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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > The Atlantic - Chicago Howto
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Thread: The Atlantic - Chicago Howto Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-22-2010 06:57 PM
tomandchris Janmayen,

Your trip really depends on how mcuh time you want to spend in the lakes. They are great cruising grounds, but early May to early September for most. You won't have to worry about ice until Dec. or January on the lakes, but at times you may wish for it. It can get uncomfortable.

That said, September is usually the best kept secret in the lakes. Summer tends to hold on, and many of us sail into mid October before we pull the boats.

A couple did the trip last year from Holland, Mi, which is on the western coast of Michigan. They left Holland early October when their boat was finished and had some bad weather to begin with. They post over on Anything-Sailing. com and go under the user name Porfin. There are some pretty good posts on their trip through the canal and south under his username. You might also be able to contact him directly and get some feedback.

If you decide to pull there are some very good yards in northern Michigan and you could get there with little problem in September.

Good Luck.
08-21-2010 09:24 PM
killarney_sailor I have done both routes and could make a convincing argument for either one. The scenery for each is totally different with the St Lawrence being much wilder (at least as far as Quebec City). There are fewer locks going the St Lawrence route (7 as I remember rather than about 30 in the Erie). Scenery along the Hudson and Erie Canal is lovely but in places the northern route is spectacular.

The weather on the northern route is likely to be much cooler even in mid summer (low 20s C versus high 20s). If you do decide to go the St Lawrence route try to spend at least a couple of weeks in Newfoundland. It is the most beautiful cruising ground I have ever seen - with everything from fiords to icebergs.

Also, going up the St Lawrence and in the Welland Canal (between Lakes Ontario and Erie you will need three people. In the Erie Canal you would probably want to have a second person. I would imagine you could find volunteers on this website for either.

Good luck with your choice. By the way is your heart set on going down the Mississippi? I have heard it is dreary route in many ways - you could go up the St Lawrence and down the Erie Canal/Hudson (or the reverse depending on season) and then use the Chesapeake and ICW to go south to Florida.
08-21-2010 09:23 PM
captbillc i have not been in lower lake michigan in the fall so i don't know how the weather is. up here in the western end of lake superior I pull my boat out of the water before october 15th to get it covered before it snows.
08-21-2010 08:46 PM
janmayen I just continue this "older" tread as it still belongs in here somehow :-)

Nearly 5000 Miles later I finally arrived at the Hudson ant went up to the canal - From tomorrow on call me a powerboater for a while :-)

Somehow I got a little late in the season and it looks like there are still around 1000 Miles to go to Chicago. Well at least I will unexpectedly be around while Indian Summer... But am I in a hurry? Should I look for a place to winter the boat and fly back to Europe for a while? - What would you suggest to be the latest time to be out of Chicago heading south? I think reaching it at end of september would be ok and is possible by sailing in longer steps on the lakes with short stays in a few places. Question for the locals: When did it become cold here? I have a heater and would not be my first time sailing in a snowsuit - but I did not sail an icebreaker.

thanks
12-10-2009 11:54 AM
captbillc i have taken both routs several times. i like the st. lawrence better. you do not have to take down the mast. we took the south channel east of quebec city. we anchored at rimouski on the south sine of the channel on our way down to wait for the tide. it comes in at 7kn & goes out at 7 1/2 kn so you are really moving. it is a great trip!
12-10-2009 11:50 AM
micksbuddy Any of the New York Canals (Champlain, Erie, Oswego) require taking the mast down, apparently if you sail up the St Lawrence and take the Welland canal to get to Lake Erie, you can get all the way to Chicago with the stick up. You will have to take it down to transit Chicago onto the River system if you're heading to Mobile. The Rideau and Trent-Severn Canal systems are fun, but probably more powerboat friendly(I'm pretty sure they would require taking the mast down as well).
12-10-2009 11:31 AM
night0wl Considering we're sailors and have masts...which of these routes require stepping the mast...and which ones explicitly dont.
12-10-2009 09:54 AM
cormeum
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanBrown View Post
Have read blogs about cruising the St. Lawrence. As I recall, tides, currents, and weather offer real challenges, even to those heading downstream.

Good luck!
Having done the St. Lawrence, any decent inboard will get you past the currents. I would recommend the St. Lawrence current chart - staying out of the main flows does make for a speedier trip. The Welland requires three on board, there are a number of folks available at each end who make that their job. They can be hired there.

The Maritimes and Gaspe are not to be missed. If you have time the Bras d'Or lakes are fantastic. (The Maritimes and Labrador are my favorite cruising grounds off the Lakes.)
12-10-2009 04:45 AM
badsanta check out America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association lots of info on what you want. Hope it helps.
12-10-2009 03:35 AM
janmayen Oh that's a point I have not concidered yet: It's upstream... I start to like these NY canals more and more... Eaven if it must be a beautiful scenic along the St. Lawrance route.
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