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Lost on the water...
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
To be honest I just want to get my boat home & want to make it as easy as possible. I hope these questions don't come off as trying to over simplify this process but I have not seen much mentioned in reference to this & we are fairly inexperienced in this area. We purchased a boat in NJ this winter and plan on heading up the Hudson & through the Erie canal next week. We will be taking the canal to Lake Erie then across over to the Detroit area I have a few questions for those of you with experience that I have not seen posted when I did a few searches here:

  1. Do I need to make an appointment to have my mast taken down or can I just pull up & get in line?
  2. Can I simply pay someone to take it down, package it up & do the supports for me? If so any idea on what this would cost?
  3. I have seen a number of marina's referenced with cranes to take masts down and let folks do a lot of the work as I am looking for more of the full service type are there any suggestions?
  4. How long should I expect to spend getting this done this time of year? Is it a full day, half day or several day process?

thanks for the help...
 

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Well-wisher
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To all of these questions, it depends on where you are. But, generally you'll need half a day and an appointment.

If you're looking to have it done near NY Harbor, you might want to check out Chris of NY Harbor Service (nyharborservice.com). He's experienced, knowledgeable and efficient. Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City requires a rigger to step masts and Chris is their recommended guy. You'll be looking at $330 for 3 hrs of service and $200 to the marina to use the crane. I hired him to help me step mine and he pretty much does anything and everything.

It's not cheap, but it looks like that's about the going rate for the area. You might save a few dollars south of the Verrazano or north of the Tappan Zee.




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Lost on the water...
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Discussion Starter #3
I was hoping to get it done closer to the locks to avoid having the mast down the extra few days going up the river.
 

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You're absolutely right, You'll want to get your mast pulled in Troy or Catskill, NY. Browse any recent issue at BoatingontheHudson.com to find ads for the folks who provide the service.
 

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You may wish to consider going out at Oswego and putting the mast up there. Then you can sail Lake Ontario until you get to the Welland Canal, where in all likelihood you can lock through to Lake Erie with your mast up. I think it costs $80 or something, and you need to rent a third hand.

Just an alternative. Motoring that distance in a canal might be tedious. The good news is that the canal water levels should be high (I don't know the minimum depth vs. your draft) as this entire region had loads of winter snow and spring rain...Erie and Ontario themselves are nice and high.
 

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Lost on the water...
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Discussion Starter #6
Yea, that would be a nice trip but my understanding is that will add a day or two & unfortunately I don't have the extra time this go around, maybe next time?
 

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Lost on the water...
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Discussion Starter #7
Just wanted to update this in case someone else has the same question.

I ended up getting my mast stepped at Hop-a-Nose marina in Catskill, NY. It ended up being pretty much a first come first serve thing, there were 4 boats in front of me when I arrived, if the caption was well prepared (meaning stays loosened, sails down, boom off, and stands made) the process took about 90min.

I was able to do everything other then build the supports, which they did for me in about an hour (They had wood & tools available if you wanted to do it yourself and encouraged folks to dig though the free materials left by other boaters). I was very happy with my experience there, they were friendly, helpful, close to town, and had good food. I ended up paying $400 which included 2 nights in the marina (power & water), getting my mast down, labor & materials to make the supports and tie downs.
 

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I'm not familiar with the grounds here, but is getting the mast stepped on a sailboat the only way to get into the great lakes cruising grounds? Is there no way to go through with the mast up?
 

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I wonder what they'll make of my boat. There's a pivot in the tabernacle that allows me to take my mast down myself, although I dare say it adds to the length if I leave it pinned (I guess I wouldn't...) and the use of a hook would make things safer.
 

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Lost on the water...
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Discussion Starter #11
We saw a keel stepped boat and they were really long. I think our mast is about 40ft on our 31ft boat, theirs hung way over the front and back of the boat. Good thing its not busy on the canal now or they might have a tough time finding a place to tie up for the night?
 

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Warm Weather Sailor
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If you want the marina to do everything Hop-o-nose in Catskill is the only place. If you want to do the supports yourself I would recommend Mike at Riverview marina, also at Catskill . There is a mast crane at Castleton for $50 or so but you need a few helpers if you're doing it there and the wakes don't help nor the long way down (the mast crane is high on a bluff) at low tide. Sometimes that crane will not reach the dock.
 

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Lost on the water...
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Discussion Starter #13
I just got the mast put back up today at Wardells & they pretty much just operated the crane. Wish I would have done it somewhere that someone knew something about sailboats as I really had no clue?

I think I got it back together ok? But since I've never owned a sail boat before and have not even put the sails up on this one (other then to take them off), I'm not too sure what I was doing?
 

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Buffalo Mast Stepping

Hello,

You brought up a good point. Does anyone know any more about the options for stepping a mast in the Buffalo area, especially which ones are the "good" ones to go to, either by price or quality. I found the following at Erie Canal - The Erie Canal, Oswego Canal and Champlain Canal Guide, but it does not include more than a phone number.

* Wardell Boat Yard, North Tonawanda, NY; 716-692-9428
* Smith Boys Inc., North Tonawanda, NY; 716-695-3472
* Rich Marine Sales, Inc., Buffalo, NY; 716-873-4060
* RCR Yachts, Buffalo, NY; 716-856-6314

Thanks
 

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Lost on the water...
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I called several of those but they did not return my call so I went to Wardell's.

He was friendly & had some of the basic stuff like cotter pins for sale (no mast lights, wiring, radio antennas, etc) but would order anything I needed if I had called ahead or wanted to stay longer, the cost to put it up was .50 cents a foot more then I paid to have it taken down and the overnight accommodations left a lot to be desired for the cost (no shower, shared bath room (with the light out), noisy location. The upside being they are near the old downtown area and my wife and 4yr old daughter went to several "museums" and really liked the carousel one while I was getting the boat put back together.

Overall it was not a bad experience, but I would try something else next time. Wardell's is either the very first or last place you can have your mast done before entering or exiting the canal.
 
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