Out of the canal and back to a sailboat

Well, it did indeed take a couple more days to get through the canal and into the Hudson.

One of the highlights was going through Lock 17 – which for us was a 45 foot vertical drop (4 ½ stories!). And then when the lock opened, the door – instead of swinging open – raises vertically above your head and then you drive out underneath it. Yes, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider the sizes and heights involved, it’s pretty impressive – and certainly not something that many boaters see.

Also impressive, was the last flight of four locks leading down to the junction with the Hudson. Locks 5 through 2 are each only a few hundred meters from each other and you basically exit one lock to immediately enter the next. And each lock is a full 35 foot drop, so over the course of less than half a mile, we and our 40,000 pound boat dropped 140 feet to just a few feet above sea level.

Then we exited the canal into the Hudson and began heading south toward New York City – which we were all looking forward to. Before that, however, we had to deal with the small issue of the several thousand pounds of aluminum extrusion and wire rope that have been sitting on saw horses on our deck for the last 4 days.

To deal with this, we motored 40 miles downstream to Catskill NY where we stopped at Hop-O-Nose Marina. (Hop-o-Nose was the Indian name for Catskill). The marinas in Catskill are all located along a smallish creek that drains into the Hudson. As we motored up the narrow creek, our big boat seemed a bit out of place.

Then we rounded a bend and came across a fleet of 15 or so vintage Dutch cargo ships that had come to Catskill and other ports on the Hudson to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the Hudson River (I assume it had a different name back in 1609, but it escapes me at this point). For those unaware, Hudson – a Briton – was sailing under the Dutch flag in 1609 and that is why the Dutch were the first Europeans to colonize this area and why New York was originally called New Amsterdam.

These ships, some of which date from the 1800’s (and some of which were modern replicas), were about 60 to 70 feet long and had a very unique and attractive design. Once we tied up at Hop-o-Nose, we quickly went on pre-dusk walking tour to check out these interesting boats. This was a very neat, and unexpected, addition to our visit to Catskill.

The next day was all work. Starting at 0900, we worked throughout the day to rig our masts and have the crane crew at Hop-o-Nose erect them for us. Then we spent the rest of the day putting sails on and the like. We broke for dinner at 1800 and decided to sample the fare at the Hop-o-Nose marina restaurant. We all had the ribs – and they were fabulous!

On Sunday, we continued to put the rig together and also socialized a bit with some of the local boaters on the dock, as well as the crew of Unabated, whom we had first met in an Oswego lock and who had come into Catskill about 24 hours after us. Around noon, we finally bade farewell to our sawhorses (Yay!) and motored back out into the Hudson and pointed the bow southward, finally looking like a sailboat again.


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