Saturday, October 09, 2004

Erie Canal – New York City Sept/Oct 2004

SEP-25-04 Ross continues to routinely check motor, mast & transmission -- everything seems okay, but Ross concerned about one transmission bolt leaking. We had a great day travelling through the locks, Lockmaster at #2 gave us a flower; we shopped at a great vegetable stall at Phoenix, and overnighted in Brewertown, just west of Lake Oneida. The next day we motored across Lake Oneida, arriving at Lock 19. Here we were met by a welcoming committee of locals, who wanted to help us, if we needed anything. We stopped in Little Falls, and took a quick tour of the town, shopped at a great grocery store, and then moved on to lock 12. Getting off early in the rain, we raced through the last locks into Waterford. The docks were full, but we easily found a boat to raft to.

SEP-29-04 Waterford is a great stop; first 2 nights are free, after that $10/night, showers, electricity, internet access, and pump outs for $1 – plus great volunteers to help you. We walked over to Price Chopper in Troy to shop, in the bakery next door we met up with 2 volunteer ladies, who offered to give us a ride back to RAFT. When we asked about buying wine, they drove us to the wine store before taking us back to RAFT. Later we walked to Nappa store, explored the old canals, and just enjoyed a day off RAFT.

Old Canal Locks in Waterford NY

The next morning we had to wait for pumpout machine to be unplugged before we set off for Castleton. It would have been easy to stay longer, Waterford is such a nice place to stop, but want to get the mast back up and move south before it gets cold. We arrived in Castleton just ahead of the huge rain storm and 3 Quebec boats. Since it was too late to get started on mast, we decided to wait until tomorrow. Besides there is fun bar at Castleton. With the help of Madrigal (niagara 31 solo sailor) and Quebec boats we got RAFT remasted, it is great to be a sailboat again. We left our wooden supports, id’ed and with a return date, behind the marina building with all the others. Anxious to get on our way we motored down the Hudson River with Madrigal, and anchored west of Coxsackie Island in 17 ft water at hi tide. This was to be our time anchoring in a tidal river, and we didn’t have any difficulty.

We continued on to Marboro where we took a mooring ball – another first. Bev went forward, picked up antennae, and entire ball came with it, there was no line, or bridle on ball -- put our own on, Ross had to come and assist, but we did it.

Continuing on south, we motored by West Point to NYAC and anchored north of TappenZee bridge. We couldn't pass bridge because our boat insurance didn't start until Oct. 4th. We had been trying to find out about mooring balls on the radio, and Ron Marshall (LE VOILE AU VENT) from Barrie heard us, and tried to raise us the VHF -- he is still in NY. Although we couldn’t talk to him, it was good to know he was still in the area. We were surprised that we had caught up to him, with all our delays, we expected him to be long gone. The next day, as we got closer to New York City we were able to talk to Ron, and met him at the Statue of Liberty anchorage. New York harbour was very busy, and it was difficult to keep away from all the ferries, tugs, barges, military, etc. It was a wonderful feeling to sail past the statue, and then weave our way into the anchorage.

Sailing by the Great Lady

LeVoile au Vent (left)  Inukshuk (right) anchored behind the Statue of Liberty

Another surprise was that as we came into the anchorage behind the Statue of Liberty, the only boat there was Ron’s. Since New York is such a big city with only a few places to anchor, we expected to be sharing the anchorage with many others. Guess everyone else is ahead of us! Ron was really happy to see us since his brother had left last Friday, and Larry, his next traveling companion, had been held up with engine problems. Larry didn't arrive until today either. We arrived with Armand, another solo sailor, who had been sailing with us since Castleton (where we put up out mast). So we are now a group of 4 Canadian boats heading south -- 3 of which are solo sailors, and we expect we will sail together until we get to the Chesepeake.

We plan to leave here tomorrow for another anchorage, closer to the mouth of the Hudson and the Atlantic Ocean and wait for a good weather window to make the 100 mile sail down to Cape May, New Jersey. Right now, it looks like Wed/Thurs. will work. This will be our first salt water sail.. and it is nice to have company for it.

This means that we are in New York, but never stepped on shore, except at the marina where we got diesel. We would have liked to spend a few days exploring New York, since Bev had never been here before….but we also wanted to take advantage of Larry’s expertise and the opportunity to travel in a group. After all we can do New York another time….