We have received some really helpful and generous letters through Mangolandia’s contact page over the last couple days. Each was sent regarding our questions about bridge heights and mast-shipping/carrying down the river system – which we have been discussing both here and on a couple different cruising forums.
So, a big thanks to our new friends, Fred, Erwin and Mark for taking time to send such helpful hints our way.
Fred’s letter gave a definitive answer to our question about bridge heights after the fixed 19.1 foot bridge in Chicago. His description is that our 43 foot height will me more than short enough for everything we encounter on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and the Ten-Tom Waterway. According to his report, all bridges in those areas will be a minimum of 52 feet tall – more than enough for our diminutive Surkha. Fred could not say for sure what we would encounter between the 19′ Chicago bridge and the Mississippi entrance. So, we are still looking for information on that if anyone has any experience or time on their hands. The other question I still have after reading Fred’s note, is if that 52′ clearance takes the current high-water of these rivers into account. We just received word today that some boats are not using the Ohio River locks because the water level is so high that you can simply sail over the submerged dams!! We only have 9′ to play with between our height and 52′ – so submerged dams seem worthy of a bit more consideration:) Thanks Fred. Also, because I know how helpful links are for authors and entrepreneurs, I should mention that Fred is the author of a number of guides, including: The Cumberland River CruiseGuide, The Tennessee River CruiseGuide and The Tenn-Tom Nitty-Gritty CruiseGuide.
Erwin sent a quick note recommending Light House Landing on Kentucky lake for mast re-stepping (making it vertical again – with a crane in our case). We have heard reference to Kentucky Lake before, however our current line of thinking is that we may be able to put the mast up as early as just after Chicago and if not then, definitely before the Mississippi. Erwin also mentioned that anything under 51′ feet would be fine beyond there. Thanks Erwin.
Lastly Mark gave us a quick tip on finding a West Marine. Apparently, the Racine, WI West Marine is only 2 blocks away from the harbor, not 10+ miles like it is here in Milwaukee. Thanks Mark.
A couple last/belated shout-outs:
Over one month ago, a friend of my parents, Jon, sent us a great letter going into lots of detail about safety at sea and a water survival technique called drownproofing. Since then, we have reread that email a number of times and read extensivel about drownproofing, but have never managed to send off a proper thank you. So thanks a ton Jon. We really appreciate your thoughtful and useful advice. Thanks a lot Jon.
Also over a month ago, another good family friend sent us a hardcover copy of Chapman Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling. I believe Caye did mention this before, but I want to say again, thanks Michael.
So, we still have lots to figure out here and lots more to write, but things are moving along nicely and the reader interaction makes it all worthwhile:)