If the job description is 'upwind and up current' most of the time, not sure this is the boat for you unless you're in serious 'cruise' mode. Of course, if the currents are tidal (ie reversing during the day) your timing can make a world of difference. However I don't know the tidal influence on the St Lawrence. Certainly the state of the tide affects BC's Fraser river, but it truly only reverses in light runoff conditions.. during spring melts and heavy rains it simply slows down some.
Well, its not as dramatic as all upwind all up current all the time, although that is a major component. Basically day sailing or evening I sail back and forth across the river, upwind performance is a non issue. There is no racing on my part of the river, at least no sailboat racing, there is however, some very exciting, very fast power boat racing- but I/m just a spectator for that.
Current I'm afraid is one way in my neighbourhood. The tidal influence ends at Trois Riviere which is about 200 miles down river from me, so not much help.
My greatest area of concern is my week ending, we like to sail up to a series of anchorages upriver of me in the islands. It's a distance of about 12 miles, current is only about a knot in this zone. On each leg I can get about 1/2-1 mile of sea room before tacking. I'm not new to full keel boats, I do this trip under sail in my Fantasia 35, which doesn't exactly have a reputation for being an upwind power house in 3-4 hours, usually closer to 3, however, I definitely work up a sweat doing so. I guess if I could make 3 knots to windward, that would allow me to do the trip in a cool 6 hours, I have no issues with 6 hours.
Things change once in the islands if I'm cruising. The current picks up to 2-3 knots in places, however, there are lots of eddies behind the islands, both wind and water that are easy to ride up river if you know where to look. In this case the very shallow keel on the Bayfield would give me an edge, because I could take advantage of the shallow bits on the downstream portions of the islands and grab a lift with the current. There are short sections where the current is so strong I have never seen a boat sailing upriver against, that's okay, I'll use my motor for those sections. Any way, I'm, not too concerned about the next 78 miles or so to Lake Ontario, here shallow draft is king because it turns 600 foot tacking legs into 3000 foot tacking legs. Again, full keel is nice here, in case you smoke one of the submerged granite mountain tops at 5 knots.
If my vacation is long enough to make it to Eastern Lake Ontario, current and prevailing wind stops being an issue. It is rough in that section of lake though.
So I guess that's my question, can I make 3 knots up wind (no current) with a Bayfield 25 in 10-15 knots of wind, assuming I'm a reasonably competent sailor with decent sails?