Erie Canal

Erie Canal

Last Monday afternoon we departed Toronto and sailed overnight to Oswego to start the Erie Canal.  The sail was mostly a good one as the winds were from the south and then shifted to the south west so we mostly were reaching across the lake heading directly for our destination with the exception of about 2 hours where the winds were not as forecast and came from the south east and we had to beat into the wind.  22 hours later we had arrived in Oswego.  We cleared through customs and once tied up at the dock we lowered the sails and took the boom off in preparation for lowering the mast.  Wednesday morning I worked on building supports to hold the mast on deck and then Wednesday afternoon the wind started to howl.  45 knot winds with some stronger gusts.  We ended up with 7 docklines to hold Altera against the wind and swell that was pushing into the marina.  I was really glad we had bought a few extra docklines just before we set out.

First thing Thursday  morning, the staff at the marina suggested we move over to the mast crane right away as the winds were forecast to build again later in the morning.  By mid morning the mast was down and by noon it was fully tied down and secured.  Not quite what I had envisioned when I dreamed of having my own 45′ LOA boat.


Here we are beginning the canal.  The first few locks were a struggle as the winds had built and we were going up so we could have used an extra crew person to help control the boat in the locks, but we managed to get through unscathed.


The fall colours made for some nice scenery along the way.






This one has a bit more waterline than us so he was travelling quite a bit faster when he passed us on Lake Oneida.



We have determined that we have travelled over 800 nm so far and we are only 120 nm further south than when we started…  Clearly not far enough as toques, mitts and long underwear were a must. The smile must be frozen on her face.


Check out this cute little tug:


I love this moustache:




This section was really odd.  For over half a mile it looked like the canal was going downhill.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.



The biggest lock on the Erie canal is #17.


Magnus supervising to make sure his crew are manning the lines properly.


Prepare to get dripped on, the only lock with a lift gate to let you out.



Better not mess with this pipeline boring tool.


When we found a place to tie up with a field, there wasn’t a shutter speed fast enough capture this dog.


Here is our budget tie up for the night, and probably Magnus’ favourite.


Eventually he calmed down after a lot of fetch.




A new bridge in the making:





Presumably the trees were lost and some serious erosion a few years ago during Hurricane Irene.


This locking through is hard work and deserves a comfortable place to rest…


We finally managed to time the end of the day with a nice quaint little town that I had told Chrissy existed along the canal.  Too bad it was Sunday nightand the local diner was closed.  I had been looking forward to a nice $8 entree.




Really beautiful setting, and the fall colours looked extraordinary.



We finally made it…  29 Locks later we are tied up in Waterford at the intersection of the Hudson River.  Better yet, we are not alone.  After taking this photo another sailboat tied up with us.  They had just transited the Champlain canal from Quebec.  They too have a 34′ boat and headed to the BVI’s!  After having gone 5 days without seeing another sailboat we thought perhaps we really were crazy.


Today we venture to the final lock in Troy on the Hudson River.  Once we pass it we are into tidal waters and the river will get progressively saltier.  Best get ready, we have to set off shortly if we want to the time the tidal currents so that they are with us rather than against us.



This article has 6 comments

  1. So you’re well on your way! Outstanding photographs. Keep the posts coming, they’re a great read!


  2. Looks like you three are making good time. I’m sure you know by now, but the Hudson is really beautiful.
    Say hi to the Statue of Liberty for me!
    Good luck in your travels,

  3. Awesome pics guys … really cool to see how the locks work.

    Looks like you’re having a great journey!

  4. Lorraine and Dennis
    Tuesday 14 October 2014, 4:32 pm

    Jeff and Chrissy we were on the strip in vegas last night and thought it was a bit chilly but I can see by the coats hats and mitts we have nothing to complain about. The pictures are beautiful and we enjoy reading your blogs and hearing from you. Lorraine and Dennis 

  5. Hi guys I am so enjoying my trip. Grandad visits the live Marinesite every morning while he’s having his coffee and every night when he goes to bed. last we noted you had reached Peekskill.
    What a wonderful adventure.
    Love Nan

  6. i must say i’m jealous     that was no wachs tool lol     but great pics and awesome adventure thus far!