Monday, June 21

Epic Delivery: Welland Canal to Quebec City

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Scott Akerman, our Cruising Odyssey partner, ad director and a professional captain, is on an epic delivery of a 2018 Coastal Craft Concord 65 named Indigo from Midland, on Georgian Bay in Canada, to DiMillo’s Yacht Sales in Portland, Maine, with Captain Eli Bliss. Here’s his latest report on their journey from the end of the Welland Canal that connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario down to Montreal and then Quebec City (see picture above). 

From the end of the Welland Canal, we crossed Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence River and then past the Thousand Islands. Some of the islands are little more than rocks; others have magnificent summer homes.

Then there are seven locks before Montreal. The Beauharnois Lock was memorable. When you wait for this lock, there’s a floating dock and a cement wall. Depending on your boat’s size, you’ll tie up and want for instructions.

There’s a digital sign in French and English explaining that you need to go online and pay, and to wait, and that the next time through the lock is ## ##, literally. For the next several hours we wait, and wait, and wait, seeing commercial vessels transit back and forth.

Then, from the heavens, or a giant loudspeaker, we hear some garbled French, and the light turns green to enter the lock. Like ducks in a row, we enter and are handed a length of polypropylene line, and so it begins. We drop the 50 feet, and wait. And wait. Then a little head pops over the edge and looks down and says, “We’re having some trouble. We’re going to raise and lower it.”

For the next 40 minutes we go up and down. Eli looks at me and says, “I feel like I’m in the back of a toilet.”

In general, the locks and bridge were a frustrating “hurry up and wait” exercise with a sprinkling of “the lock and/or bridge is broken.” Commercial traffic has the right of way. Each lock costs $20 to $30.

We arrived at Montreal at sunset, and tied up at the Montreal Yacht Club, a small affair but in the heart of downtown. The current that runs by the yacht club is legit, easily 4 knots, and we saw ships with multiple tugs getting backed into the quay as they fought to go upstream like a 500-foot-long salmon.

The next day we had a several-knot push in current behind us and flat water to make for a nice run down to Quebec City. That night, after another lock at the entrance to the Marine Du Vieux Port de Quebec, we realized we had put in 974 nm since we had left Midland, on Georgian Bay, plus 62 hours on Indigo’s twin 900-hp Volvo D13 IPS pod drives.

The boat carries 1,330 gallons of fuel, and has a range of 500 nm. At a comfortable 23-knot cruise, it burns 65 gph.

I love boats. One of the benefits of having this job is getting to see all shapes and sizes, and seeing how they are for livability, seaworthiness, aesthetics. This Coastal Craft 65 is an aluminum yacht that’s proven to be a workhorse, with luxury. There are three staterooms – a master, guest and amidships double.

I have a new appreciation for joystick driving after having to maneuver in wind and current and tight spaces. The Skyhook function will hold the boat in place, which is handy while waiting for locks, etc. There are four stations to be able to move the boat.

The flybridge has good visibility, and most of all there are joysticks on the corners. Docking with these is really cool. As you’re always worried about nicking the aft end, now you can easily see how close you are, and hold your position.

The engine room is fantastic. Everything is easy to access, and it’s clearly marked. We have a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer, which has made the ride very comfortable. We’ve not experienced any pounding at all.

From Quebec City, we’re heading down the St. Lawrence, eventually reaching Gaspé. Stay tuned. Read more:



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