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Author Topic:   Rideau Canal
jimh posted 07-16-2007 08:36 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Here is a detailed trip narrative of our recent visit to the Rideau Canal in Ontario, Canada:

erik selis posted 07-17-2007 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
Very enjoyable narrative Jim. Very detailed and well written as always. Made me daydream about it all afternoon.
I was wondering who the ContinuousWave member was that you briefly encountered on the highway.


jimp posted 07-17-2007 11:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
jimh -

Any chance you could add a map or chartlet to the narrative? I'm not familiar with the area.


Buckda posted 07-17-2007 05:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Excellent read. Great addition to the site Jim.

A new 4-stroke or even a DFI 2-stroke motor would have made a significant difference in fuel consumption on such a no-wake zone laden trip - did you notice an increased number of 4-strokes along the way due to this speed restriction?

jimh posted 07-17-2007 09:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Erik--The impromptu meeting was with Justin Anderson.

Jim--A map overview is in the works. I am a better writer than graphic artist.

Dave--We hardly saw other boats, and the ones we did were mainly small stern drive cruisers or much bigger inboard powered boats in the 35-foot or larger range. Yes, a more efficient motor at idle speeds could have saved a lot of gasoline.

jimp posted 07-17-2007 09:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
jimh -

Nuts, forgot to say, "Great report!"

Thanks for writing & sharing pics.


jechura posted 07-17-2007 09:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     

Excellent as expected, however as jimp stated a map or chart would have made it easier. As it was I kept flipping between the Microsoft mapping program and your narrative and I only got lost once and had to spend the night in another town. That slow cruise gave Chris and yourself plenty of time to smell the roses and taste the flavor of the canal.


home Aside posted 07-17-2007 09:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Great read, you & Chris certainly know how to pick a Whalering Trip


jimh posted 07-18-2007 12:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
This would be a fun trip in any size Boston Whaler. If you don't like sleeping on the boat, there are several options. You can generally camp out at most lock stations overnight. I think they charge a modest additional fee. And there are shore based accommodations that could be arranged, too. There are some tourist hotels and bed and breakfast lodging along the route.

Chris engineered this trip early in the season so that we would not have too much boating traffic at the locks to contend with. In the middle of summer the locks get quite busy, and often there is a wait for passage.

This would also be a spectacular cruise in the fall when the leaves were turning color. I really enjoyed this trip and I would do it again without hesitation.

[Added highway map overview to show general location and distances involved.]

jimh posted 07-18-2007 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Dave--Here's a performance report where a comparable boat with a four-stroke is getting 7-MPG at no-wake speed. Oh my, but that is quite a difference!

JMARTIN posted 07-19-2007 06:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
Very interesting and well done. You mentioned that your boat is not self contained. Did you remove the porta-potti or maybe you never had one? You stopped what, four or five times for gasoline? I can see not having a full tank for 500 miles on a trailer, but I am curious why you did not just fill her up at the start of the trip? John
Buckda posted 07-19-2007 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
JimH -

I walked in the door today and my issue of Lakeland Boating was in the mail. The cover story: The Rideau Canal.

You always seem to be one step ahead! Way to go.


jimh posted 07-20-2007 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Regarding fueling the boat before the trip began:

As I mentioned in the narrative, I figured I could buy fuel on the water along the way, and rather than start with 77-gallons we started with more like 45-gallons. Either way, I was going to have to buy more fuel along the way--one tank would not do it.

I did not get more fuel before launching because the descent to the marina was fairly steep, and with a really full tank there would be some risk of fuel sloshing out the vent. I have seen that happen on the highway when the tank is very full, and that was on level highway. Descending a very steep hill puts the vent on the downhill side, and this would enhance the tendency for fuel to surge up the vent line.

Also, after a long day of driving, we were glad to have arrived, and rather than hunting around the marina's neighborhood for a close-by gas station, we just stayed put. In a rural area it might be ten miles between gas stations or more, and driving around in the truck uses fuel, too. The money you spend hunting for a station deducts from any savings.

It is one thing when you know the ramp and get there after a five minute drive, and quite another after you arrive in a completely new location--not to mention a foreign country--after a long and weary day of driving. At that point, the notion that you might save $20 on the overall $400 cost of the gas on the trip by getting back on the road and hunting up a gas station seems like it might not be the best use of your time. Perhaps you want to launch the boat before the place closes or it gets dark.

Also, when you are hauling a larger boat there are many little gas stations where it is not very convenient or safe to try to maneuver to the pump with a boat and truck about 50-feet long over all. We did pass one little gas station on the way from the highway to the marina, but it looked like it would be a pain in the neck to get into with the boat. The worse accident I have ever had with the boat trailer occurred at a gas station where the trailer fender caught an obstruction we failed to see. This taught me how careful you have to be when approaching a gas pump with a big boat trailer. Another consideration with gas stations is the curbs and approaches to them. If they have a driveway with a dip in it you can drag the skeg on the pavement if you are not careful.

We did start with the tank at 3/4-FULL with highway gas, and those last 20-gallons or so might have saved us maybe $15 overall, not a huge swing.

So, yes, it sounds like it is trivial to just fill 'er up at a gas station before launching, but sometimes there is a bit more too it than you might think.

As for not just topping off at the launching point's gas dock, as I mentioned in the narrative, I am an optimist so I thought, "Maybe it will be cheaper at the next place."

As it turned out, the cost of fuel on the water was fairly consistent at around $1.25 per liter. Other influences are the general impression of the quality of the fuel available, and sometimes this plays a part. My theory is that the longer the fuel pump is from shore the more likely there is to be some water in the gas. In the case of the starting point of this trip, the fuel dock was at the end of a long pier. Most of the places where we bought fuel were on wharfs and the gas pump was on dry land.

jimh posted 07-20-2007 11:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Re the porta-potti:

The porta-potti was the first thing to be removed from the boat. We actually sleep in the cabin of our boat, and the idea that we are going to sleep about a foot away from the porta-potti is not particularly appealing. I know that if you are very diligent you can keep the odors from a porta-potti to a minimum, but I have a rather acute sense of smell, and inhaling head sanitizer chemical all night is not a good move for me.

Also, I have made a custom filler panel and Chris has made custom cushions which fill in the entire area between the bunks in the cabin, turning the v-berth into one big queen-size berth. If the porta-potti were still there, underneath, we would have to dismantle the filler panel to use it.

If we did not sleep in the cabin when cruising, then perhaps the porta-potti might be more useful.

andygere posted 07-23-2007 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Excellent article on your latest cruise. Several years ago, I spent a week with my wife and family on a hotel barge, cruising down the Canal du Midi in France. Your narrative brought back fond memories of that trip. Yours was neat adventure to be sure, and a well-planned trip as well.

On porta-potties, we have one on Namequoit, but it's rarely used. That said, there have been a few occasions when many miles from the nearest land-based restroom facilities, it brought comfort to a crew member. Ours would not be easily accessed with the cabin set up for sleeping either, but it's easy enough to leave it on deck before setting up the cabin for the night. Sleeping next to one that has been "in service" doesn't sound great to me either.

cotton posted 07-23-2007 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for cotton    
Jim, thanks for sharing your trip with me to a place I will never see. What a wonderous world this is indeed. Oh, to be young again.
Marlin posted 04-02-2008 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
I browsed this article quickly when Jim first posted it, but today I went back and read it in detail. Accompanying me for my virtual trip was Google Earth, which had hi-resolution imagery for nearly the entire trip. Only about 20 miles of coverage from Smith Falls to just beyond Merrickville was in low-resolution.

The imagery detail allowed me to look at every lock, every building, and even some boats in the process of locking through. I enjoyed a great nerd game of "find the exact spot this photo was taken from". Yeah, well, it was a slow afternoon and I haven't been boating in months...

Thanks, Jim, for a great story about a great trip!


jimh posted 04-04-2008 10:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Bob--You gave me an interesting idea. I should add a GOOGLE EARTH link to all the pictures. OK--maybe when I get snowed in next winter.

We really had a good trip on the Rideau Canal. It was a shame my camera went out, otherwise there would be more pictures. I am glad you enjoyed the ones I did take.

We plan to make the trip again, but the next time we will reverse the route. We can start in Ottawa and head for Kingston.

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