Dunkirk Yacht Club
Dunkirk Yacht Club has to be without a doubt the friendliest bunch of people we have encountered so far on our journey.
We had a beautiful sail from Erie, PA to Dunkirk, NY. Another new state today! As we approached Dunkirk we got on the VHF and called the Dunkirk Yacht Club. We were told that DYC will take transient boats but there is no way to make a reservation. They have a phone number but no one answers the phone. It’s a private yacht club so no staff or anything for administrative matters. We were told to simply hail them on the VHF as we approached, which we did.
There is a wonderful gentleman by the name of Stan who lives aboard his boat in the summer time at DYC and he listens to the VHF and helps transients get to the dock. He answered our call on the VHF, told us which slip we could occupy and met us at the dock to catch our lines.
Once settled on the dock, Stan gave us the lay of the land, bathrooms, showers, wifi, etc. And then he told us about their Thursday night happy hour that starts at 6 pm and we are invited to join them.
As we walked down the dock, we eyed this beautiful 1927 Alden with a couple hanging out on the foredeck in their hammock. We commented on what a beautiful boat they had and then noticed that they were drinking something out of a mug from Pusser’s. We asked, “Is that a Painkiller you are drinking?” The answer was “Yes, would you like one?” Of course, we would care not to refuse. We had a great conversation over Painkillers that ranged from the British Virgin Islands, to the name of our boat, to the history of their 1927 boat and its full restoration. Scott and Ellen, thank you for the Painkiller’s and the great conversation.
There were about 50 people or so at the weekly happy hour with shared snacks, pizza and dishes to share. Everyone was so welcoming and everyone took the time to introduce themselves and asked about our journey. Dunkirk Yacht Club is a small privately run yacht club and it very much reminded us of Pepin Yacht Club with it’s size and friendliness. There were too many names for us to remember them all, but we thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone. There were a few more transient boaters here as well who had just come from the Erie canal, so we were able to ask a lot of questions about the road ahead and what to expect.
The next day, we walked and explored the small town of Dunkirk, which really just has a handful of shops and restaurants along the city pier in the main area of town.
We ate lunch at a little place called “64 on the Pier” It was great food and a great view overlooking the water and the pier.
On our walk from the boat to the pier, there was what appeared to be an old abandoned marina with docks that were falling apart. I don’t think you want to stay here.
Later today there was a 50 foot Chris Craft cabin cruiser that pulled into the marina next to us. They had just come from the Erie Canal as well, so we had shared lots of questions and answers with them about their trip. Their boat was quite tall and we asked how they made it through the Erie Canal with the bridge heights. They told us the stories about having only inches of clearance on a few bridges and how the captain had to kneel down on the fly bridge steering area with his hands on the wheel with his knuckles barely clearing the bridge.
Their boat name was Burnt Out and they were from California. They told us the tale of how their home in California was lost to the wildfires and once they lost their home decided it was time to buy the boat and head out and that is how their boat got the name Burnt Out.
The next day we were looking to get some supplies we needed for when we take down our mast in Buffalo so we can package up the mast for shipping it to the Hudson River. We were looking for pipe insulation which we would put around both our jib furler and staysail furler. We needed plastic cling wrap on a roll that is used for packing. We needed duct tape and some remnants of carpet. We were certain if we could locate a hardware store they would have most of these items. However, there wasn’t a hardware store within walking distance from the marina. There also was no uber or lyft services to drive us anywhere.
Stan, the ambassador at Dunkirk Yacht Club, came to the rescue and offered to drive us to Home Depot. Thanks Stan!! We were able to get all the items we needed to package up our mast for shipping when we get to Buffalo. Did I mention how friendly and helpful people are at Dunkirk Yacht Club!
Even the swans and ducks were quite friendly here as well.