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Lock 17

21 November 2010 | Erie Canal, NY
Lock 17 was the only difficult lock we had. Due to the way the water enters this lock, they want all boats to be on one side of the lock, which for boats heading in our direction, would be on the port side. Issuma has reels of rope attached to the lifelines on the port side that prevent coming alongside a wall on the port side.

We talked with the lockmaster, and he was definite about what side we needed to tie up on (and there is a sign to that effect on the lock before it), but said we could back in if we needed to. Backing in would have been relatively easy, except for the corner in the river just before the lock (not seen in the picture), where the water goes around a bridge support. There is a sudden change in the current at this point, which I was unable to get around in reverse.

So we used ropes to shore and, by a combination of pushing and slowly motoring in reverse, backed up to the lock, then we got aboard and reversed into the lock. It took about an hour in total to enter the lock (an advantage in being the only boat heading north this time of year is that you're not delaying anything if you're slow :) ).
Vessel Name: Issuma
Vessel Make/Model: Damien II, 15m/50' steel staysail schooner with lifting keel
Extra: Designed for Antarctica. Built in France by META in 1981. Draft 1.3m/4.5' with keel up, 3.2m/10.5' with keel down. More details at
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Survey pictures taken of Shekin V
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Created 29 April 2008