We left our anchorage this morning
at a reasonable hour…
…crack of 09:30…
The skies looked a bit threatening
but the weather report for our location was favourable.
Rain and frisky winds were forecast
but we received no more than 10 minutes of rain.
The wind however was perfect…
at our backs.
By mid-afternoon we had reached Valleyfield
and decided to treat ourselves
as with our boat club it has the designation
of an Eco-Marina.
We love being independent and at anchor
but to have a secure dock space,
a place to deposit garbage,
real showers and washrooms
and above all
We can plug stuff in with abandon.
And my goodness they even have magnetic swipe cards
for each Quai…so very five star!
The first thing we did (after plugging stuff in of course)
was walk to get a few more supplies
to get us through until we reach our home base.
François even took me past where he attended CÉGEP
(high school/college level in Québec).
Back at the boat we dined on boat risotto…
(luckily there were some leftovers for
Arancini with Marinara Sauce for tomorrow)
…and with our supply of red wine replenished,
we enjoyed a little bit of cheese…
to go with a little more bread…
to go with a little more wine…
…while the sun set on another day…
as we drank a little more wine to go with that last bit of cheese,
and a little slice of bread…
and a morsel of dark chocolate.
Before beginning this summer’s adventure
we a lot about various accounts of boaters
travelling through the multitude of locks on the waterways.
High concrete walls,
rushing water currents
and the slime that builds up over the years
can pose risks to unprepared boaters.
Last year we locked through 54 times without incident
while traversing the Rideau Canal
and Saint Lawrence Seaway
using good balance and a couple of docking poles to keep us pushed off the lock walls,
but we thought it wise to add a couple of improvements for this year’s trip.
The idea of fender boards is to protect the hull from rubbing the walls of the lock
or when docking at pilings.
It also serves to keep the slime from the fenders,
which in turn will hopefully keep the boat cleaner.
Most boaters we have seen use lengths of 2″x6″.
We liked the idea of PVC instead of wood
as we will also be able to use the pipe to support the Genoa
and main furler during winter storage,
and when not in use during the season can be used to house our fishing rods.
It might even come in handy for safer ‘rafting up’ with boat friends.
What we purchased…
6′ of 2″ PVC pipe
a length of inexpensive nylon line
Two 2″ caps to ‘soften’ the edges of the pipe (and to keep spiders and other critters out)
and gloves – our choice was garden gloves with rubbery palms.
The slimy concrete walls can be really nasty and super slippery as I found out last year
when I lost my balance and put my hand out without thinking to grab the wall
and almost went overboard.
Easy and inexpensive to make…
9/16″ hole drilled through the pipe, 6″ in from each end.
Two 10′ lengths of line run through each hole and secured with a figure 8 stopper knot.
2″ caps secured on each end with silicone (as I mentioned, I’m not a big fan of resident spiders)
There is also a good article in Practical Sailor
explaining details of ‘why’s’ and ‘how to’s’.
To date, on our New York Loop
we have yet to use the fender board
after locking through several times
but those gloves have proven a great addition.
Pictures will be available as always until I can fix my Blogger limit issue
on our R.E.D. sails facebook page:
Or on flickr:
You can find me by searching either
The Champlain Canal begins at the southern most tip of Lake Champlain
at Whitehall (Lock 12)
and continues southward to Lock 1 at the
Waterford junction of the Hudson River.
It was decided in the early construction of the system
that Lock 10 was not needed,
so 11 locks in total.
At Whitehall Marina we stopped for the night.
This was also the first reporting station after Rouses Point.
When asking for the nearest location for groceries,
the Bait and Tackle guy insisted he take us where ever we wanted to go.
”I have to pick up dinner anyway” he said,
”sort of killing two birds with one stone”.
He dropped us off at a deli,
returned a few minutes later,
then drove us around the village to show us some local history.
Super friendly place.
We were their evening entertainment as we un-stepped the mast,
and wrapped and strapped for the next stage of our journey….
Whitehall is the birthplace of the American Navy.
Pictured below is Skene Manor
(Colonel Phillip Skene, played a part in the Saratoga Campaign,
American Revolutionary War )
The beginning of the Champlain Canal at Lock 12, Whitehall.
We are now officially going downstream,
meaning red buoys to port…
Many low bridges to duck under…
… many beautiful scenes along the way…
….locks that guided us past many water falls and dams…
…a lot of barge activity on the river…
…and a river ‘guillotine’
that was no doubt meant to control water level…
…could this be our future boathouse?…
Day two, we docked for free at Fort Edward.
Showers, and electricity provided…
Just a short distance was the Shamrock Wine and Spirits,
where we replenished our wine supply
and purchased a bottle of Bootlegger Vodka,
from the NY-based Prohibition Distillery,
that was promised to provide the smoothest martini ever…
Our second night on the canal was spent at the public dock
…again free dockage, free electricity, water and super clean washrooms.
and….get this…showers with light therapy and water massage.
The final lock on the Canal was at Troy, NY…
…different from the usual lines
was a pipe or cable that we lashed our mid-ship line to secure…
…And finally on day three,
free docking at Troy Town Dock…
Tomorrow we will be able to step our mast,
make our lady all pretty again
and sail away to
NEW YORK CITY!