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Old 12-23-2013, 06:18 PM   #21
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If you only have a summer to kill, try the little loop consisting of the Hudson, Erie Canal, Oswego Canal, Lake Ontario, Rideau Canal, Ottawa River, Chambly-Richelieu, Lake Champlain, Champlain Canal and back to the top of the Hudson. It takes a relaxing 2 months and any boat can do it.
We're planning and preparing to do this one summer of 2015.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:38 PM   #22
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You might also do something similar to what we did, which was to do the whole Downeast loop, but skip the Bras D'Or lakes and scoot along the Nova Scotia coast on your way back. Then in another year, leaving from Maine, go slowly up the NS coast, explore the Bra D'or lakes, then meander back down the NS coast. That would let you focus your time in the areas north of the Canso channel (cut between mainland NS and Cape Bretton) that are much further away and harder to return to.

There are lots of possibilities. So much cruising, so little time......
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:01 PM   #23
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If there is a bilateral will, there is a way to communicate if there is some commonality in language and culture. For instance, we were able to communicate successfully with a nun in Venice, Italy for checking into the nunnery for overnight accommodations as well as breakfast arrangements even though she spoke no English and we no Italian.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:21 PM   #24
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If there is a bilateral will, there is a way to communicate if there is some commonality in language and culture. For instance, we were able to communicate successfully with a nun in Venice, Italy for checking into the nunnery for overnight accommodations as well as breakfast arrangements even though she spoke no English and we no Italian.
Mark,

To help us with our communications maybe you could sketch the sign language you used to comminucate with the nun.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:27 PM   #25
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Mark,

To help us with our communications maybe you could sketch the sign language you used to comminucate with the nun.
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:13 AM   #26
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OK, the numbers are in.

I plottted the whole route. For the US sections, most of which I've done before, I have very accurate routes. I couldn't bring myself to pay over $600 for the Canadian charts that cover this route, since they only allow free updates for a year, and I'm not leaving before then. So I used Active Captain in Map and Satellite mode to estimate. The distances should be very close, even if the routes probably run over some rocks and shoals that you can't see in the satellite images.

I plotted the round trip from Southern Maine to the Hudson to the Champlain and Richelieu Canals, down the St. Lawrence, around the Gaspé peninsula, below Cape Breton Island, along the East coast of Nova Scotia and back up to Tiverton on the West side, then crossing to Grand Manan, to Eastport and back down the Maine coast.

The whole thing comes out to 1,975 miles. And that includes some backtracking for ports like Eastport, and Northeast Harbor, where I know I'll be stopping anyway. It pretty much follows inland or protected routes, rather than straight-line open water routes, so that adds a few miles.

Even with side trips, I can't get anywhere near the 2,400 miles that's been published in a few places. I suppose if you go West on the Erie and then back East again to hit Montreal and Quebec, that would do it.

I estimated an average speed of 6 knots. I plan to run at 7 or 7 1/2 most of the time, but there will be waits for locks and no-wake sections along the land cuts.

I estimated 7 hours a day underway. Some days I'll probably do 4-5, some 12.

That gives me an underway time of 392 hours, or 47, 7-hour days. Assuming I'll only be underway about half the days, that's 94 days, or about three months.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:32 AM   #27
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Sounds about right. Our trip was something like 2800, but as you note, that was taking the Erie and the Rideau. I've got all our legs in a spreadsheet that I'd be happy to share if you like. In general we found that allowing 30 min for each lock was about right, except for the big ones on the St Lawrence which are a complete crap shoot and can be anywhere from an hour to 6-8 hrs.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:30 AM   #28
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Capt Tom

Just a suggestion. Our trip was so jam packed that we regretted not having more time. From where you are in Maine you could make two trips out of the Down East Loop. One up the Rideau, down the Ottawa River to Montreal and Quebec City and then back to the Richelieu, Lake Champlain and then home. The second trip would be up the Richelieu turn east on the St. Lawrence and then out to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Maritimes. Both trips would be more than filled with things to see and do.

Marty
We are in the middle of a variation of this plan. We started on Lake Huron last fall and did the T/S, Rideau, Ottawa River, St. Lawrence to Richelieu and have our boat wintered on Lake Champlain. However, we are (were?) planning on comming back to the Great Lakes through the Erie Canal- until I learned about the Down East Loop.

My main concern is the time of year we would be cruising. We will be returning to our boat in early to mid-May. That would put us downbound on the St. Lawrence in late May/early June. To those familiar with this area: Is this too early?
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:11 AM   #29
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Tom

Your speed estimate is too low. For most of the St. Lawrence the current will give you a 2-3 kt push. You will also have daylight early and well into the evening when you are on the lower St. Lawrence.


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Old 12-27-2013, 11:18 AM   #30
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.

My main concern is the time of year we would be cruising. We will be returning to our boat in early to mid-May. That would put us downbound on the St. Lawrence in late May/early June. To those familiar with this area: Is this too early?

An additional concern with being on the St. Lawrence early is the level of the current on your upbound leg. In late June we were reduced to 2.5 kts upbound just downriver from Montreal. You need to determine whether the current will be faster in May.

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Old 12-27-2013, 11:58 AM   #31
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An additional concern with being on the St. Lawrence early is the level of the current on your upbound leg. In late June we were reduced to 2.5 kts upbound just downriver from Montreal. You need to determine whether the current will be faster in May.
Marty
We did that leg last summer. You are only going against a really hard current for maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile so 2.5 kts is no big deal. Or at least I didn't think so.
The rest of the upbound trip from Sorel to the Ottawa River I only lost maybe 1.5 knots at the most, usually only 1 knot.
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Old 12-27-2013, 12:40 PM   #32
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We did that leg last summer. You are only going against a really hard current for maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile so 2.5 kts is no big deal. Or at least I didn't think so.
The rest of the upbound trip from Sorel to the Ottawa River I only lost maybe 1.5 knots at the most, usually only 1 knot.
Agree with you as to summer. I took my trip in the beginning of July. My concern is whether this is different (worse) in May which could be spring runoff. Just don't know the answer.

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Old 12-27-2013, 12:52 PM   #33
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I had planned on doing the Down East loop in 2014 but..... For 8 of the 10 locks on the Canadian side of Lake Champlain and all of the locks on the St. Lawrence you must have two people on board. I learned this the hard way while single handing the Great Loop this year.

Without crew I won't be going. Several of this years Loopers are planning the Down East loop and those who have done it really enjoyed it.

If I was going, I would go up through Lake Champlain and directly out the St. Lawrence. I would concentrate my time in The far northern part of the loop as that is the most difficult to reach and the least likely to revisit.

On a side note about charts for planning, if you have an ipad, try Garmin Bluechart Mobile. Free app and $50 for the charts covering all Us and Canada.

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Old 12-27-2013, 03:20 PM   #34
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Agree with you as to summer. I took my trip in the beginning of July. My concern is whether this is different (worse) in May which could be spring runoff. Just don't know the answer.

Marty
Well it was during the time when the Erie and Champlain canal were flooded, so was the Richelieu so the current should have been up more than normal. Just sayin'.
And after reading some cruisiing guides that said don't take that trip in a low powered boat (which I have) , well, everyone's experience is different.
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Old 12-27-2013, 06:03 PM   #35
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If I was going, I would go up through Lake Champlain and directly out the St. Lawrence. I would concentrate my time in The far northern part of the loop as that is the most difficult to reach and the least likely to revisit.

On a side note about charts for planning, if you have an ipad, try Garmin Bluechart Mobile. Free app and $50 for the charts covering all Us and Canada.
Arch, I'm looking at that route too. Odd that nobody talks about it. Everything I read focuses on the Erie route, which adds quite a bit. I'd rather spend that time in the Maritimes. I can drive to Montreal and Quebec by car.

I have two dedicated plotters, an older NavMan that takes C-Map cards, and a new Garmin that takes their BlueChart data. It looks like I can get just about all of Canada for $160 for the Garmin, and that includes the whole Northeastern US and Great Lakes. Anybody know if that one includes the Richelieu? It's g2 region CA015R.
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Old 12-28-2013, 01:07 AM   #36
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Tom,
I think one of the reasons the Champlain route is less popular is you must be able to clear a 17 foot bridge.

I have a Garmin 5200 as my main chartplotter and the Canadian chart I bought covered everything including the Richiliue. I think it is the one you mentioned.

Bluechart mobile integrates active captain and is a great companion to the "big Garmin".

Arch
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:32 AM   #37
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Tom,
I think one of the reasons the Champlain route is less popular is you must be able to clear a 17 foot bridge.

I have a Garmin 5200 as my main chartplotter and the Canadian chart I bought covered everything including the Richiliue. I think it is the one you mentioned.

Bluechart mobile integrates active captain and is a great companion to the "big Garmin".

Arch
Yes, I've read that at "high pool" the Richelieu can have vertical clearances as low as 14', which is my absolute minimum with Bimini and mast down.

Glad to hear about the Bluechart coverage on the Richelieu. To get the same areas with the Canadian government charts would probably cost over $1200, and that doesn't even include the US portions.

I have the Garmin HomePort software on my laptop, so I can do my planning there, using the same charts and ActiveCaptain data. I'll probably pick up Bluechart mobile for our tablets, too.
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:24 AM   #38
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Yes, I've read that at "high pool" the Richelieu can have vertical clearances as low as 14', which is my absolute minimum with Bimini and mast down.
If you can get that low, you should put the entire Erie Canal on your list of "should do's". It wouldn't fit into a Down East trip because you'd be too pressured. But if you want a really wonderful, inexpensive place to cruise, go up the Hudson and across the entire Erie Canal to Buffalo and then return back. There are multiple routes to go back to the Hudson including just a retrace of the path back across the Erie Canal to Albany.

It would make a wonderful place to go for the summer with low mileage days, wonderful towns that are eager to have trawlers visit (most have free docks and many even have free electric), with a lot to do at every stop. Weather is never a factor because it is so protected. We were along the Erie Canal for 5 weeks in 2013 and our total dockage was something around $200 for the entire 5 weeks - and we were tied up every night. Our longest stay at one place was, I think, 5 days. We never waited a single day for weather - when we wanted to go, we woke up, and just left. That never happens when cruising in other places.

The only hiccup we experienced was early flooding that caused a delay with the lock opening - we were on the Hudson River. New York State caused some of that themselves this year and except for hurricane hits, it hasn't been a big problem.
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:32 AM   #39
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Jeff is right, the Erie is a great destination. I think too many people try to race through it. We took a couple of weeks to explore the Eastern half before we had to turn around. We will be back, maybe as part of the "left" loop some day. Which is why I have no problem skipping that side trip when we do the Down East loop.
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:05 AM   #40
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Hi Tom
Here's some comments on your great trip. Being from Quebec City and sailed these waters up to Rimouski many times:
- take the north channel route past Ile d'orlean (the Main channel).
- current is an important factor between trois-riviere and baie st-Paul. You will have 6hrs of day tide time that will help you. Past baie st-Paul, no tide issue
- cross over to the south side of the st-Laurent once past tadoussac.
- water temp in the summer is 36f
- you will be fine with language. Learn a few french phrase. Past Gaspe, English is back strong
- lots of whales in the beautiful Tadoussac area (got a stop there)

We plan to do a similar trip in a few years (leaving from Texas though...)
Bye
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