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Old 08-11-2012, 10:17 AM   #1
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I am considering sailing from Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico.

I am concerned about hidden costs or well hidden to me. like surprises.

That is cost of stopping overnight is the biggest of all as, i travel with little means.

Anyone could help me with some information ? also i need to know how long it would take to make the trip in a bit of a hurry ?

Thank you.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:18 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:19 AM   #3
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Rinerc, Sorry but for some reason this is the first time I have seen your post. I am in a different part of the world for the moment and not familiar with the route. I have googled the question and discovered it can be done.

However, the problem you may encounter is that it isn't going to happen 'in a bit of a hurry'. Typically inland river routes are slow. There is a lot to see and no one will want to rush it.

There is plenty of information available on the route and whilst you await any further replies, take a look here : Books and Maps about Cruising America's Great Loop - Raven Cove Publishing

I hope you have some success in making the trip as I am sure it would be a great adventure. Let us know if you are able to proceed.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:37 AM   #4
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One little surprise--there is a railroad bridge with height of approximately 15' (as I recall) in Chicago that no longer opens--that will require you to remove the mast and re-step it. That by itself is enough to make most sailboats leave Lake Michigan for points South by going North and out to the world's oceans via the other Great Lakes.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:21 PM   #5
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I have never gone down the Mississippi but have done the Erie Canal Route. You can expect it to take two to three months. You will motor all day every day so your biggest cost will be fuel, not dockage. You can anchor overnight most of the time for free. Also, you don't want to go too fast as your will end up in the Gulf during Hurricane season, not a good idea.

Either down the Mississippi or thru the Erie Canal you will have to take down the mast at some point. Figure $300 or so to take it down and put it back up will be another $300.

If you want to avoid taking the mast down and putting it back up you have to go out the St. Lawrence Rive and around Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The season is closing now - you are already a bit late for that trip. The weather in PEI and Nova Scotia gets very bad in the fall - the "winter gales" kick in.

Depending on the size of your boat and your budget you might be better off just shipping the boat to the Gulf. You may discover that all in it is going to cost about the same amount of money.

If you go back early in my blog (2009) at Sailing - Reboot (USA 60493) you can get an idea of what a transit looks like.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:00 AM   #6
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This is just a bit off topic..Sorry! Reboot, in your excellent blog, you say your watermaker is broken, again. Are there problems with these pieces of equipment generally or is yours just a bit of a lemon? I have not sailed with one before but my new boat has a small one installed. Are they easily maintained? For you interest, mine is a the successor to the PUR35.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:39 AM   #7
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I don't know. Katadyn has a good reputation. I have had problems with this particular unit almost from the beginning. It has worked off and on. I am planning Tenerife to Martinique in November and decided to get it fixed once and for all. The real key, as I have been told, is to either use the unit every day (a problem if you are in a port with a lot of oil in the water) or "pickle" it to preserve the membrane. Mine has always had a mechanical problem of a leaking valve - I am hoping they will replace the assembly this time rather than "repairing" it again. At the moment I am trying to get DHL to accept a shipment to Switzerland from the Canaries - they need a bunch of numbers, account, vat, customs, etc. I thought that inside the EU it would be easy but apparently not.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:03 AM   #8
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I did the trip from the Chicago to New Orleans some years ago on an 80" motorsailor. We encountered that low bridge and had to take down the masts, but it was definitely preferable to going out the Saint Lawrence Seaway and down the East Coast in October.
You will NOT see any of America; there are 30' levees the whole way, except at St. Louis. The current down the river is a huge help, but sometimes there is a huge quantity of trash in the water, a danger to your prop, so anchoring (find a side creek or small river) or tying to a dock or marina at night is imperative. You are going to need a good reliable VHF to communicate with the many commercial vessels you will encounter.
All in all, it was a great trip and our stop at Mud Island in Memphis was the highlight (Loretta Lynn was singing there and invited us to her show and the scale model of the Mississippi River in town).
It was a unique trip and though I enjoyed it, I would NEVER do it again, unless I got a huge paycheck!
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Old 09-03-2015, 01:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for sharing the important information.
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