Masts Off and Into the Canal

On Monday morning, we moved the boat from Oswego Yacht Club over to Oswego Marina to have the masts stepped. At 1045, there was one boat ahead of us, so we figured we’d get ours off by mid-afternoon at the latest. Well, one thing led to another while we waited and finally the marina operator – at 1430 – informed us that it was now too late in the day to start a new boat… he’d get to us first thing in the morning!

After I blew a head gasket, we ended up staying the night in Oswego (not unlike Youngstown in terms of its offering to cruisers) and getting our masts removed starting at 0700. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) Colin had a conference call at 0800 and had to leave the marina staff and Kathleen to complete all the work. When I returned to the boat at around 1000, they were almost done and had done some great work.

We then secured the masts on deck and at 1130 headed out into the canal. Our first day in the canal, we cleared all 7 locks in the Oswego canal and got as far as the first lock in the Erie canal – whereupon we tied up for the night along with a few other boats.

At 0700 Wednesday, we cast off once again and proceeded up one more lock and then into Lake Oneida a 20 mile long lake that forms part of the canal. When we reached the east end of the lake, we tied up at Sylvan Beach – a popular tourist area – and explored the deserted beach and midway, before getting back on board and making as much lock progress as possible.

While the Erie canal is pretty and peaceful, there’s not a lot of wildlife around and the trees all start to look the same after a while. So we’re just trying to make good time and get to a point where we can put our masts back up and actually start to sail again.

Tonight, we are tied up at Lock 18, 80 miles (and 18 locks) from Albany. We’ll probably get close to Albany (the end of the canal and start of the Hudson) tomorrow, but given that the locks close at 1700, it’s unlikely that we’ll get into the Hudson until Friday.


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