1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: October 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Are you in the Erie Canal still? Update, with phone number.

Ahoy all - if you are in the Erie Canal, and are planning on using the Castleton Boat Club to step your mast, they would appreciate you getting in touch with them. They plan on leaving the docks in until the Canal reopens for stepping and fuel needs.
Also, if you know of anyone in the Canal, please pass this message on to them. The Castleton Boat Club is there for you, so let's try to help them out! Their number is 518-732-7077.
My thanks to Robert Currie for pointing out to me that the number was whited out in the original post. Hopefully, those who missed it will either see this update, or pick it up from a Google search.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Some Funny Things Happened to Me on the Way to the Boat Show...

You don't want to hear what I had to say at this moment!
Hi everyone - back at last, have you missed me? It's been a busy couple of weeks, with the Annapolis Boat Show and SAIL's Secrets to the ICW seminar, and the Hampton Snowbirds Rendezvous. Great successes both of them, I was proud to be a part of these events, and kudos to the organizers, who were fabulous. More on this in a later post....

So, a few funny things happened to me on my way to the boat show. I set my iPhone, which has awakened me many times in the past to many wonderful early mornings (!), at 6 pm. I knew the oyster boat beside me would fire up at quarter to, so it was like a snooze alarm when I heard the boat move off. However - at 7:41, my eyes snapped open. The iPhone hadn't sounded. I had 19 minutes to get ready for my ride to the airport to pick up my car rental. I hate being rushed in the mornings - far more enjoyable to take your time awakening, I'm sure you agree, right? Then, rush to the office!
Cindy, Doc's wife, takes me to the airport where I have a rental booked and paid for via Hotwire. Great rate - $11.95 a day. However, the clerk informs me, I need a return ticket to get a car from them. Huh?
No return ticket? No problem Sir, you can rent a car from our sister company, Enterprise, for just $44.95 a day. All you need is a Virginia driver's license.
Auggghhhh - now what? Who on earth flies into an airport from the same state they are in? No wonder Enterprise wasn't busy.
There was only one solution here, after it became clear that no amount of cajoling was going to change things. I marched over to the United Airlines booth - it was the nearest - and purchased a refundable ticket. The look on the guy's face when I told him I wanted a ticket to anywhere, didn't matter, as long as it was refundable, was priceless. After getting his manager's approval to do this, he sold me the ticket and I marched it over to National. The manager there told me no one had ever done what I'd just done, bought a ticket to get their rental. She was impressed, I was frustrated, as it cost me $35 for the privilege. My $11.95 Hotwire rental was getting expensive.
Back to United, refund the ticket, get my car, Cindy and I head to Walmart so I can help her choose a piece of equipment for their boat. While there, her husband phones - apparently, my dinghy has sunk from the rain and the waves.
This is not good. I have an expensive and nearly new outboard on it. I head back to the boat, hoping against hope - and nope, the dinghy is sunk, the engine is underwater. Rob, another boater and I drag the dinghy up, I tear the motor apart, dry it, spray it with WD-40 and hey! It fires up. Whew! Dodged that bullet.
So I'm about to leave when Rob tells me the dockmaster wants me to move my boat to another slip. Like, I have time for this? But, being the nice guy I am, I move the boat. You have to realize, there were 15 - 20 knot winds that day, and the bay was about three or four feet higher due to tide and rainfall. Moving to a new slip was a pain to say the least.
Then I go to get off the boat at the bow, which is now a good six or so feet off the dock. I reach for the post...and the boat starts to slide backwards away from it. I'm hanging on, the gap is getting wider....do I push back and hope to grab the forestay? No, if I miss, I'll fall and get hurt. Do I leap for the piling and hang on like a demented squirrel, ten feet from the dock, and slowly slide down the piling, getting splinters in very private places before sliding down onto razor sharp barnacles? Or, do I wait until the boat is far enough back from the pole and gracefully (and safely) fall into the water?
Decision made, and about two feet from the water, I remember that in addition to my computer in its waterproof case around my neck, my iPhone is in my pocket.
Fortunately for the tender minds of anyone within about a quarter mile, the inrush of chilly salt water stifled the comments I was making. Let's just say they weren't anything my mom would have approved of - or your mom either!
So, I swim to shore, have another shower while my clothes tumble in the dryer, and head on out to Annapolis. There, my good friends Dr. Dave and his lovely wife Suzie, greet me at the door with a handshake, a hug, and an ice cold drink.
Life is good again. Tomorrow, the boat show.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Annapolis Sailboat Show....

Ahoy LiveBloggers - here at the Annapolis Sailboat Show - a good show, if a bit wet. No time for a proper post now, but stay tuned for the 'Some Funny Things Happened to Me on the Way to the Boat Show'....to say that Thursday tested the limits of the saying 'a bad day sailing is better than a good day at work' would not be inaccurate!
If you're in Annapolis today, I'm at the SAIL Magazine booth from 1 - 4 this afternoon....later everyone!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Heading South - The Fleet Reports In....

from Roland - We departed Jamestown, RI last Friday, today in Annapolis at the boat show, Great Bridge by Sunday night we hope. Destination Fort Lauderdale by Nov 1 when my son needs the boat for a temp home. I've made this run a few times each way, so ready to answer questions and give (bad? ;) advice... Oh, in a stinkpot Grand Banks 32...

from good friends Wendy and Mike, who went out the St. Lawrence - Hi Wendy and Mike here on board s/v Ohana. We're currently taking time to get little projects completed on board before new ones crop up. We departed Port Credit, Ontario May l5th and took our time heading to the St. Lawrence seaway due to weddings and family committments. Also to continue working on the boat and have a windlass installed.
We've had major time delays due to mechanical issues and weather. Most recently we spent 8 days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia having our starter rebuilt and a new alternator installed. 
After a 3 day 2 night non-stop sail with our engine running l80' we ended up in Rockland, Maine. Our attempts to depart kept bringing us back to the dock due to a run away engine. Our injectors have now been sent away and not due back until Oct. 9th. 
Taking the St. Lawrence Seaway route has been an amazing trip as we sailed to New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia and now we are safely in the States. The journey has been an enormous learning experience. The scenery and beautiful has been breathtaking. We've met wonderful people and have always had help at our fingertips just at the time we need it most. 
Currently we have sailed almost l900 nautical miles with many more to go. Our goal was to get to the Annaplolis Boat Show, that is no longer realistic. 
I have to head home to the Toronto area on the 6th and will return in two weeks to we can continue to head south to Florida, Cuba and Bahamas for the winter.
No we are not part of this years fleet heading south. Well maybe we are just really far behind everyone and we have great determination to catch up.
My blog is windinmydreams.net, which I have regretfully not be actively keeping up to date. Please don't hesitate to check it out though.
All the best and I can't wait to meet fellow cruisers in the hot spots.
Wendy and Mike
SV Ohana 37' Gulfstar 

from Paul Ouellette - Not this coming winter...but look for us there in a few years !! ;)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Annapolis Boat Show, upcoming speaking engagements

A friend impishly pointed out to me that I haven't made a recent 'announcement' about my upcoming presentations at Annapolis. So....let's get that out of the way!

I'll be the co-host along with SAIL editor Meredith Laitos, and one of the featured speakers, at SAIL Magazine's all day ICW seminar, on October 13, 2013, 1000-1700 (Boat Show runs Oct 10-13)
WHERE: Annapolis Maritime Museum, 723 2nd Street, Annapolis, MD 21403
COST: $65 (includes four seminars, expert Q&A, lunch and cocktail hour)
The guest list includes my good friends Mark and Diana Doyle, who are the authors of On the Water Chartguides, an excellent - no, make that indispensable - resource for anchoring for those heading south. Jeff Grossman and Jean Levine discuss 'couples' cruising - since I'm single, I guess I'll sit that one out (and I can hear someone, no names here, saying 'no Wally, you NEED that lecture!) - Bruce Schwab discusses electrical management, an important issue when your cold beer depends on how you handle your 12v batteries.
Dave Skolnick - president of the Seven Seas Cruising Association and Mark Ahart, news editor at Waterway Guide, will sit on the discussion table with us to answer your questions about the ICW and, I suspect, cruising in general.
Best of all, at the end of the day, we'll all get together for some Painkillers and you can get your own cruising questions answered. More details right here...SAIL ICW Seminar

At the Sailboat Show itself, I'll be at SAIL Magazine's booth from 1 - 4 on Saturday to answer questions about the seminar, and cruising the ICW. Would love to see you there!

My next engagement will be at the Hampton Snowbird Rendevous, where I'll discuss both the ICW and also sailing in Cuba. The dates are October 18 - 20, and more information is available at Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous and their Facebook Page

Finally, the Southbound Cruisers Rendezvous is on once again after a hiatus of several years - to be held in New Bern from October 29 - 31st. Details are available on their Facebook Page, and they promise some excellent workshops and talks - I plan to take in the Diesel Doctor's workshop for sure.

So, a busy time ahead, and I still have to get up the Chesapeake Bay with Tropical Storm Karen coming straight at us.....do I know how to have fun or what? If you're at the show or any of these events, please introduce yourself, I'd love to meet all of you!

Let me leave you with my most recent SAIL Magazine article on the ICW...ICW by the Numbers, Five Tips on how to do the ICW.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Are you part of this year's fleet heading south?

 and especially the fleet that's coming south from the Erie Canal. Let's hear from you folks. I'd like to show readers who are not on the trip just what it's really like - the fun, the challenges, the places, and you, the people.
Who are you, what are you doing, where are you planning on going when you get south, what challenges have you overcome to get this far. Do you have a blog we can all follow?

Chime in there folks - you can email me at CALLING ALL SNOWBIRDS!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tropical Storm Karen on Sandy's Path; Erie Canal Update

Tropical storm Karen, currently in the Gulf of Mexico, is on a similar path to that followed by Hurricane Sandy, which devastated large portions of the US east coast last year. You can follow its progress at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
As you can see from the graphic above, it's headed straight for the Chesapeake Bay, and will arrive there just prior to the US Sailboat show. This one bears watching by southbound boaters since it's headed for where we are and, if this graphic is correct, will have some affect on almost the entire ICW.

Erie Canal - the Erie Canal today opened to allow boats trapped by the closure to get past E13. The other good news I have for you comes from the Erie Canal folks - the Federal Lock at Troy is open and there are no issues regarding the federal shutdown. You're wide open to the south.
That being said - pay attention to Karen as she approaches, as large segments of the Hudson River were badly damaged by Sandy last year. Karen's arrival will coincide with your presence on the Hudson.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Erie Canal Update, ICW conditions in NC

Please share the following information with others either in the Erie Canal or headed that way, thanks. Also, an update on the Carolina Beach inlet....

chartlet courtesy of On the Water Chartguides
Mariners are advised that the water level between Lock E-12 and Lock E-14 on the Erie Canal will be raised beginning at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, October 2.  This portion of the Erie Canal is projected to temporarily re-open for navigation - with a depth restriction of 7 feet - at or before noon on Thursday, October 3 
This section of the Canal will remain open - with a depth restriction of 7 feet - until 8:00 pm on Sunday, October 6.  During this limited re-opening, Locks E-11, E-12, and E-13 will operate from 7 am to 8 pm daily.  Mariners may notice changing water levels on other portions of the Erie Canal between Lock E-6 and E-20 in advance of, and during, this temporary re-opening.  This may include temporarily reduced water levels downstream of Lock E-12, and temporarily elevated water levels upstream of Lock E-14.    
A "No Wake" zone will be in effect from October 3 to October 6 between Lock E-12 and Lock E-14 during the temporary re-opening.   
The Erie Canal will close again on Monday, October 7 in order to complete permanent repairs at Lock E-13.  Other temporary closures are possible between Lock E-8 and Lock E-15 at that time due to water management changes necessary to complete these repairs.  These repairs may take up to three weeks, after which this portion of the Erie Canal will re-open at full depth.  
For more information, please call 1-800-4CANAL4 or visit www.canals.ny.gov 

Carolina Beach Inlet - the chartlet above shows the annotated depths from a survey taken by Mark and Diana Doyle of On the Water Chartguides and indicates no issues at what is often a problem inlet. My own experience coming through there in early August was positive, with good depths (minimum 8' MLLW) all the way through. Bear in mind, the Corps of Engineers frequently moves markers in this area to correspond to the best depths. If you have concerns while heading south, a good plan is to call the local TowBoat US for an update on depths in the area.
Thanks Mark and Diana!