Wednesday, October 4, 2017
FROM BUFFALO LAUNCH CLUB TO POUGHKEEPSIE YACHT CLUB
On 8/02/17 we got a slip at the Buffalo Launch Club (BLC) on Grand Island and stayed for 8 days. The first evening we met Juli’s two cousins, Mary and Sue and their husbands, Joe and Bill. We had a delicious meal and enjoyed reminiscing. The following day we, along with Skipper and Sadie, became guests of Juli’s friends, Pat and Dave Crockett. The dogs really enjoyed having a fenced yard to roam. Pat generously lent us her car and we visited the renovated Buffalo waterfront area. We took a boat tour of the Buffalo River (highly recommended by Juli’s cousins) and learned about the history of Buffalo as a grain storage and transshipment port. We saw many remaining grain silos and smelled the sweet aroma of the Cheerios cereal facility. We did some sightseeing by car including Red Jacket’s grave in historic Forest Lawn Cemetery. Juli also showed John around her former neighborhoods in Tonawanda and North Tonawanda. We visited the American side at Niagara Falls and although it was not new to us, it was still beautiful and enjoyable. John got to try some real Buffalo food – beef on weck and a custard sundae for dessert at Anderson’s. We met Juli’s friends, Janice and Jim for a delicious fish fry.
On 8/10/17 we left BLC and motored to Tonawanda and the entrance of the Erie Canal. Then we proceeded east on the canal to Middleport where we tied up to the free wall for the night. They request a donation for the electric and wall and we left $15.00.
On 8/11/17 Dutchess continued on the canal to a stop in Spencerport. They were having an October Fest so we locked the dogs in the boat and went to the Fest. John had some Bratwurst and Juli had Cheddar Brat. All was served with German potato salad and then dessert and of course BEER.
On 8/12/17 we travelled east on the Erie Canal to Newark, NY passing thru locks 33, 32, 30, 29. We had stopped in Palmyra free wall but there was no space due to their Pirate’s Day Festival. Newark was a good FREE stop with showers, bathroom.
On 8/13/17 we passed thru locks 28B, 28A, 27, 26, 25 and passed the entrance to the Cayuga Seneca Canal and stopped on the free wall in Baldwinsville at 1819, a long day. There was a bit of excitement late that night when John heard a man and woman screaming for help. It turned out that a paralyzed woman in a wheelchair was fishing along the canal around midnight and fell about 8ft into the canal. John called 911 and gave the police his rope to keep her from going under!
On 8/15/17 we proceeded east on the Erie Canal and thru lock #24. We crossed the Three Rivers area which is where the Seneca, Oneida and Oswego Rivers join. The Oswego River is also the Oswego Canal which takes you to Lake Ontario. The Seneca River flows from Lake Seneca to this junction and is part of the Erie Canal, the Oneida River flows to Oneida Lake and also is part of the Erie Canal. Then thru Lock 23 and a slip in the Esskay Marina in Brewerton at 1355.
On 8/16/17 we left Esskay Marina and at 1235, entered Oneida Lake and exited the lake at 1500. At only 1520 we tied up to the free wall in Sylvan Beach. There are no electrical plugs here so we lived on batteries that night, (when we stop the batteries are charged by solar panels and when the engine is running the alternator, a 100 amp Balmar, charges the batteries).
On 8/17/17 Dutchess motored further East on the Canal thru lock #22 and #21. We tried to stop at the free wall in Herkimer but ran aground 20’ from the wall. By gunning the motor and using the bow thruster we were able to twist out of the muck and proceed down the canal. We arrived at lock 18 by 1645 but the operator said he closes at 1700 and would not lock us thru. We and another sailboat spent the night at the free lock wall, again without electric.
On 8/18/17 Dutchess passed thru locks #18, #17, #16, #15, #14 and tied up to free docks at a very nice park in Canajoharie. John took Skipper for a long walk in town and when he returned to the park there was a lady there with a Dalmatian. The two dogs got along famously and we let them both loose and they ran around at full speed getting some needed exercise. Sadie was not interested in cavorting with the hooligans! Juli and John had dinner at Gino’s in town. John had Lasagna and Juli had Baked Ziti with meatball. Juli had leftovers to take to the boat but John ate it all.
On 8/19/17 Dutchess went all the way to Schenectady Yacht Club passing thru locks #13, #12, #11, #10, #9, and #8. SYC is a nice club stretched along the Mohawk River which is part of the Erie Canal.
On 8/20/17 we motored down the Mohawk to Waterford and passed thru locks #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, and #2. The last 5 of these is called the flight of 5, since they are very close together and each drops about 40 feet. We arrived in Waterford at 1300 and we decided to stay at their free dock and rest for the remainder of the day. We had dinner out at McGreavies.
On 8/21/17 Monday (Eclipse Day) we proceeded down the Hudson to the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club (PYC) Dutchess’ home port. At 1038 Dutchess locked thru the Federal Lock at Troy which is also lock #1 on the Erie Canal and we were in tidal waters again. The Indians called the Hudson the river that flows both ways downstream and upstream. The current was downstream when we exited the lock but quickly changed to upstream current and as we proceeded downriver the tide changed again. Against the current we only did about 5 knots but with the current we hit 8.1 and 8.5 knots. It took us 9 hours which is good timing.
We were now completely done with locks and Juli was not sad about that. She tends to the lines when in the locks and after doing approximately 100 locks on this trip, she has become a lock expert!
We stayed at Poughkeepsie Yacht Club until September 29 doing lots of work on the boat. We first tanked 60 gallons diesel and pumped out the holding tank. Then with the help of Ernie Klopping, John made a mast cart similar to the ones we saw in Toronto at the Mimico Cruising Club. The cart makes it much easier to transport the mast from the storage barn to the travel life well. The actual transport was easy -- we loaded the mast in the barn onto the cart using the Case loader. Then we tied one end into the Case bucket on an old boat cushion and Richie backed the Case down the hill across the railroad tracks and into the PYC boat yard on the level. John rigged the mast with all the lights and spreaders. With the help of some club members we rolled the mast on the cart to the boat. The boat was brought into the travel lift well and the travel lift crane hoisted the mast vertical and the members guided it into the mast hole. John guided the mast below deck into the mast step and then we all attached the cutter stay, the stern stay and the upper shrouds. Now the mast was stable and the boat could be moved before the tide dropped and trapped Dutchess in the well. Once back in the slip John adjusted and attached all the other shrouds and the bow stay with the Schaefer Furler .
Then it was time to set the sails which Juli and John did together. The roller furled jib went on first which was enough work for one day. The main sail is a Doyle Stackpack and is a heavy assembly of the Main Sail, Sail Cover and Lazy Jacks all sewn together. We needed the help of the winches to haul it up to the boom to get the boom slugs slid in and then use the halyards to pull the mast slugs into the mast track. We had to wait for a quiet day to do this since a large sail is tough to handle, even a light breeze. Once the Main was up it was only a question of tuning the rigging and other minor lines. In order to attach the Lazy Jacks, John needed to ascend the full height of the mast – 56 ft!! Another club member helped with this process.
While at the club, we attended a pig roast, the 125th Anniversary Party, and a breakfast. We also took John’s granddaughter, Haley, and her boyfriend out to dinner and met up with John’s sons. We visited John’s sister in Unadilla, NY and his brother came to visit us at the club. Pat Smalley lent us a car for the duration of our stay making it so convenient to get around town- thank you Pat!