Last Chance ... A Two Year Journey

Leaving the Great Lakes for a Caribbean/Pacific adventure

19 August 2017 | Niagara Falls
18 August 2017 | Buffalo
17 August 2017 | Erie Basin Marina, Buffalo
16 August 2017 | Buffalo
15 August 2017 | Buffalo, NY
14 August 2017 | Dunkirk Harbor, NY
13 August 2017 | Presque Isle, PA
12 August 2017 | Geneva
11 August 2017 | Cleveland
10 August 2017 | South Bass Island
09 August 2017 | Troy, MI
08 August 2017 | Bayview Yacht Club
07 August 2017 | Jefferson Beach Marina
06 August 2017 | Port Sanilac
05 August 2017 | Port Austin
04 August 2017 | Port Austin
03 August 2017 | Port Austin
02 August 2017 | Harrisville, MI
01 August 2017 | Presque Isle Harbor
30 July 2017 | Mackinac Island

Niagara Falls

19 August 2017 | Niagara Falls
Sunny with much mist
We were part of a small tour group of Niagara Falls. We saw many of the high points and took the Maid of the Mist into the swirling rapids at the base of the Horseshoe Falls. Wonderful tour of a natural spectacle that is hard to imagine or describe without being there.

Tomorrow will be another long day as we leave early and try to get back on schedule so Pat can make her Wednesday morning flight out of Rochester.

As is common along a lake shore with a path and place to park to enjoy the water, numerous bikers/joggers/walkers passed by while I was on the wall. It was not unusual for someone to stop and ask me questions. "My nephew is coming from Lake Superior and wants to know where he can take his mast down." "Did we ship the boat or bring it through the Great Lakes on our own?" Someone had a boat holed up at anchor in Tortola, BVI, waiting for the passing of Hurricane season. And so it went.

Bucking bronco

18 August 2017 | Buffalo
Cloudy and very windy
Well, the electrician never showed up. But Pat did. Hooray! We did get fuel and pump out in the morning. When we were going back to our wall tie up, the wind kicked in with a vengeance. Just trying to walk the boats forward was a struggle. The wind was blowing the boats off the land and trying to corral them and pull them back in was barely possible. I was behind Paradise Hunter, and being smaller and lighter, my boat was bouncing around like crazy. The marina folks took pity on us, as did Roger and Tari, and they moved us to the end of a dock that was open for the night and most of Saturday. My boat had wood chips on it from the wall and several spots of hull paint were rubbed off. A short video can be found here:

Tomorrow we go to Niagara Falls. Then return to Buffalo to take our boats to Tonawanda. Saturday afternoon we will do laundry. Sunday we start the canal.

Clean and shop day

17 August 2017 | Erie Basin Marina, Buffalo
Cloudy, some rain
Today we scrubbed the decks. Lots of dirt from all the folks climbing all over the boat from the dirt and gravel boat yard. Then Tari and I went shopping. First to West Marine for D.C. fans to replace their AC fans. That will reduce their power draw. I picked one up as well. I also bought a new mast head VHF antenna. Mine was not a normal sailboat antenna. When the person removed the antenna after the mast was down and gave it to me, the look on his face said, "I found this piece of crap on the top of your mast. Seriously?" Much of the plastic coating was now gone, exposing the wires. I will modify the mast head mount so the correct antenna can be installed.

Then to Home Depot for a portable generator. They will use that to keep their batteries charged when they are not on a dock. Which is the goal - to be anchored and self sufficient.

Their friend Ron came this afternoon. Pat comes tomorrow morning. The electrician will work on their boat tomorrow, Friday. Saturday is a trip to Niagra Falls, then we go to Tonawanda to spend Saturday night. Sunday we start on the Erie Canal.

Masts down!

16 August 2017 | Buffalo
Sunny and warm
Today was the day. Both masts came down and are mounted solidly on the boat. Tomorrow we have some fine tuning and cleaning up to do, but the big job is done. Weather was perfect, maybe a little too hot.

We are staying put until sometime Friday. Roger and Tari are having a battery monitor installed. After that, we leave for Tonowanda. Pat should be here for that trip and will be on board for several days before flying back home. For now, I have joined Paradise Hunter on the wall, since with the mast hanging out the front and back of the boat, I no longer fit in my slip! I am now a 50 foot boat! I remember a boat that size as having more room down below ...

Tomorrow we go hunting for a generator for Roger and Tari to keep their battery charged. They also could use an additional battery. They have a large power draw they need to keep up with. Later in the trip they also plan to add solar power.

End of the Great Lakes

15 August 2017 | Buffalo, NY
El 540. Partly cloudy. Occasional bouts of rain.
We made it to Buffalo. We removed my mainsail and genoa. Roger's genoa is down. He has in boom furling, so he is wondering if he can leave his main alone. He has never taken his mast down, so this will be a first for him. Tomorrow we go to RCR Yachts to begin the mast down process and build cradles to carry the mast on the boat.

I have one sail below in the cabin and one on the deck. I rolled up the dinghy and it is in front of the mast. In the future, that is how I will travel on long trips when I am not using the dinghy for several days.

Roger and Tari are having issues with their batteries. That is how the trip started for them, and the issues are back. This morning the batteries were so low they could not run the instruments, even with the engine running. The voltage drops below 11 volts. My batteries drop to 12.6 by morning. During races before I had solar, I started the engine at 12.3 volts.

We are now pre Erie Canal, so I suppose I should start a new chapter in the blog.

Spiders and other jobs

14 August 2017 | Dunkirk Harbor, NY
El 503 Partly cloudy with light head winds
Last night Roger was taking me back to my boat, and as is his want, he went one way while my boat was the exact opposite way. The first time he did this, it was all I could do to keep quiet and not point out the obvious, "Roger, my boat is over there." So last night we went to a unique 1950's boat that said the port was St Louis. The gentleman spent four years refitting her and had been through the Erie Canal several times. At this point my data sample with Roger showed that either everybody on the Great Lakes had been through the canal, or else Roger had found and talked to everybody on the Great Lakes that had been through the canal.

Waukegan Harbor is full of spiders and it is a never ending battle. I thought I was winning on this journey until one quiet day full of gnats I found the boat covered with gnat laden webs. So I rejoined the war. The dodger area has been reclaimed. Most of the boat has been declared spider free. Just a few pockets of resistance left. Folks from Waukegan know what I am talking about.

Today was another motor day with light head winds and calm lake. We rolled out the genoa for a few hours. I defrosted the fridge. Still to do is change the fuel filter.
Vessel Name: Last Chance
Vessel Make/Model: Islander 36 (1979)
Hailing Port: Waukegan, Illinois
Last Chance's Photos - Main
Erie Canal and Hudson River
No Photos
Created 18 August 2017
Great Lakes part of the journey.
45 Photos
Created 15 July 2017
Boat prep and races prior to departure
12 Photos
Created 14 June 2017