Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today we started up the Champlain Canal and went through Locks C1 and C2 -- we are getting the hang of "locking through" and have been fortunate to have the lock all to ourselves and helpful lockmasters.  Here are a few photos:

Lock C1 on the Champlain Canal
Lock C2 in the Champlain Canal
We purchased a 10-day locking pass at the C1 lock -- there are 11 locks in the Champlain Canal. 
This post is from yesterday, May 29, 2012.  We slept a little later than usual and borrowed a shopping cart from the Dockmaster to go grocery shopping at Hannaford's Food & Drug across the bridge in Troy.   On our way was Don & Paul's Coffee Shop so we stopped in for breakfast, parking our shopping cart outside.  Their breakfast special is 2 eggs any style, toast and coffee for $1.70 and that's what the Captain ordered.  I had an egg and Swiss sandwich on a toasted roll for $1.65.  Again the food was good, the service was fast and friendly, and the prices are unbelievable.

It's a several block walk to and over the bridge to Troy, but we enjoyed seeing more of Waterford.  It is the oldest continuously incorporated village in New York State since 1794.  

Now about Hannaford's.  We had been warned by the Dockmaster to let the staff at the grocery store know we're boaters and were bringing our own cart from the Visitor Center so that they could unlock the wheels for us when we left.  Okay...little did we know that when our wheels "touched down" on the parking lot when we arrived, they locked up.  Ralph found Dawn from Customer Service who trekked out across the parking lot in 89 degrees of heat to unlock the wheels so we could go IN.  There is a sensor imbedded into the perimeter of the parking lot so the carts cannot be stolen.  It's a great idea.  As a courtesy to boaters, however, they will unlock the wheels so you can wheel your groceries back to your boat.  We found Hannaford's to be clean, well stocked, and the staff was helpful and courteous...and once again, we asked them to unlock our wheels so we could wheel our groceries back to the boat.
It rained intermittently all afternoon, but we met some new friends on the bulkhead and took a walk.  By 6:00 PM there was torrential rain, thunder and lightening and whitecaps on the Mohawk River where we were tied up.   Striper was a wreck -- so frightened of storms, but with the AC running, it was noisy and she finally calmed down and fell asleep.  

Here are a few pictures:

Parking our grocery cart outside Don & Paul's Coffee Shop
Historic Waterford since 1794 -- over the bridge to Troy
Hannaford's Food & Drug, Troy, NY
The high water mark from Hurricane Irene in August 2011 on the bridge abutment (bridge spanning the Mohawk River)
White caps on the Mohawk River just before the thunderstorm began
Striper, upset by the thunder and lightening, finally fell asleep

This post is from the day-before-yesterday, May 28, 2012 -- Memorial Day.  We weighed anchor at 6:30 AM bound further up the Hudson from Duck Cove to Waterford, NY.  It was a long day.  We went through our first lock, the Federal Lock just outside Waterford.  We were one of only two boats in the lock and the Lockmaster was very courteous and helpful.  The water height we went up was 16'. 

Upon leaving the lock we discovered a bridge with a 22' height restriction. We are 29'.  We floated around the river (there was no traffic at all, fortunately) while Ralph removed the boom and we unstepped the mast, laid down the VHF and ssb antennas and secured everything.  We were only minutes away from the junction with the Mohawk River at Waterford.  We tied up at the Waterford Visitor Center where docking is free with water and electric ($10 for as long as you stay -- posted is 48 hours, but not strictly enforced) and they also have free wifi.
  The entire length of the bulkhead are boats, mostly Loopers and we made some new friends.  Here are a few pictures of Say Good-Bye "locking through."

We obtained a city map from Mike, the Dockmaster and borrowed a shopping cart to go to the very clean and reasonably priced Clifton Laundromat just two blocks away.  In an hour and a half we finished our laundry, put it away, then went to Don & Paul's on Broad Street for dinner.  The food is good, the prices are extremely reasonable, the service is good and the staff is very friendly.  The place itself is Americana and just like you'd hope it to be.  I had a bacon/Swiss cheeseburger with the works and a soda and Ralph had a hot turkey sandwich and coffee and we shared a hot fudge sundae for dessert -- our total check was $16, including tip.  We went to bed early and slept like logs!

The Federal Lock at Waterford, NY
Leaving the lock and thanking the Lockmaster for his kindness.  He told us after the next 145 locks, we'll be pros.  I certainly hope so!!

To protect our new orange ball-fenders from slime and creosote in the lock, we put them inside woven grocery bags that we had onboard which worked out well,

We will have 11 locks and bridge restrictions of 17' along the Champlain Canal, so the mast will remain down for a while.

We're the last boat in the line by the overhead bridge at the Waterford Visitor Center.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Captain and Striper
Today was a short day 20 miles w/tide against us from  Norrie Creek to Duck Cove to anchor.  A good R&R day.

Tonight's back yard

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tonight's back yard...
Monastery across the Hudson from Norrie Point Marina

Enjoying The Hudson River

It's 80 degrees and sunny on the beautiful Hudson River.  This is a photo of West Point, the oldest continuously occupied military facility in the US since 1779.

The other side of this roof says "Beat Navy"

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tonight's back yard - Bowline Pointe, Haverstraw, New York
We departed Liberty State Park anchorage late this morning in a lifting fog.  Beyond the George Washington Bridge the Hudson River traffic diminished and it was a beautiful ride.  We passed The Palisades, sheer cliffs formerly mined to pave the streets of NYC until 1900 when the Palisades Interstate Park Commission was formed to protect this beautiful area.  Now it is a State Park.  Further north beyond the Tappan Zee Bridge (the largest span over the Hudson) the sun came out.  We passed by Sing Sing located in the town of Ossining -- and it is said the origin of the phrase "sent up the river" came from being sent up the Hudson to prison.  En route this afternoon, local environmental police stopped and boarded a traveling sailboat.  The Hudson River is a "no discharge" area and the cruising guides warn boaters to be aware they may be boarded and inspected at any time.  We arrived at the village of Haverstraw, easily recognizable by the twin stacks of the Bowline Point Power Plant.  It's a peaceful protected anchorage.  Above, Ralph is chatting with our neighbors for the night, the boaters on "Sanity" and "Charisma." 


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today's back yard.
Today we logged 42 miles from the Metedeconk River, Brick, NJ to New York Harbor battling fog, rain and abeam seas nearly the whole way.  We're happy to have the ocean-going portion of The Loop behind us...I can't help but wonder how my father felt on April 14, 1923 when he first sited the beautiful Statue of Liberty when at the age of  23 he immigrated to America  from Germany.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day One of The Great Loop Adventure...

We left Snug Harbor, Atlantic City, NJ at 6:45 AM -- thanks, John Hensyl for the surprise "send off!"  The fog was dense as we began our course up the ICW.   The fog lifted at Beach Haven, the sun came out, and at 3:00 PM when we reached our destination, the Metedeconk River, we had logged 60 nautical miles. 

We anchored near the yacht club.  The fog continues to roll in and out.  It's a peaceful anchorage. Thanks for the tip, Val.  Striper was happy to go ashore in the dinghy -- we lower her over the stern rail with the electric winch somewhat like moving cattle.  She's eager to go, loves a dinghy ride, not to mention the treat she receives for being a good doggie upon return.
Tonight's back yard:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Today was another dreary drizzly day in Atlantic City so I'm posting a sunny picture of a flock of ibis perched on our bulkhead taken in our Cape Coral back yard this past winter.  

Today I went to the gym which will be my last time for yoga and step/abs for a while.  Thanks Kay and Lu, it was great taking your classes and seeing my old friends again.  Gretchen and John brought White House subs for lunch.  Ralph said the Essls have completed The Atlantic City Trifecta for us:  Gilchrist's for breakfast, Angelo's for dinner, and today, White House for lunch.  Thank you!  They were delicious and we enjoyed our visit with you both.  Ralph's dad, Jimmy, came by to take a Say Good-Bye photo of us and April also came to bid us farewell.  We will miss them. :(

We have dental appointments tomorrow morning, then I've got an appointment at the laundromat, and the captain has some last minute "boat stuff" to do.  Weather permitting, we'll cast off early Wednesday morning, May 23d northbound and The Great Loop adventure begins.  It seems like only yesterday we were boat shopping -- that was in 2007. Tempus fugit.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today's back yard -- a view of Borgata and The Water Club hidden in fog.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Moe and Nancy of "Signs By Moe" came by this morning and changed the hailing port of Say Good-Bye -- now it's official.   As always, their work is impeccable.  Thank you, dear friends...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recent issue of Soundings Magazine by Peter Swanson


Ralph Yost comes from a maritime family that owned a New Jersey tugboat company. He took a different career path, but never lost the brine in his blood. Retired from the Federal Aviation Administration this year, Yost is going to do the Great Loop with his wife, Celeste, and Striper the Portuguese water dog aboard their DeFever 41, Say Goodbye. After years of cruising and racing sailboats along the East Coast, Yost says he has “had my share of beating my brains out in rough seas” and looks forward to the calm pace and flat waters of the Loop.  That doesn’t mean the year-long circumnavigation of the East Coast will be without challenges. “Commercial traffic on the river systems is not something to take lightly,” he says. “Be prepared to completely understand the Rules of the Road and how to communicate with commercial boat operators in order to ensure safe passages. Assumptions without communicating could be fatal. Last year we heard of one trawler that was swamped by a commercial tow, and the boat rolled over and sunk.” (Search the archives at for “Moonstruck.”)  Is his choice of a DeFever 41 the best possible Loop vessel? Not necessarily. “We did want to purchase a boat that we could do the Loop in, but we also wanted it for other travels, like to the Bahamas,” Yost says, although less than 17 feet of air draft is essential for getting under bridges along the Loop. “We also wanted a boat in which our dog can be with us anywhere in the boat, including the flybridge,” he says. “We wanted an aft cabin boat because we love to anchor out. We didn’t want to have to sleep in the forward of the boat at anchor and constantly hear the waves slopping up against the hull, or any possible noise of the anchor chain when the boat swings.”

Yost “really wanted” a Lehman 120, but was willing to go with another good engine. “We wanted a boat that was easy to handle, economical to operate” — which meant it had to be single-screw — “was in relatively good condition, drew no more than 4 feet, had lots of house battery power, a good charging system, plenty of domestic water capacity and full walkaround gunwales.”

On The Great Loop:
The good: Other cruising grounds are single specific cultures for that area. For example, the Chesapeake Bay Eastern Shore is one culture, different from the Western Shore. But New England is yet another culture. When you take a boat trip there, that is the single culture you will experience. In contrast, the Loop will take us through the many different cultures of upstate New York, the French Canadian provinces, Midwestern United States, the rivers, the South, East Coast cultures, all in one trip. The scenery will change accordingly.

The bad: Say Goodbye hasn’t gone yet. So far, so good.  

And a lesson: The open-water segments of the Loop — know and understand weather forecasting, as well as your personal limitations for boat operations. Remember that you don’t have to go. Don’t create artificial schedules that drive you to move the boat when you shouldn’t. Don’t allow other events in your life to impose schedules on you. Tell your visitors the only way they can do this trip with you is that they have to “wing it” and be completely flexible.