it down all the way across Lake Ontario and down the Erie Canal. I personally would not be comfortable crossing Ontario with my mast on deck.
forget about the Trent Severn. days and days of motor, dodging pontoon boats. cant sail at all.
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