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Tell me all things Erie Canal/Hudson (northbound)


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I just bought my 3rd C&C 35-1 in NY and I need to get it back to Detroit. My justification for the $ is that I'm bored AF and the Erie Canal would be a bucket list item. Plus it's my old man's 80th B-day in May and he is stoked to do this together.

The boat is in East Hampton NY and I can probably leave as early as April 15 and need to be in Detroit by July 1 (but goal is June 1). I read that the Erie canal opens May 21. I'm told there might be closures that would force me to go via Oswego, but I like the idea of the Erie staying protected. 

I literally know nothing... bought boat without thinking through logistics - flame away and tell me how to make this a fun time. 

What apps or guidebooks should I buy? What do I not know or understand as a Huron/Michigan/Erie sailor? 

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I did the Champlain Canal and it was amazing!  When you cradle the mast take the time to get it high enough that getting around deck and in and out of the cabin is easy.  We did ours a little too low.  Communicate with the lock attendants,  they communicate with each other so if you are trying to make time they can help sometimes.  The infrastructure you will see will be very cool.

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12 hours ago, sailman said:

I did the Champlain Canal and it was amazing!  When you cradle the mast take the time to get it high enough that getting around deck and in and out of the cabin is easy.  We did ours a little too low.  Communicate with the lock attendants,  they communicate with each other so if you are trying to make time they can help sometimes.  The infrastructure you will see will be very cool.

I've too done the Champlain Canal, 3 times in our last boat.

You have the choice to go around LI but I expect you'll go through †he Sound and Hells Gate. Just make sure your running gear is dependable, hit the tides right, it's fun.

Anything through NYC on your own boat is pretty dramatic.

If I ever go through again, I'll stay at the 'new' public marina in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is a great place to explore, the public land there is a treat. 

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Then you're home free, through the Hudson is great fun and easy stuff. I've never been on the Erie but I don't find canals too daunting. Bring fender board(s) and work gloves. You'll see a lot of farmland. Great thing to do with your dad, crew is very helpful for handling lines. 

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You can get your mast taken down at Catskill, NY (unless you want to take it down yourself at Castleton). One lock requires that you use the south wall so best to just set up lines, fenders to use that side for all locks. If you are doing essentially a delivery best to just continue in the Erie Canal to Buffalo. Time saving hint: stop on the far side of a lock for the night. You can get an early start the next morning since it is probably an hour or so to the next lock.

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Probably just as easy to sail around the top of LI and down the sound to Hell Gate and in to the Hudson. Plenty of safe harbors with moorings along the way. 

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18 hours ago, Bristol-Cruiser said:

You can get your mast taken down at Catskill, NY (unless you want to take it down yourself at Castleton). One lock requires that you use the south wall so best to just set up lines, fenders to use that side for all locks. If you are doing essentially a delivery best to just continue in the Erie Canal to Buffalo. Time saving hint: stop on the far side of a lock for the night. You can get an early start the next morning since it is probably an hour or so to the next lock.

Also, these are some of the nicest places to dock. Lovely walks down the old canal path, it's like being in a park (well, it -IS- being in a park). Most of the little historic towns are friendly and great places to dock too, pick what you want.

Mast- take some time and trouble with the cradle. Having the mast in your way, plus banging the ends into lock walls ot other boats, is a MAJOR p-i-t-a.

But my wife and I did a Waterford-Oswego transit and then a summer cruise on the NY State Barge Canal (as it's officially named) and it's a lovely trip

FB- Doug

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I should have mentioned one other thing. You cross Lake Oneida which is only a mile or so wide but about 20 miles long. Get an early start before the nasty square little waves build and before the jerks are out with the 200 hp motorboats. You can spend the night at Sylvan Beach at the entrance to the lake. If will have mast movement problems it will be here. Tie down for both sideways and fore and aft movement.

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8 hours ago, Keysrock35 said:

Would it be more conservative to go south of long island. What do you use for keeping track of tides? Book? App?

Definitely easier to go through the sound and to Hell Gate. There are not many good options to tuck in on the south side. 

Hell Gate was seemingly scary, and as a Great Lakes sailor that was new to keeping a boat out here, there was trepidation the first time I did it. But, it's really no drama and I've done it a 100x since. Mind the tide, hug the starboard side for traffic and you'll be fine. Coming around the south end of Manhattan, you need to watch out for the Staten Island ferry (does not alter course for anyone) and you'll be spared of the million tour boats driving like dicks due to COVID as you sneak over to buzz the statue. 

Eldridge the the traditional book and includes helpful diagrams.

http://tidemaps.com is a good visual. 

 

 

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East Hampton is on Long Island's south shore, but there is no harbor there - it's all one long beach. The boat would more likely be launched into 3-Mile Harbor or Sag Harbor, on the Gardiner's Sound side.  Going along the south shore of Long Island from there would entail going east to get around Montauk Point before being able to head west towards New York City. This would essentially waste about a day of travel.  It would also put you on the south shore of Long Island.  There are very few harbors along that shore, and the ones that there are are renowned for being shallow and having dangerous entrances with bars.  If the weather kicks up anywhere along that 100 miles, you do not want to be there in a new-to-you boat that you hope has a dependable engine. Cargo traffic heading to NYC can also be daunting.  Going through Long Island Sound will provide places to stop if you need to for repairs, rest, and supplies while you learn the boat's idiosyncrasies. 

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks, all for the encouragement. Turned out to be a piece of cake (even with our jury-rigged outboard strapped on the back). Had a nice downwind run from East Hampton to NYC (~18 hours). Full ride from East Hampton to Albany was a week. Stopped at:

- City Island (cat nap),

- Liberty Landing (Gas)

 - 79th street (avoid tide, rest, & provisions),

 - Alpine State Park, Shadows Marina,

- Castleton (mast down - we brought our own mast supports, but they had a selection of abandoned supports we were able to peruse and improve our own),

- Waterford Welcome Marina (awaiting locks to open 5/21)

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3 hours ago, Israel Hands said:

What is the maximum draft suitable to transit Erie & Champlain routes?

The Erie Canal, officially known as the New York State Barge Canal, is quite deep. It's more limited by height. Our air draft was 11ft with everything folded down, and we had a couple of tight calls. The official limit is much higher but you have to call ahead and have them lift stuff out of the way that does not normally lift.

I think the the Lake Champlain and Chambly can routes are a bit less in draft / depth and about the same in air draft.

FB- Doug

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We had one quite shallow bit (not much more than 5') on the Chambly. Erie doesn't always have the depths they say they have, in particular where a creek comes into the canal.

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Official depth is 5.5 feet at the look door. However, Champlain canal has no big lake or water source at the top, only snow and rain. As we have not much left from the snow melt this year, lakes are already at automn low level. Could easily be 5 or even less.

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