Two months ago today we left Muskegon, Mich.! While two months may not seem that long in the big scope of things, but for all that has happened, and places we have seen and gone to, it has seemed like a long time ago that we left. But we are getting closer to the ocean so that’s a great thing. We are currently at anchor on the Hudson River just south of Kingston, New York, and are only about 21 miles south of Waterford, NY, where we spent five days – instead of just being there overnight as originally planned.
Where last week’s update left off was that we had returned to Waterford after an ill-fated attempt at leaving the mooring wall in Waterford. I have had problems with our shifter in the past, and even a few times on our trip, and last week Thursday morning it locked up again. The shifter lever, which is on the right hand side of the wheel used to steer the boat, has a Neutral, Forward and Reverse. Not rocket science. In Neutral the shifter is pointed up and to go Forward it is pushed forward and reverse you pull it back. So far so good. The farther it is pushed forward the faster the boat goes forward, and the farther it is pulled back the faster the boat goes in reverse. In the middle of the handle where it is connected to the boat there is a red button. When that button is pushed in you can rev the engine up without engaging the gears.
What happens when the shifter locks up for us is that you cannot push the lever forward or reverse AT ALL. It will go forward or in reverse with the button pushed in, but this is not helpful as all it does is rev the engine, not move the boat.
Well, on Thursday morning, 8-16-18, we intended to leave Waterford and the Erie Canal and get onto the Hudson River and head south. The river we were tied up on in Waterford was running about a 2 knot current going the same direction we wanted to go, so that was great. About 400 yards ahead was the Hudson River and all we needed to do was turn right and we were good to go. So picture it, while holding onto the lines that were keeping us tied up to the wall there was some tension as the boat wanted to move in the current. We got ourselves all ready and had talked through what we were going to do and how we would pull away into the current from the wall so we wouldn’t scrape. And that worked great and we got pushed away from the wall and it was at that point when I realized the shifter was locked! And we were going forward almost at 2 knots into the Hudson River. There was a bridge to go under, and then the last lock to go through, and we couldn’t do all that without having any forward or reverse! So Sharon took over steering while I took the instrument panel by the steering wheel apart to get at the shifter, but it just would not budge. Sharon, in the meantime, hailed a cabin cruiser, who had left about the same time as us, on the VHF and they were on stand by along side us ready to tow us back if necessary. About 10 minutes into this mess and in the middle of the Hudson River I did manage to get it into forward, but could then not get it out of forward. I got back on the wheel and turned us around and headed back to the wall, trying to figure out how to get us tied up to the wall while still in forward. What Sharon and I talked over in those couple of minutes is that we would be headed back into the current, which would help slow us down, and just before we were at the wall I would cut the engine and hope we could grab a cleat on the wall – and then just hang on!
It went just as planned and we made a great landing, for which we were very thankful! (And yes, after we were landed and all tied up and were done shaking we did have a beer at 10 am!)
Thankfully we were able to get a hold of One Lock Marine Services, just a couple of miles away, and their lead mechanic came out the next afternoon to totally replace our shifter with the new one I had with us. I had a spare one with us just in case, and we were so thankful we had it. After looking at the spare one I think I maybe could have replaced it myself, but it was good to have someone looking at it who knew how it hooked up to the transmission and to the throttle. It only took him an hour, but he was able to look everything over well and make sure it was all connected correctly. So great to have it replaced! (However, after that incident, I still do test the shifter out even while tied to docks yet just to make sure it’s working!)
We ended up staying in Waterford, New York, for five nights and left Monday morning, Aug. 20. Why so long? The shifter was fixed on Friday, but on Saturday they had their Dragonboat Festival right at the Waterfront so we decided to stay and ended up having front row seats for it! On Friday morning before he came out to fix the shifter Sharon and I changed the oil and oil filter, and changed both fuel filters. I also got a chance to wash the boat and fill the water tanks. On Sunday we got a ride to the local United Methodist Church from Ray, whom we met by the boat, and he also brought us to a West Marine store so I could restock on some things I needed! We also got a lot of great walks in, and even met some new friends at a bar one of the evenings. Oh, I should also add that it was free to tie up to the wall without electricity. Because of where we were on the wall we were able to reach an electrical box so we paid $10 – for the entire time we were there, not just for one night! So it was $10 for five nights in a great location with electricity! Can’t beat that!
7:30 am Monday morning, Aug, 20, we finally left Waterford and headed successfully into the Hudson River. There was one lock remaining to go through, which we did with relatively little trouble (it was a strange lock with no ropes and only one cable we could reach) and we were then done with locks! We had done 73 of them in all, so it was good to have no more ahead of us.
The Hudson River was a beautiful river to be on and meandered through a number of towns and larger cities, like Albany, on our way south. There still were navigational aids to follow but south of Albany this basically was the shipping channel. We even passed a number of huge ships – certainly nothing like we had ever passed before! We refueled along the way and eventually reached Catskills Creek and Hop O Nose Marina where we would have the mast put back up. In case you’re wondering, the name of the marina comes from an earlier Indian tribe that settled in the area and means “Love of Water.” Definitely one of our more favorite places to stay as the setting was so idyllic!
First thing Tuesday morning their crew arrived and up our mast went! How great to get it back up and everything set! Sharon and I ran the lines and hooked up all the electronics that afternoon and even had time to go for a walk to Walmart for some provisions. That evening we put the sails on and we were once again a sailboat! It seemed a whole lot easier in raising the mast than it did in taking it down.
We didn’t have to rush away from Hop O Nose Marina on Wednesday as it was a bit rainy anyway, so we didn’t leave until about 11:30 am to make a short run of only about 21 miles to the Kingston, NY, area. After getting our anchor down at about 2:45 pm we dinghied up the channel and into town for a short walk. What a quaint, cozy town it seemed to be so decided to come back the next day to check out the history of the area, of which there was a lot!