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Great Lakes Help

Old 02-11-2020, 07:26 PM
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Default Great Lakes Help

I posted about this on dockside, but I thought maybe this would be the better section to gain a little insight on things as I'm bringing a 60' Hatteras up from Florida via the Erie Canal. My Great Lakes experience is limited to a delivery I made from Chattanooga to Charlevoix several years ago, the the canals and points east will be new water for me. I think I have everything figured out about customs etc. and going through the Welland Canal, and I'm hoping the weather will be cooperative where wind and waves are concerned. The owners will be riding along, and his misses doesn't have much experience with big water. I got her out in 3-4's in the GOM a few days ago, and she was fine, but I know it's very likely we will encounter some snotty seas.

This is the itinerary I sent to the owners, and I'm good with everything up to the point we enter the Erie which I've calculated at 14 days. The boat drafts 5', so between that and the air draft, Trent-Severn is not an option. We'll have to remove the electronics from the arch at a minimum to clear the 20' bridge (maybe) via the Oswego Canal, and we may end up removing the arch altogether if conditions dictate that. Depending on winds, we may end up running on the Canada side of Lake Erie, so I'll need to come up with a plan B for marinas if that happens. Any suggestions beyond what I have on this list will be greatly appreciated.



Days 15-18 - Erie & Oswego Canals. Numerous marinas/docks along the way. Figure we'll just take those a day at a time.

Day 19 - Sodus Marina, 30 miles from Oswego. This is another guesstimate based on transit time through the Oswego Canal. Highly recommended

Day 20 - Youngstown, 115 miles from Sodus and will put us in good shape for Welland where we have to be by 9AM. Closest to Welland.

Day 21 - Sugarloaf Marina (at the end of the Welland) recommended by a HOF guy. Welland is likely an all day affair.

Day 22 - Mentor, 133 mile run from Sugarloaf, chose this one based on spacing.

Day 23 - Detroit, 125 mile run from Mentor. Milliken State Park Marina, supposed to be very nice.

Day 24 - Lexington, 82 miles from Millikan. Same HOF guy recommended it as a nice spot, and it seems there's not much if anything between the next

Day 25 - Harrisville, 111 miles from Lexington. Numerous recommendations.

Day 26 - Mackinaw City Marina, 123 miles from Harrisville. Lots of options if you want something different.

Day 27 - Frankfort Municipal, 122 miles from Mackinaw. Picked it based on mileage.

Day 28 - Manitowoc, 80 miles.. We can tweak that based on weather. Looking at a shorter crossing in case things get crappy in the middle.

Day 29 - Reefpoint, 99 miles from Manitowoc. If you're feeling froggy, we can run from Frankfort to Reefpoint and save a day. 156 miles and very doable in good weather
Old 02-11-2020, 07:44 PM
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Before you enter the lakes bolt and singer castle are 2 great places to see. If I’m correct bolt castle is what scoobi doo was based on.
Old 02-11-2020, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Delduck View Post
Before you enter the lakes bolt and singer castle are 2 great places to see. If Iím correct bolt castle is what scoobi doo was based on.
That sounds interesting, but it's WAY out of the way coming in through Oswego.en route to Welland.
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:57 PM
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Are you certain all the bridges and flood gates on the Erie Canal via Oswego to Lake Ontario provide 20’ of clearance? Here in Pittsford I think the Main Street Bridge is only 16’. I know Pittsford is way west of Oswego, but I would expect you would travel under structures east of the Oswego Canal with less than 20 feet clearance.

Also be advised Sodus maybe a problem as water levels are very high on Lake Ontario; putting dockage space at a premium. Today, 2/11/20, the local Rochester news reported most of Sodus Bay Town as flooded. The entire south shore of Lake Ontario is for the second year in a row experiencing high, flooding, levels. Check with your anticipated docking locations to ensure you will be accepted.
Old 02-11-2020, 08:22 PM
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Doesn't say when you are going to do this, but you are aware of the Erie Canal opening date, right?
Old 02-11-2020, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Bison View Post
Are you certain all the bridges and flood gates on the Erie Canal via Oswego to Lake Ontario provide 20’ of clearance? Here in Pittsford I think the Main Street Bridge is only 16’. I know Pittsford is way west of Oswego, but I would expect you would travel under structures east of the Oswego Canal with less than 20 feet clearance.

Also be advised Sodus maybe a problem as water levels are very high on Lake Ontario; putting dockage space at a premium. Today, 2/11/20, the local Rochester news reported most of Sodus Bay Town as flooded. The entire south shore of Lake Ontario is for the second year in a row experiencing high, flooding, levels. Check with your anticipated docking locations to ensure you will be accepted.
Yeah, I've had some locals tell me about the flooding. We can look at alternate marinas or just drop a hook. We're definitely self-sufficient.

There is only one bridge at 20' we have to contend with going the Oswego route. If we go farther west than Three Rivers, we get decapitated.
Old 02-11-2020, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ssobol2533@aol.com View Post
Doesn't say when you are going to do this, but you are aware of the Erie Canal opening date, right?
Yep. We're heading out either the last week of April or the first week of May.
Old 02-11-2020, 09:53 PM
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That sounds like an awesome adventure. My beach house is in Lexington, you will like the town.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:49 AM
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FWIW you will need to maintain 600 feet from shore/docks thru Lake St Clair flats and St Clair River or proceed at no wake speeds. Due to high water they have been heavily enforcing this. I believe same applies further south on Detroit River.

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Old 02-12-2020, 08:02 AM
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Default Running the Hudson to Lake Ontario via Erie Canal

I assume you'll be entering the Erie Canal at the First Federal Lock in Troy, NY after running up the Hudson from NYC. Keep in mind the Hudson is filled with a lot of debris in the spring, so you need to really, really watch your step going up river. From time to time, incredible run-off from spring rains and snow melt from the mountains (freshets) can negate the tides and currents up to and around Albany.

The Erie Canal is scheduled to open this year on May 15th, weather permitting. However, it is not uncommon for the flood control system in the Adirondacks that prevents the flooding of downtown Albany to also be overwhelmed in the spring. This results in the over-flow of the Erie Canal 30 miles west of Albany and the Hudson River 20-40 miles south . The bridge clearances along the Canal and downtown Albany are impacted then this happens. There are no guarantees when the Canal will open (or how long it could be closed after opening) if the weather doesn't cooperate. Lots-o-crap in the Canal this time of year too, no matter what water level you encounter.

Lastly, the comments about the high water levels on Lake Ontario are spot on. In 2017 and 2019, the water was near all-time highs. This was enough to prevent many, many marinas on Lake O and St. Lawrence River from being able to moor boats. Fixed docks were generally submerged. Even if operators added over-docks, it was not uncommon for insurance companies to suspend liability policies. It was a hard time then and predictions for this year are for the highest levels ever, surpassing the 1952 high water mark.

In my youth, I served in the USCG and spent several years on a coastal tender servicing the aids to navigation from NYC to Albany, and made dozens of trips up and down this incredible waterway. I currently live in the Albany area and coincidentally have a summer home on the St. Lawrence a few miles in from Lake Ontario, so I hope my observations provide additional food for thought.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:18 PM
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I can add a few comments on the Erie/Huron/MI loop as these are my home waters;

1. Mentor on the Lake is nice - but if you can make the run I would suggest Huron. They have a very nice boat basin, laundry services. Or if you cant make it that far, then try stop abit short at Geneva on the Lake. Any of the three are nice, I just prefer the two mentioned above.

2. Milliken is nice on the Detroit. If you can make it up to Jefferson Beach I think it would be better as you can get the Detroit in your rear view mirror and then you are set for the next day to hit the St. Clair. Just would be my preference.

3. Instead of Frankfort I would pick Leeland. It will make for a longer next day (see below), but it will be a better place to stop off. Can see Fishtown and also check out the Islands. It is a really special place in Norther Michigan.

4. Depending on the wind you can make the crossing over to the WI side as you plan, or if you are stuck with a few days of east, or even just nice weather you could make the run down from Leeland to Holland MI. It is 176 miles (give or take abit), and will then give you a straight 269 heading over to Reefpoint. 78 miles from mouth to mouth. In Holland you have really nice facilities, and safe harbor from Lake Macatawa and the ability to wait out a strong west or NW wind if you have to.

I will be making a similar trip (most likely) from either Grosse Point or Sandusky Ohio in Late May or early June. The boat can cruise at 30knots comfortably, so I am planning 6 hour days with 4 hours for contingency. My end local will be Holland and then in July a run over to either Reef Point or Simmons Island for salmon fishing. I am going to try and make 200 mile days out of it. My initial plan would be, provided it is leaving from Gross Pointe;

Grosse Point to Harrisville - 185 miles (need to plan for no wake on the St Clair)
Harrisville to Leeland - 204 miles
Leeland to Holland - 176 miles

That also leaves no less then a 40% reserve everyday in the fuel tank.

Looking forward to reading about your trip and will ping you as mine gets closer.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:23 PM
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Thanks for all the input as it is very much appreciated. Any time you set out of a trip of this distance, luck will be a huge factor. Any number of things can cause delays, but there is no deadline for getting this boat from point A to point B. I will definitely keep an eye on things and be looking for real time information from folks like you before I commit to entering the canal system and lakes. The owner is scheduling this trip around his vacation time, and there are plans for a side trip or two before we enter the Hudson. If we have to delay things for whatever length of time, that's just how it goes.

As for marinas and high water, we're not beyond dropping a hook in a bay, or tying to a dock with no power, but after running 10-12 hours it's nice to get off the boat and find a good restaurant. We'll just have to deal with that too. I do know the owner mentioned something last night about doing a little salmon fishing. He has family in that area with a smaller boat, so I'm looking forward to that. I had the opportunity to spend 8 days on this boat with these folks in Florida week before last for a little shakedown/get to know each other cruise, and it promises to be a very enjoyable trip.

Old 02-12-2020, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Reel Naughty View Post
I can add a few comments on the Erie/Huron/MI loop as these are my home waters;

1. Mentor on the Lake is nice - but if you can make the run I would suggest Huron. They have a very nice boat basin, laundry services. Or if you cant make it that far, then try stop abit short at Geneva on the Lake. Any of the three are nice, I just prefer the two mentioned above.

2. Milliken is nice on the Detroit. If you can make it up to Jefferson Beach I think it would be better as you can get the Detroit in your rear view mirror and then you are set for the next day to hit the St. Clair. Just would be my preference.

3. Instead of Frankfort I would pick Leeland. It will make for a longer next day (see below), but it will be a better place to stop off. Can see Fishtown and also check out the Islands. It is a really special place in Norther Michigan.

4. Depending on the wind you can make the crossing over to the WI side as you plan, or if you are stuck with a few days of east, or even just nice weather you could make the run down from Leeland to Holland MI. It is 176 miles (give or take abit), and will then give you a straight 269 heading over to Reefpoint. 78 miles from mouth to mouth. In Holland you have really nice facilities, and safe harbor from Lake Macatawa and the ability to wait out a strong west or NW wind if you have to.

I will be making a similar trip (most likely) from either Grosse Point or Sandusky Ohio in Late May or early June. The boat can cruise at 30knots comfortably, so I am planning 6 hour days with 4 hours for contingency. My end local will be Holland and then in July a run over to either Reef Point or Simmons Island for salmon fishing. I am going to try and make 200 mile days out of it. My initial plan would be, provided it is leaving from Gross Pointe;

Grosse Point to Harrisville - 185 miles (need to plan for no wake on the St Clair)
Harrisville to Leeland - 204 miles
Leeland to Holland - 176 miles

That also leaves no less then a 40% reserve everyday in the fuel tank.

Looking forward to reading about your trip and will ping you as mine gets closer.
Looks like we were typing at the same time, but thanks for that input. We'll be cruising at hull speed (10 knots) but have the option to kick it up to around 17-18 knots if needed.
Old 02-12-2020, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Freeebird View Post
Looks like we were typing at the same time, but thanks for that input. We'll be cruising at hull speed (10 knots) but have the option to kick it up to around 17-18 knots if needed.
Got ya. I would still pick Leland over Frankfurt. Then run across from Leland to Manitowoc. It will make for a slightly longer day, but a much nicer port.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:03 AM
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Wouldn't it be shorter to go up the TennTom waterway etc? Plan on high water on all of the great lakes for quite awhile. If marina's don't have floating docks, likely be wading thru water.
Old 02-13-2020, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Boataholic View Post
Wouldn't it be shorter to go up the TennTom waterway etc? Plan on high water on all of the great lakes for quite awhile. If marina's don't have floating docks, likely be wading thru water.
Itís a bit shorter, but that route has its obstacles too. Thereís massive potential for flooding on the Mississippi, and then there is the brutal current between the Ohio and Alton, IL with zero marinas between, and only two anchorages that allow you to get out of the current.

If last summer repeats itself, the boat could be stranded in Kentucky for months. I was supposed to take a big Sea Ray to Chicago last May, but we ended up having to remove the bridge and truck it. Not an option with this one. Not only did flooding last for several weeks last summer, the Illinois River is closing July 1. If thatís not enough, itís questionable that it would fit under the fixed bridge in the canal in Chicago. Besides, Iíve made that trip and want to do something different. 😄

Seriously, the east coast not only has fewer obstacles, itís much prettier. Thatís the primary reason they want to take that route.
Old 02-13-2020, 03:54 PM
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If you are going early season (April/early May), you will want to plan your fuel stops ahead of time and call ahead to make sure fuel docks are open as those that are generally have limited hours. I brought our current boat from Detroit area to Milwaukee during the same time of year and not everything was open for fuel or slippage. From a fuel price perspective, St. Ignace is usually the cheapest and easiest option. Fuel prices will generally be higher from Harbor Springs down to Frankfort... although if you need fuel during that stretch, Petoskey is usually most reasonable.

If you do stay in Frankfort, I'd suggest Jacobson Marina instead of the municipal. The owners John and Laurie are great people and will bend over backwards to take care of you (including driving you places and even delivering Steak and Lobster dinners to your boat).

Max
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxwell View Post
If you are going early season (April/early May), you will want to plan your fuel stops ahead of time and call ahead to make sure fuel docks are open as those that are generally have limited hours. I brought our current boat from Detroit area to Milwaukee during the same time of year and not everything was open for fuel or slippage. From a fuel price perspective, St. Ignace is usually the cheapest and easiest option. Fuel prices will generally be higher from Harbor Springs down to Frankfort... although if you need fuel during that stretch, Petoskey is usually most reasonable.

If you do stay in Frankfort, I'd suggest Jacobson Marina instead of the municipal. The owners John and Laurie are great people and will bend over backwards to take care of you (including driving you places and even delivering Steak and Lobster dinners to your boat).

Max
Thanks for the input. We carry 1,033 gallons of fuel, and it gets about 1MPG at hull speed. Thanks for the tip on Jacobsen as I picked Frankfort Municipal just based on mileage. No doubt I'll keep tweaking that list as I become better educated.
Old 02-15-2020, 03:14 PM
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I know your from the Huron Ohio area. There is a Sportfish Egg Harbor that docks on the river. The name is AnDickAroo or something like that.
I see the boat docked at Postcard Inn in Islamorada Fl in the winter. I think they go thru the Hudson River.
They would be a good source of info.
They might be members of the Huron Yacht Club
Old 02-15-2020, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Freeebird View Post
Itís a bit shorter, but that route has its obstacles too. Thereís massive potential for flooding on the Mississippi, and then there is the brutal current between the Ohio and Alton, IL with zero marinas between, and only two anchorages that allow you to get out of the current.

If last summer repeats itself, the boat could be stranded in Kentucky for months. I was supposed to take a big Sea Ray to Chicago last May, but we ended up having to remove the bridge and truck it. Not an option with this one. Not only did flooding last for several weeks last summer, the Illinois River is closing July 1. If thatís not enough, itís questionable that it would fit under the fixed bridge in the canal in Chicago. Besides, Iíve made that trip and want to do something different. 😄

Seriously, the east coast not only has fewer obstacles, itís much prettier. Thatís the primary reason they want to take that route.
Gotcha. If you ever need a first mate, let me know. I work cheap!
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