Monday, September 26, 2011

In the Chesapeake...

I'm in Virginia at the moment, a small town up the Rappahannock called Urbanna. I'm on the hard, preparing to paint the boat before heading up to Annapolis and then south. (for details on the painting, see You Can Paint Your Boat)
Getting ready to haul for painting
The good part about this is that this year, I should be well south before it get cold. Mind you, I've said that before and been wrong! But we're gonna try....

For all of you heading south and looking for advice, feel free to contact me - after 17 trips on the ICW, I'm sure I can help you out. Don't forget, if it's your first trip, to consider buying my video download, Sailing South - First Timer's Guide to the ICW, at TheSailingChannel. You can watch the video trailer there for free.
Gypsy Wind and friends at the free dock in Oriental
Watch for me on the waterway - I'll be the bright red boat, Gypsy Wind.
And you can read my impressions on the ICW here, at SAIL Magazine

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Good news for those heading south....

The Champlain Canal has reopened for navigation this morning, September 14, as has the Troy Lock. The way south is now open once again. Mariners are advised that the Hudson River is choked with debris, mandating a good lookout, and a number of Hudson River marinas are shut down for repairs.
For those needing to step their mast, the Castleton Boat Club is operating, they survived Irene's visit with minimal problems. Their number is 518~732~7077, call ahead. They should also be able to provide you with good info about the balance of the trip south on the Hudson, and I'll file updates here as well.
Here is the advisory in full:



Chart 14786

Champlain Canal

September 12, 2011

Mariners are advised that the Champlain Canal will reopen to all navigation in its entirety at 7 AM on Wednesday, September 14, 2011, conditions permitting.

The Troy Federal Lock, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has reopened to all navigation.

For updates and information, please call 1-800-4CANAL4 or visit

See you in paradise folks.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Amazing Nova Scotia Lobster Cam!

Ever wondered what it was like to be a lobster? Probably not...but just in case, this video cam is located in Halifax Harbour, inside a lobster trap.
As you watch this cam, you'll see every possible sort of sea animal wandering in and out of view. It's simply fascinating, an amazing view of our underwater world. Check it out.

The Amazing Nova Scotia Lobstercam! 

Isn't this just amazing?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Disaster on the Erie Canal

If you're planning on coming south from the Great Lakes, think again. The Erie Canal is shut down for the season following Hurricane Irene. You have two ways to get south this year, three if you consider the St. Lawrence Seaway, which at this late date, I wouldn't advise.
One route is to head south into Lake Michigan and down the Tennessee-Tombigbee route into the Gulf of Mexico. You're on your own there, I've not done that route. Best bet for advice is the Loopers' association - - this group is mostly made up of trawler folk, and many of those are former sailors, so sailors will get some good advice here. Sailors will have the stick on the deck from Chicago almost all the way through to the Gulf.
Your shorter option is to head into Lake Ontario, if you aren't already there, head up to Montreal and south through Lake Champlain to the Hudson River. You'll enter the Champlain Locks section of the New York Canal system. Parts of the Champlain are closed - see below -  and, if you reach the Hudson much prior to September 20, you'll likely be held up by the Troy Lock, which is closed due to recent flooding from tropical storm Lee, which visited right after Irene's disastrous trip through New York.
Here is the current info on the Champlain Canal: 01:52:42PM 9/10/11
Mariners are advised that the Champlain Canal from Lock C-1 (Waterford) to Lock C-4 (Schagticoke/Hempstreet Park) remain closed due to high water levels until further notice. Locks C-5 through C-12 has been reopened.
For updates and information monitor 1-800-4CANAL4 and
Notice damaged railing. This is several stories up, that's how high the water was.
Check out photos of the damage on the Erie Canal from the site:  I've taken the liberty of using one of his photos here to show you just how severe the damage was.

For up to date information on the situation on the Erie and Champlain canals, I recommend you check - I post there regularly, so you'll find the same info as I put in here, but there are also updates from other cruisers which may be helpful to you.
Finally, you might just want to put your boat on a truck and ship it south to the Chesapeake and start having fun sooner! Nothing goes to windward like a Freightliner!
What would Wally do? Ok.....I'd get myself over to the Champlain Locks and find a place to wait it out there above the closed locks. If the locks aren't going to open again this season, (which is apparently not the case), hire a truck and get yourself onto the Hudson or further south to the Chesapeake Bay.
Keep in mind, the Hudson has a great deal of debris from the storm right now and that poses a danger to your vessel, particularly power boats.
Or, stay home and buy a new snow shovel and make plans for next year.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Welcome to Sailing South - the First Timers' Guide to the ICW

Hi everyone - you have probably seen me at one of the major boat shows in Toronto or Annapolis giving this seminar, or perhaps read my articles in SAIL or Waterway Guides, two of my more prominent publishing clients. Or you might have bought my dvd or download, from You can view the dvd trailer at the video link above.
The purpose of this blog is to give you more information, plus current updates, on the waters between the Great Lakes and Miami, including the Erie Canal, Hudson and Delaware rivers and Chesapeake Bay.
Also, I'm here to answer any questions you might have about the trip, or about cruising in general. There's a lot of information out there - but most of it is geared towards blue water sailing, not inland waters or coastal sailing. So, new cruisers such as yourself get confused by the advice they're given.
I'll tell you right up front, if I don't know the answer, I won't make one up - I'll find it out for you and blog it here. As well, since many of you will have experience with the ICW, you may well have answers that will help our away.
So, let's get to it.
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