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Cruising The Demi-Downeast Loop: Days 5 - 7

Our editors continue through the Downeast Loop, crossing Lake Champlain in Canadian waters and ending the first week with a docking in Quebec.
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Day 5: Champlain to Chambly

They don't make better cruising days than this one. We started just after 0700 this morning in Westport, New York, near the bottom of Lake Champlain and now, more than ten hours and 80 nm later are in the Quebec city of Chambly. We ran up the lake on a gorgeous Sunday morning at 20 knots, trying to make up for an unintended down day yesterday at the dock in Westport. You may remember that our windshield wiper motor on the driver's side conked out on Friday. We spent the day Saturday waiting for a new one that never came.

So today we needed to put some miles under our belts. The lake cooperated.


Deep, blue water with barely a ripple. Beautiful blue sky with the green mountains of Vermont unfolding in the east. Fantastic. Reminded us what cruising is all about. A perspective that you just don't get doing anything else.

We cleared Canadian Customs just north of Lake Champlain. This took all of ten minutes tops and the two Canadian Customs officers could not have been nicer.

But then the fun part - the Chambly Canal with nine locks and a lot of bridges. This took four hours and you move from lock to lock in a group of other boats to fill the locks. We were the only Americans in our group of five boats and they pack the lock so the boats are in the same relative position all the time. Chummy but it works and everybody was helpful and friendly. I was not unhappy to see the last of nine locks in one afternoon but I do miss the Chambly Canal itself. It's narrow with bike paths and families having picnics along the side and the countryside looked like a little slice of France. A great day.

Now, to find a French dinner in the little town of Chambly; if I can stay awake that long. Will check in with more updates tomorrow.


Day 7: Reaching Quebec

We made it, pulling in to the Port of Quebec Marina just before noon today, the end of the first leg of the epic Cutwater 28 Down East Loop voyage that started 455 miles ago in New York City.

When last heard from we were in the little French Quebec town of Chambly. From there we cruised several hours down the beautiful Richelieu River to Sorel, where we made a right turn to enter the massive St Lawrence Seaway. What a change. Instead of passing kids tubing behind 20-foot ski boats, we were trying to stay out of the way of massive tankers that looked the size of aircraft carriers. Then after several hours of cruising easily at 18 knots we ran through the very scary Richelieu Rapids in a narrow stretch of the St Lawrence where the 8 knot current creates boils and eddies and lots of unpleasant stuff. It doesn't help that boulders line the sides of the narrow channel. Last night we pulled in to a small but very protected marina at Portneuf and walked to the little village for dinner.


We got an early start this morning and we entered our last lock, leading into this marina at the foot of the Old City, after about four hours of easy cruising.

Now the second leg of this trip, a 228 mile trailer ride to Hampden Maine will start with a new crew and then the boat will be launched again for the final leg down the coast of Maine and New England back to New York. It's been a great ride.