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Cruising the Demi-Downeast Loop: Day Two and Three

Check in with Peter Jansson and the current crew aboard a Cutwater 32 as they take a trailerable trawler from New York on to Lake Champlain as they set out to conquer the Downeast Loop.

Day 2: Schuyler Yacht Basin and the Canals

Just tied up at Schuyler Yacht Basin in Schuylerville, NY, about 80 nm from where we started at 8 this morning in Kingston. Fueled up here. Took on 40.1 gallons, which is terrific since we spent more than half of the day running at 20 knots, and the rest negotiating five locks after the Hudson River ended at Troy, just above Albany, where you can turn left for the Erie Canal or right for the Champlain Canal. Since we are on our way to Lake Champlain and ultimately Quebec City, we hung a right.

The only good thing I can think of to say about locks is that you do get used to them. (Also in our case today, all lock masters were terrific.) After the first two we worked out a system. I hung out on the aft deck to grab the hanging lines (I am about 6'2" so I have long arms) while my colleague George Sass Sr reached out the window next to the helm seat - and immediately above the mid-ship cleat - to grab a hanging line there or to wrap our own line around a ballard. Neat.


Otherwise a great cruising day. The Hudson below Albany is simply beautiful. Overcast sky with occasional drizzle but flat water and the Cutwater ate up the miles. Finally, the people here couldn't be nicer. A great place to stop. Tomorrow, more locks and then, we hope, Lake Champlain.


Day 3: Lake Champlain

What a day. We started at 8:15 at the Schuyler Yacht Basin and just tied up here about 5:30 at Westport Marina (Westport NY) on the lower end of Lake Champlain. Beautiful. But getting here, well.


The trip today was about 80 nm. No problem. But after more than four hours we had gone exactly 18 miles. Not good. Today we went through seven locks on the Champlain Canal. Some went quickly. Some killed an hour, particularly when we had to wait for a tug and barge to go first. The good news is that we have our lock technique down pat. The bad news is that I will have to head for the laundry here early tomorrow. Peter's tip for the day: do not lean your shirt or pants against a lock wall; they are filthy. Live and learn.

We also had a boat problem in the afternoon in the rain when the driver's side windshield wiper conked out. The motor got very hot and the circuit breaker did not trip. So my colleague George Sass Sr cut the wires. So with Sass peering out the passenger side windshield and me trying to pick up markers through the rain we had a lot of fun. All I've got to say is thank god for our Garmin split screen chartplotter and radar!


All told, very happy to be on Lake Champlain.