Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sandy Hook

Tropical storm/ Hurricane Joaquin is forecast to hit North Carolina or points further north. If it looks like it is going to head towards New Jersey I plan to run back up the Hudson ahead of it on Friday. The winds start building and a Nor’easter ahead of the Hurricane is going to bring increasing winds. By Friday it maybe too much to leave.

We spend the afternoon with Dan and Dawn getting a tour of a Lighthouses. We first go to the Navesink Twin Lighthouses in Atlantic Highland. 

New York City to the North

Quite a view of Sandy Hook and New York City to the north. Then we head out to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest continually operated lighthouse in the country. It was one of 12 Colonial lighthouses built around New York harbor, now part of the National Park system. Sandy Hook was home to Fort Hancock, decommissioned in 1974. Coastal artillery defended New York Harbor from 1874 to 1919 and later home to the US Army's Sandy Hook Proving Grounds. Nike anti-aircraft missiles were stationed through the 1950's.

Dan has a very interesting connection to Sandy Hook, he lived there as a child, an army brat. His father was stationed there. The park service guide at the Lighthouse was quite interested in Dan's knowledge of the place.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


We had planned to leave Tuesday afternoon and sail overnight to Cape May, but predicted thunderstorms overnight dissuaded us from doing so. We sleep in and meet up with Dan and Dawn in the afternoon and later that evening we all have dinner on our boat.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Atlantic Highlands

We get up early to leave and find the two Canadian boats that were behind us had already left and were out of sight. About an ½ hour later we are going by the construction site of the new Tappan Zee Bridge just North of the old bridge. 

Interestingly, the bridge was built on the widest part of the Hudson River by the New York Thruway system to keep it outside the 25 mile radius of the New Port Authorities jurisdiction. We head down to NYC dodging anchored ships and trying to distinguish them from the ones that are actually moving and then out under the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge. We are clocking 9.7 mph going under the bridge, getting about a 3 mph boost from the out going current. Two hours later we arrive at Atlantic Highlands.

In front of the mooring, that our friends Dan and Dawn arranged for us to use, is a cruising boat laid over on its side caught by low tide. 

A coast guard boat, New York City police Boat and Helicopter flying over head. Our friend Dan sure knows how to put on a show! No, actually a Canadian sailor, somewhat new to sailing, anchored a little to close to shore. He has taken on some water, later realizes leaving the through hole valves open allowed water to come back up through his head sink. A Tow boat motored around offering to pull him off for $4,000 dollars. Wisely, he declines. Dan wades out from the shore to lend a hand. He lends him a hand pump and brings his anchors further out. The owner pulls the boat off as the tide rises. His wife is ashore doing laundry and unaware of what happened. Little does she know, she has a whole lot more laundry to do.

Diner with Dan, Dawn and Linda

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Haverstraw Bay

 Poughkeepsie Yacht Club

We leave PYC with just a light fog. These cool mornings require wiping the clear Dodger vinyl multiple times, both sides, to clear off the dew to see where we are going. The morning quickly warms up and by mid-morning we are in shorts and T-shirts again. We arrive at Haverstraw Bay around 3:00 PM and drop anchor where we will have a good viewing of the Lunar Eclipse tonight. A few other cruising sailboat drop anchor soon after us. Unfortunately by the time eclipse is full the moon becomes obscured by clouds.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Poughkeepsie Yacht club

We are up early on a dreary over cast morning and walk to the shopping center to pick up some items. One item is a case of Yuengling Black & Tan, which I can't get in Vermont.

 Catskill Cat

Was in the water last time we were here

We do some more boat cleaning and refill the water tanks and leave around noontime. We stop at River View Marina at the mouth of Catskill Creek for fuel on the way out , since Hop-o-Nose's fuel tank had a leak and is out of commission. 

 Happy to be on our way again

 We have a nice warm afternoon and stop at the Poughkeepsie Yacht club for the night on a guest mooring.

Friday, September 25, 2015


We sleep in since we are third in line to get our mast put up, no rush for us to get up. They quickly take care of the first two boats, to our surprise, and I move our boat in place under the crane around 10:00 AM. Linda comes back from the showers to find the boat has been moved.

By noontime our boat is back in our slip because there are other boats coming in soon to have their masts put up. It takes the rest of the afternoon to tune the rigging and put the sails back on. We are very lucky to have almost no wind.

After a long day of putting the boat back together we return to the Creekside for dinner.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Another foggy morning, but much less than the previous morning. We leave pretty much as planned. Remaining fog dissipates fairly quickly and we have another warm sunny day. We have left a week later than our trip south two years ago, but the weather has been much nicer, especially once we were in the Champlain Canal. We get close to the next Lock and I get on the radio asking Lock 3 for an opening, but I get no response. I wait a minute and call again. Then it dawns on me we are approaching Lock 2, not 3. The Lock operator is probably out of range and could not hear me, but the Lock 2 operator must of thought his radio was working especially well this morning. I apologize and properly address the correct Lock operator. Shortly after Lock 2, we arrive at Lock 1 and are finished with the Champlain Canal Locks. But there is one more Lock, the Federal Lock at Troy. Not sure why this lock is not part of the New York State Canal system. This is the most modern lock we have been through, hydraulic doors, no rack and pinion gearing systems here.

 Leaving the Federal Lock

We pass by Troy, NY which has a nearly mile long wall which was for commercial traffic back in the olden days. The town had a very long floating dock for recreational traffic, but Hurricane Irene destroyed most of it. A few remaining pieces are there for supplying fuel for boaters.

Just south of Troy a barge with 3 huge I beams with a side tow Tug boat pulls away from a dock and is heading down river in front of us. Once we get to the dock we see a large fabrication facility making these huge I-beams. Then it dawns on me. They are making these for the new Tapanzee Bridge, north of New York City. The barge had timed the departure to catch the maximum amount of tidal current in their favor.

By late afternoon we reach Catskill Creek and Hop-o-nose Marina. This is our fourth time here with Mañana for their mast services. This is the first time there are other sailboats here. Two boats ahead of us. I guess we have been lucky, previously. Tomorrow we will see how long it takes to get to us. We have dinner at the Creekside restaurant at Hop-o-Nose and the food is excellent as always.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mechanicville, NY

Planned to leave the Lock 8 wall early. Got up at 6:00 am and saw how cold and foggy it was and got back under the covers until 7:00 or so. Still too socked in to leave, so after breakfast I walked down to the lock to talk with the lock operators.

 Foggy morning on the wall

I got a tour of some of the very well maintained equipment, dating back to around 1910, all original. Kind of like a functioning museum. Most boaters never get to see the inner workings of the locks and don't realize what well maintained antiques they are. The operators work year round and do maintenance and rebuilding of equipment during the winter months. They have a workshop on-site at each lock. The fog starts to lift and I head back to the boat to get ready to leave. By the time we push off from the wall the lock is open and ready for us to enter.

Time lapse video of lock 7

Lock 7 at Fort Edward is only two miles away and just before that lock we pass the two Canadian boats still tied up to the dock. With all their speed and urgency yesterday I would have thought they would have gotten an early start.

The GE dredging is winding down and will be finished this fall after nearly seven years. When we brought Manana up from the Philadelphia area in 2009 we saw the first phase of the GE project. The good news for us now, there will be no waiting for barges which have priority in the locks.
All the PCB tainted river bottom they dredged up was shipped to Texas and new material was shipped in to refill the dredged river bottom areas. This winter all the barges will be cut up and sold for scrap metal because of the PCB material they were carrying.

We continue through the locks without any delays. Each lock is ready for us when we arrive. After the cool early morning, starting around 45 degrees, it is turning out to be a warm sunny afternoon, shorts and T-shirts.

At lock 5 our power boating Canadians from yesterday catch up to us and follow us into the lock.
They immediately pass us on the way to Lock 4 which is only 2 miles further. They do politely ask if they can pass on our starboard to which we say OK, knowing the next lock is going to wait for us to arrive. I immediately get on the radio and tell them to slow pass us as they had sped up creating a 2-3 foot wake. They back down until they get by us then they floor it again, thinking they will lock down before us. A few minutes later I call Lock 4 for a lock down on the radio. They reply it will be ready when we get there. When we arrive a few minutes later the lock is still closed and our Canadian friends are sitting there waiting for the lock to open.

We decide to stop at Mechanicville, NY for the night. They have a free wall, with power, water and a pumpout. Very nice bathrooms with showers. Much nicer than the much more frequented Waterford free docks at the junction of the Erie Canal and the Champlain Canal. We have gone by Mechanicville many times and thought we should give it a try. By evening the wall is almost full of boats, another Canadian sailboat heading for the Bahamas, a large cabin cruiser from Saint Albans, VT and a couple other boats. We have dinner at the Ugly Rooster, interesting place with a diverse menu.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

No Fort Edward for us

Got up around 6:30 AM, warmer morning, boat was dry, no dew at all. One other Canadian sail boat caught up to us about ½ hour north of the first lock off the lake at Whitehall, Lock #12. 

The Happy Hooker

After the second lock south #11, they raced to Lock #9 and locked up ahead of us. There is no Lock #10. It was in the original plans, but turned out not be needed. We had planned to stop after Lock #7 and turn north on the Hudson River to stay at the town free wall at Fort Edward. We have stayed there before. When we told the lock master at Lock 9, he informed us that the wall at Fort Edward basin was closed for the next month as part of the General Electric PCB dredging project that has been going on now for 6 seasons. We changed our plans and decided to stay on another dock just north of the Fort Edward Basin.

An hour later we pull into Lock #8 and the lock master came over to talk with us. He said we may want to consider backing out of the lock and tying up on the wall leading into Lock 8 for the night. He said the dock we were heading for would be noisy and rocky with dredging barrage traffic that runs at night. He said there are another two Canadian boats behind us, racing through the canal, that would probably be staying there for the night.  We take him up on his suggestion since we had admired the rubber bumpered wall leading into this lock. We back out of the lock. As we start to tie up to the wall, the first Canadian power boat comes speeding up to the lock with excessive speed and pushing a substantial wake in this no wake zone, Assholes ! Linda and I both keep waving for him to slow down. Finally he does, but too late for us to avoid his wake. Then the large sailboat behind him comes in fast with a pretty substantial wake. What is it with boats with “Montreal” on their sterns ? We are happy not to be sharing a dock for the evening with them. 

 Quiet evening at Lock 8

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fort Ticonderoga

We got up around 6:00 AM and were on our way by 7:00. Cold air and warm lake water made for a heavy dew on the boat and some interesting fog along the shore line. 

A little more wind than predicted, but it was out of the Northwest, so the waves were not too bad since we were heading south. An unremarkable day of motoring, rather cool. As we got further south the water became flatter once off the broad lake. 

Laid back day on the lake

We anchored off Fort Ticonderoga around 4:00 PM and had a quiet evening to ourselves.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Getting ready to Leave

We drove the boat over to Champlain Marina on Wednesday, September 16th, where we normally haul it for the winter, to take our mast down for the trip through the Champlain Canal. Right, after we tie up to the gas dock we find out that a fellow Malletts Bay Boat Club member is being towed over for a quick haul out, they have a leak. A classic well kept wooden boat had sprung a leak some where. By the time someone noticed and called the owner the cushions were floating in the cabin. A bucket brigade, quickly bailed it out so the bilge pump could keep it afloat. Well, they certainly have priority. We have a long list of other things to get done with the house and cars, we decide to leave the boat at the dock and come back the next morning.

 Almost ready to go

Thursday, the mast was quickly pulled and put into the wooden cradle on the deck. There was a line of boats ready to be hauled out for the winter as soon as we were done. I take the boat back to our mooring and left it there for a day or so, while we finished packing up at home and cleaning up the house for our house sitters, John and Rose Peters.

We were very lucky to find John and Rose. John is the brother of one of our dentists' employees, who we have known for years. John and Rose grew up in the area and most of their family live here. They both just retired from their jobs in the Washington DC area and had a house in Delaware. They sold the house and put everything in storage and want to have some time to decide if they want to purchase a home in Vermont. 

 Rose and Linda

Little did we know we were getting our own personal interior decorator. Rose, a fan of HGTV, loves to decorate and rearrange and we were happy to tell her to have fun with it. Linda and I moved to the guest room/office downstairs so we could continue to work on boat stuff without disturbing John and Rose who generally go to bed early and rise early. For the last few days Linda and I have been staying overnight on the boat and working at the house during the day. John is off with his brother for a few days, so Rose has been having fun. Each time we come back to the house Rose has rearranged furniture in a number of rooms, and we like what she has done. It is nice to have a fresh perspective, Rose has made some excellent changes. Linda told her please do not change anything back because we will probably like her way better. Coming home in June will be fun.

Friday, we move the boat to the working dock at our boat club. The working dock is a filled, bulkhead, pier that we can drive cars onto. The club boat lift is there for the dry boat sailors, J24's, Lightnings, etc. There is room along the side for one boat this time of year, so we don't interfere with the boat lift. We pull the boat in a far as possible so it is just barely off the bottom. Now we can back up the van and quickly load stuff into the boat, a big time saver.

Friday night we finally get together for dinner with our good friends Steve and Joanne Payea. They are long time boat club members who moved to Florida a few years ago, but summer back in Vermont. They brought their boat back to Vermont a few years ago from Florida. We will see them again in Florida in December. We had a very good time visiting with them a number of times when we were last down there with the boat.

Saturday was our day to finish cleaning up our boat stuff and getting the cars put up for the next ten months. John and Rose have been itching to play ping-pong, but that table hasn't been cleared off with the net up for a couple years. It is now. Our cruising friends, John and Genie come by around 7:00 PM to pick us up and return us to the boat after a stop at Bayview Eats for coffee and dessert.
We had hoped to leave Sunday morning, but the wind was averaging over 20 knots and gusting to 30 on the main lake. Too rough to be motoring with a mast precariously suspended over our deck. So we spend the morning storing away gear. I pull our mooring pickup buoy. Finally by mid-afternoon the wind abates and we decide to take off. I guess we are living up to the “Manana” name. Two years ago we left at noon-time, this year we try to leave around 2:00 PM. We waited a little too long. A J-24 regatta at the club had just finished and people were starting to use the boat lift. We try to leave between J-24's.

I put the boat in reverse. SOB! We have not even started our trip and we are aground. The high winds from the north last night had pushed the boat forward towards shallower depths. Full reverse no movement. We take one of the dock lines and try to winch the boat back. No movement! Next we take the fuel cans off the rail and start pumping out water from our forward tank. Finally the boat slowly pulls free. We quickly leave between J-24's.

Once we get out to the outer Malletts Bay the wind and waves pick back up a little and the mast is bouncing around a little too much for my comfort. We head northwest to Robinson Point. That is one of our favorite bays with good protection from the north wind. We drop anchor for the evening.
Hmm, we have motored for a grand total of a little over one hour on our “first” day. At this rate I don't think we will get to the Champlain Canal before they close down for the winter. Tomorrow we will have to pick up the pace a little.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

"It's like déjà vu all over again." - Yogi Berra

Linda said sometime later after our first trip to the Bahamas, "that was fun let's do it again".
Maybe too much wine one evening, but I jumped on it and signed her up for another tour, before she could back out.

We plan on leaving around September 15 or shortly there after.  Will be spending much less time in the Chesapeake this time and plan on getting south faster, before much cold weather catches up to us. Plan to explore more of North Carolina.

Now, I have to figure out how this blog stuff works again, so this is mainly a test post.

We do have our new boat card, the easy part.  Linda and I on the beach in Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas.