We can sail!
09/07/2007, Catskill, NY
Wednesday and Thursday September 5 &6 Catskill, NY
We arrived in Catskill on Wednesday afternoon. It was a pleasant ride down the Hudson River past Albany and some other towns. We took a walk when we got here. There is a nice park across the road from the Riverview Marina, which is located on Catskill Creek, the park is on the Hudson River. Then we walked up to the town to look around. It is a cute town and they are doing lots of renovations, but many stores are empty. There are cats everywhere on the sidewalk on pedestals, each decorated a different way, apparently playing on the "cat" part of the town name. There is also a wooden carving of RipVanWinkle in the center of the street, as this is allegedly his home town.
Since that nice walk, we haven't had time to do anything except work on the mast business. I won't bore you with the details of that. It is now Friday morning and Mike is working on the wiring now, and then it will be finished. We are happy to be put back together and look like a sailboat again.
Another day in Waterford
Mike and Kathy
Sept. 4th ...Waterford, NY
After coffee we were off the Laundromat and went around the corner for breakfast while the clothes were drying. Don and Paul's was small, shabby, there were some neat historical photos on the wall and a huge coke machine in the middle of the room. There was a door open to the back room and we could see and hear an active pool game in progress at 9a.m. The service was excellent and food was ok...
I called Riverview Marina in Catskill, NY which is about 45 miles south, to see about stepping our mast and made an appointment for Thursday a.m. We will motor down there on Wednesday and spend the night.
With clean clothes back in the boat we hiked over the Hudson River to Troy, NY to a very nice grocery store. We picked up supplies for the next week and were leaving the parking lot with their cart when its wheels locked up. We had read somewhere that we had to ask the management to "unlock" the wheels before we took off with their carts but there didn't really seem like anything to unlock. Wrong....it took both of us dragging and pushing the cart at the same time back across the lot where I stayed while Kathy went in to find an unlocker. After a couple of minutes Kathy brought back a lady with a little plastic box that magically unlocked the wheels. She then walked with us explaining that the locks were set for a distance and that she would need to unlock them again before we were on our way back across the bridge to Waterford.
Since we had the time, I wanted to check a few things on the engine which entailed emptying the storage stateroom and removing the mattress to check the seawater strainer... which was found to be reasonably full of seaweed. I turned off the valve, cleaned everything out, replaced the impeller, and checked the zinc in our heat exchanger. I have decided to remove the prop shaft alternator, but today was not going to be the day.
After getting the boat back together we hiked to the Library to post some blog entries, check our email and find the part number for a new lift pump. ( I think were up to 5 or 6 miles of walking by now.) We stopped at the post office on the way back and then had a late lunch of Jarlsburg swiss, apple slices and Triscuits.
After reading for a couple of hours... I grilled some fresh Haddock, made a lemon/butter/olive oil/dill sauce while Kathy outdid herself again in the salad arena.
Bye for now...
Hello, just a note . . .
I went into the Welcome Center today because they have a book exchange and we are in need of new books. The wonderful book store in Brockport was too long ago. As I was looking around I thought I saw a boat just like ours in a large (16 X9?) picture on the wall. I had to get closer and look and it was "Celtic Song" in front of their old welcome center. It may have been a picture taken before Jackie and Chris owned it, but since we saw "Celtic Song" several times in the North Channel this summer, it brought back good memories!
The End of the Erie Canal
09/04/2007, Waterford, NY
Sept. 3rd Labor Day....
We stalled this morning until 9:30 and then called guard gate 2 on the radio to find out when we could lock through the "flight of five" and down to Waterford ,NY on the Hudson River. We assumed (correctly) that the wall at Waterford would be full and were hoping that at least a few boats would pull out before we got there....1.5 miles away and 170 feet down. The gate keeper said that he could get us in right now so we started up the engine and cast off. We couldn't get any photos because the view was directly into the sun ...but believe us, looking out from the lock over the Hudson Valley below us was breathtaking.
On the bottom we found a spot between two boats that called for the "Captain Ron docking maneuver" and spent the afternoon exploring the town and drinking beer. The marina is wonderful and free for two nights....after that it's $10 per night. We will probably stay tomorrow to provision, do some laundry, and make arrangements down stream to step our masts.
I've been tempted for the last week to show off my new found knowledge of the Erie Canal, but have never really had to time until now so if your brain already has enough useless information please quit reading here...
Gov. Dewitt Clinton of NY almost single handedly brought about the Erie Canal tying together the eastern seaboard to the Northwest Territories, what we know as the Great Lakes States. Roads at the time over the Appalachians, Adirondacks, and Alleghenies were impassable for six months a year and difficult the rest of the time... it cost $100 / ton to haul freight from farms and forests of the west to the east coast which was prohibitive from a financial standpoint. A Canal would allow an relatively easy avenue for both settlement of the west and affordable transportation system for products moving eastward.
The Erie Canal was started in 1817 and finished in 1825. At the time there were no engineering schools in the United States so those in charge just had to figure things out. The final product, "Clinton's ditch", was canal 363 miles long, 40 feet wide, and 4 feet deep with 83 locks. Locks were 15 feet by 90 feet by 4 feet deep. In 1862 the canal was updated to 70 feet wide and 7 feet deep with 72 locks that were 18 by 110 by 7 feet.
Today the 340.7 mile canal has the dimensions of 123 feet wide by 12 feet deep(we would debate these figures in some areas of the canal, especially if we talk about navigable width and depth). There are 34 locks that are 44.5 by 300 by 12. All the locks are the same size but vary in lift from 6 to 40 feet.
Interestingly, the old canal boats today are know as 62's, 25's or 03's which correspond to the standard size of the locks as it was improved over time. All boats were built to fit exactly into the size of the lock. The '62 that we toured , the Lois McClure, was built in Vermont to fit precisely into a lock after the 1962 renovations.
Originally, the canal avoided all natural waterways. Seasonal flooding of the rivers would wash away anything that men could build during that era. Aqueducts were built to route the canal over rivers that happened to get in the way. The current canal however, makes use of at least three rivers, the Clyde, Oswego, and Mohawk as well as the 25 mile expanse of Oneida Lake. The Mohawk, which comprises the last 100 miles, is dammed at every lock with cable dams which look like a bridge with sections of steel that are dropped into the river bed. During the winter the steel plates are opened from time to time to get rid of ice jams.
The western half of the canal is narrow, and runs through forest, farms and quaint little towns that have gone out of there way to make things comfortable for boaters. On the eastern end the canal follows the course of rivers, primarily the Mohawk, and flows through swamps and mountains, but not so many small towns. There are larger cities that have seen better days but don't seem to have the funds to fix up their riverfronts for boaters.
If a boat was provisioned for 10 days, it is very possible to travel the entire length of the canal with fuel being the only cost. Although we're not sailing, the Erie Canal has been enjoyable from start to finish.
Ps...thanks to those of you who have offered up ideas on our fuel system. By the way, our engine is a 1983 Westerbeke 52 hp which I failed to mention earlier. Even though our lift pump seems to push fuel through all the bleed valves, I too have come to the conclusion that it needs to be replaced. For the past two days I turned off the engine while locking and there was no sign of the racing, revving, and faltering that we have noticed for the last two weeks. I hope to order one in the next day or two and have it delivered to Annapolis.