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From the Chesapeake to Lake Ontario, via the Hudson River

By Sue Richards last modified Mar 14, 2019 12:41 PM

Published: 2008-06-26 18:30:00
Countries: USA , Canada

The first of May 2008 we left the very friendly Delaville Marina (Virginia) in the Chesapeake bay, to sail up to the great North and visit the east coast of Canada. After many years spent sailing on tropical waters and on the Med, we were happy to sail North.

Unfortunately going to New York the weather was not very good, the wind was cold with a lot of rain.

We started to look for a different route to reach Canada, and talking with other sailors it looked like the better way was to go up the Hudson River to Waterford, followed by Erie Canal and the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario.

The 79 St. Marina in New York is the best spot to start this alternative trip to Canada. The marina is not a luxurious marina, but it is located in a great place in the heart of Manhattan, and has very reasonable prices. For our 56 foot yacht JANCRIS in May 2008, we paid US$30 per day for the mooring. With the dinghy it is possible to get ashore and use the showers, the washing machine and dryer, all for free.

Going up the Hudson River we anchored in front of the nice town of Cold Spring, opposite Catskill and on the Castleton on Hudson.

In Catskill there are a couple of marinas that can un-step your mast and in Castleton there is a boat club where it is possible to do this job yourself.

We chose to do the job ourselves at the boat club and paid US$50 for the main mast and US$25 for the mizzen, plus US$1 per foot per night.

The job was so hard that we will never do it ourselves again!

Navigating a sail boat with two masts (because JANCRIS is a ketch), strapped on the deck fixed on a homemade piece of plywood, was not relaxing or easy to start with. At Waterford we had our first experience of a lock. Waterford is a very friendly town with a free dock, including electricity and water.

After Waterford we started to "play" with the locks in earnest. To get to Lake Ontario we passed through a total of 23 locks on the Erie Canal, plus another 8 on the Oswego canal. The incredible beauty of the vegetation along the river bank more than paid back the stress of the locks. We really enjoyed the trip and strongly recommend you do it if you intend to leave the US in the Spring.

At the Oswego Marina we paid US$4 per foot to step both the masts (more than 100 feet). After the job we chose to moor alongside the public dock that is much cheaper than the marina (US$20 per night).

At the beginning we were a little bit daunted having both masts on the deck and so many locks to pass through. However now we are happy we chose to undertake this circle route.

We made the simple and free Canadian entry formalities in Kingston, and now plan to sail to the beautiful Thousand Islands, Montreal and on to Quebec City.

As usual on board we have our dog, a Westie called Trudy, and we had no problems.

Alfredo e Nicoletta Giacon
S/Y Jancris