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Hey everyone, can anyone give me their thoughts on when is the latest in the year the trip can/should/safely be made from Lake Erie to the ICW via the Erie Canal to the Hudson? The trip would be in a sailboat with a max speed of 6 knots.
 

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The canal closes around the end of November. I wouldn't leave any closer than the beginning of November, in the event anything went wrong. The canal temporarily closes sections, due to maintenance, storms or flooding. Figure a week to transit if uninterrupted and add cushion.

On a different note, that's a very cold time of year. If that's a factor, I would leave by the end of Sept. Once you get out of the Hudson, you have some outside passages to make to get down to the ICW. October is a crap shoot. Beautiful days, followed by nasty ones. That would be my limiting thought in your shoes, more than the canal.
 

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Two years ago we:

- Sept 22: Left Georgian Bay (Penetang)
- Sept 28: Thru Welland Canal to Toronto, i.e., when we left lake Erie
- Spent a week in Toronto (if you do the whole Erie Canal instead of Welland + Oswego it'll take about as long as stopping in Toronto did for us)
- Oct 6: Left Toronto for Oswego, started Oswego canal & Erie Canal
- Around Oct 14: Finished Erie Canal, put the mast back up & headed down the Hudson.
- Oct 22/23: Arrived in Hampton, VA after anchoring one night off of NYC (George Washington bridge), stopping in Sandy Hook and a non-stop 60 hour outside run to the Chesapeake. The last day of that outside leg was the first time we didn't need toques & gloves.
- Nov 3: Left the Chesapeake for the BVIs
- Nov 15: Landed in Virgin Gorda

It was cold. I'd try to leave earlier if you can. We got stuck leaving late due to work that needed to be done on the boat. It actually snowed on the boat before we left (yes, in mid September).

The NY state canals do close in the fall (Nov 20) and the hours are shorter than in the summer (starting Sept 7). If you do the full Erie Canal the shorter hours will probably add a few days since there's a section that's open until 10pm in the summer but only 5pm in the fall.

We were late. Even when we passed through one town already had their docks pulled out. I don't think we saw another sailboat headed south until we hit the Hudson and met up with the procession of boats from Quebec.

If you're planning to do the ICW then jump to the Bahamas, you'll end up behind the crowd if you leave as late as we did. Many of those boats will hit the Annapolis boat show (Oct 6-10) and then quickly head south with the cold chasing them the whole way to Florida. This year we slowly worked down the Chesapeake after the show and found it pretty empty.
 

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Big storms can close the Erie. Look at what Irene did in 2011. We had to go the Chicago to Mobile route! So leave yourself some extra time. Irene was rare but multi week closings are NOT.

Then there is the Jersey shore. Worst part of east coast. In Oct you can be stuck for a while if you dont like "sporty".

I would try to be on the Chesapeake Bay by first of Oct, that is quite common for cruising boats. There is an SSCA GAM around the 1st and the Annapolis sail show starts Oct 6th. The next timing for many cruisers is insurance limit of staying north of Norfolk till Nov 1st. But Nov in the Carolinas canget COLD at times so many pay the extra and leave earlier.
 

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Earlier is better, we're leaving Mississauga tomorrow. Once landed in Oswego ( October 2nd, 2002 I think) and awoke to 18" of snow on the boat.
 

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It depends on your level of idiocy.

I am a tropical cruiser who prefers good weather.

When I was first in New York on Monday 15th September the ducks flew south. I asked the marina manager and he said there was plenty of weeks of good weather left.
Wednesday the 17 th September the geese flew south.
Thursday the 18th I flew south.

That was the last viable weather window of the season.


Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That is great information and exactly what I was looking for, thank you! I am heading out for 2 weeks of cruising starting this Saturday and will then decide whether or not to put my 2 week notice in at work. It is a relief to know that I'm not in such a time crush as I thought (although it will be close!)
 

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Just pulled into Waterford NY (at the Hudson) One 30' Catalina from Quebec on the dock besides us. Might stay here a few days to see what is going to happen with the East Coat weather before we head down to Manhattan.
 

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HTML:
Just pulled into Waterford NY (at the Hudson) One 30' Catalina from Quebec on the dock besides us. Might stay here a few days to see what is going to happen with the East Coat weather before we head down to Manhattan.
Drop in and have a beer! I'm at 79th street. Achoring is fine, good holding in hellish current.

Mark
 

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I've never anchored there but I hear you need three hands to make coffee in the morning due to the wake .... an exaggeration ?
Total exageration.

There will be one good wake per day, but usually its fine because boats are facing upriver or down river and wakes go at 28.5 degrees from the stern of a vessel so they are not bad.

Not many ferrys etc.
 

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Total exageration.

There will be one good wake per day, but usually its fine because boats are facing upriver or down river and wakes go at 28.5 degrees from the stern of a vessel so they are not bad.

Not many ferrys etc.
Wow, love your precision .... right down to the last 1/2 degree :)
 
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