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Old 05-20-2019, 04:17 PM   #1
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Question Newbie micro loop to Erie Canal

As a newbie, I'm planning on a trip, some of which will be single-handed, in my NT32 (air draft about 12 feet) from Michigan, Lake Erie to Buffalo, Erie canal to Oswego, and across Lake Ontario the Trent-Severn. Once back into Georgian Bay and the North Channel I'm on my home turf again. I've never done a canal and don't know the best way to handle charts and such. The planned start is July 1, so I'm hoping the water level will be down by then. I plan to get a chip for my chart plotter that covers the Erie canal (ouch$$), but that's about all I know. Thanks in advance for any info and advice.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:22 PM   #2
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We actually had paper charts for most of the way when we brought our boat home from Virginia to Michigan. However we never broke them out one time. We used the charts in out plotter and had a laptop with a second charting system as a backup, which we never used. We used Skipper Bobís books for info as we went along with Waterways Guides. You might look at the AGLCA, the Loopers Association, since they have a lot of info about your route. We loved the TSW. Good luck and have a lot of fun.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:59 PM   #3
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You are in store for a great trip.
We are headed that way ourselves from NY Finger Lakes but will backtrack in stead of looping it.
I rarely bother w chart plotter in NY canals... I have it on but it doesn't help me a lot. I do have a NY Canal chart book that I usually refer to and prefer it to electronic. It allows a quick & EZ way to scan ahead to see next lock, town, etc.
Locking should be EZ for your trip... you will be going down lock and that's a lot easier single handing than up lock.
NY lock staff won't provide much / any assistance. The NY locks are set up very different... some fixed pipes, some fixed cables, some just loose lines only straced at top of wall. Those will be the most challenging in windy conditions. You may find it better to try to take a ladder position to always have something firm to hold to. There are ladders at both ends of all locks... first & last position. Generally lick masters will answer on Ch 13 and should be able to describe the up for their lock to help you be ready.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:21 PM   #4
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Great trip. The first time I went through the western Erie Canal I had a plotter with a great lakes chip. It went blank for about 50 miles in the middle :-). I had a tablet for backup but it wouldn't have mattered... It's a ditch.

It'll be a really gentle intro to locking, going down. Talk to the lock tenders. They have radios. And they're rarely busy. You'll likely be alone in the chamber.

TS gets busier as you head north, and requires careful navigation. But by then you'll be an old hand :-)

Have fun.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:37 PM   #5
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Gary
One addnl thought ..
If you will be single handing in the TSW I would call ahead and explain your situation. Generally Canadian canals want 2 lines bow & stern but they are very helpful when they can help. Roughly half of the TSW will be up lock and lock hands can't help you get tied up. The good news is all their locks are the same plenty of cables fixed top & bottom. If single handing I would run bow and stern lines to mid ship and pass them around a cable near mid ship. That should give you some ability to control B & S from one location.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:13 PM   #6
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In case you want to see what the charts look like in an area you can use the free Navionics chart viewer here: Navionics ChartViewer It works like the Navionics app so you can scroll around, zoom in and out, etc.
Navionics also recently added SonarChart Shading which highlights the water in different shades of blue so it's really quick to see what the bottom contour looks like.

If you already have a chip but don't have the right one you could use the trade-in program to get a big credit toward a new chartplotter chip: https://www.navionics.com/usa/lp/rebate
Or if you don't have a chip already that you can use for trade-in you can take advantage of the sale during the May (2019): https://www.navionics.com/usa/blog/p...platinum-2019/
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