1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: September 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Free Sailboat, in Good Condition

This is a nice looking boat as you can see from the picture. It's a 20' Marieholm sailboat! The owner states that the boat is in very good condition and handles well - especially in rough weather. You must pick it up in Glen Cove, NY, and can contact the owner at vcdwb-4050422633@sale.craigslist.org

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bahama Blues - an island video

This video was sent to me by my good friends Chuck Baier and Susan Landry, who are the creators of The Great Book of Anchorages, which I've mentioned before. They just spent a considerable amount of time in the Bahamas, and have created this beautiful video of their favourite island beaches....so put on your flip flops, grab a cold one, sit back, and start wishing you were there....better yet, start planning on going, and I'll see you there this winter!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Temporary Opening of Erie Canal Weekend after Next

LiveBlogger Al McGillivray (Airtime) advises us of the following:

Erie Canal Update - 

Mariners are advised that repairs to the movable dam at Lock E-13 continue, and that the Erie Canal between Lock E-12 and E-14 remains closed to navigation.
This portion of the Erie Canal will re-open for a limited period of time at reduced depth to allow impacted traffic to clear this area. 
This limited re-opening is expected to commence at 7:00 AM on Friday, October 4, 2013, and last through 8:00 PM on Sunday, October 6, 2013, taking advantage of a limited window in the repair schedule. Mariners are advised that the navigation pool will be greatly reduced during this period, with depth over the sill at the lower end of Lock E-14 limited to 7 feet and depth in the channel between Lock E-13 and Lock E-14 limited to 8 feet, generally.
Locks E-13 and E-12 will operate from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily during this period.
This section of the Erie Canal will close again for final repairs on Sunday, October 6, 2013, with final repairs to open the Canal projected to take as long as several weeks. Mariners needing to transit this area during the month of October are urged to take full advantage of this limited re-opening. 
Additional updates will be provided in subsequent Notices.
For updates and information, please call 1-800-4CANAL4 or visit www.canals.ny.gov

If you or anyone you know is affected by this situation, please be sure to pass this information on to them.

Stunning Killer Whale video

I've had dolphins surf in my boat's bow waves, but what you're going to see here is simply amazing - a pod of killer whales surfing behind a power boat. Hang in to the end, there's some really great footage there.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another FREE Sailboat and Erie Canal Update

Free Columbia 22 sailboat (East Norwalk, CT)

© craigslist - Map data © OpenStreetMap
First Street
This is a seaworthy boat, with a fairly new main sail. The boat needs a good cleaning, but is sound. The main is in excellent shape and I have a jib and a Genoa. I just don't have time to sail it or to take care of it. It's on a mooring behind the East Norwalk Boating and Yacht Club. There is a 9-horse outboard available, in very good condition, for $400.

Erie Canal Update

Most of you have by now read Al McGillivray's update on the Erie Canal situation, posted here:
Erie Canal Update
As of this point, the most recent NY State Canals update states that the canal will be closed for from two to three weeks, and is dated September 18. You can monitor the status at  
"For updates and information monitor 1-800-4CANAL4 and www.canals.ny.gov."

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I know my friend Doc Hogan is - he's out today doing a shakedown cruise on Simoon, the boat he and his wife are taking south, leaving in a couple of weeks from Urbanna, VA.
For those heading south, check out the link at the top of the page for Southbound Escapees - Mark Doyle (On the Water Chartguides) has been posting some excellent charts with depth annotations on problem areas of the ICW. In my opinion, Mark has the best data available out there now for cruisers heading south. I now recommend his material at all my seminars. Check him out, at On the Water Chartguides

Friday, September 20, 2013

Erie Canal Update, from Al McGillivray

Heading towards Buffalo
Special thanks to LiveBlogger Al McGillivray, who is making his way to the Erie Canal and thence south to paradise. As readers know, the Canal is shut for from two to three weeks for repairs at lock E-13. Al has provided us with an update of the situation, and how to deal with it in a 'cruiserly' fashion! 

Black Rock Lock
Hello all, I called the New York State Canal phone line this morning and talked to Jeff in Navigation with respect to the Lock 13 shutdown. I am more positive about continuing through the canal system after our discussion. Jeff indicated that the Governor has set a high priority in completing the repairs ASAP as there is commercial traffic that must move. He says the crews are working diligently on completing the repairs in a safe and timely manner. While Jeff works for the Canal System, he is also a boater who spends most of his vacation time exploring various parts of the waterway. He offered some ideas for slowing down as well as getting off the beaten path and enjoying some areas of the system we may not have seen otherwise. Most boaters on a transit schedule make 30 to 40 miles per day stopping only once. A slower pace will allow us to stop at some of those neat spots that one makes mental notes about stopping the next time through but never manage to. One of these areas off the transit path is the Seneca Falls / Cayuga area - wine country. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is one of the largest appellations in the eastern USA. The Trail boasts a diverse variety of wines from classic vinifera to hardy native grapes, premium hybrids and even mead. Over 30 wineries dot the shores of Lake Seneca.

At the southern end of Lake Seneca is Watkins Glen. From Wikipedia; Located on the southern tip of Seneca Lake, one of western New York's deep, glacial Finger Lakes, Watkins Glen is the site of scenic Watkins Glen State Park, but is probably best known for its role in auto racing, It is the home of a street course used in road racing, a famous racetrack, Watkins Glen International, and a historic race, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix. The racetrack was also the scene of the 1973 Summer Jam at Watkins Glen rock festival attended by an estimated 600,000 people. With all this to see, I'm beginning to feel rushed already. Wally may have to send in the troops to drag me out before the weather on the New Jersey coast turns too nasty.

(ed. note - I'm not too worried about Al - I know he wants to get to the Annapolis Boat Show and spend some more money...besides, the Canal Authority will throw him out come November!)

Blue Crabs on Video

My friend Joe Hunter from Annapolis got the clever idea of putting his GoPro in the water along with a chicken neck and got this amazing footage of a Blue Crab feeding. It almost looks staged, the crab just gets into the perfect position, looking right at the camera.
I'll have to remember to ask him if the star of this video ended up in the pot at the end of all this... If you'd like to see even more fascinating underwater video, check out the world famous Lobster Cam, which is here This cam shows a lobster trap, live, in Halifax Harbour.

For those of you coming in from the Soundings article, welcome, and be sure to check out the rest of the blog - we have some fascinating videos, some good information on transiting the ICW - and much more to come too - and some fun stuff. There's also some newer links to free boats, so if you don't have a boat, or know someone looking for a free boat - perhaps you'll find what you want here.
If you'd like to see more of this, you can sign up with Google, or via email - both links are on the right hand side of the page.
Enjoy your time here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Help wanted on the Erie Canal?

Hello LiveBloggers - I received an email today from a woman who would be interested in crewing on a boat heading down the Erie Canal and Hudson River, as part of a Masters thesis. Here is her message, which she asked me to pass on to readers:

Hi, my name is Autumn - a graduate student from the University of Pennsylvania. I am conducting research along the Hudson River/Erie Canal and was wondering if I could hitch a ride with someone who is going through the lock system next week (Any time September 21-30). Looking to hop on around Schenectady and be dropped off anywhere near new york city - i.e the charthouse in weehawken. I plan on fully documenting the route for ecological resources. --also I heard a portion of the canal is down? I am willing to hop on anywhere if you are pursuing an alternate route... I can document the lock system from land and the hudson by river course.

Both my methods and dates are flexible given the ad hoc agenda. I am particularly looking to “hitch a ride” with any vessels that are also taking this same route. I have sailing/marine experience and can help navigate and work as an extra set of hands of deck. I can also pay for gas,food,beer etc. This is primarily for research and will use this information at a university level that will extend into a larger pedagogy. I plan on working with a team of scientists and engineers in tandem to this research. please contact me at autumnv@design.upenn.edu

If you're able to help Autumn, or know of someone who can, please email her at the address shown, or contact me directly and I'll get your contact information to her.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Alternate route via the Champlain Canal and St. Lawrence River

LiveBlogger Al McGillivray reports that the Erie Canal is closed at Lock E13 for two to three weeks for repair. This means that no vessels will be able to reach the Hudson River during this period via the Canal.
The alternate route is the Champlain Canal. This involves heading to Sorel Québec, which is 39 miles east of Montreal, where they can unstep their masts. Mast should only be restepped once south of the federal lock at Albany. 
The Richelieu/Chambly route runs north and south between the northern end of Lake Champlain at Rouses Point, NY and the St. Lawrence River at Sorel, Canada. Sorel is located approximately 39 NM downstream from Montreal, 200 NM downstream from Tibbetts Point near Cape Vincent at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, or 240 NM from Oswego, NY.
From Sorel, Canada on the St. Lawrence River to the U.S. Border at the northern end of Lake Champlain, the overall distance is approximately 68 NM. This is made up of 10.06 NM of the Chambly Canal, 0.25 NM of the St. Ours Canal, and 57.69 NM of river section.
A further 60 miles brings boaters to the federal lock at Albany, NY. 
Controlling height on this route is 17 feet, in the Champlain Canal portion.
Canadian Hydrographic Service charts CHS #1350 and CHS #1351 cover the entire route from the northern end of Lake Champlain north to the St. Lawrence River. The Chambly/St. Ours Canal Lock Chamber Waypoint’s in .PDF file format are available as a  zipped file of 12 KB, at http://www.offshoreblue.com/cruising/richelieu.php
Further information on the Champlain Canal portion can be found here: http://www.nycanals.com/Champlain_Canal
There are several potential routes to bypass this problem area. Boaters in Lake Erie can transit the Welland Canal (you will need three people on board for this) into Lake Ontario, then proceed east to Sorel. Or, they can enter the Erie Canal, exit at Oswego and run down to Sorel from there, sailboats with masts down (not recommended). Alternatively, and depending on their current location, boaters can enter the canal and proceed at a suitable pace to bring them to Lock E13 in time for its reopening. From E13 to Waterford is approximately 46 miles, or two days for most vessels.
I hesitate to advise on what to do, but mariners heading south must understand that the weather isn’t getting any better, and the New Jersey coast can be challenging in bad weather. Delay at this time may place you into a pattern of bad weather. 
That being said, it is possible to do the Jersey coast in short hops from New York, the longest jump being 38 nm. The harbours are Manasquan, Barnegat, Atlantic City and Cape May. Even for slower sailboats, this distance can be covered in 8 - 10 hours, during daylight hours.
Bear in mind, if the weather deteriorates while you are outside, the first two harbours, Manasquan and Barnegat, may be impassable due to standing waves and rough conditions in these narrow inlets, and Atlantic City (Absecon Inlet) can be difficult to impassable. Check weather carefully before you head out.

If you wish further advice or information, or have updates on the situation, use the contact form on this page at the bottom right hand corner.

Relax - we're still on course.

tugboat on the Erie Canal
Hello LiveBloggers - I imagine all you long time viewers here are wondering - is Wally going to change the blog to the 'Free Boats Blog'? The short answer to that is 'no', but let me explain a few things.
Ultimately, I'd like to make some money from this blog, so I can honour my vow to never ever again hold a snow shovel in my hands! (That means being out of Canada for the winter in case you're not getting it). As most of you know, I'm a writer for SAIL and Waterway Guides, as well as other publications. Writing for free is not how I want to spend my free time.
One way to monetize the blog is to bump the blog hits up, way up, thus making the site attractive to advertisers. That's the reason I'm always asking you to share LiveBloggin' with your friends, other sailors and boaters - the more who read, the more who join, the easier it is to sell advertising. First however, I have to get those numbers up there.
The recent Free Boats posts have been 'ginormous' in terms of hits. The first free boat post quintupled the number of hits from the highest ever day - from 300 to over 1500 hits in 24 hours. FYI - that many hits in 24 hours puts you in the top leagues for blogging. Clearly, the Free Boats feature is not going away soon, but it's not going to take over this blog, that I promise you. We'll still have features and stories on the ICW, which was and is the original purpose of this blog. So don't despair when you see the occasional Free Boat post - they aren't taking over.
I'm also looking at another new feature, one that will bring you and other LiveBloggers some much better prices on boating stuff. That's in the works and hopefully, will come to pass - more on that later.
So be watching for new features over the next few months, but don't worry about LiveBloggin' becoming a new creature - that's not in the cards.

Now for some boating news - LiveBlogger Al McGillivray reports that the Erie Canal is shut at E13, and will be closed from two to three weeks while a broken dam support is repaired. Or was that a damn broken support, I'm not quite sure on that.
He's currently in Lake Erie heading that way and is trying to determine what his plan will be. He's at Fairport Harbor, to the east of Cleveland, so he's got a couple of days before reaching the Canal.
One route would be to take the Canal to Oswego and then jump out to Lake Ontario and run down to the Champlain end of the canal. You could also do that via the Welland Canal. I'll be looking up information for Al and Susan, and also Debbie and Glen, who are in Lake Ontario and facing the same problem when they reach the canal. I'll post this information shortly after this post appears.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Here it is - FREE 23 foot sailboat

Free to a good home: 23 ft. fiberglass sailboat (long keel), Swedish design from the early '70s. The Karlskrona-Viggen is a smaller version of the 27 ft. Albin Vega. Designed by Per Brohall, she is a sturdy, capable pocket-cruiser. This is a project boat and she needs a handy person who is capable of handling an extensive refit. She is not storm damaged  and her exterior is structurally sound, but she has been sitting neglected for 3-4  years. Her sails and rigging are included (she has a wood mast). The boat is currently stored out of the water in a boatyard on the Hudson River. The mast is up and she is rigged.
For those of you not familiar with this design, this tough little boat is easily capable of cruising the Great Lakes, US east coast and on into the Bahamas. In fact, with her shoal keel, she'd be superb for the Bahamas.

Pictures of a sistership on the Hudson River may be seen at  http://hudsonriverexplorer.blogspot.com/2011/07/karlskrona-viggen-nr83-ii.html - more information can be found at http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=3221
Here is a blog with photos of what this boat can be made to look like - this guy has done a great job on his boat - 
http://grass-hopper.blogspot.com/2007/07/karlskrona-viggen-nr-36.html Check out the pictures and you can see just how little it would take to make this boat that pretty.

This boat does not have a trailer or outboard motor.  The boatyard can unstep the mast and put the boat on a trailer for you or launch the boat. There are several people nearby who handle sailboat transport for very reasonable prices.
Note - this is not quite accurate as it's a newer version of the boat. The keel on this plan is smaller than on the boat shown.

As you can see, this boat is in pretty fair shape. It could be sailed away from what I understand, with very little work. I found what I thought to be further information on her on Cruisers Forum, but couldn't verify they were the same boat so I've not posted that information here. The conclusion was that she would be an easy restoration.
Please email or call Mary, below, for more information or to schedule an appointment to see the boat.

Free:  KARLSKRONA-VIGGEN 23 sailboat
LOA: 23 ft., draft 3.5 ft., beam approx. 7.25 ft., displacement approx. 3,000 lbs.
email: svlevity@hotmail.com (Mary Broderick/Steve Perry)
phone: (914) 315-9320
Location: Verplanck, New York (on the Hudson River)

FREE 23 foot sailboat in good condition!

Ahoy LiveBloggers and transients coming alongside...and all of you folks walking the dock, looking for your dream sailboat. I'm just awaiting the details on a 23 foot Swedish built sailboat, it needs some interior work but there is no damage and the sails and rigging are included.
I will be posting more photos and details on this boat sometime between now and Monday evening. If you haven't yet signed up for automatic notification of new posts (spam free, I promise), you can do so via Google or using your email address at the right of this post.

Friday, September 13, 2013

MORE Free Boats....

Now isn't this a sweet looking boat? It could be yours, free!
WOW! In the last 24 hours, this blog has received over 1500 hits, five times that of any other single day...and all because of the Free Boats post yesterday. There have even been inquiries from as far away as Seattle from people seeking a free boat. Clearly, there's interest in this (d'oh, what was I thinking? Of course there's interest...)
I'm now looking for some more free boats, both sail and power, which I hope to have listed for your perusal by the end of the weekend. These will be a bit more realistic than the beautiful, but impractical (for most people) 1905 Lawley that we first featured.
In other words, you can expect the next boats to be boats that you could consider for yourself, such as a Catalina 22, or a funky but working power cruiser that could make a good liveaboard - that's her in the photo above.
As this feature grows, I'll be adding more boats to it, plus some other special benefits from advertisers. Stay tuned - even if you don't get a boat, you will be able to save money on some of these special offers on the boat you now own.
One final point - if you're truly interested in getting one of these free boats, consider signing up with LiveBloggin' - we are entirely spam free - so that you are notified just as soon as we post these boats. With so many people looking, you don't want to miss the boat of YOUR dreams, do you? You can sign up in the bar to the right, either with Google, or via email.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Free Boats...

Ok, you're all set to pack your ditty bag and sail south, but you need a boat...an inexpensive boat, since you're not rich. There's lots of them around, and some are for free! Today, we launch the start of a new LiveBloggin' feature - the FREE BOATS page.
Today's beauty, and I do mean beauty, is a 1905 Lawley sloop, an incredibly lovely boat in its time. Just look at the photos of her. Now to put her back in commission is going to take some doing, but imagine how your heart will just go pitter patter every time you look at her. It's worth the effort for that reason alone.
Hopefully, you LiveBloggers know of other free boats, or nearly free, that you can pass on to LiveBloggin' readers. They don't have to be classics like this - they can be newer boats that have been abandoned, or that the owner wants to dispose of quickly. Email me at FREE BOATS and I'll post your finds for everyone to see.
Also, please be sure to share this page with your fellow boaters - let's get these boats out of the boatyard and back into the water.
Special thanks to David Irving of Boneyard Boats for his help in rescuing old boats, and in providing today's feature boat.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A reminder...

Gypsy Wind at St. Catherines Is., in Georgia
A ton of views of the last post requesting photos and videos, lots of positive replies....but, as yet, only a couple of videos and photos received.
Help me out here everyone - take five minutes during lunch and email me a couple of photos of your summer sailing - to northchannelsailing@gmail.com, include a couple of comments and your name and boat name, and I'll include your contribution in our 'Summer 2013' video.
Thanks everyone....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Coming - the End of Summer

I know, I know - you don't want to hear that, and I don't blame you at all...so what are we going to do to keep that summer 'buzz' alive for us LiveBloggers, at least until it's our turn to travel south like the birds?
Let's do what our kids do in school - we'll have a show and tell about 'How I Spent my Summer on the Boat'... send me your best sailing/boating photos and videos, especially videos if you have them, and I'll create a video featuring your material for photos and a page for the videos , plus some comments from you about your work. I'll put them together in the same kind of format as the video below, plus put your names and boat name along with them if you wish. Just let me know how you want to set up your photos or video here. My editor at SAIL will be interested in seeing this as well, and you never know, you might end up with your contribution being posted there as well.

Your photos and video don't have to feature just sailing either, just be boating related. Maybe you have great shots of painting the bottom, or dinghying around the harbour - whatever it is, let's see it. Perhaps it was a great time on the dock, or a great view from some secluded anchorage, it's all good!
For those of you heading south this fall, this video is also a little 'primer'. Hope you enjoy this and it helps to keep the dream alive. We're all looking forward to seeing your summer fun here on LiveBlogging...
(photos and videos can be sent to my email, northchannelsailing@gmail.com)
hotos and vdeos can be sent to my email, northchannelsailing@gmail.com

Fly me to the moon....

Visibility of tonight's moon shot...
I returned to Gypsy Wind late yesterday after a gruelling bus ride from Toronto to Richmond VA - a bus ride that started with hitchhiking 75 miles to get to Barrie ON to get a bus to Toronto (a longish story not worth relating here about missing the only bus of the day, at 8 am)...and then after arriving in Richmond and because there is no public transit in the Middle Neck of VA, I had to hitch another 58 miles.
As always, hitching rides introduces you to some fascinating people. My first ride of the day, out of Owen Sound, was with three women - that was a new one. My last ride, a mortician, dropped me off at the boat even though it was out of his way. I told him I enjoyed meeting him and I did, but I was glad it wasn't professionally...even if I was feeling dead tired.
Arriving here, I ran into my buddy, Doc, who invited me over for dinner - a true blessing, because I was exhausted, and Cindy is a great cook... I should add here, I met Doc because his wife picked me up hitchhiking out of Richmond Airport...but that's another story.
After fourteen hours of sleep, I awoke full of determination to tidy and clean the boat to within an inch of its gelcoat...after checking email, facebook, etc. and etc.
First of course, I had to walk the pup, so off to the town marina we went. There, Aduana made friends with Willow, a gorgeous Golden Retriever whose person is Tom the dockmaster, and away they went.
It was great fun watching them romp in and out of the water, chasing one another for over an hour. Where they get the energy, I'll never know, because they didn't slow down for a moment. Later, poor Aduana was suffering from diarrhea due to the salt water she swallowed while swimming so much, but she's fine now, and napping beside me.
Returning to the boat entailed a quick check of emails again, with several requiring responses, a couple of Facebook posts, some phone calls....then it was time to join Doc, Cindy, Rob and Becky off Sea Quell, on Peter's boat, a Sabre 40.
Well, the evening was perfect - great winds, warm, incredible sunset, lots of laughter...and best of all, no destination. Just sail out for an hour or so, then turn around and sail back. Being a cruiser, I so rarely sail with no destination....but I'm planning on doing more of it, this was wonderful. Best of all, with so many competent sailors on board, I hardly touched a line or sheet - ahhh, bliss, I was a passenger. That doesn't happen often.
Then, to cap off the evening, there was a moon launch from the NASA site on Chesapeake Bay, Wallops Island (see here). The image above shows the area in which the launch was visible, and it was really neat to see - not as exciting as the Shuttle launch I once viewed, but well worth watching.
Saturday, I'll get to the boat cleaning...or maybe not. As a friend of mine once said, and it's advice worth heeding - Dust Keeps. In other words, if you have a choice between a menial chore and something far more interesting, such as time spent with good friends, remember that the dust will be there for you when you return. Good friends may not always be there if you ignore them for other things.
Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

OK, how about this?

Ahoy all - one of the most viewed posts on LiveBloggin' is one from some time back, about a free boat (FREE BOAT)
If readers would like to see a Free Boat feature, so that we can introduce others to the joys of boat ownership - let me know, I'll set up a FREE Boat page.
Also - most of us have 'stuff' in the bilge, in the garage, on the dock, etc. that is perfectly good, but that we know we'll never again use. How about a page here where you can give it away, free, with the other party paying shipping costs?
If this is of interest to you, or you have comments or ideas on how we can make these ideas work for all of us, comment below or email me at FREE STUFF on LiveBloggin' - just click on the link....and let's set it up.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Yeehaw Junction - North!

Yes, that's Tennessee moonshine whisky
I took a break from the boat recently to visit family in Ontario, Canada, where I'm from. This is not a region generally known as 'redneck' country - but I'd never spent a weekend at my sister and brother in law's home in Estaire, just south of the hardrock mining town of Sudbury, where I grew up. Well, was I due for an education...
The video below gives you an idea, but let's see - I went out on a bass boat and actually ran the thing at over 40 mph....my sailboat will do 10 knots in a big enough breeze...listened to my sister, her boyfriend and the neighbours talk about their fun times....such as towing everyone from house to house through the snow - in a canoe - with a 'quad' - a four wheel atv, which is not 'urban' transportation. By the end of the winter, the canoe required considerable patching, as you can imagine...Now if that isn't 'redneck' entertainment, I'm not really sure what is. There were a few other stories too, but I won't belabour you with them here! I assure you however, Jeff Foxworthy would find them worthy...(Foxworthy is a redneck comedian for those who don't know him).
So, on Labour Day while we're all sitting out on the dock overlooking the lake, a friend drops by with a Mason quart jar of Tennessee moonshine....somewhere between 125 and 175 proof apparently. NASA wants samples for the Mars program, last I heard.
Anyhow - it's actually fine sipping liquor, a lot smoother than you'd ever expect, with strong hints of apple and cinnamon taste. Just don't have more than a couple of shots....you may find yourself waking up on Mars...
The first video below is for fun - and the second is the view from the beautiful home my sister and her boyfriend have built.
this is the 'oh oh, my sister is a redneck' video...

...and this is the view from her dining room....
I'll be back to my boat, the ICW, and sanity as soon as I can escape!