Fairport, Ohio and a change in plans

We left Cleveland to travel just a short 25 miles to Fairport, OH. Fairport was really just a stopping point to rest for the night before we moved on to Erie, PA. We anchored just behind the break wall in Fairport and just settled in for the night after a superb dinner of steak and rice pilaf while we watched the sunset. We didn’t even leave the boat or see the town of Fairport.

Here is Mark grilling up our steak

And the beautiful sunset

There isn’t much to say about Fairport, however it does bring to mind that there are a few different modes that we have on the boat. I suppose it’s a bit like going on a road trip in your car. When your in the car traveling, your in travel mode which is different than when you get to your destination.

Mode #1 – Moving/Sailing/Making some miles – When we are in passage mode it’s all about moving the boat and getting to the next port. Where are we going? When will we get there? Ticking off the miles. Looking for signs of life and traffic on the water. Lounging around watching the world go by. We often don’t shower on days when we are moving. There’s little point when you are in the wind all day. And there is little point to putting on a clean outfit when just your sailing clothes from yesterday will do. We have truly descended into retired beach bums.

Mode #2 – Being in port/town – This involves being at a dock or marina near a town. Now it’s time to explore. What’s here to check out? Where should we grab a bite to eat? We like to go to the local shops and restaurants and stimulate the local economy. Being at a marina also involves seeing other boats and boaters. New people to meet. Where are you from? Where are you going? Exchanging boat cards. Being in a town or port can also involve more mundane tasks such as laundry, grocery shopping, a trip to the hardware store if we need a boat part or stuff. Once we hit a town, we often google restaurant near me and grocery stores near me to know what we can do here.

Mode # 3 – Anchoring out – This is a bit more isolated even though it may be near a town. It’s often just us and the boat unless we have a need or want to take the dinghy down and head to shore for something we might need. Often at anchor we will cook our lunch/dinner since we are isolated from town. However, there is a quiet solitude in anchoring that cannot be beat. And it’s always nice waking up in a peaceful anchorage.

Update on “The Plan”

Also wanted to provide a quick update on our plan or proposed route. You may know that our original plan was to go through the Welland Canal which takes us around Niagara Falls from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario and then we had planned to go through the eastern part of the Erie canal to get from Lake Ontario to the Hudson river and into NYC. We were dependent on the opening of the Canadian border in order to take our boat through the Welland canal since it is entirely across the border in Canada. Without the border open we could hire a captain to take our boat through the Welland canal at a cost of $1.600 – $2.500. This would make the transit through the canal a commercial endeavor and exempt from the border closure.

We did learn back on July 20th that the Canadian border would be opening on August 9th and we were initially excited that we would be able to take our boat through the Welland canal ourselves with the border opening. However, as we have gotten closer to the date for the border to open and after checking with folks at the Canadian border, the Welland canal and other boaters, it appears that the border opening is not what we all expected.

We are hearing that they will still require the hiring of a captain to transit your boat through the Welland canal even after August 9th. Perhaps this will be extended to August 21st or even later. It seems when the Canadians decided to open the border they back pedaled a bit and said, yeah, we meant the land border not really the marine border. They do not plan to staff or open the small vessel reporting stations necessary for checking in and out of the border via the water.

So, after careful consideration, we decided to scrap our plan to go through the Welland canal and into Lake Ontario. Instead we will transit the full length of the Erie canal from Buffalo to the Hudson River. In order to transit the western portion of the Erie canal we have to be able to clear the lowest fixed bridges of 15 feet 5 inches. We got out the tape measure and carefully measured our height. We are most concerned about 2 poles we have at the back of our boat. One pole has the wind generator and the other pole has our radar on it. We need to ensure these poles will clear the lowest bridges on the Erie. Of course, we will remove our mast for this portion of the trip. We would have had to remove the mast anyway for the eastern portion of the Erie Canal from Lake Ontario to the Hudson River. The bridge heights on the eastern portion of the Erie canal are a bit taller and we only need to clear 20 feet 6 inches on that part of the Erie.

So we measured our poles. If we remove the blades for our wind generator we will clear 12 feet 9 inches. So, we made the decision to go through the full length of the Erie canal.

Now most sailboat who go through the Erie canal must remove their mast and most choose to build a wooden structure and supports on the deck of their boat to carry their mast horizontally on deck for the time they are in the Erie canal. It typically looks something like this:

However, we have heard some horror stories from other sailboats we have met along the way about their mast falling off the boat when a large power boat produces a big wake. Also having the mast on deck extends the length of your boat because the mast is longer than the actual boat, so the mast would hang 10 – 15 feet over the bow of the boat and over the stern of the boat. We are not excited about carrying our mast in this fashion.

Since we saved $1,600 – $2,500 that we would have spent on a captain to go through the Welland canal, we have decided to hire a trucking company to ship our mast from Buffalo to the Hudson River. We will feel way more comfortable without having our mast on deck.

One Comment on “Fairport, Ohio and a change in plans

  1. Glad that you have decided upon alternate plans. The Erie Canal trip is longer than I expected extending across New York state. I hope you don’t get bored motoring. Seems like you are on track to meet me in NY harbor. Btw, I am very jelly that you toured the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Thanks for the pics. Tim Davis


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