up the Hudson too Lake Ontario
18 August 2015
The sun is now up and it is another beautiful day.
A sight-seeing motor sail up the Hudson is interrupted by the US Coast Guard. A large orange zodiac has snuck up from behind and we are informed we are about to be boarded for a mandatory safety inspection. From there boat they ask how many are on board and then they say “without reaching for anything are there any weapons on board” we have none so on they come and the rest is an uneventful quite pleasant routine inspection of the ships systems and safety gear. We are given a clean bill of health and sent on our way.
The Castleton Boat Club is where we need to be to unstep the mast.
We dropped our wood supports that Tom Roach help build years ago off at the boat club at the beginning of the trip so all the stuff we need is there.
We are on their dock out front of the club and handy to the facilities. The wake from passing boats and large barges is a little bit unnerving because we bounce against the floating dock. The trains blowing their horns go by every half hour and the track is behind the club so you have to stop your conversations until they have passed by.
This is a powerboat club and they do all the work themselves, they have built a large hand operated crane but have upgraded to an electric motor to make life easier. It is a great deal for sailors to lift your mast, it is $50.00 and they give you a docking deal of $1.00 per foot with that. Normally $1.50 per foot. They will not help you as it is use at your own risk and they do not want to be liable if anything goes wrong.
Makes sense. They are very hospitable and make you feel right at home.
August 06th, 2015
Hang out and make plans to haul the mast. Do all the prep work and get Genevieve ready.
While we are doing this there is a huge black cloud about a mile down the river.
One of the powerboats had just left the dock and members thought they might be in trouble. People ran for their boats to go and see if they could help. It turns out it was not the member but he was on his way back to the dock with three survivors on board. Dad “Woody” , his son Max who is 12 and Sawyer who is five. His engine caught on fire and he had to abandon the boat and throw the kids overboard to save their lives. John and I took care of the three of them while the rest went back to talk to the police and the coastguard. We lent them cloths and dried them off and offered food that only Max ate..
The police arrived by boat and asked little Sawyer if he wanted to go with his Dad back to where their boat was or what was left of it and he said I am never getting on a boat again. He was very shaken up so they took Dad to fill in the police reports and Sawyer and Max stayed with us until their Mom arrived by car. It was very scary and emotional.
Normally there are other sailboats with crew around to help with the mast removal.
Not the case for us. So John convinces me that we can do it ourselves. Anyone who knows Genevieve is aware she has a 65 foot mast . It weighs a 1000 pounds.
Well we talked it out and discussed exactly how we would do it and I became the crane operator and John the deck hand. We were successful and managed with just one minor injury. The mast slipped on the hoisting rope and grazed John’s foot. We had a slight loop in the rope above the spreader and when the mast was vertical it dropped a few inches. When he yelled I raised the mast, took up the slack, caught our breath and carried on without any other issues.
The cradles needed some minor adjustments and it all worked.
The mast fit under the new dingy arch and we could pull the dingy up tight like it was meant to be.
We are ready to head to the New York State Canal System.
We will take 115 miles of the Erie Canal System that is 338 miles in length. Then we will enter the Oswego Canal that is 24 miles long.
We have our fenders ready and decide not to use the fender board as it has got caught up in the past. Our lines are put in place to ensure that we can stay on the lock walls.
We get to the lock and purchase a 10 day pass for $50.00.
We go through the federal lock in Albany New York where we used our lines at mid ship with the lines running aft and forward.
The next Lock is Troy New York and to our surprise they have lines hanging from the lock itself that you just have to grab , Moira uses the boat hook at the bow and John grabs a line at the stern. This is great.
So we are committed and will go as far as we can before the locks close at 6PM.
We make it to lock 7 the first day and spend overnight on the wall at the lock.
They open at 8am and we are on our way. The lock staff are really nice people and
respond quickly when you radio ahead for the lock to be opened to pass through.
Today we make it to lock 17 and look forward to staying at a place called Little Falls.
Everything is good but after a few locks you feel really grubby.
At Little Falls the dock has power, WIFI and the cleanest facilities we have used on the whole trip.
Laundry available and reasonable. The Dock -master drives us into town for dinner and we are all set. We are exhausted from the pace we are keeping in the locks and decide to stay one more day.
We tour the town.
The town had a population of 15,000 people now down to four thousand. As in most of upper New York the manufacturing plants have closed and are abandoned. It is sad to see that most industries along the canals are closed and the buildings are standing empty.
We visit some antique shops but most of the businesses are closed on Sunday and Monday.
We depart for the next lock. It is not pleasant as we come down the slimy walls
And hold onto slimy ropes. We wear rubber gloves to protect our hands and that helps. We have both banged our heads on the mast and the wood supports repeatably, we know it is there but just can’t get used to this foreign object in our cockpit. Can’t wait until we are through and can put the mast back up. . Some locks with the current and the wind are very difficult and Moira strains to hold the bow in. It is a lot of work.
We get to Lock 22 where the lock person agrees to keep it open for us so we can get to the Marina located just after the lock. Mariners Landing is where we tie up. It’s closed but we need diesel so we will wait for them to open in the morning.
We are headed to Lock 23 and then on to Lake Oneida, we motor across and turn into the Oswego Canal system which we reach at 12;30 pm.
Windy but the lake was calm.
We enter the canal and get ready with our lines for the lock. At Lock one they have the lines for us to use just the same as the Erie Canal. We relax and it all goes smoothly but now we are going down in elevation the reverse to the first 22 locks.
In Lock 2 we get a heck of a surprise, we are sitting high on the wall when we enter and there are no lines. We jump into action and secure the lines to mid ship but it is taking a while for us to grab the pole due to the height of Genevieve. The lock is now starting to empty and it is blowing hard. When Moira looks at the bow she realizes that the bow has been blown over towards the wall and the mast is on top of the lock wall and we can’t push it off. The water is going down fast, the mast is stuck on the ledge, our stern is being pushed down and we hear the first break of the mast head navigation lights. Moira is trying to push us off but we are really stuck and it won’t budge.
We are yelling and now screaming for him to stop the drainage but he can’t see or hear us due to the bridge blocking his view.
John grabbed the air horn and started blasting it like crazy to get his attention. The lock operator hears it, looks around the bridge and takes off running to the other end of the lock to reverse the water. He was quick to respond once we got his attention. All of us were really shaken up and realizied it could have been a disaster. The way John had the mast strapped to the supports helped and the mast flexed and the supports kept it in place it only moved back about 3 inches.
We talk about not being ready and the wind factor and he is just glad that we are okay with minimum damage. He updates the next lock attendant and we are treated with care. We were lucky that it was one of the young people as most of the locks are manned with older staff who may not have been able to react as quickly. We go through the rest of them without incident.
It is getting late but we get a call from the last lock before Oswego and he says hurry it up and he’ll stay on and let us through so we don’t have to spend the night between locks. What a day!
We arrive in Oswego and go to the wall and tell the marina manager the story and he says look at that mast over there off a 30 foot sailboat it snapped in half. The lock operator was getting a can of paint and wasn’t there to help the boater. So crap can happen and we are so lucky that we escaped unhurt with minimal damaged.
August 13, 2015
We have to hire the craine as the mast is too heavy to lift with the one they have on site. $350.00 US scheduled for tomorrow.
. We basically had to strip the boat to get her ready.
The mast goes back in at 1:30.
It takes the full day to put all the canvas and sails back , the roller furling Moira’s lest favourite job as she is on the winch by choice. John tunes the rigging.
We will stay another night as we are done in and will leave the jib for tomorrow.
A very beautiful motor yacht pulls in beside us and the gentleman is very talkative and knows Genevieve . His boast is called the Old Goat and his name is
Jean Mc Carthy . (sp) He sailed on Red Jacket in the early years and knows Paul Falen and George Cuthbertson and on and on, well. He is from Chicago and has sailed all his life. He is about 83 years old and just a fantastic story teller. He has sailed in the Mackinaw Race 62 times.
What a history. Moira is trying to take the slime off the fenders with soap and he insists that she stop doing it the wrong way. She has to use lacquer thinner …
He has been through the locks as well and gets a dirty fender and his supplies and comes and shows me how to do it and we offer him our fenders because he is doing such a good job. Well that didn’t happen so we’ll do that job when we get home.
I hope we get to meet him again sometime and his wife who was on board. He was great.