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Old 05-02-2021, 02:03 PM   #1
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Advice please. Connecticut to Lake Michigan

Requesting your expertise (again) for moving our new, used boat from Essex CT to Racine WI. This vessel is a 2001 Grand Banks 42 Classic with twin CAT’s 435HP and bow thruster.

Boating Experience - 25 years sailing - last boat Catalina 36. All on lower Lake Michigan. I did most of the maintenance myself. I have been out in some challenging weather at times - 30+ kts and better than 10 ft waves. Only dual engine was limited in a sailing cat in BVI. Also chartered 44 & 50 ft mono sailboat in BVI.

I will soon get some piloting lessons from a person who knows the GB42. I have Admiral and good sailing friend (a good diesel guy too) along for the entire trip home. I’ve had all filters, oil, impellers changed. I plan to have spares aboard. I am going to purchase a couple of the round type fenders for the Erie Canal locks. I have updated my Navionics. I have back-up hand-held GPS and VHF.

We plan to leave Memorial Day and spend 2 days on the Long Island Sound overnighting near New Rochelle, NY before transiting the East River to the Hudson River. I plan to arrive at Hells Gate about slack tide. Three days on the Hudson. Eight days on the Erie Canal. Then it is mostly Great Lakes – Erie, Huron, Michigan - traveling. I will wait out any weather I am not comfortable with.

So I’ve done a lot of internet research and watched a few dozen you tubes. I have read through my boat manuals. I have purchased a couple of Skipper Bob's publications as well as the Looper's Companion Guide. If I have any concerns, it is that I have not had to deal with tides or currents in my past. Never had to deal with a lot of commercial traffic either. I do not know the waters I am transiting (except for Lake Michigan) so if you have favorite harbors along the way I would like to know about them. There is a possibility I may not have a working generator (another thread) so electrical hook-up at marina is a plus. Now I am asking the group for advice in what I am missing or possibly forgetting? Thanks again.
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Old 05-02-2021, 02:06 PM   #2
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What's the air draft of the GB with the mast down? You need to fit under a 15'6" bridge on the western erie canal. Otherwise it's up to lake Ontario and through the welland. Being that the welland is in Canada, you'd need to have a delivery crew take it through, you can't do it yourself until the border reopens.
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Old 05-02-2021, 02:09 PM   #3
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You're in for the trip of your life.
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Old 05-02-2021, 02:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
What's the air draft of the GB with the mast down? You need to fit under a 15'6" bridge on the western erie canal. Otherwise it's up to lake Ontario and through the welland. Being that the welland is in Canada, you'd need to have a delivery crew take it through, you can't do it yourself until the border reopens.
Yes sir. I'm aware of that bridge. I have to take my bimini, mast, and antenna down. I'll then have about 2 feet to spare.
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Old 05-02-2021, 02:45 PM   #5
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Yes sir. I'm aware of that bridge. I have to take my bimini, mast, and antenna down. I'll then have about 2 feet to spare.
Should be a good trip in that case! And it sounds like you've planned plenty of time to move at a nice, relaxed pace.
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Old 05-02-2021, 03:42 PM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. PT. Tow insurance.
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Old 05-02-2021, 03:53 PM   #7
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We saw your boat in Essex in the barn. Very nice! Best of luck with it!
Enjoy the ride!!
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Old 05-02-2021, 04:13 PM   #8
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Pat T
I have some cruising notes for NY canals on my Bacchus website (in signature). They are not extensive cruising guide but hits some highlights.
I would recommend trying to hit Baldwinsville Lk 24 as an onite as its a long haul west to hit a decent stop. Newark as the next best stop. The good part is if you are above Lk 24 there is power available and nothing preventing an early start headed west. Plenty of room and great facilities at Newark.
If you hit Troy mid day and can up through the flight of locks we have stayed at the Schenectady YC several times and they are very accommodating and have a pool.
Let me know if any specific questions... have done most all of what you will hit.
Best diesel price and high volume dealers I've found on the canal are at St Johnsville Municipal Marina ((E of Oneida Lk) and at Winter Hbr in Brewerton (just W of Oneida)
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Old 05-02-2021, 04:28 PM   #9
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Thanks guys. Got the Boat US Tow Boat insurance. Good notes Bacchus - I've made copies to take along.
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Old 05-03-2021, 07:49 AM   #10
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One additional thought...
I would recommend using Active Capt as an info source for possible stops, facilities, phone #s and reviews by boaters.
Navionics run on a tablet also provides an easy to use back up to electronics. The annual cost is peanuts... was $25 for all US but haven't. Looked in a couple yrs.
As a side benefit Navionics will do auto routing which can be an advantage when running the canal. I dont necessarily follow it for exact route but its an easy way to get distance and time to selected points w/o need to plot an unreasonable # of waypoints for a DIY route.
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Old 05-03-2021, 08:45 AM   #11
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I have looked at bringing a boat home from Montreal south through Lake Champlain to the canal. As Canada is closed to US residents the trip has fewer options. Hope for the typical southwest winds as you hug the lower Erie shore. Plenty of harbors on your route. I would hit Put-in-Bay at the north end of South Bass Island and make a B-line for the Detroit River. Do not take this run casually, Lake Erie is a bear for tall and short period waves in a matter of minutes, particularly on the shallow west west end. Decent stops along the Detroit River are few unless you have reciprocity with some Yacht Clubs. Wyandotte is a decent place to stop. Detroit Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, The Old Club (south end Harsens Island) is amazing. The cities of St. Clair and Port Huron (Black River) have good facilities. Then it is up Lake Huron along the thumb you can stay Lexington, Port Sanillac, Harbor Beach, then around the tip to Port Austin. From Lexington to Port Austin stay well offshore as the rocks are everywhere, from Harbor Beach to Port Austin this is especially true. Cross from Port Austin to Tawas with a weather window as Saginaw Bay can be like Lake Erie although wave period is better. If not sure head down to Caseville and cross from Sand Point to Aus Gres passing the Charity Islands to the north. Tawas, Oscoda, Harrisville, Alpena, then things get awfully nice until you get home. Rockport/False Presque Isle is a nice place to anchor. Take time to launch the tender and motor around Middle Island off Rockport. The quarried bottom on the east side is like the lost city of Atlantis and the historic Lighthouse is beautiful. Gin clear water. Cheboygan, Mackinaw City are you last stops until you get around the top of the lower. You could stop at Mackinaw Island if you like the smell of horse sh*t and fudge. I would go to Beaver Island from Mackinaw City. It is the place that time forgot and is waaaay laid back. Then off to Charlevoix, able to stay at Harbor Springs, Petoskey, or Bay Harbor if things kick up. From Charlevoix you are off to Elk Rapids and Grand Traverse Bay area. From Leland down you just need to pick your spots. Pentwater is cool, and so is Frankfort. Actually the entire shoreline is the incredible and I am sure you already know this. If you need any help from Grosse Isle to Port Huron feel free to reach out and I will do what I can. Also happy to talk more if you want. I am looking forward to hearing of your progress. Bill
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Old 05-03-2021, 08:47 AM   #12
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To add a bit more: if you've got any specific questions or concerns on the stretch from Western Long Island Sound to 3 rivers in the canals, I've done that run and can probably answer your questions. If you need anything once you get further west towards the Rochester area, feel free to reach out.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:22 AM   #13
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We plan to leave Memorial Day and spend 2 days on the Long Island Sound overnighting near New Rochelle, NY before transiting the East River to the Hudson River. I plan to arrive at Hells Gate about slack tide. Three days on the Hudson. Eight days on the Erie Canal. Then it is mostly Great Lakes – Erie, Huron, Michigan - traveling. I will wait out any weather I am not comfortable with.
I've done the Erie several times from Connecticut and it's a pretty easy run.


If you are comfortable with a mooring, Manhassett Bay has several free town moorings. Pretty close to the harbor entrance so easy in and out.

I have never transited the East River/Hell gate at slack tide. With twin engines you will not have any trouble no matter what the current is doing. But the pain in the a$$ might be at the Spuyten Duyvil bridge (where it goes into the Hudson). Last time I went thru there I had to wait about 45 minutes to get thru because they were having issues. Space is limited there and I had to do a lot of backing and filling to stay in position (single engine boat). Luckily no one else was waiting.
There is also a lot of ferry boat/commercial traffic in the East River and the wakes bounce off the walls and keep getting you so just be prepared for that.

Again if you like to anchor, Haversraw Bay is nice and quiet on the weekdays unless you want a longer run after NYC.

Rondout creek is a nice stopover if the timing is right for your trip. Several choices there to spend the night. The town marina is "ok" I've stayed there a couple of times. The town is nice, there's a little museum and some decent restaurants.

Lots of places to stay on the canal. We tend to like the more remote lock walls. We have even used tent stakes to tie to when there were no rings available (I think that was lock 21 or 22 on the high side of the lock).

Enjoy the trip.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:29 AM   #14
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I'll agree with Hell Gate being a non-issue. You've got a fast enough boat (I assume that GB will happily get up on plane with the big cats in there), so if the tide is against you, just use the throttles and it'll be uneventful. When I went through a couple summers ago I was against the tide (but not at peak flow) heading through Hell Gate and into the Harlem River (as I timed for the push up the Hudson). The experience was pretty much "oh, look, our SOG dropped a bit".



As far as traffic, going through the East River from LIS to the Harlem River, I did it early on a Sunday morning (turned into the Harlem River at 7am). From passing Execution Rocks to entering the Hudson, we saw a whopping 2 boats. One commercial, one pleasure.
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:15 AM   #15
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We did that exact opposite trip 8 yrs ago bringing Harmony to Essex from Muskegon, MI. Awesome memories, just don't have the details that everybody else seems to have, lol.
The Hudson is big and muddy, watch out for debris. Kingston NY has a nice small marina and town on the western bank. Waterford has a nice tie up and info about the canal system. Love the journey while it is going on. How big or seasoned is your crew ? We had three people and it was good.
Are you at Dauntless now ? We are on E dock.
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:16 AM   #16
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I strongly recommend using standard cylindrical fenders and fender boards for the locks. The lock walls are not just filthy, they are also gritty and the grit sticks to the fenders. When the fenders spin, they can scratch your boat. Fender boards fix that. Just leave them deployed nice and for the entire canal trip, unless you get on plane.


We spent two nights in Fairport NY and loved it. I think it's the best stop on the Erie Canal.


If you spend a night in New Amsterdam, make sure you check out the pedestrian bridge over the river. It's really cool.


I think you will have a great time. Congrats!
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:24 AM   #17
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I haven't had issues with hull scratches from round fenders, but dirt marks do happen sometimes. Wiping down the fenders at the end of every day and trying not to rub them on the lock walls more than necessary helps a lot.



In general, I found a combo of 12" balls tucked tightly under the gunwales and 18" balls just above the water works well in the locks (hull couldn't hit anywhere and they slid well on rough walls) and also works well when tied to a concrete wall overnight (and doesn't generally require adjustment for tall vs short walls). Personally, I don't bother with fender boards in the locks.



I also agree with leaving fenders deployed. We also leave ours down in the canals and only pull them up if we're going faster in an area where it's allowed.
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:29 AM   #18
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Where are you bringing the boat to in Michigan?

I would suggest joining the Great Lakes Cruising Club. Has detailed information on all the Great Lakes ports and anchorages. What is available as far as services. Also discusses what to look out for entering harbors/anchorages. How far groceries are from marina, what services are available at each. It also has 'Port Captains' for most of the harbor reports, which gives you a local contact if you need other information. Many will give you rides for supplies/etc if transprtation is not available at the marina.

Coming across the Erie Canal, Little Falls, NY is a wonderful place to stop. The marina will take you to and pick you up from groceries, etc. We spent a weekend there in 2016 bringing our boat back to Michigan from New Jersey (45 mph winds) which in the locks are like huge wind tunnels.

Someone mentioned the Detroit River and Yacht Clubs. There is a great State of Michigan Marina, about a mile upriver from the Ren Cen. It is the
Milliken State Park Marina. It is an easy walk or bike ride to downtown Detroit.
If you watch the wind, the crossing from Harbor Beach to Tawas isn't bad. Rogers City has a great Marina and great staff. St. Ignace Marina is nice as well.
Be extremely careful when you start your West to Southerly trip from the Straits of Mackinaw through Grey's Reef. Watch the Wind and Weather. If there is a SouthEast to SouthWest wind it will be horrible at the Northern end of Lake Michigan at Grey's Reef. We sat out an entire week at St. Ignace waiting for winds and waves to calm down.
Good luck and keep us informed.
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Old 05-03-2021, 12:57 PM   #19
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Thanks so much guys for the invaluable information and for offering the extra help. I may reach out to you with other questions. Also, did not mention my final destination is Racine WI.
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Old 05-03-2021, 01:17 PM   #20
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Do you have zinc anodes? Think about changing them once you arrive to something more appropriate for freshwater. Thanks to another thread for reminding me of this little (unfortunate) nugget of importance from my distant past.
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