Day 5 – 33 Locks through the Canals!

August 25th 2008, 33 Locks through the Canals before we reached the Hudson River.

We left the dock this morning just after 7AM, and headed down the Erie canal towards Waterford NY. We got off to a very good start and arrived at Amsterdam NY by about 11AM. We tied up at the town docks, and strolled into town looking for breakfast. Yes, we found it, Ed enjoyed 3 eggs over easy, sausages, and home fries with a side of two enormous pancakes (once again, too much for one meal but we enjoy eating the leftovers on the boat) A short stroll around town and we were back on the boat headed to our next destination.

 

Smacked the bow in the lock.

Smacked the bow in the lock.

At lock 9 we ran into a major problem. This lock is between a range of mountains. We now know that the wind seems to funnel through this area. The lockmasters gave us no warnings. We were not too worried about wind since we were in a river. The wind was actually not blowing that strong as we entered the lock, but just as we were trying to tie up, the wind suddenly gusted up to 20 knots. Roxane was at the bow and I could not get to the stern line quickly enough from the helm, so the stern was blown away from the side of the lock. The boat slowly found its way sideways in the lock. The lock door was closed, but the lock master began to panic and decided to re-open the lock door, this only allowed more wind on the starboard side of the boat. Roxane’s was quick thinking and brave as she jumped off the bow, with line in hand, and pulled the bow in. The stern swung around, just missing the other side of the lock, by 3 feet. The boat is 39 feet long, and the lock is about 42 feet wide. Now we were facing the wrong way in the lock, and resting on only 2 fenders that I had placed on the port side. Unfortunately, the boat suffered some cosmetic damage to the bow. We left the lock reversing out when some tourist asked us, why we entered the lock backwards, I just answered this is the way professionals do it for an added sense of adventure.

 

 

Thomas tending the lines in the locks.

Thomas tending the lines in the locks.

Just before this incident, I sent Thomas up to the bow, with a VHF radio, just for fun. He would watch out for logs, and markers and report to us on the radio as we would listen to him in the cockpit. During the whole situation above, Thomas was providing a running commentary about the whole situation over the VHF radio just adding to the stress level. He thought it was very amusing and did not seem to understand our concern.

 

Pudge in charge of the bow lines.

Pudge in charge of the bow lines.

 

 

Today we covered about a dozen locks. During one stretch we dropped 5 locks within 1 mile (about 150 feet), this is the largest lock drop in the world. We arrived in a great little town called Waterford NY, just before the Hudson River.  The town of Waterford has a beautiful waterfront and has a nice set-up for boaters. They provide free docking for transients, along with free pump-out, water, electricity, Wi-Fi, showers and bathroom facilities. We walked through the town, and found an amazing gourmet restaurant, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner. We especially needed to relax after such an adventure, a trip that makes the LO300 look like a walk in the park.

 

 

Passing through a swing bridge.

Passing through a swing bridge.

In total we’ve traveled through 33 locks to get to the Hudson River. Amazingly, we navigated from PCYC in Toronto to the Hudson River just north of New York City, without refilling our water or gas tank, we didn’t pump-out, and we did not connect to shore-power for 6 days.  During this trip through the Erie Canal, we experienced beautiful changes in scenery from rolling farmland to mountains and cute little towns with church steeples and bells that chime on the hour. We feel like we have been through half of Europe with town names like Amsterdam, Rome, Verona and Frankfurt.

 

A typical Dam at a lock.

A typical Dam at a lock.

s/v Black Diamond

I have been boating for over 25 years, at the age of 43, this is more than half of my life time. Starting out with a number of smaller power boats, then switching to sail about 8 years ago. I have sailed various boats from wind surfers, dinghies (lasers), keel boats from 26 to 45 foot yachts. I live in the area of Toronto Canada and sail mostly on Lake Ontario. I have been racing yachts for the past 7 years. I have also entered many long distance races such as the Fort Lauderdale to Charleston, completed in 2 days 8 hours, we received 4th place in division, 8 minutes in PHRF behind a 3rd place trophy. Then 4 times finishing the Susan Hood, a 75 mile over night race, 4 times entered in the Lake Ontario 300 the worlds longest fresh water race, a 308 knotical mile race around the perimeter of Lake Ontario. My crew and I on Black Diamond finished in 2 days 12 hours in 2009. In 2009, delivering the boat back up to Canada from the Bahamas we entered in a couple of interesting races, one from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston described as a sled ride up the gulf stream, the Charleston race week regatta series and the New Year's Day Staniel Cay Regatta in the Exumas, Bahamas. This race we came in 2nd over entire fleet, only lost by 3 minutes in a 2 hour race to a 47 footer. This was a boat for boat race, no PHRF scoring. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So cast off the bowline, Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain Blue water experience include yacht deliveries from the Abacos, Bahamas to Charleston South Carolina 2006. This delivery was a non-stop, 3 and half days, total of 500 miles. We crossed parts of the Bermuda Triangle, and during most of the delivery were over 200 miles offshore. The delivery of Black Diamond a 40 foot Jeanneau racer/cruiser has been delivered to New York City and then offshore to Florida and the Bahamas from Toronto, Canada. This delivery from NYC to Florida was completed 100 miles offshore, for a distance of over a 1000 miles non-stop to Jacksonville, Florida. Completed in what might be a cruisers record of 5 days 3 hours non-stop offshore. This fall my family and I added another 500 miles of sailing throughout much of the Bahamas. Spending 6 weeks aboard Black Diamond sailing the Abacos, Nassau and the Exumas. I then sailed the boat back to New York, completely offshore, entered a few races along the way, and back to Toronto through the Hudson River and Erie Canal. During the 2009 season, we sailed Black Diamond off the dock 148 different days out of 365, winning the Vacant Dock award the second year in a row. Most recently, 2011, completed the delivery of friends boat Tracey & Nilson Ruiz, from Tortoal, BVI to New York. Tortola to Georgetown Bahamas in 5 days non-stop. Last leg from Charleston to New York over the momorial day long week-end non-stop Friday to Monday in 4 days. All completed safe and sound without incedent. Need any deliveries let me know. I am also an Open Water Certified diver and an active member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, certifications included Power/Sail boat handling, Seamanship Sail, Piloting/charting, GPS Navigation, Extended Offshore Cruising and a VHF Radio operation license. I hope to further my education, qualifications and experience in long distance cruising and racing. One of my goals is to obtain a commercial Captains License. Feel free to contact me at er@radonicrodgers.com

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3 Responses

  1. November 16, 2008

    […] The boat shifted side ways when the current got a hold of the keel, and she kept moving forward and under the bridge — side ways. At this point you might want to call me sideways Eddie. We drifted under the bridge side ways, only a few feet of clearance on each side of the bridge. Reminiscent of the lock we went through side ways and back wards in the Erie Canal.  If you want to read about that experience, click on this link. […]

  2. August 31, 2013

    […] Day 5 – 33 Locks through the Canals! […]

  3. February 19, 2014

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