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Welland Canal Transit?

Feb 11, 2017
C&C 27 MkII Ottawa
Has anyone transited the Welland Canal in a sailboat? I may be bringing a 34 foot boat from Lake Huron to Lake Ontario. There is some great information on the BlueSeas site but I'm just wondering if anyone has first hand experience or any tips and tricks. Any information about the St. Claire and Detroit rivers would be great as well; I've done this part before but it was many years ago.
Jan 11, 2014
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Haven't travelled the Welland, yet, but have heard stories. Down is easier than up and there are some minimum crew requirements. Be prepared to wait and leave on short notice at some ungodly hour.

When going down in a lock, the water tends to pull the boat off the lock wall and it is less turbulent. Going up, the water in a lock usually wells up from the middle of the lock and drives boats up against the walls. On the Erie Canal the lock masters can control the water flow so it is less turbulent. I doubt they do that on Welland because of the tight commercial shipping schedule.

As with any cruise through a canal/lock system bring at least 2 boat hooks and cheap work gloves. The lock walls get pretty slimy and boat hooks sometimes disappear.
May 25, 2012
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
the whole trip is super easy. st clair river/detroit river all with the current, very well marked. lake erie you'll be going with the pervalling winds. welland, the cut is well marked, the locks are easy peezee. dirty too. lots of fenders and boat hooks. the lock guys are professional. they will take care of you. it's all fun. ask the dock crew for tips if your unsure. helping vessels is all they do. last time i went through the welland i had green light at every lock.
your going to have fun :)
Apr 27, 2010
Beneteau 352 Hull #276 Ontario
It's not that difficult. I've done it with my brother. Since you're going eastbound you only need 2 people on board in total.
Keep in mind it will take 6 to 8 hours to traverse and the big ships have right of way at the locks so you may have to wait.
If you google welland canel info there's tons of information.
Good luck.
Mar 16, 2011
Sirius 21 Bronte
They sent us through at 11:00 pm and we had to raft up three boats wide at every lock. Couldn't have done it with only two people on board.

Detroit and St Clair rivers were easy. At one point we were doing 10 knots over the ground with current.

If you do lake Erie at night stay in the separation lane between the eastbound and westbound freighter traffic. This keeps you away from fishing nets which you won't be able to see at night.