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Old 10-12-2009, 04:08 PM   #1
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I have this dream of buying a 26-30-foot sailboat in the Great Lakes and sailing it alone to Halifax. I have only a tiny amount of experience sailing, in Halifax Harbour and a few lakes. What am I brave or crazy? What do I need to do to prepare myself over the winter for this summer cruise? Feedback appreciated.
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:11 PM   #2
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Quick question before we have a chance to answer this: where in the Great Lakes will you leave from and when?

Aye // Stephen
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:04 PM   #3
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Oh, I'm ready for this adventure and we don't even know where you'll be picking up the boat yet!

Up the St Lawrence Seaway to Halifax NS? Right? Keeping up in a small boat in the St Lawrence could be challenging, but wow it seems it would be great fun...

Now...which lake will you be picking up a boat on?
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:46 PM   #4
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I'm not even that far along yet. I was thinking of buying a boat for around $10,000 in Toronto and sailing it right to Halifax. Is this sort of thing do-able by a rank amateur? I'd also probably be doing it alone as none of my landlubber friends have the least interest in sailing.

I'm willing to fork out for a coastal navigation course but my sailing skills are limited to cruising one summer in Halifax harbour on a 20-foot day sailer which I ran aground several times.

How long do you think a trip like that would take? Probably at least a month if I didn't sail at night, right?

Thanks for any help. Feel free to have a good laugh at my expense!
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Old 10-18-2009, 01:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omigosh View Post
I'm not even that far along yet. I was thinking of buying a boat for around $10,000 in Toronto and sailing it right to Halifax. Is this sort of thing do-able by a rank amateur? I'd also probably be doing it alone as none of my landlubber friends have the least interest in sailing.

I'm willing to fork out for a coastal navigation course but my sailing skills are limited to cruising one summer in Halifax harbour on a 20-foot day sailer which I ran aground several times.

How long do you think a trip like that would take? Probably at least a month if I didn't sail at night, right?

Thanks for any help. Feel free to have a good laugh at my expense!
You will be motoring a good bit of the time - both for the Thousand Islands and for the St. Lawrence River. You will also need a good set of charts. Size of the boat is not important as long as you are careful about the weather. You will be avoiding Lake Erie which is the most troublesome - Lake Ontario is pretty easy if you stay near the shore.

I have a set of charts - I think I am the third or fourth generation owner, PM me if you would like to purchase them
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Old 10-18-2009, 01:16 AM   #6
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Plan A :- Toronto to Halifax. Rough guess, not much change out of 2000nm.

As for sailing as opposed to motoring - get some sailing in Lake Ontario, that's all - the rest will be chug chug chug, dodging traffic, keeping out of traffic separation schemes.

How about Plan B? Spend your $10,000 on a power boat - diesel engine that can make 10 knots. That option would still be an adventure.

This example of a boat might be the type to go for, click :

HERE
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:06 AM   #7
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I have this dream of buying a 26-30-foot sailboat in the Great Lakes and sailing it alone to Halifax. I have only a tiny amount of experience sailing, in Halifax Harbour and a few lakes. What am I brave or crazy? What do I need to do to prepare myself over the winter for this summer cruise? Feedback appreciated.
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:02 AM   #8
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Sorry that I didn't see your question sooner and hope my thoughts are not too late.

Let me suggest Plan C. The advice you received from our Canadian bretheren matches my own concerns/knowledge about the run to the Gulf of St. Lawrence via the Seaway. My humble opinion is that once you reach the Gulf and begin to shake out some sails your schooling starts. I would think (again defering to Canadian sailors who have plied the Gulf North of PEI) that the upper Gulf is no place to begin sailing 101.

However, do the trip in reverse! From Toronto sail across Lake Onatio to one of New York State canals. Lowering the mast for the canal passage on an under 30 footer would be a piece of cake. Depending on the canal route you choose, you'll come out above Albany, New York. Up the mast and down the Hudson to NYC. Then work your way up the New England and Nova Scotian Coasts to Halifax, Cape Breton, etc. By the time you get to Halifax, your experience level will be high. Why, you could sail back to Toronto via the Seaway.

What's the big adventage? First your starting to really sail a lot sooner and not fighting big St. Lawrence Seaway currents (to say nothing of the frieghter traffic). Importantly with a used boat that's new to you, when something breaks in the first patch of rough weather (which it will) you are in an area with lots marine facilities and lots of other sailors to lend a hand, versus the lonely, rocky shores of the Gulf. Even with my own desire to sail in lonely places, I value exchanging information with other sailors. I can safely guarantee that sailors you'll meet beginning in New York Harbour and continuing as you proceed Northeastward to Halifax will tell you all their secrets and you'll be a wise and experienced sailor when you reach your goal.

In August I helped Roger in "Reboot" (he's elsewhere on Crewfinder talking about sailing to the Yucatan) bring his Catalina 42' down the Erie Canal. I think Roger would agree that it was a decent adventure, that we universally met some great people and the Hudson River was breathtaking. Though you'll need 2 people for the Eria Canal to negotiate the 44 locks (NY State requirement), one of your buddies are more likely to sign on for less than the 2 weeks necessary, especially when you tell them that you tie up at night on the NY canals and can get a beer and burger in great little canal towns.

I can give you more info on the canals, if you decide the "reverse route" is something you'd like to investigate. Got to go...the "Red/ Green" show is on..

Jerry
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