Saturday, September 29, 2018

New Jersey coast, Cape May, September 29-30

Since it takes about 20 hours to get to Cape May we plan to leave around noontime so we arrive and couple hours after sunrise. After we have breakfast we head into town to go to the “Flaky Tart” and get some bake goods for the overnight trip. 
Two old flaky farts at the Flaky Tart

We move a little faster than I expected and we are underway by 11:00 AM. Still a little cool with the light north wind but after we round Sandy Hook it will warm up with the wind on our behind. Not enough wind to sail. Even though this was the warmest overnight passage south on the New Jersey for us, we were rather cool by sunrise. Had a number of Facebook conversations and emails with other boats we have previously met, in person and virtually while we are all heading south. Linda and I both get a couple hours sleep. Listen to a bunch of podcasts. Had a few conversations over the VHS radio. Boats nearby heading south could see our AIS position and called to verify where we were going. As usual we seemed to of spent half the night looking at the lights of Atlantic City, which are visible from 25 miles away.

As we get close to AC the wind picks up out of the West and with a fair amount of moon light we put out the head sail. Still motor-sailing I throttle back on the engine so we don’t get to Cape May too early. We arrive about ½ hour before sunrise. A couple other boats coming south converge on the Cape May entrance about the same time. Later we find out one of the boats is “Gypsy Spirit” our Catalina 36 sister ship we met at Hop-o-Nose, Dave and Leslie Holck. They had waited for good weather in Sheepshead Bay, Long Island, at Sheephead Bay Marina. As we enter the entrance there is a parade of sailboats coming out because their masts are too tall to go under the Cape May Canal bridges. This leaves a lot more space to anchor.

We drop the anchor, have breakfast and go to bed for a couple hours. Later in the afternoon we head in to the Lobster House for a late lunch/early dinner. First we stop by “Encore” , Chris & Mary, who we also met at Hop-o-Nose to chat. We have been emailing back and forth the previous night. They sailed more than we did and did not arrive until early afternoon. They have four people on their boat so no one is too sleep deprived.

Head back to our boat and get it ready for an early departure the next morning.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Atlantic Highlands Day 2

We got up at 8:30 rather tired. The boat rocked and rolled all night. Still rainy and windy in the morning. A rather miserable day. Our next opportunity to sail overnight down the New Jersey coast will be Saturday. We get some work done and listen to the Kavanaugh hearing. By early afternoon the front passes and the shifts and drops, getting quite calm. 

Late afternoon we put the dinghy down a go for a walk in town. Met a couple from Oriental, NC who were on the return leg of their trip to Maine for the summer to avoid the North Carolina heat. They did have to make a quick trip home to deal with Florence. They had to elevate their home on the water a few years ago after being flooded in a previous hurricane, and came through with minimal damage this time. Pick up a couple food items for our overnight trip.

Calm, finally

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Atlantic Highlands

Long day down the lower Hudson. Winds blowing up to 20 knots out of the north. The wind is dead astern and with the following waves we don’t bother putting out the head sail. Current is against us until we get to lower Manhattan. I guess we have done this to many times, I forget to take a picture of the Statue of Liberty. Linda says she took one.

I added a AIS Transceiver, which allows us to track and see other boats that have AIS which broadcast over VHF speed, position, etc. All commercial boats have AIS. With a Transceiver we broadcast our information and other sailors can call us on the VHF radio by name. This is helpful on the Chesapeake when wandering in to a Navy Target range. The Range monitor tracks AIS and calls you directly, much better than “Hey sailboat going south, you are in a target area.”

I switch to a Web based AIS web site to see if our signal is being picked up. Most harbors receive AIS signals and make them available on the internet. Sometimes the delay can be 10 to 30 minutes. I finally get confirmation we are broadcasting. 

Manana in New York Harbor, heading south

Leaving New York Harbor
We anchor behind the breakwater at Atlantic Highlands, but since is it late and the weather is worsening, we don't go ashore.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Shattemuc Yacht Club

We get up early and decide not to head down to Atlantic Highlands. There are possible thunderstorms in the forecast and our weather window is not until Friday. We head a mile north to Haverstraw Marina to fuel up and pump out. We then head south to the east shore of the Hudson for Shattamuc Yacht Club. Very nice facility, the outer docks for guest boats are floating cement docks which act as a floating breakwater for the rest of the conventional floating docks. After lunch I spend a couple hours washing the boat, it was getting pretty grubby. Linda is busy cleaning the insides.  We have a nice dinner on the water at the “Westerly”.

View from the  "Westerly"

Dock to ourselves

Night time view south of the new Tappan Zee Bridge

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Haverstraw Basin

We wake up to a rainy morning, but decide to head down the Hudson to Haverstraw Bay to make a forecast weather window to sail the New Jersey coast. 

It winds up raining all day, missing some great views on the southern Hudson. 

Storm King Mtn to the Right

With the additional cockpit vinyl and canvas that I added this summer the cockpit stays fairly dry. 

Dry under the vinyl

Tow BoatUS was busy they send Sea Tow
We get to Haverstraw Basin where we last hid out from Hurricane Joaquin a few years ago. The entrance has a shallow spot on the north side which is easy to avoid if you pay attention and don’t get complacent. Neither which I did. I followed a track, I loaded from Bob Sherer, a very experienced ICW cruiser, unfortunately I did not follow it all the way in and ran the boat aground about two hours before low tide. We are on mud and clay. We call Tow BoatUS, but by the time they show up I wave them off and decide to wait for a rising tide. 


We relax and have dinner and watch some TV and around 9:00 pm we float off and properly anchor. 

Captain  Dumb-ass having a relaxing evening, except the peas keep rolling of the dinner plate.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Poughkeepsie Yacht Club

We get up early and walk a mile to Walmart with our folding cart to pick up grocery's. We get back to our boat and fill the water tanks, take showers and pay our bill and leave around noontime. 

Leaving Hop-o-Nose

We plan to fuel up and pumpout at Riverside marina further down the Catskill Creek. They are also very busy and have a boat with a mast down hogging the fuel dock, so we keep going and will get fuel in a day or so. We pick up a mooring at PYC around 5:00 PM. We call the club, but no one is around. Linda gets birthday phone calls from our kids and our sailing friends (Mark & Karen and Bill & Sandy) in New Bern, NC. Mark & Karen, who had over two feet of water on their first floor, are having dinner at Bill & Sandy’s whose house is high and dry.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Hop-o-Nose, Sails

Creekside restaurant

Catskill Creek
Who says you can't get away from each other on 36 foot sailboat, Linda way down there, on my safety line.

We wake up to no wind and finish tuning the rigging and get the sails out of the boat and up where they belong. The boat is much more roomy now. When I test our wind direction and wind speed I find it is not working. I take the binoculars and look up to the top of the mast and see the wind gauge is askew. We must of bumped it putting the mast up or on a lock wall. I have to make a trip up the mast to check it out. I am afraid we may have to purchase a replacement. Once up the mast I find the plug was not fully seated, I might not have fully screwed it back in last month when I had taken the gauge down for cleaning. After properly connecting the gauge it is working fine.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hop-o-Nose, Mast Up

Mast going up

Finally we get a dry day, still windy. Sean’s crew shows up and we move the boat in place and raise the mast in the afternoon. Now for the real work finishing and tuning the rigging. We move the boat back to our original slip for power and to finish working on putting the boat back together. Still too windy to put up the sails.

Again we head to dinner at Creekside, split a seafood dinner and ice cream Sunday pie desert.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Hop-o-Nose, Visitors

Nate, Ron, Ginny, Linda

We wake up to a rainy and windy day, not a day for putting up the mast. Linda is very happy to see the bathrooms have greatly improved in their cleanliness. My college roommate Ron, his wife Ginny and visiting son, Nate (an engineer who lives in Prague, Czech Republic) drive over from Connecticut to have lunch with us at Creekside. On the return on our first trip to the Bahamas, we picked Ron up at New York City and he did the trip up the Hudson to Whitehall with us. So he is familiar with “Hop-o-Nose” Creekside restaurant. After lunch, they give us a quick trip to the Supermarket to pick up some Yuengling Black & Tan, one of my favor beers not available in Vermont.

After they leave I get a late afternoon nap and Linda watches TV. We then go for a walk and return to dinner at of course Creekside, splitting a Quesadilla and desert. After dinner we go over to Dave & Leslie’s boat, with their traveling friends Chris & Mary on a Niagara “Encore” and discuss some pertinent information on traveling south on the ICW, new to first-timers. I later email them pointers to information that we have found valuable.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Hop-o-Nose, Catskill Creek

We leave the wall at 8:30 am. We are through Locks 1 and 2 on the Champlain Canal in the next two hours and then the final Federal Lock down to the Hudson.

South of Albany, we come up to the assembly yard on the west shore for the New Tappenzee Bridge down stream. This small tug boat shoots out in front of us towing 300 feet of plastic pipe. We have to slow down not knowing where the pipe will swing. We eventually pass him a couple miles down stream. The wind out of the north builds during the day and the river is a little rougher than I care for with a mast on the deck. It was a relief to turn up the calm Catskill Creek. There is a couple sailboats under the mast crane so we tie up on an empty dock across the creek. Many boats that come down the Erie Canal ship their masts ahead to “Hop-o-Nose”. Raising these masts is rather difficult. They have to lower the mast from a travel lift on to a section of floating dock which is then moved under the crane to lift the mast up. Then the sailboat is moved under the crane for installation. Much quicker to lift the mast directly from the sailboat.

"Second Wind" our sister ship third from the left.

Once the workers replace the dock finger they “borrowed” to float the mast, we move over and tied up to that finger dock. We met some fellow transients, Dave & Laura from Minnesota on a Catalina 36, “Second Wind” same year as ours. We quickly tour each other's boats to see the different enhancements we have each made. Laura even has a potted tomato plant on one of the stern rail seats. Being an avid gardener this was a compromise to giving up her garden this summer.

We then head to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, “Creekside” at the Marina. The Marina owner, Sean, is the cook and it always has a good crowd. We split the Chicken Marsala, excellent.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Train overhead

Lock next to Power Dam above Mechanicsville, NY

Another warm sunny day on the Canal. We are the only boat in any of the locks again, today. We get to the Town Free wall at Mechanicsville by 3:45. We use their free pump out and then move down the wall and tie up for the evening. Connect to power and again turn on the AC.

High School Girls Crew

For Dinner, we walk to a local hotspot, “Bubbles” on Yelp. We split another dinner and still leave with left overs. On the way back to the boat we swing by another “Stewarts” for some more of their coconut ice cream. We get back to our boat and recovering from my ice cream stupor, I realize I left my backpack at “Stewarts”, with my iPad, so I quickly walk back, while Linda calls to make sure they have it. Using “Find My Phone” app on my iPhone I am happy to see that my iPad is at “Stewarts” and not doing 60 mph down the highway.

Truck Nuts

Boat Nuts ?
I put old socks over our turn buckles so they don’t bang on the deck and to capture any parts that come loose. Sean the owner of Hop-o-Nose remembers me as the "Sock guy", apparently I am the only one who does this.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fort Edward

After a rainy night we wake up to a drizzly morning. If it rains most of the day we will stay another day at Whitehall. We head to Breakfast at "Historic Grounds" a fairly new breakfast/Lunch eatery, that is highly recommended by a number of people. It did not disappoint. A very good breakfast and a cool old building.

Historic Grounds

After breakfast the weather starts to clear and we decide to head south to Fort Edward and their Free Wall with power, water and showers. We have stayed here a few times before, some times the showers work and other times they don't. Otherwise a very nice place to stay. When we arrive the only other boat there is a trawler that we shared the wall with at Whitehall. The couple on the trawler are from Philadelphia and have spent the summer in Canada and are now returning to Philly. 

The Lock at Fort Edward is the last lock on the dug northern half of the Champlain Canal. Once we lock down we are on the Hudson River. This section of the Champlain Canal has a series of power dams and locks. There is current and some scary looking dams that we motor close to, not a place you want your engine to fail.

New commerical gravel business on the canal

There is a new gravel barge delivery operation at the northern section of the canal. They deliver somewhere on the Hudson either Albany or a cement plant further south on the Hudson. We pass a few empty barges coming north to reload. Nice to see some commercial use of the canal.

The initial canal in 1820 was hand dug the entire length from Waterford, NY to Whitehall, NY.  Sections of the old canal still exist and the original locks are still in existence at Waterford.  The doors have been removed and the multiple old locks form a series of waterfalls. The old lock and canal was only the width of the canal boats of the day. The canal was progressively widened until 1910 or so when the Hudson was dammed and the upper section was widened further. 

The towns along the canal were wealthy centers of commerce in their day, now only a shadow of their former selves.

Fort Edwards is the smallest town on the Canal with a free dock. We usually like to go out to dinner to pay back the free dockage. Not a lot of choices here. We have eaten at the “Ye Old Fort Diner” before a very homey establishment, nothing too fancy. We decide to try the fancier “The Anvil” and split a diner since their portions are on the large size. We stop at Stewarts on the way back and get one of their monthly specials, Coconut ice cream which is their version of Almond Joy ice cream, very good.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Whitehall, NY

Sunrise over the Green Mountains

Crown Point Bridge

Monday morning we start south for Whitehall as the wind picks back up. It would have been too windy to come down the main Lake with the mast over the deck today. The Lake south of Westport gets narrower becoming more like a river for the last 20 miles or so. Early in the afternoon I spy a fuzzy snake swimming from the New York side to the Vermont side. As we get closer I realize it is a squirrel, essentially swimming across “Lake Champlain”. 
Squirrel swimming to Vermont

Years ago I gave our friend Genie a hard time when she said they saw a squirrel swimming across the Champlain Canal, so I immediately email her on what we saw. She writes back “Hmm didn’t you make some wise guy comment when we told you we saw a swimming squirrel”, Yeah that would be me.

An hour later we see another squirrel swimming from the Vermont side to New York. I guess it was getting too crowded in Vermont.

Squirrel swimming to New York

I was expecting to see this next  !

Approaching the lock at Whitehall, first lock up
The up locks are more turbulent and Lock 12 is the worst

Around 3:30 we reach the first lock at Whitehall. We lock-up and tie up to the Free Wall at Whitehall, power and water. We immediately power up and turn on the AC after another warm afternoon. We decide on dinner at Busty’s a new rustic BBQ place a short walk away. Linda and I split a very good rib diner and still can not finish it all. We head back to the boat and close up for rain later at night from the northern remnants of Florence. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Finally, we are leaving


Well, once again we leave the dock at Malletts Bay Boat club of the “Crack of Noon”. Still lots of last minute things to finish up before we can leave. We are like students writing a paper, but we get to move the deadline, so we can finish beyond the last minute.

We had hoped to leave a few days earlier since we have had a long period of little wind on the Lake, very unusual for this time of year. It needs to be fairly calm to travel with the mast suspended over the deck. Fortunately, Sunday is one more very calm day, which is going to be the last according to the forecast. The downside is, being a nice warm Sunday there are a lot of power boats out and many feel the need to wake us as much as possible.

I can't believe you talked me into doing this trip again !
We drop anchor at Westport, NY for the night. Being a warm night, we jump in for a swim after dark.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


We were lucky to get Sam and Aubrey Titus to house sit while we are gone until June. Sam's Aunt Rose and Uncle John were our house-sitters during our last trip. Sam's Mom and John's sister is Brenda, who is the office manager at our dentist office.  Last year Linda again mentioned we were looking for house sitters next year and Brenda said her son and soon to be wife would be moving to the Burlington area next year. Sam and Aubrey moved in last week while we were slowly packing for the boat and cleaning our boat stuff spread all over the house.

Aubrey started teaching in Bristol, nearly an hour commute south. Last week we took Sam and Aubrey to a neighborhood party and Aubrey discovered 3 other teachers on our street that teach in Bristol. So now they all commute together, each driving every fourth week.

Sam, Aubrey and Sam's Parents

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mast Down, Load the boat

Our mast came down on Tuesday. We were in a rush because the Marina lift was closed for the following two days for dredging. Then with the impending damage along the ICW coming from Florence we started having second thoughts about leaving.

With Lake Champlain very low at the end of this summer we could not bring our boat along side the working dock at our Boat club where we could park our Van next to the boat to load up. This has saved us a lot of time in the past. So we became dock hogs on the club floating docks for a week while we wheeled our stuff down to our boat. At least it was down hill to the dock.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Bahamas, here we ago again.

We are getting ready for another trip down the east coast to the Bahamas for the winter. Had a lot of upgrades and maintenance projects on our sailboat this summer, which kept us from doing much sailing. I installed a new transmission from a different vendor than the original. Being a little larger it required moving the engine. That and a number of other maintenance projects on the engine took a number of weeks.

I also upgraded our fixed prop to an AutoProp, a unique prop that varies the blade pitch based on the load for maximum efficiency. We can maintain the same cruising speed at 400 RPM less than our fixed prop. Under sail the blades feather and we will gain ¾ of a knot in speed. We will supposedly get a 15% increase in fuel efficiency. Based on the cost of the AutoProp we should break even in about 100 years. The first prop they sent us was defective and they had to supply us another one. Unfortunately these props are made to order, so it took another month to manufacture a new one and send it from England, so our boat was not whole until early August, which made for a short sailing summer for us.

This was to be our new “Boat Card” from our favorite beach in the Bahamas, unfortunately the printed cards were way to dark to be useful. So for now, we will be using left over cards from the previous trip.