Leg 5 Log

From Essex to Annapolis for Repairs.

I drove down to Cutter Marine in Essex, MD (where the Cosmic C had been stored for the winter) on Saturday morning with most of the stuff for the boat. After cleaning up the boat and loading everything on board, I was on my way at 1145. The bay was a little choppy, but I had a following wind and reached the Bert Jabin Marina in just under three hours. My timing was perfect since the wind switched to the South not long after I arrived, and it would have been a very bumpy ride down had it done so earlier, especially since the trim tabs had stopped working over the winter. The Cosmic C was back in Annapolis to have a new floor installed in the cockpit by A&B Yachtsmen. We had noticed the floor becoming very spongy last year, and after much frustration and difficult communications during the winter, C Dory finally agreed the repair was covered under the 5-year hull warranty. I spent some of the afternoon talking to the owner of Sail Annapolis who was having an open house for C Dory sales at the marina. I gave him the boat keys and he promised to get them to A & B on Monday. Mary arrived shortly after seven, and we had an excellent dinner at Sam’s, a nice restaurant on the water less than a mile from the marina. We slept on board, and drove home the next day via Cutter where I picked up the other car.

The 4th Annual Chesapeake C Dory Gathering.

We arrived back at Bert Jabin’s Marina in the early afternoon of Friday, June 6 to find the Cosmic C all spruced up with a brand new cockpit floor and a new trim tab pump. After returning the rental car, paying our bills, and shopping for provisions, we were off across the Chesapeake Bay to the Lankford Bay Marina just off the Chester River to attend the 4th Annual Chesapeake Bay C Dory Gathering organized by Tom McHugh. Once again our weather luck held; the bay was calm and the ride smooth, but it sure was hot and humid, with temperatures in the mid 90’s. We and and Lone Ranger, a 21EC C-Ranger tug, were the last of 27 boats to arrive and we quickly cleaned up, prepared our contributions to the pot luck dinner, and joined the crowd. On Saturday we took the trolley into Chestertown for a few hours of strolling, shopping, and a nice lunch. In the evening, with the heat and humidity a little more bearable, we all had a superb meal (Tom’s crab balls are to die for), created (un)forgettable music as the world’s only stationary marching kazoo band, and listened with great pleasure to Tom’s extraordinary banjo playing, singing, and story-telling, often accompanied by Fred on spoons and Mikey on bass. Later in the evening Mother Nature added her applause for all the hard work done by Tom and several other helpers in putting together this event in the form of a rip-roaring thunderstorm.

Lankford Bay to New York

We pulled out of the Lankford Bay Marina a little before 9:00 a.m. on Sunday and had an easy, if hot, cruise to Sunset Lake, near Wildwood Crest, New Jersey.  Yet again our weather luck held; both the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays were calm and our ride was smooth and comfortable.  Just before entering the Cape May canal we saw a big fleet of 40 or more pleasure boats all clustered at anchor over what must have been good fishing, although we saw no fish caught as we passed by. When the jet skis finally left, Sunset Lake was a delightful anchorage, and we were, appropriately, treated to a lovely sunset. The weather was beautiful again on Monday, and we arrived at the 79th. Street Yacht Basin in New York City to find our son Severin and granddaughter Jules waving to us from the dock. At 6:30 p.m. the evening ferry rush hour is still going strong, and New York harbor was really rough.  As I was on the foredeck reaching for the final line to hold the Cosmic C’s bow away from the dock, a big wake wave swept in, the C lurched, and I found myself hanging over the side holding on with my left hand and leg, with the right half of me in the water. Severin soon had me back up on the dock, but the goose egg and swelling on the back of my left leg is still painful several weeks later. The silver lining was the fact that my iPhone was on my left side and so remained dry.

A change of clothes later I joined Mary, Severin, our daughter-in-law Ellen, and Jules at the restaurant overlooking the Yacht Basin for well-earned margaritas and dinner. Since it was still so hot and humid, Mary and I elected to accept Severin’s invitation to sleep at their apartment that night. Feeling quite happy from the margaritas, we all piled into a taxi and headed for air conditioned comfort and cool showers.

New York City to Waterford, NY

On Tuesday Ellen and Jules came aboard to cruise up the Hudson River with us for the next two days. Our first stop was to show Jules the little red lighthouse beneath the George Washington Bridge. Most people are surprised at how beautiful the Hudson River is, and Ellen was no exception as we cruised past West Point and interesting Polypel Island with its beautiful castle ruin, to stop at the Hyde Park Marina. Here we had intended to get gas and take a taxi ride for a late lunch at the nearby Culinary Institute of America, as Mary and I had done on a previous trip. On that trip we had returned to the C to be told that there was a tornado warning issued for the area, and we were later caught in a huge and frightening thunderstorm a few miles up river. What a coincidence then to be again told that there was a tornado warning, with again the chance of severe thunderstorms. This time we decided that discretion was the better part of valor, that the Cosmic C would be much too exposed if left at the fuel dock for two hours, and that we were better off heading directly up to the safety of Kingston.

So instead of a late lunch at the CIA, we had an early supper at the Ship to Shore restaurant in Kingston, and were tucked up in the C when the thunderstorms and rain finally came.

On Wednesday we cruised up to Albany, where we stopped at the town dock and had a tasty lunch at Jack’s before taking Ellen and Jules to the train station for their ride back to New York City. Mary and I cruised on up to Waterford, where we took the last remaining space at the town’s free dock. Again, it pays to be small. A tug, the 8C, had accompanied us through the Troy Lock, and we later met it’s owner, Richard Powell, who also rents reproduction English canal boats for cruising on the Erie Canal. He invited us to explore one of the two canal boats moored at Waterford. It was shorter and considerably wider than the English canal long boat (65 ft long, 7 feet wide) we had seen in Clewiston, FL, and would be a fun way for two couples or a family to experience the Erie Canal.

Waterford, NY to Pine Tree Island. The Loop Closes.

We left Waterford bright and early on Thursday and joined a trawler Karma for the day’s first west-bound opening of the Lock 2 - 6 series (there is no Lock 1) that lifts boats up to the Mohawk River. The weather was perfect; the temperature and humidity had dropped, the wind was light, and the sky blue. Karma and Cosmic C stayed together all day until we approached Lock 14 at Canajoharie, NY at about 3:15 p.m., where the lock keeper informed us that “they are moving concrete trucks across the lock so there will be some delay.” We both moored at the Canajoharie town dock and waited. An hour later the word came that the delay would continue for some time. Karma decided to stay overnight and I wanted to do likewise, but Mary was all for pushing on to Little Falls if possible. So at 7:45 p.m. we found ourselves approaching the unusual vertical gate of Lock 17 at Little Falls, inching our way in completely blinded by the setting sun until the very last minute. Shortly thereafter we were tied up at Little Falls Canal Harbor (which used to be free, but now charges $1/ft) having a margarita before dinner aboard.

The next morning we backtracked half a mile to the tiny town dock and had breakfast in Canal Place before walking into town to stretch our legs and get some groceries. Friday was another lovely day on the Erie Canal. Lake Oneida was absolutely calm (our weather luck again), and we arrived at the free dock in Brewerton ready to relax at the nearby restaurant. The last time I was moored at this dock it was very quiet and the restaurant uncrowded. But today was Friday, and the dock and restaurant were jumping while the roar of racing cars from a nearby track occasionally filled the air.

We were up early on Saturday morning, and waiting to lock through Lock 23 sharply at 7:00 a.m. together with a trimaran sailboat which had moored at the lock wall overnight and a trawler. The lock gates were open but the red light remained on. It soon became apparent that we were to wait for a tug and barge transporting a big generator to Duluth to arrive and lock through before us. The tug took three-quarters of an hour to arrive, plenty of time for us all to have locked through before it, nevertheless we were doomed to follow that slow tug all the way to Oswego.

Eventually two other trawlers, a big motor yacht, and a Rossborough joined the group following the tug. The big motor yacht Trilogy would enter the lock first and we would follow and slot in beside them, with the rest filling in behind us. The Trilogy kept station at the lock wall by using her bow and stern thrusters, and the wash from them kept us firmly against our wall too. When the lock opened we would exit first and lead the group to the next lock, when again Trilogy would enter first. We insisted on this arrangement for fear of being squashed if Trilogy (probably 70 feet to our 25) veered slightly to one side. The Trilogy captain said there would be no chance of that but accommodated us anyway.

In Oswego just before 4:00 p.m. we were about to stop for the night because of the forecasted thunderstorms with high winds and hail when we decided to look at the weather radar first. The radar showed all the storms to the south and east and moving further east, so instead we headed out onto a flat calm Lake Ontario and made the crossing in comfort. Our weather luck has really been extraordinary. At 7:22 p.m. the Cosmic C “crossed her wake” as we approached Pine Tree Island to the waves and cheers of our next island neighbors.

site map    patrickandmary@the-fowles.com    © Patrick Fowles 2013