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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Mast cradle - Erie canal
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-18-2008 02:21 PM
killarney_sailor
A few hints

I have done this trip several times (including with the monster mast of a Nonsuch 30 with huge overhangs) and here are few things that I have learned.
- You can take your mast down in Sodus but you really would want to have ideal conditions to motor from Sodus to Oswego.
- I have not used the mast delivery service that Collins Bay Marina provides, but knowing how Hub runs things it will be first rate in planning and execution. Having said that, you should not be intimidated by going through the canal with the mast down.
- The people who take the mast down at Oswego Marina are very skilled and sometimes will charge by the length of the boat rather than the length of the mast. Otherwise their charges are very high.
- You can stay at the Oswego YC and avoid the overnight charge at the marina assuming that you cannot get started on the canal until the next morning.
- Making mast supports is not really that hard and there is no one way to do it. I have had good success with two substantial supports (2x4 with plywood gussets (think that is the word). Prefab this at home and take the pieces with you for assembly. I had a strong bow pulpit so rested the end of the mast on it with an old flotation cushion between, although there was not too much weight on it.
- When manoeuvring with the mast down don't forget about what is behind you (ask me how I know) and be sure to take instruments off.
- You can communicate with lockmasters with a handheld VHF, we found that calling them with a cellphone was even better; in general they see you coming and you do not need to even call them
- If you are familiar with doing your own mast, the setup at Castleton is great with the exception that there can be problems with wake since it is on the open river. The price is low and there generally is more than one boat there at a time masting so you can share the workload; their crane is massive and easy to use
- You can mark your mast cradle materials (best to disasssemble) with boat name and return date (if you are coming in June 09 say Sept) and put them behind the club house.
- Really the only tricky bit is crossing Lake Oneida. You go the length of the lake (~20 miles) and it is very shallow and blows up easily. Even small waves (one foot) seem very close together and square so watch your weather; it is good to do it early in the morning.
- A final thought about securing the mast - the problem is not the mast moving sideways, any reasonable cradle will stop that; it is the mast pumping back and forward when you encounter waves or wakes. Really tie the mast well fore and aft so it cannot move. We find that a spider web approach between mast and deck fittings works well, rather than just one or two bigger lines

If you have any questions let me know. We are Canadians but are now living on our boat in Jersey City (across from Manhattan)
08-17-2008 03:50 PM
sailingdog I'm not surprised about that, since much of the roll stability in a ballasted monohull comes from the mast's roll inertia. With the mast down by the deck, it has very little roll inertia compared to when it is standing upright.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xort View Post
Had a chat with a couple in Tobermory. They re-stepped (coming north) at a town on the Canadian side of Lake Erie to save money vs the high cost of marinas around Tonawanda. They regretted it. Said the ride across lake Erie with the mast lashed above was miserable.
08-17-2008 03:26 PM
xort Had a chat with a couple in Tobermory. They re-stepped (coming north) at a town on the Canadian side of Lake Erie to save money vs the high cost of marinas around Tonawanda. They regretted it. Said the ride across lake Erie with the mast lashed above was miserable.
08-17-2008 01:58 PM
DDawe Found out I need to have 10 posts under my belt on this forum to include email addresses or use the pm. This one should do it for me!
08-17-2008 01:48 PM
DDawe Thanks Rick
I'll try to send a pm again - seems like I need to have a few more posts in to be able to do that in the system.
08-17-2008 01:33 PM
Vasco Heading south is a great adventure but after a few trips it's better to keep a boat down there. I keep the boat down south now. Hey, my email to you bounced. Send me a pm with your email address.
08-17-2008 01:11 PM
DDawe Thanks Vasco
It might be good to have a chat if you are available in the next little while. This is our first major journey and it sounds like you have some great experience to offer. If you are willing, please send me your contact info. My address is dave.dawe7 (at) gmail.com (I had to write out my address because the system blicked my actual email address for some reason).
Are you heading down with your boat or is already down south?
Thanks!
08-17-2008 11:24 AM
Vasco Here's some tips regarding unstepping the mast for the trip. First regarding the mast supports. Make a crutch out of 3/4" plywood and 2 x4's for the stern rail and a simple sawhorse for the bow. You might also want a block at the mast step. Make sure these are high enough to go over your dodger as it usually rains during the canal transit. Bolt the aft support to the stern rail with U bolts. The forward horse needs no bolting as it will stay there with the weight of the mast when it is lashed. The aft crutch might need some 2 x 4 braces. Take your drill and lots of long screws for the bracing. Put the mast on the boat butt forward. You can determine the height of the crutch and horse by using a taut line. Lash the mast from toe rail to toe rail and also have some lashing to prevent fore and aft movement as you sometimes get bad pitching if you go across Lake Oneida in an easterly blow.

Do not remove your roller furling headsail. Just lash the foil, with sail, to the mast when unstepping. Similarly just take the main off the mast track, do not take it off the boom. Do not take the sail cover off. Store on deck or coachroof, eastbound on the port side as I like to go starboard side alongside the locks and lock 17 can only be done on the starboard side as it is a side fill lock with no tying up on the north side. Leaving your sails bent on saves a lot of time when stepping and unstepping and you don't have to stow those sails as storage is usually limited when you're heading south.

Many are now unstepping the mast at Sodus as the Oswego Marina have really jacked up their prices the last couple of years. At the eastern end I would get the mast stepped at Riverview Marina at Catskill, Mike, the owner is very helpful. Some do it at Castleton (do it yourself) but I prefer Riverview now.

One problem with shipping the mast is that it is unreliable (and costly). You never know if your mast will be there when you get to the marina.

If you're headed for the Bahamas we'll see you there. Give us a holler. My boat is "Breathless" Ben393 from Toronto.

A handheld will usually do you for getting the lockmaster but I hitch my main set to one of those emergency antennas and it works a bit better. One other thing, when you've got the mast up at Riverview bolt all your wood together in a big bundle and put your boat name on it and write "do not remove" for the return trip. You can store it at Riverview but sometimes others will use your wood so bolt or screw it all together so that it won't be that easy to get at.
08-17-2008 11:13 AM
DDawe Thanks for the tips and info. Yes, we are Canadian - our boat is at LaSalle Park Marina in Burlington. I was expecting that my handheld VHF would be OK for travelling through the locks. Would that be sufficient or would I need the extra that the base unit provides?

Sailingdog - thanks for the direction to Labatt's post. I looked it up and found some good info there.
08-17-2008 08:34 AM
ebs001 I would suggest that you remove any instruments from the top of your mast as it is very easy for them to get damaged when locking. I would also suggest that you make a temporary connection for your VHF aerial. You need VHF capabilities for the locks and it's a nice to have for communication with other boaters.
Checking your profile I see you are Canadian. That opens the possibility of having your mast shipped by truck from Kingston, On. to Catskill, NY. If that possibility interest you you can contact Collins Bay Marina at Welcome to Collins Bay Marina - Kingston Canada for more information and pricing.
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