13 Troy, NY to New York City


The last 5 locks on the Erie Canal dropped the canal and us down a steep hillside. As we entered the broad Hudson River we were flanked by high hills. The contrast, coming so fast was startling. The Erie was narrow. Except for the dug portions, we were usually looking at hills off in the distance. There was some current, but it was moderate. The Hudson is broad, the hill are high and hug the shore pushing roads, train tracks and towns to the river edge. There is a significant current.

We stopped in Troy to regroup for river cruising, get the ordered anchor light, and celebrate completing the Erie Canal. We had been traveling for the last 3 days with Samum a Canadian boat with Tom and Marilyn aboard. They were Scotts who had immigrated to Canada. We had a great time with them. We celebrated the canal by going to lunch at a brewpub with a deck overlooking the river. Food was great. Tom and I tried the beer sampler consisting of a very small glass of each of the 10 different beers they brewed. Made for a great afternoon. Next day Samum moved on while we waited for our promised anchor light. It didn’t come so we reordered from West Marine with guaranteed next day arrival at our next stop.

We headed down the Hudson with some concern about the mast still horizontal above the deck. There were huge tugs pushing and pulling enormous barges. They had significant wakes and again we worried about losing the mast if we rolled too much. At one point we pulled out of the channel as a tug and barge overtook us so we could take wake head on and minimize the rolling.

We pulled into Hop-O-Nose Marina at Catskill to get our mast stepped. The anchor light had arrived and after a few problems I got it installed on the end of the mast. The two men running the stepping crane got two masts stepped during the time it took me to install the light. They were efficient. In contrast to Wardell’s, there is no adventure or story about stepping the mast. For me the interesting point was guiding the 55-foot mast through the deck opening with 1/8 inch of clearance and down onto the fitting on the keel. To do the fine alignment, the crane operator moved the boat instead of the crane. Once stepped we moved to a finger pier and spent the next 4 hours tightening the rigging and putting on the sails. We were both delighted to be a sailboat again. As darkness approached, we tested the new light and were delighted to find that the different design lit up the wind direction indicator, something the previous light did not do.

The next morning as we headed south toward Kingston we encountered 25 mph winds over the deck. Couldn’t sail, but we were glad that we no longer had to worry about the mast falling off the deck.

As we pulled into the Kingston town dock, we at first thought Mike the dockmaster was a grouch. Didn’t seem friendly at all as we asked about rates and checked out a possible alternative to save some money. However, as we went to sign up, he commented he’d monitored our radio call to Woodstock who was traveling with us. He commented that it was nice that I was bringing in additional business and weren’t we mistaken about our length. He figured that we couldn’t possibly be 36 feet. We caught on and quickly agreed we were a 32 footer. Woodstock got a similar discount, which we both immediately spent by touring the local marine museum.

Just before West Point the Hudson narrows and the hills mount up into small mountains. Rocky terrain becomes spectacular. New York has preserved the area as state parks so only a road and the railroad along the shore invade the natural beauty. As the trains (they are frequent) rolled through, we couldn’t help feeling like we were in a model train layout.

Crossed paths with Highlander a huge yacht. On its aft deck was a helicopter. The name Forbes was on the side of the helicopter. Guess Steve Forbes knows how to enjoy himself when he’s not running for president.

We stopped at Haverstraw and got our first experience anchoring with tides and tidal current. As we anchored we were careful to make sure we had enough depth at low tide and that we knew where we were in the tide cycle. The current was the unanticipated surprise. We had anchored on a rising tide. The current was flowing upstream while the wind was blowing from the north trying to push the boat downstream. The combination caused the boat to move south to the end of the rode due to the wind. The current however swung the stern around to the north so we spent part of the evening with the anchor line running from bow to stern under the boat. When the tide began to ebb, we swung around and swung from the anchor in a normal fashion with the anchor line out in front of the boat. We enjoyed being at anchor again. Got the dink out and cleaned the canal dirt off the sides of the boat.

Took the trolley car bus on a tour of Tarrytown. Got off and toured Washington Irving’s estate Sunnyside. It sits along the Hudson. As opposed the great mansions that are also along the Hudson, Sunnyside while big, has a cozy whimsical feel. We liked it very much.

The George Washington Bridge changes our boat insurance from Great Lakes, to ocean. Even though we are still in the Hudson River, the feeling is more like the ocean. It was a thrill going under and having Manhattan Island off to our left. We tied up at a marina on the New Jersey side of the river. Our bow points directly at the Empire State Building. A ferryboat ride takes us over to Manhattan. Got a kick out of being a boat person in New York.

Went to Ellis Island and spent hours exploring the immigrant processing center. The restoration and exhibits were wonderful. It was amazing to see what had been set up to process 5,000 people a day arriving to settle our country.

Ocean winds are presently 30 knots from the east; not good for going around New Jersey. We are waiting for westerly winds and then we’ll head out. In the mean time we explore NY, swap notes with other boaters and have a grand time-most of the time.

The wind has started to clock around to the south. Doing so, the ocean swells are now rolling up the Hudson River. The marina walls shield the boats from the swells, but the surge in the marina is one of the worst we’ve encountered. Heavy duty jerky rock and roll. I’ve been up with a number of other boaters checking lines and figuring out why tonight was rough and last night wasn’t. The swells coupled with the incoming tide have made for a very uncomfortable night.


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