Voyage of PAX
This is a Blog about helping Doug Thomas take his 46' Uniflite, "PAX", Through the Welland, Oswego, and Erie Canals to Kingston, New York, on the Hudson River. We left Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Doug is actually going to Little River, SC, near Myrtle Beach, but I can only go part way - I have to haul out our boat, "Island Girl," in October.
Scroll to the bottom of the page for some background information on our trip and the canals. Or, click on a date below to see our progress
Here's a Map of the total voyage, over 1300 Miles. I will be travelling the first 650, from Lake Erie to the Hudson River.
The Erie Canal was completed in 1825. At that time, there was no economical way to ship grain and other produce from the midwest to the east coast. The canal travelled from Lake Erie to the Hudson River. This allowed water shipment of goods from Chicago (Lake Michigan) to New York City, and beyond.
The first canal was an engineering wonder It was essentially a ditch 40' wide and 4' deep. It was designed to carry vessels with loads of 30 tons. The canal was fairly straight and mules provided the propulsion.
The canal was a huge success. And spawned many more, including the Ohio and Erie Canal, running from Cleveland (Lake Erie), through my home town of Akron, and then to the Ohio River.
Over the years, the Erie canal was enlarged to carry larger vessels and more cargo. When self-propelled vessels were available, the route was changed to take advantage of existing lakes and rivers. The current route is essentially the same as in 1903.
The Oswego Canal was completed in 1828, connecting Lake Ontario to the Erie Canal. Like the Erie Canal, it began as a 4' ditch, but currently follows the Oswego River, allowing wider and deeper boats.
The Welland Canal was built between 1913 and 1932, as a means for commercial shipping (freighters and ocean going vessels) to travel between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, circumventing Niagara Falls, It was the first section completed of what is now the St Lawrence Seaway.
You might ask, why not take the Erie Canal the whole way to New York? The answer is that western half of the Erie Canal has a vertical clearance (bridges) of 15', while the eastern half and the Oswego have a clearance of 20'. PAX has a vertical height of about 19' (with the canvas top up), so we will be watching closely to make sure we clear the bridges. Remember the song..."Low Bridge, Everybody Down!".
This is a photo of PAX, a Uniflite 46', taken in July 2014.
This is also my first Blog, so please excuse my poor form. I don't really know what I'm doing!
Doug has spent a lot of time planning this voyage. He has researched the trip and stops along the way, entering hundreds of waypoints into his chartplotter.
His resources included Richardson's Guide to Lake Erie, New York State Canal System Cruising Guide, Skipper Bob's Guide to New York Canals, and notes from "Active Captain", a crowd-sourced guide with input from cruisers.
Here is our float plan: (included 1 day out of 4 for layover due to weather or other factor)
Tues 9/8/15 Mentor Yacht Club Mentor-On-The-Lake, OH Wed 9/9/15 Wolverine Park Marina Erie, PA Thurs 9/10/15 Sugarloaf Harbour Marina Welland, Ontario Fri 9/11/15 Weather day
Sat 9/12/15 St. Catharines Marina / Dalhousie Marinas Lake Ontario
Sun 9/13/15 Rochester Rochester, NY Mon 9/14/15 Oswego Marina Oswego, NY Tues 9/15/15 Weather day Wed 9/16/15 Erie Canal - Lock #23 Three Rivers Thurs 9/17/15 Ilion Marina Ilion, NY Fri 9/18/15 St. Johnsville Municipal Marina St. Johnsville, NY
Sat 9/19/15 Weather day
Sun 9/20/15 Schenectady, NY
Mon 9/21/15 Waterford, NY Tues 9/22/15 Kingston City Marina Kingston, NY Wed 9/23/15 Weather day Thurs 9/24/15 Half Moon Bay Marina Croton On Hudson, NY Fri 9/25/15 Hoffman's Marina Manasquan Inlet, NJ Sat 9/26/15 Beach Haven Yacht Club Beach Haven, NJ
Sun 9/27/15 Weather day
Mon 9/28/15 South Jersey Marina Cape May, NJ
Tues 9/29/15 Summit North Marina Bear, DE Wed 9/30/15 Annapolis Yacht Basin Annapolis, MD Thurs 10/1/15 Weather day
Fri 10/2/15 Anchorage
Sat 10/3/15 Compass Marina Mobjack, VA Sun 10/4/15 Top Rack Marina Chesapeake, VA Mon 10/5/15 Weather day Tues 10/6/15 Coinjock Marina Coinjock, VA Wed 10/7/15 Belhaven Waterway Marina Belhaven, NC Thurs 10/8/15 Whittaker Pointe Marina Oriental, NC Fri 10/9/15 Weather day Sat 10/10/15 Swan Point Marina Sneads Ferry, NC Sun 10/11/15 Southport Marina Southport, NC Mon 10/12/15 Lightkeepers Marina Little River, SC
A map of the country traversed by the Erie Canal (from Water-ways from the Ocean to the lakes / by Thomas Curtis Clarke -- Scribners Magazine, Vol. XIX, no. 15, 1896, p. 104)
I actually have some experience on the Erie Canal. In 2006, Coralee, Bill Harris, Joe Sudomir and I brought our 30' Maine Cat, Island Girl, from New York City to Sandusky Ohio. We travelled up the Hudson River, through the entire Erie Canal, and across Lake Erie to Sandusky.
Our Crew: Brian, Mary Jane, Doug, Linda, and Dick