1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: November 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A funny thing happened on the way out of NYC...

....I just know you're going to have a tough time believing this, but I actually got to SAIL MY BOAT. No kidding. I mean, for once, the wind, stars, sun, Zodiac signs, tide, I mean everything, lined up and I actually got to SAIL MY BOAT. 
Ok, since this is such an uncommon occurrence (don't believe me, just look back through these posts for the last time I actually talked about SAILING THE BOAT), I'm going to tell you how it came about.
I left Nyack for Liberty Landing Marina on Friday, in Jersey City, right across from New York and about a mile up from the Statue of Liberty. The winds were pretty wild, so I settled down there for the weekend, meeting some neat people - John, on an Island Packet and up from Florida (what's with that?); Zack, a budding journalist and sailor; Brian, a new liveaboard; Michelle, the dockmaster; Ron the GM; and several other of the local liveaboards as well. It was a pleasant weekend.
Leaving on Monday morning, the predicted winds were 10 - 15 NW, gusting 20 - that usually means 15 - 20, gusting insanely, but I thought I'd take a chance anyway. And the forecasters were right for once...so these were perfect conditions for the 38 mile sail. I raised the genoa as I approached the Verranzano Bridge, turned off the engine and was soon scooting along at over six knots, actually breaking 8 knots for a while approaching Sandy Hook. Had a great run into Manasquan, while passing by the areas that Hurricane Sandy had gone through. 
That was just amazing - entire rows of vacation townhouses on the beach lifted up by the winds and shifted back maybe 30°, entire buildings reduced to a pile of wood and stone. And the beaches - you didn't notice it at first, but then I realized it was low tide and there was almost no sand....and what there was would be covered by water at high tide.
Now if you've not seen the NJ beaches, you wouldn't understand - the beaches were a major feature of the NJ coastline - wide stretches of sand and they're gone. Amazing the power of that storm.
So...anchored out in Manasquan, where a lot of boarded up windows and trash in the streets and yards attested to Sandy's visit. Left the next morning, yesterday, with winds expected to go from the east to northeast...and they did, and built to about 15 - 20, gusting 25, sloppy seas, rainy and cold. It was a great sail, probably averaged about six knots to do 50+ miles, but I was sooooo cold when I got in - it was hours before I warmed up.
Now, to make it up the Delaware River from Cape May (my next stop), I need south winds, which aren't arriving until Saturday. I'm taking the opportunity to tie up to a dock here and catch up with some writing, and also avoid the high winds that are still out there, not to mention the cold.
 The red line here denotes the run from Jersey City to Manasquan, a distance of 38 nautical miles.
On the chart to the right, the first red line denotes the run from Manasquan to Atlantic City, where I am now, about 52 miles. The blue line is the run to Cape May, about 32 miles, which I'll do Friday.
Saturday morning, the winds are supposed to be 5 - 10 knots S, so I'll follow the red line up the Delaware River. Also, the tide starts to flood early in the morning, so I'll have the tide behind me, which is the only way to get up the Delaware.
From the C&D Canal, which is at the left top end of the red line, I'll tie up at Chesapeake City, and the following day (Annapolis readers, you've been warned!), I'll be in my favourite city...
Best part is, the temperatures are going up starting Saturday, in the mid to high 50s and remaining there well into next week. YES!
And from the looks of the forecasts, I'll be able to SAIL MY BOAT some more. 
Life is good....oh, and in case I don't get a chance to hit the internet between now and Saturday, Happy Birthday to a certain Barrie native, who shall remain nameless....but you know you're thought about!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Yeehaw Junction - the video! (almost)

Oh my folks, have I got a treat for you today....a video of some people in Virginia I met last year who could rival the folks from Yahoo Junction I blogged about last summer, here: Yeehaw Junction.
First, have to mention my new friends Lin and Diane, in Nyack - I was working away on the boat when someone shouted out from the dock - "What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Want to come for dinner?"
Well, how long does it take a sailor to say yes to that? Rowed ashore and joined Lin and his wife Diane for a great American Thanksgiving dinner in their home, a converted barn - really nicely done too! Aduana enjoyed the visit as they had a dog, Gretyl, and a fenced in yard. Life is good.
Also - this blog is now regularly receiving over 100 visitors a day - that's a bit of a milestone, I'm quite pleased....of course, that puts the pressure on me to keep the interest up, doesn't it? By the way, if you're lurking here, slipping in from Facebook or TheSailingChannel or some other referring site, how about signing up and let's see if we can get the registered membership over 100? We're halfway there now. These posts are spam free and I promise you I won't sell your email address (for less than $50 anyway!)....seriously, you're email address is not shown, so you're safe signing up. Live dangerously - go for it!
The following video of a drunk discussing four viagra pills is from the Urbanna Oyster Festival a year ago. This group could give the folks at Yeehaw Junction a run for their money....and that's saying something. And one thing I should say -- it gets a tiny bit vulgar towards the end (and of course, that's the funniest part), it's nothing that a hardy sailor can't handle, but if you're more of a proper type, you might want to skip this.
And of course, if you like it, remember what your mother said - it's good to share! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Whale catches Boat Anchor

Hello everyone - I'm currently in Nyack NY for Thanksgiving - had a great evening last night with new friends Ron and Alex, who will be joining we cruisers out here in about another year. Seems they have this 'job' thing to finish up first!
We had a fabulous prime rib dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant - it ranks right up there with the t-bone I had with Paul in Windsor a while back. 
Ron was worried about what comments I might make today, especially about a 'cute' comment Alex made....but we'll let Alex off the hook on this one since she's such a sweetie! Mind you, a blushing sweetie as she reads this...
Gorgeous day today, sunny and in the mid 50s - not quite suntanning weather, but nice. I may head for Manasquan tomorrow, since Saturday is not looking good for travel. Go figure, I'm about to head out on the Atlantic and this perfectly lovely weather disappears. What's with that? This entire trip, all the way from the Great Lakes, has been a trial.
Found a fascinating video from one of my forums today - a whale caught the anchor line of a powerboat, and the video and blog make for a fascinating tale. Here's the video below


...and here's a link to the blog itself, which finishes off the story: http://tinyurl.com/cxpfm9a

Monday, November 19, 2012


Interesting day on the blog - highest one day readership ever, with 108 people in a 24 hour period - not quite sure where everyone came from, the blog stats aren't telling me much there - but welcome aboard, and I hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again.
Just so you know, I post from one to three times per week, and your email address is safe here - no spam, so if you want to sign up and get notified about the latest post, you won't be inundated with viagra and cialis ads, or get rich quick schemes, or discover your best friend is in jail in Belgium and needs bail money - and yes, that last one was tried on me when a close friend's email was hacked. 

I was just checking the weather to see what's in store for the next few days. Seems I'm just north of a weather 'line'. Where I am, it's 33° at the moment, but 25 miles to my south, it's 38° and about 100 miles to the south, in New York City, it's 45°. Tomorrow, the high will be 49° here, but into the 50s further south. 
Best of all though, is that winds are light - I'm on the river and won't be able to sail anyway - and the sun is shining, so it's actually rather pleasant.
Here's the NYC forecast through the weekend - 

...it's not too bad, is it, and if it holds, it will make my trip along the New Jersey coast much easier. In fact, with any luck, I should be through to Delaware Bay and done with the New Jersey coast by the weekend, with two days to Annapolis. Of course, no telling what I'll find in the NJ stops after Sandy's visit - I expect I'll be the first cruiser to be anchoring in many of these areas, and likely the first to even enter some of these inlets since the storm. You'll be able to read all about it in the upcoming SAIL Magazine article...
In fact, in looking more closely at the weather, it seems the only challenge I'll face will be going up the Delaware River, with the winds possibly putting me close hauled. That's not fun there, plus I'll have to head out about 4 am to make use of the tide...the Delaware is a real tough slog if you are running against the tide. Been there, done that, not doing it again, but even so, it looks like a long day coming up.

Tomorrow, the mast goes back up, and Gypsy Wind turns into a sailboat again. After over two weeks listening to the constant chugging of the diesel, it will be nice to hear only the silence of the wind - and maybe the iPod and stereo...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Catching up....

Finally, a day when I'm not traveling and can take the time to tidy and clean. When you're pulling ten to twelve hour days on a boat trying to outrun the snow and cold, things get out of place, cleaning doesn't get done as regularly as it should. And it doesn't make it any easier when you're on the canal and you have to carry your sails inside the boat - there's just that much less room.
Tonight, the boat is again clean and tidy - it really is and I'm hoping it will last, although I know someone who is shaking her head and wondering about this. Perhaps I should include video? After all the effort, the lock keeper let those of us at the dock know that he would open his building for - be still my trembling heart - hot showers!
Oh yea! The only way that shower could have been better is if an attractive woman had been involved....you know, the cleanliness is next to Godliness thing? What, you thought I had something other than good clean fun in mind? Perish the thought......oh, do I see a hand raised there? Step this way, bring a towel....and don't drop the soap!
Yesterday, I mentioned the guy who was rowing his sailboat down the canal? Ben and I (and Blue and Aduana too) had dinner here on Gypsy Wind tonight and I got more of the story - rather than tell it here, check out this newspaper story - it's quite the adventure. Here's a photo of Ben and Blue...

photo © WayneCountyLife.com
Ben and Blue on Junkyard Dog, a 21 foot Westerly - photo © WayneCountyLife.com
Tomorrow, it's laundry, groceries, some boat work, and then Sunday, head for the Catskills and the Hop o Nose Marina (yep, that's its real name), to get the mast stepped (put back up for you landlubbers). From there, it's down the Hudson towards New York and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. 
And I'll tell you now, if there is even the slightest breeze while I'm on my way through there, you can start looking for me in New Mexico, driving an RV, yessir!

..and you think I'm crazy? Well....

...how about this guy? He's actually rowed his 21 foot sailboat the entire Erie Canal - that's 338 miles. He started his trip from Detroit, sailed across Lake Erie - and he sailed it, since he doesn't have a motor. I'll be chatting with him tomorrow morning over coffee to get the details, but in the meantime, I thought you'd enjoy this photo. Oh, yes, he had an English Bull Terrier - about a 60 pound dog - on board this small boat with him, the boat's name is Junkyard Dog.....ought to be an interesting coffee tomorrow.
Yep....those are oars......

As for myself, I'm in Waterford NY at the bottom end of the Erie Canal. Had dinner with my friend John, who lives not far from here, then he was good enough to take me around for some shopping. He's a cruiser himself, just taking a few years off to raise kids - well, actually, I think he's raising money to raise the kids and put them through college, I"m sure you know what I mean.
I just made arrangements today to have the mast stepped in the Catskills, and then it's south to New York and the New Jersey coast, where I'll see firsthand the damage done by Hurricane Sandy. According to the boating industry, some 65,000 boats were damaged to the tune of $650 million. Like I said earlier, ought to be some good deals out there for someone wanting a boat for cheap and with the skills to do the repairs.
My big concern on the NJ coast will be anchoring in the Manasquan and Barnegat areas - who knows what's on the bottom now. I could find myself putting my anchor through the roof of someone's house! Then of course, since all of the marinas have suffered some damage - and some were completely destroyed, I'll have to worry about fuel and water supplies. It's going to be a challenge to say the least.
More later....I'm off to dreamland. Have a great day everyone, don't work too hard on those spreadsheets and so on...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where's Wally?

Ok everyone, relax! I'm back. I was not kidnapped and ravished by some gorgeous impish creature in Fairport - not this time anyway, that happened last trip! Really! Well, ok, I wasn't kidnapped either, but anyway...
I've been without internet the last three days - this late in the season, a lot of marinas are shut down and that means...no service. So I've had to make do with entertaining Aduana (the Wonder Puppy®) and reading books.
The weather has been great yesterday and today, but tomorrow it's all over again, back down to mid 40s, rather than the high 60s, low 70s of the past two days. Made for a wonderful trip across Lake Oneida though.
Among the things that make you go hmmmm....there are three recreational boats moving on the Canal at the moment: myself, Steve from Port Dover in his 52 foot steel sailboat, and a power boat. One lone 35 foot powerboat. And guess who roared by me today, throwing a big wake and knocking me all over in the narrow canal?
Ok, that was an easy question, wasn't it? Now, all you sailors, try this question on for size - what do these idiots use for brains? We'll assume, for the purposes of the question, that powerboaters actually have brains and that they actually do use them, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. I hope I'm not sounding too bitter here, lol...
I was hoping to exit the canal tomorrow evening, but I'm about 12 miles - two hours travel - too far away to do that, even if I run from dawn to dusk tomorrow. What I chose to do instead was cut today short, stopping here at Little Falls to do some necessary shopping (out of wine again, how DOES that happen?), and I'll do two short days tomorrow and Wednesday to get to Fairport, again with a nice stop tomorrow at Scotia.
While here, I looked around town to replace my inverter, which quit on me. No one in this small town sells them, but I got talking to a local schoolteacher, Chris, who has a hankering to go cruising in a few years. We got talking and he offered to drive me the 12 miles back to Herkimer, where there is a Walmart. Problem solved.
An easy day tomorrow, provided the weather co-operates. About 35 miles, then the same the next day and I'm at the Hudson River, once again the last man out of the Erie Canal.....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fairport, once more...

Well - it appears someone hacked the website and left that political comment on Election Night. Let's face it, we all know I could never have been that far off, right? Huh? Pardon me? We don't know that? Oh, well then....that may explain the sound of laughter I've been hearing...
...although in my defense, I will say that the NY Dow Jones was down over 300 points yesterday, rather a pointed statement by the markets on what they think of the election. Had there been a Romney victory, my prediction of a 200 point rise...er, I mean, that hacker's prediction....would have been born out.

So, I'm in once again in Fairport NY again, having last been here on July 10 for a memorable day with a friend who drove down to join me and who I am certain is smiling at the memory while reading this, instead of spreadsheets at work. Aren't you? 
Fairport is one of the gems of the Erie Canal, with a lovely downtown and several excellent restaurants. There are a couple of unique stores here, including a used tool shop. The shop sells all sorts of used and donated tools, including electric jig saws and drills, levels, hammers - you name it. 
They also get a number of antique tools, which are quickly scooped up by collectors. The proceeds from the sale of donated tools go towards a local seniors' charity. Talk about a neat idea to raise funds. And the women haven't been forgotten either - around the corner is a shop that sells donated craft supplies and fabrics. When I dropped by there, it was quite busy...but they didn't have any sunbrella for a project I'm considering on Gypsy Wind. They did have a really nice fabric for interior cushions, but not enough to do GW....ah well, I'll be back in the spring. Again, profits from this store go to the local seniors' center.

The weather is starting to warm up, and the sun is shining, so it's not too too bad out here. It doesn't hurt that the wind is not all that strong either, and is from either the north or west, while I'm heading east. Tomorrow is supposed to pick up to 50°, and the high 60s on the weekend, when I'll be crossing Lake Oneida - that's good news. Here's the trip for the past couple of days...

The Erie Canal follows the Lake Ontario Coastline as you can see. There are over 30 locks and a dozen lift bridges to navigate.

And here's a fun story from Hurricane Sandy - a Brooklyn bar built on a dock broke free and floated about a mile downwind, landing in a residential neighbourhood in Gerritsen Beach. Interestingly enough, the bar was apparently stocked with liquor - although the owner denies this, claiming it was emptied out after closing at the end of the season...why do I suspect someone is trying to avoid a liquor license problem here?
Anyhow - the bar's new neighbours joined in the 'spirit' of the event, and threw a party in their new 'neighbourhood' bar, now eponymously renamed 'Sandy's Bar'. We're talking a full bar setup btw, including tables and chairs still intact.
The bar's owner was reported to be quite pleased that his pub had been used as it was intended to be - although not at all impressed when the police arrived and not only shut the party down, but destroyed the pub in order to clear the road. You can read the story here.

Most unique search term used on google to find this blog.....according to the blog stats - it's 'sailing nude  in Tahiti'.... folks, I do NOT make this stuff up. The world is clearly weird enough without my helping it along.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Political Prognostications....

Ok, I know that no one is going to read this tonight, but come tomorrow, you'll be asking yourself (I hope) just how he did it!
The vote will be a win for Romney - not a huge margin, but a clear victory in both the popular vote and in the electoral college. However, the Democrats will pull a 2000, and launch a series of lawsuits and so forth attempting to claim problems with the vote due to Hurricane Sandy and whatever other reasons they can come up with - largely voter disenfranchisation I'm guessing.
That's my bet on the vote - and as for percentages in the electoral college - 53 - 47. 
Lastly, the Republicans will take both the House and the Senate. 
And, as long as I'm prognosticating, a Romney win will see a significant rise in the stock market. I'm talking in excess of 200 points.
You read it here fist.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I was NOT whining! Really!

I realize that last post sounded tremendously like whining...it was not. As a conscientious reporter, I was simply "telling it like it was". That's what we do, and I would not want to delude anyone into believing that it's all palm trees, rum, lobster and beautiful babes in bikinis out here.....as much as I might wish.....
Some people, we will name no names - even sent me incredibly cruel videos such as the one below, to taunt me with the way it's supposed to be.

 Now I ask you - what kind of a person does something like that, lol? The answer? Probably someone like me, since as soon as I get far enough south, I intend to post stuff JUST LIKE THAT!
Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend, and the extra hour of sleep.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Whew! Made it at last.

A significant milestone - I'm now docked in Buffalo, NY. I've (at last) gotten off the Great Lakes, after what has been probably the most brutal, trying trip through them I have ever had. I was thinking about it earlier.
First, the run north through Georgian Bay - the winds, which were supposed to be SE went to the W and NW, making it fairly difficult to get out and almost impossible to sail, since the run up is to the NW.
Then - two weeks stuck in Tobermory with 30 knot winds out of the south and up to 12 foot seas on Lake Huron. Grabbed the one clear day and snuck down to Goderich, barely getting in there before the weather kicked up again - and spent three, or was it four days there with high winds again on the lake. Getting out of there, I motored to Sarnia - again getting in at the end of a long day and just as the winds were starting to pick up again - out of the south.
Stuck two days in Sarnias - and then on to Windsor, where I spent several days visiting with Paul Ouellette and his wife. Leaving Windsor - no winds from there to Colchester, so headed into Kingsville. From there to Erieau, finally got to sail for about 90 minutes before the winds died off totally.Stopped in  Erieau for fuel, supper and a nap and then on to Port Stanley, supposed to be no winds. I expected to get in about midnight, the nap knocked that back to 4:30 am. Then one of those nasty Lake Erie storms kicked in, got in at 7:15 with my mainsail torn to shreds. Lucky for me I was planning on getting a new mainsail anyway!
From Port Stanley, off to Port Dover - no winds, but the bilge pump quits on me, had to hand bail the bilge halfway through the night.
Port Dover to Port Colborne - perfect winds for sailing - but the mast is now on the deck, ready for the canal. Port Colborne to Buffalo - and I find out the federal lock is closed for the weekend, so I'm losing a day and a half here. Plus, all the marinas are closed, and I have to get fuel somehow. And there are no gas stations anywhere near here.
Can you believe all of this? Other than the great people I met all along the way - Tobermory, Goderich, Sarnia, Windsor, Port Dover - the trip has been one hassle after another. And I have yet to face the destruction that Hurricane Sandy has wrought on the lower Hudson River and the New Jersey coast. Apparently, one NJ marina was entirely blown away by the storm...
It's enough to make me want to buy an RV and go to New Mexico, or Nevada, states without any large bodies of water.
Quick, someone remind me about how much fun I'm having!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

On the Road Again....

Friday morning I'm away from Port Dover and some great new friends and on my way to Port Colborne, my last Canadian stop until I return for the Toronto Boat Show in January....book your seats now!
The weather following Sandy is cold, and I'm told by cruisers as far south as New Jersey that it's cold there as well. I'm praying for an Indian summer, or at least some sunshine as I move south.
Hurricane Sandy has caused havoc on the Jersey coast and also on the Hudson River, which means I'll face some challenges for that entire distance. Not the least will be getting fuel, and water also - there are fuel shortages and lineups on land and the marina situation will not be better, oh no. 
The problem for me will be that most marinas on this stretch will be out of commission. A secondary issue is that, since most fuel tanks are under the ground, and the ground has been flooded at most marinas - is the fuel any good - presuming the marina is able to even pump it. Fortunately, I have two jerry jugs carrying ten gallons. With a full tank from as close to New York as I can get, or in Barnegat or Manasquan if possible, I should make Cape May. Of course, I can always hope there is wind enough to sail (sigh)...
btw, for anyone interested, a 50 foot boat has gone missing - entirely gone - on the Hudson River.....