Wednesday, 31 October 2012

limited access

We are both well and the boat is well.
There is disaster all around us.
Entire marinas are wrcked. Some boats at our marina are wrecked but
all in all our marina faired well. Our boat is completely unharmed.
Our docks were inches from rising overtop of the pilings.
The water stopped rising at just the right time.
At one point a set of docks from another marina came into our marina.
They drifted psdy our boat and smashed into other boats in our marina.
The nearby town of stoney creek is completely wrecked.
I walked through just as the national guard was letting residents back
to their homes.
Lots of crying.
Currently there is no power and limited internet.
Cell phone seems to work sometimes but not always.
We can send and receive texts and emails.
We just setup a method to send blog posts by email (hence this post)
Once we get full internet we will make a picassa album of the pics of
the disaster.


Monday, 29 October 2012

storm going away.

there is debri everywhere. i mean trees in the parking lot and floating everywhere. (they were floating in the parking lot). Around the safe house we saw 4 large trees get ripped out by the roots. when the safe house started to sway in the wind we left to a better place. we hid in the upper floor of the marina office (the lower floor was flooded) untill the waters started to recede. now we are back on the boat. the wind is a very gentle 30 knots gusting to 45. no more 76 knots.

storm storm storm

76 knot winds seen on my mast instrument. 12 foot storm surge. We left the boat for a safe house, the safe house flooded and started to fall apart. We are now at another safe house. The wind is starting to let up bit the tide is going out. The boat is safe. I feel better now.
OK, no more cute song lyrics, this is getting very serious.
The winds just gusted to 100km.
The owner of a boat two slips away is going to try to get to the marina with thoughts of bailing from here.
The danger is that we will get overrun with the storm surge.
Can we even get the boat out of here with these winds?
Can we find a safe spot to anchor on the Hudson?
Wish we knew....

rising tides

This is your captain,
We are about to attempt a crash landing,......

Captain says "watch the storm surge"
Captain says "watch the docks break free"
Captain says "cut the lines and motor out to sea"
Have some rum and relax,  ha ha ha 

This is going to be some day...............

This is the time, and this is the record (blog) of the time....

basically from one of my favourite artists

So, frankenstorm promises a historically high storm surge up to 11 feet in places.
Coupled with a spring high tide at the same time we may have all the docks float free of the pilings.
If that looks like it will happen we will cut the dock lines and motor out to the far side of the river (the lee side) and anchor out there. That's where the coast guard ships are settled in.

That's what my head says. My cozy, soft squishy side says hold on to shore.

we'll see.
pic is of spring high tide this morning before the surge. Very little margin left in the pilings.

and a random pic of the mast coming down in toronto.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Storm Front

We've got a low pressure system and a northeast breeze
We've got a falling barometer and rising seas
We've got the cumulonimbus and a possible gale
We've got a force nine blowing on the Beaufort scale
(Billy Joel - Stormfront)

We've done what we can.
We added a couple hundred feet more dock lines and Hammertime is almost in a hammock.
Certainly any spider would be proud of the web we created.
We went to town and bought beer, wine and rum.
Am I forgetting something, oh yes, we got food too.  Lots.
The holding tank is empty, the water tanks are full.
The batteries are charged and our diesel is topped up with a couple of extra jugs lashed to the boat.
We even did our laundry in anticipation of the power going out.

Now the hard part starts - we wait.....

There's a storm front coming
White water running and the pressure is low
Storm front coming
Small craft warning on the radio
(Billy Joel - Stormfront)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

our exact location

our exact location is right here

this sattelite pic is old so that is not our boat under the green arrow. But thats where we are.

Twas two nights before Sandy
and all through the marina,
all of the creatures were stirring, even the mice!

Early this morning there was much scurrying.
People were arriving with dock lines in hand and heading to the boats to get them secured.
Special tie-down instructions have been distributed to everyone.
Some boats are covered in tarps and otherwise prepared for whatever may come.

"Batten down the hatches," is the mantra around here.

We got some great news this morning: we can stay here!!!
As  Pasquale was waiting in the office for our destiny, the staff were clearly answering many phone calls and turning all newcomers/hopefuls away.  Talk about luck!
Our lucky streak continued, as we got moved to a new slip.  Our original one was near the mouth of the harbour and Hammertime "rocked" whenever any other boat came or went.  The storm would have done worse. We are now centered in a double slip with dock-lines spider-webbed all around.  We should be good as long as the docks hold.  Looking at the (floating) docks makes one a little wary since it is evident that a lot of the welds holding everything together have already cracked.  Hmmmm.....

The other good news is that Hammertime is once again a sailboat.  We rented a car today and headed into New York to pick up the sails.  Getting to the marina was quite the adventure.
First, we knew that there was going to be a toll to get across the George Washington Bridge.  In anticipation, Pasquale and I were fishing through our pockets to see how many quarters we had.  Ha!  Quarters? The toll to get across the bridge was $12 !!!  The next segment of our trip was trying to figure out how to get to the 79th St. Marina.  Turns out that you need to go underground through an opening that is for authorized vehicles only and then snake your way through all manner of construction, vehicles, forklifts etc. until there are a couple of parking spaces under some subterranean tents.  We assumed the tents were to keep rabble from the dungeon from falling onto the cars.  The walk out of the dungeon brought an amazing sight.  We were on a walking/running/biking trail along the Hudson River.  There were lots of people out enjoying the day.  We got the sails and then had lunch at the cafe above.  Even though we were a bit down on the marina for how they treated us WRT the sails, this is definitely a place to go back to.  What a location.

When we got back to the boat, we found out that the Erie Canal is now closed.  In anticipation of Sandy, they closed the locks and started to lower the water levels.  We were told that high tide on the Hudson came two hours early yesterday - all due to the extra water they dumped down the canal.  Clearly people are taking the storm very seriously.  Not sure what will happen to the boats that are stranded somewhere in the canal, but I guess we are lucky to be where we are.  (I withhold the right to retract that last statement in a couple of days!)

We heard that there may be a run on food and other supplies.  We will still have our car tomorrow, so, hopefully we can get into town to get some provisions.  Will let you know how that goes.  The adventure continues.
.... and to all a good night!

Friday, 26 October 2012

It's just a jump to the left,
and a step to the right.
Where will Frankenstorm land?
Will it be a "hundred year storm?"
Buy your extra dock lines now.
That's the local chatter.

We got up early this morning and did a long motor (mad dash) directly towards Haverstraw.
Once again, we were wondering why we were the only boat heading south and everyone else was heading north???  Ahhh, what do they know?  Wimps.
From what we have heard, Haverstraw is about the best place to be to weather the storm.  We are in a protected harbour.  The  only bad news is that it is unclear whether they will let us stay here.  There is talk about  moving us to another slip, or sending us away to some other place.  We'll see.

Just to keep life interesting, we got confirmation that our sails are at the 79th St. Basin Marina.  Seems that because we are not going to show up there tomorrow (duh) they don't want to hold onto the sails for a few days.  So, tomorrow we will need to rent a car and go immerse ourselves into NY traffic.  How's that for hospitality and help in adverse conditions?  The ok part of this is that we get to see NY - maybe more than expected if we get our directions wrong - and hopefully we can stop to get a few last minute items plus maybe start accumulating provisions for the ocean segment.

The Hudson keeps getting bigger and wider.  Tides are also a major factor.  This morning we crawled for a while until the tides turned and gave us a push.  It is pretty clear why many do this part of the trip earlier in the year.  Most of the marinas down here have already shut down.  All of the boats are on the hard, the docks are out and lights are off.  This makes the logistics of planning each day all that more difficult.

That's it for today. Lots of excitement coming up!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012


hurricane sandy is bearing down on us (or so they currently predict).
Tonight we are docked in Kingston NY about 80 miles north of New York City.
In Google maps  there is a pic of a boat tied up right where we are.

The mast is up, the boom is up and all the rigging is setup. We can sail now except that we have not yet received our new heavy weather sails.

Our current plan for the hurricane is to motor down to Haverstraw NY which is known as a safe harbour for boats escaping storms on the NY coast. While there we will monitor the hurricane path predictions and figure out what to do.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Mast is up!!!!  yay!!!

lots of work to do tomorrow to setup the boom and tension the shrouds etc.
Need to build a motor mount for the dinghy motor and need to mount the dinghy and liferaft in a secure location.
Also need to install the solar panels.

AND....... hurricane sandy is heading our way :-(
Should we motor down to virginia now and get there just ahead of the storm or wait it out here and sail down after the storm passes.  decisions, decisions......

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Phew! 57 miles covered today.  At one time we were doing 8.54 knots over the ground (helped by a following river current). 9 more locks behind us. By lunch tomorrow we will be in Albany and picking up some items and doing work on the boat. By late Tuesday we should have our mast back up in Hop-O-Nose. That means New York by Thursday unless we doddle and do more boat work. In the pic you see us at the bottom of one of the highest locks in the world.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

This is Sailorob signing on.
I'm here to keep things honest.
Funny how every time a story is told, the wind speeds get faster, the wave heights get taller, the rum bottles get emptier, the appendage sizes get bigger...  oops, that might be enough.
Well, the boat is starting to look like a boat instead of the truck that you see on the intro to the Beverly Hillbilly's.  Today, we could actually turn around in the cabin.  For weeks we've been bringing gear on board for the various projects that still needed doing.  Of course, when we undertake a project, we spend at least half the time looking for various bits and pieces.  The most common line we hear: "Have you seen...."  At least one person reading this blog is going to get a big chuckle out of that sentence.  (That is also a mantra at home.)
So far the trip has been very interesting. The Oswego/Erie Canal has been, well, Erie.  Sounds like most of the cruisers went through a few weeks ago.  Each day we have seen no more than one other boat - going the other way.  Is there a message here????
From what we can gather, in the summer, the locks would be full of boats.  Now, we get custom service from the lock-keepers.
Pasquale just informed me that no-one wants to read a verbose blog, so I'll finish my third bottle of rum and sign off for the night.  Cheers!

Now we are motoring on the canal about 5 miles east of Rome New York. We spent the night in Rome. Yesterday we crossed the mighty Lake Oneida. Its about 15 miles long. The forecast was for 2-4 knots of wind and flat water.  Instead just after we started the crossing a storm hit us and we had 30 knots and 2-3 foot waves with some clumps of 5 foot waves.  exciting times with the mast on deck. All day long the only weather we had was while on the lake crossing. murphy's law i guess.
This morning we have beautiful mist over the autumn leaves.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

So we're off.
We set "sail" at 1pm Oct 16th.
Made it across and length of the lake in 22 hours. Since the mast is down on the deck (we have to have it down for the canal system in New York) we motored the whole way and consumed only 11 gallons of diesel in 22 hours of motoring; very encouraging for our ocean voyage.
We had 8 to 12 knot winds and 1-2 foot waves most of the time. At around 4am the wind built to 15-20 knots and the waves built to 3 feet. The front of the mast was in danger of being dipped in the water so we turned into the south shore to get out of the wind and waves. It was a very good move since the wind only built.

We are now at winter harbour marina just at the entrance to Lake Oneida. the winds today were gusting to 30 knots and we elected not to cross the lake. We have crossed 8 locks so far and have 22 to go.
Below you see the latest addition to to boat. A fruit hammock. Thanks to Chris M who intended it for wet clothes.

our location on the map.,-76.160038&hl=en&num=1&t=h&z=17

Monday, 8 October 2012

shakedown sail

We made lots of changes to the boat and the 4 of us went for a shakedown sail.
We reached back and forth across the lake overnight and logged a large number of miles.
The night was rainy and cold and stormy. As the storms approached we saw the wind go from 9 to 20 and down and up again repeatedly. We made the cautious move and took down the head sail and reefed the main just in case we got 30 or 40 knot gusts in the middle of the lake.
We never saw more than 20 knots but Hammertime was sailing a steady 7+ knots on a reach and close reach under a reefed main alone. What an awesome boat.

We learned somethings about our clothing. It was inadequate. Rain, 10C and dark can be very very cold. We had some minor issues with the new autopilot but overall it performed very well and it handled about 80% of the driving.

Next, mast down and motor to Oswego.
We're in scramble mode now. Making sure we have all the paper work, clothing, parts etc for the trip.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Ok so this is the blog for HammertimeII's trip to the Carribean. Not too sure how we'll use this. Probably post daily status and interesting things we see or adventures (storms etc). I guess we can post pics here also. We may default to FB or this or maybe use both. We'll see.

The trip is about 3000 miles. The first few hundred will be motoring with the mast down. the last 2000 will be sailing in the Atlantic.

The boat is nearly ready. We had a "work party" this week where we all worked late into the night and slept on the boat and then started working again in the morning. The mast will come down next week in preparation for motoring down the hudson river (lots of bridges) to New York where the mast will be put up again and we sail out into the Atlantic and down to the carribean (with a stop in virginia).

Paul, Rob, Chris, and I (Pasquale) are well prepared and will be doing a 30 hour sail this friday/sat. The goal is to do a man overboard drill at least 8 times. One each with a different person at the helm and in daylight and darkness. We may also test out our drogue and will be testing reefing the main to the 1st and 2nd reef with each of use doing the reefing single handed.
On the way down to Virginia we will pic up a life raft and other items needed for survival (hopefully never to be used).