After a blustery night in Amsterdam, NY on an Erie canal terminal wall, I discovered a log jam of sorts in the tunnels of our 61 Marlow. The logs were lodged in the running gear and it was quite the task to remove in the fall weather. It’s a good thing we didn’t try to pull away with trees tangled in our props. That would have ended badly!
After spending the night on the Troy Dock, we set out on a frosty September morning for lock 1 (Troy Lock). Troy Lock uses the pipe system for locking vessels exclusively, where as the Erie Canal locks always have ropes and cables to use in the same fashion as pipes.
My only real concern was our vertical clearance, even though I’d measured three times and removed mostly everything from our hardtop. The last bridge before the Waterford Lock (2) was very intense.
We have been locking port side for two days now and only because I have an aft deck wing station on that side. We pick up one line upfront just for show and with a little help from the engines and thruster once and a while, the boat just sits there. The locks are very small and not not violent at all. The boat barely moves and it’s not like the locks in the Panama Canal or St. Lawrence Seaway in any way. Keep in mind we are 97 GRT and 61 feet, so on a smaller boat I would absolutely have two line on at all times.
Below is a time lapse video of Lock 2 (Waterford) and Lock 17 on the Erie Canal System.
AVAILABLE IN HD
Doing the same old Atlantic string of ports like every other yacht from Florida can get a little old. I’ve asked the boss to allow me to tailor a route that we normally would not be able to do on a larger boat, as we just squeeze under the minimum vertical clearance of the canal of about 20′ feet (this is after I remove our radar and sat domes).
I’ve done the trip to The Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway and even though it’s a feather in the old captains hat, it’s nothing that I long to do again. Besides, there’s no better place to be while we watch the hurricanes stack up on our computer screens.
Now that we’ve decided to do the transit North, there is lots to plan and prepare for, right? Well, the more I research the transit in the Erie Canal the less I find there is to do. I’ve bought the huge inflatable fenders, studied the guides and charts and come to realize that this route is really set up for the smaller boat with the owner operator on a budget. From what I can make out, the permit or fee can be paid at the first lock and there is plenty of free dockage all along the way. My main concern was how to make reservations, not knowing true transit times. After much reading, I figure we will simply tie up alongside the several lock terminals and parks that are along the way. Besides, I could use a break from marina life and a terminal wall in a small town park sounds inviting at this point.
I departed Sept 16th for the Hudson from NYC and after a two day cruise in the Hudson I should be at my first lock in the canal.