Friday, July 25, 2014


Cruise Day I, 4 July 2014, Point Bay Marina Mooring, Charlotte, Vermont.

Marc- We left Boston as Hurricane Arthur came up the coast with its wind and rain.  The drive up was rather wet until we entered Vermont at the Connecticut River crossing near White River Junction.  A slight change of plans due to North winds so to make the anchorage at Kingsland Bay untenable for the first night led us to stay at home base.  That worked well as we settled in to boat life once again and prepared for the race on the 5th.  Dinner on Coquina!

5 July 2014:  Point Bay Marina, Charlotte, Vermont.

Marc-  A race start at 11:10 gave us plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast.  Unfortunately I had the wrong start time in my head and we started the race five minutes late (it was a staggered start over the line).  In any case we put up a great fight for last place and won.  The winds were excellent, 15-20 knots out of the northwest and we were headed southwest to Westport.  Lucy III took a slip at the marina.  It was great to be able to turn on the AC and to use the cool mountain water from the Adirondack Mountains.  We hiked up the scenic creek trail and stopped along Main Street for the Independence Day Parade:  a few tractors and 30 or so fire trucks, a few politicians in nice cars and especially liberal outpouring of candy.  I especially enjoyed the Town Library annual book sale and picked up a few good books.  The fireworks started soon after sunset at 9:30 and were most impressive for such a small town.

Sara on July 5—we swung about wildly—me at the wheel. “Woo!” I cried, leaning into my Montreal roommate Kiran to keep myself from falling over. She leaned back and asked my parents “Have you ever tipped over?”
“Impossible,” Dad replied.
“I think we could!” Mom sang as we leaned further into the bluster and the waves.
I grinned and rolled my eyes. “She’s been saying that my whole life. We’re never tipping over; it’s not a thing.” But just at that moment… Just kidding  My words did sound like a jinx to me though! Reminded me of people calling the Titanic “unsinkable”.

Later, in the sweet small town of Westport, we discovered a gold mine—No, better than a gold mine: a book sale. “More books inside!” the villagers told us as we browsed the tables of tomes under the tent outside. Popular mysteries mostly. And a little sci-fi (I was intrigued by a cover: a white egg cracking open in a green forest, and the starry universe spilling out like yolk. An incubating universe cracked open too soon? Instead of growing into a live thing, becoming the coolest omelet ever.

“You could go to grad school for library science,” Kiran said as, upon entering the library, I rambled to her excitedly about how awesome it, and all libraries, were.

6 July 2014:  Westport Marina, Westport, New York.

Marc-  We motored South to Crown Point and the anchorage between the bridge and the Lighthouse.  This was an excellent spot as we rafted up to Coquina and Vigilant.  The Crown Point Fort Museum was a treat as well as the guided tour.  Some of us crossed the bridge to the Bridge Restaurant.

Sara on July 6— In the morning the adults went to church, and the almost-adults meandered to the beach and settled onto shaded boulders to dive into our book fair finds of the day before. Kiran’s was a sci-f adventure of an android becoming president; mine was Through the Looking Glass (a.k.a. Alice in Wonderland).

Fast-forward to what Dad forgot to mention about the Bridge Restaurant: We didn’t go there for food, but for ice cream and lemonade. ’Twas wondrously refreshing after our hot hot walk through many histories…Our favorite: learning of the soldiers who used to live  in the fort over the bridge. They made TONS of bread in the biggest brick oven I’ve ever seen. And they had a preacher with them. I wondered aloud what he did all day. Did he fit in with the soldiers? A lily white educated boy lollygagging round camp until the hardcore guys returned from battle… “I’m pretty sure,” one of my fellow sailors butted into my rambling, “he toughened up pretty fast. Soldiers aren’t the only hardcore ones,” she finished with a wink.

During the tour Kiran grinningly noted that the fort looked like Hobbit Heaven.
“Where should we put our hobbit hole?” she asked, scanning the area.
“Over there!” I whispered, nodding to a lovely grassy spot hugged on three sides by slopes. When we do move there, we’ll open the door of our hobbit hole and see stately, well-kept ruins of another time.

7 July 2014:  Champlain Bridge Anchorage, Crown Point, New York

Marc-  Motored again to the Bay just East of the old Fort at Ticonderoga designated as a Special Anchorage Area just South of the Ferry.  This was a very quiet and protected spot within an easy walk to the Fort itself.  The entrance is next to the Amtrak train station about 300 yards up from the Ferry landing.

Our first adventure was to cruise up the La Chute Creek to Ticonderoga Village.  This was quite the adventure seeing many birds and a bayou type of setting expecting to see alligators.  We tied up just below the Falls and the covered bridge.  A visit to the Visitors Center was helpful to get some history of the spot.  A large Mill once was located here where a park is now.  The Mills has moved north and is on the Lakeshore.  I learned that Ticonderoga pencils are made here and that the lead is mined in the mountains nearby.  Who knew that the #2 Ticonderoga pencils were from Ticonderoga New York.  The hardy next climbed up Mount Defiance for a spectacular view of the Lake and an excellent lecture by a Fort Ticonderoga re-enactor.  

Sara—Day 4—July 7— Whenever I try to remember the name of the mountain we climbed on July 7th, I always think, “Mount Desperation?” and then grin to myself. My dad was surprised to hear me call it that when I did aloud once. “What? Mount Defiance? That was my favorite!”
“We had a good hike, and the re-enactor…”
“It was HOT,” our friend Mindy backed me up, sighing a big OOF at the memory.
“Kiran did come up with a whole bunch of plots for her fanfiction though,” I relented, grinning…

Kiran and I were hiking up Mount Defiance, and we must have been delirious from the heat because she said, “You actually use less energy when you run up the hill.” She explained all about the propulsion, momentum… “Race ya!” I cried, and we jogged up to the peak of one hill, then another… “Ooof, break time?”
We spent rest of the hike plotting out her Star Trek story. She’s got all her own characters and everything. They’re mad well developed. I just sorta sit back and listen in happy awe as she creates universes before my mind’s eye (Why is the mind a Cyclops?), and then she turns around and claims she couldn’t do it without me. “I’ve been trying to come up with a plot for that story for two months,” she told me.
My eyes widened. “Huh?”
She shrugged and smiled. “You’re my muse.”
We decided that even if she moves in with her girlfriend in Poland and they move in together an’ all, I’ll still drop in every once in a while. “Crazy Aunt Sara,” Kiran dubbed future me, and that night, I wrote a poem about it. All you need to know before reading it is that I LOVE ketchup and chocolate, though not together…but I can’t really say; I haven’t tried that combo…Ok, now—To the poem:

She comes in the
dead of noon,
Disheveled and grinning

“Oh no,” you think,
beckoning her
across the threshold

“The couch is yours,” you sigh,
“and you came...
just in time for dinner.
We’ve got ketchup,” you add
before she can ask.

“SARA!!!” your kids exclaim,
barreling in
to greet your old college roommate,
their hobo idol,
Crazy Aunt Sara

Not for the first time
you question your decision
to make her guardian
in case of your and your spouse’s

You wince
at the thought
of your children
hobbling happily behind
this corn-haired hillbilly
with naught but stick & stocking
hobo packs
upon their skinny shoulders

“Well… at least
they’d always have
you console yourself
before herding all the vagabonds
into the dining room

8 July 2014:  Ticonderoga Special Anchorage Area, Ticonderoga, New York.

Marc-  Early bird special at Fort Ticonderoga.  We gathered the troops and went by dinghy to the Ti Ferry dock where there is a nice launching ramp and dock suitable for small boats to tie up.  The walk up to the Fort was cool along a tree- lined road up to the welcome center.  We checked in and proceeded on our tour.  The fife and drum corps were quite busy (since soldiers of the 18th century did nothing without music).  Next came the viewing of the Fort itself and discussions with re-enactors of military life.   Everything from a military musket drill to a cobbler and even a tailor, a la 18th century style.

Afternoon sail up to the Champlain Bridge anchorage area on the New York State Park side.  We watched 1776 with Mindy in the cockpit right through the thunderstorm that blew through the anchorage.  All of the boats held up well.

Sara—Day5—July 8— The walk up to the fort was BROILING HOT. (Just had to add that because I giggled when I read Dad call it “cool” in his entry.) It was shady, but hot enough that we were sweating bullets as we approached the military base of the Ticonderogians. I lounged in the shade of a historical cart as the tour began. Everyone else stood in the hot hot sunshine to listen to our guide, a portly gentleman in full costume. He must’ve been used to it though because, unlike all of us tourists in T-shirts, this baddass bayonneter didn’t break a sweat.
My favorite thing he told us was this: Soldiers had groupies. Actually, he didn’t tell us that… It was a girl selling soldier-style bread and chocolate (Chocolate was considered essential! How cool is that? I agree, of course: When I was planting trees in British Columbia earlier this summer, I would break out a bar of chocolate to share with my crew at the end of every workday. We all agreed: That cocoa kept us sane). The chocolate-seller (dressed in a lovely pale pink frock) told us that women lived here. Soldiers wives, and children too. But not only them: There were people, she said, who just followed the soldiers around. “Like groupies?” I asked, leaning in and grinning as I thought of crazed rock-n-roll fans.
“Yeah, kinda.” She smiled.
“What did they do all day?”
“Oh, helped out with cleaning up, laundry, cooking…”
I liked the idea of the groupies… I pictured them in modern-day tents like the one I used on my treeplanting adventure… Unlike the soldiers, the groupies of my mind woke late, yawning wide and happy as puppies. They’d lollygag by the canons at sunset, watching the great ball of nectarine fire, the pink and violet clouds…

The cool thing about Fort Ticonderoga is that the employees really work there: The tailor is really a tailor, and he actually fixes the uniforms of the soldiers who march around all day, looking fancy for us tourists. “The crotches are always tearing,” the tailor told me as he wove through some hardcore-looking white cloth with a silver needle. His legs dangled off his great sturdy  wooden table and I got the feeling he’d prefer to be left alone, so he could focus on his work instead of answering our idle queries.
The cobbler was the same: focused on his work. He had answer

9 July 2014:  Champlain Bridge Anchorage, Crown Point, New York.

Marc-  Champlain Bridge Marina stopover for fuel, pump out and ice.  We also visited the DAR mansion nearby.  Very nice for a 19th century brick structure.  With all systems ready we departed at noon for Basin Harbor Club motor sailing in a light breeze.

At 2 p.m. we were greeted at the Basin docks by Ryan and our Stephanie in the key slip.  The remainder of the RSYC fleet went over to the North Basin Harbor and picked up moorings.  It was nice to see where Steph is working.  We gathered for a great talk on the Revolutionary War naval battles on Lake Champlain (actually fought by the US Army).  Benedict Arnold was a hero at that time for his planning in doing battle with the British and turned a loss into a victory.  After the visit the RSYC people met at the Red Mill restaurant for a great meal.    We still had time for some tennis with Annaka, Sara, Steph, and Sue.

10 July 2014:  Basin Harbor, Ferrisburg, Vermont.

Marc-  At 11:00 we left for a trip up Otter Creek to Vermont’s smallest city: Vergennes. I thought that I had seen an otter but it turned out to be a beaver on the way up.   Lucy III was the last to arrive but a space had been saved for us on the North side.  Dinner was enjoyed at the Black Sheep restaurant.  The Falls were well lit in Red White and Blue overnight.

11 July 2014:  Vergennes North Dock, Vergennes, Vermont.

Marc-  I volunteered to help the LCMM crew lift a new main boom in place on the Lois McClure ( the block and tackle did most of the work). This is one large wooden Schooner (90 feet) with solid wooden masts.  I left before the final placement was completed since the RSYC fleet was leaving.  We then motor sailed up to Burlington and tied up behind Abigail at the Burlington Community Docks.  A pot luck was enjoyed on Abigail thanks to Alan and Diane.

12 July 2014:  Burlington Community Boathouse, Burlington, Vermont.

Marc here reporting on a discovery of mermaids in the seawall at Burlington.  Actually they are carved in the marble stones that make up the protective wall just south of Perkins Pier.   We departed early for a great sail from Burlington to Butterfly Bay at Valcour. First tack went to Port Kent following the ferry route and then a downwind sail to Valcour Island.  Lucy III rafted up to Swept Awa (Stephanie and Elise’s boat).  We put out a second anchor for the possible thunderstorms forecast for the night.  I scouted out the trails to The Lighthouse and confirmed the tour time of 1 p.m.  Our RSYC fleet was split between Butterfly Bay and Sloop Cove.  The racers had arrived a day earlier to participate in the Mayor’s Cup Races at Plattsburgh.  The Donnelly’s invited everyone for a pot luck dinner on Coquina and a fantastic time was had by all.

Marc-  We saw Steph off to a taxi waiting to take her to Basin Harbor for work.  I climbed up the Hill to the Burlington City Market for a few perishable items and ice cream with strawberries.  Lucy III made a 11:00 a.m. departure for a sail to Valcour Island.  The best wind was following the ferry to Port Kent and then sailing wing and wing to Bluff Point which we rounded and anchored for the night in Butterfly Bay.  Most of the Harbor was full of Canadian boats but with ample room for more.  We were happy to raft up with Slip Away.

13 July 2014:  Butterfly Bay, Valcour Island, New York.

Marc-  Time to explore Valcour Island and its many trails.  The crews assembled at 12:30 for the hike to the Lighthouse and an excellent tour it was.  The Guide allowed us full access o the facility and explained its history and continued use to guide navigators.  Mr. Harwood also explained the Stone House on the Southern end of Valcour that had been a fancy summer camp complete with indoor plumbing and full kitchen.   It was a nice hike down to the stone house with many views on the passage to the West.  After dinner we assembled for a bonfire on the beach.  George and I scavenged wood from campfires and whatever else we could find on the beach.  The fire did keep the mosquitoes away!

14 July 2014:  Butterfly Bay, Valcour Island, New York.

Marc-  Our Northern trip continued with a sail all the way up to Rouses Point.  Lucy III and Swept Away did have tangled anchor lines that needed attention before departure.  In fact we hauled both anchors at once while still rafted up.  Stephanie and Elise left for the South (we will miss them).  Lucy III sailed east of Crab Island to see the War of 1812 Monument:  a tall obelisk.  Many sailors from both the English and the American sides lost their lives the battle that took place nearby.  Crab Island was set up as a Hospital.   The wind increased to 15 knots out after passing this Island and Lucy III sped to the ferry crossing at Cumberland Head at 6.5 knots.  After Cumberland Head the Wind waxed and waned but we continued under sail alone until Rouses Point where we docked at Gaines Marina.  The best sight along the way was of the Ile LaMotte lighthouse near the site of Fort St. Anne (today's St. Anne's Shrine).

The marina owners and staff welcomed us warmly.  The facilities are excellent here with new bathrooms and recently constructed docks.  There are a lot of rather large Montreal boats in this marina as at most marinas on the New York shore of Lake Champlain north of Westport.

15 July 2014: Rouses Point, New York.  St Paul Ile Aux Noix, Québec Canada.

Marc-   Invasion of Canada today.  Three boats with masts under 50 feet, Lucy III, Raven and Spirit, motored north into Canada stopping at the Canadian Customs Pier in Lacolle.  Even the railroad bridge remained open for us as we proceeded to the visitor’s pier at Isle aux Noix, Fort Lennox.  Our troops arrived 15 minutes before the tour was to begin.    Our tour guide did a great job explaining this old fort and the history of this island that was once covered with walnut trees.  The Island was occupied by the French, the British and the Americans at various times.  The current fortifications were built after the War of 1812 for an American Invasion that was never to take place.  The fort is well preserved and has an operating Cantine.  The soldier’s dormitories, the powder magazine, the officer’s quarters, and the prison were the best sites.  After lunch we departed in the rain for a wet return to Rouses Point.

All had to first stop at US Customs just north of the Bridge.  It was raining so hard that none of the officers went out to the docks.  The only difficulty here was docking to the plastic docks in the gusts.  The sun soon came out and we enjoyed a pot luck dinner at the swimming pier at Gaines Marina.  we did get a view of Ft. Montgomery from a distance.

16 July 2014:  Rouses Point, New York.

Marc-  Lucy III departed early for Burton Island followed by Coquina.  We decided to skip Deep Bay and go directly to Burton to meet up with the crew of Abigail who were visiting for only one night.  After passing the Grand Isle Bridge Lucy III had a broad reach to Burton Island where were greeted by the crew of Abigail.  Swimming here is excellent as usual and the hiking fine.  The campground is almost full.  We enjoyed dinner and a fire on the beach.  Sara and Annika teamed up for lots of fun.  We ended the evening watching the Wild Thornberry’s Movie on Abigail.

17 July 2014:  Burton Island, Vermont.

Marc-  Pancake breakfast with the crew of Abigail was terrific.  The Lucy III crew supplied the Watermelon and maple syrup.  Just as Abigail was leaving, John called that Coquina had just passed the Grand Isle Bridge and would soon arrive. Soon thereafter Alan called saying they were waiting at the Bridge with the Lois McClure.  He reported that is was a tight fit getting the schooner through with the tugboat on its hip.  We greeted John, Mindy and Mary Beth when Coquina arrived at the new docks.  They are now mixing sailboats and powerboats at the traditional sailboat docks.  I have bee doing some clean up of Lucy III for the Tartan 34C reunion on Saturday at Stave Island (davits repainted as well as the Fortress Anchor).  We all enjoyed another great hike around the island as well as some jogging and biking.  Sara has been doing some painting and lots of reading.

John and Monday invited us over for dinner on Coquina.  The sunset was great as usual from the breakwater.  We closed out the evening aboard Lucy III watching the new Tintin movie.  When we came outside the sky was filled with stars.  His is our second night of a magnificent display.  There is a considerable glow looking to the North:  could this be the lights of Montreal some 60 miles away?

18 July 2014:  Burton Island, Vermont.  

Marc-  Another great day in terms of weather.  Wind is out of the west at 10 knots and it does appear that we may lose Coquina tonight.  John wants to explore more trails on Valcour Island and break up his return trip somewhat.  I Just heard from the crew of Outrageous that some of the RSYC fleet has reassembled at Burlington.  We are staying at Burton another day for the ultimate in rest and relaxation.

19 July, 2014:  Burton Island, Vermont.  

Marc-  Very peaceful night last night and a great star filled sky for viewing constellations once again.  We were the only RSYC boat left at Burton .  The old dock rules about separation of sail and power boats has changed.  They are now docking large powerboats in the sailboat docks.  We had six rather large powerboats for neighbors last night and all but one was from Montreal.  The Canadians were friendly and quiet.  They also assisted Lucy III in getting away from a rather tight slip arrangement.  We weren’t over to the Burton Island welcome dock for water and a pump out.  The Captain of the Burton Island Ferry, Dave LaChance, helped us dock and commended me on my docking skills.  The place is really busy with the power boat docks almost entirely filled and the campground filled as well.  Lots of people were in line at the General Store for coffee and breakfast.  Rather nice to see so many people.  We left the harbor at 010:15 and passed the Grand Isle Bridge at 11:30 (just in time for the opening).  Once through the Gut we entered the main Lake and discovered sailboats a plenty with a slight breeze from the south.  No help to us as we are headed for Stave Island.  Otherwise a bright and sunny day for the Tartan 34 rendezvous 2014.

The Hazelett family warmly invited the Tartan 34 C owners to have their reunion in their private harbor on their private island.  Eights boats arrived at various times during the day.  Sara and I  explored the island trails and climbed the steel fire tower in the center of the island.  The tower did not let us down and granted us its 100 mile views in all points of the compass.

Dinner was a cook out on the porch of the Main House overlooking the Lake and the Mountains in New York beyond.

20 July, 2014:  Stave Island, Vermont.  

Breakfast was again at the Main House with grill cooked omelets and toast.  We departed at 11:00 for a motorsail to Point Bay Marina.  It was a rather uneventful passage as we tacked up the Lake making excellent time.  Stephanie called and we met her at Basin Harbor so she could join us for a few days of relaxation at home.  Unloading Lucy III was quite a chore. It is amazing how much gear needed to come off of the boat.  We were welcomed back to the marina by Gary and Mary Jane Russell.

Will Patten has arranged for a press release on this Cruise at the following site:


Le début du “Cruise Week(s) 2014” ...Au Lac Champlain !  

Jeudi 4 juillet, nous quittons Watertown, Massachusetts en voiture pour nous rendre à Point Bay Marina, Charlotte Vermont.

Plusieurs étapes nous attendent jusqu'à notre destination finale , le tour du Lac Champlain par ses forts.
C’est la commémoration des guerres de 1776 et de 1812 contre les Anglais. Nous partons en bateau avec les membres du Royal Savage Yacht Club par le Sud et ainsi par le Nord du lac. Il existe en effet une longue voie d'eau du Sud, à New York jusqu'à la frontière canadienne au Nord. Longue de 260 milles nautiques (470 km), cette voie d'eau est composée, d'abord de la rivière Hudson puis du canal Champlain inauguré en 1823 qui rejoint le lac Champlain au nord et on peut même rejoindre le fleuve Saint Laurent par la Rivière Richelieu ! Les pays se sont battu a défendre cette voie de transport pendant des décennies commençant avec la France et les autochtones.

En 1776 c’est la guerre d'indépendance des États-Unis de la Grande-Bretagne. En 1812, ce sont les jeunes États-Unis, agacés par les restrictions commerciales imposées par les Britanniques (les Britanniques veulent empêcher les navires américains à faire du commerce en Europe) qui déclenchent une guerre contre le Canada et la Grande-Bretagne en 1812. Malgré la victoire spectaculaire des États unis à Plattsburg, le résultat de cette guerre est mitigé. Elle permet cependant aux États-Unis de s'unir et de s'affirmer aux yeux de l'Europe et de la Grande-Bretagne en tant qu'entité indépendante. Le Canada doit ses contours actuels aux négociations de paix en 1814 et jette les bases de la nation qui allait éclore. Ce sont les bases de 2 grandes nations qui sont jetées !


Vendredi 5 Juillet- Les magnifiques montagnes des Adirondacks de l'état de New York à l'ouest et les montagnes vertes de l'état du Vermont à l'Est donnent un splendide cadre verdoyant à cet immense plan d'eau douce! C'est le départ vers le Sud er oe Fort Ticonderoga. Notre premier port est Westport, un charmant village au New York. C’est la grande démonstration comme les Américains savent faire avec force de musique, de défilés de voitures de toutes sortes, et du feu D’artifice le soir!! …c’est la fête ! Tout le monde est de sortie ! Nous sommes aux premières loges, bien installés sur Lucy III pour assister au feu d’artifice.

Samedi 6 Juillet- Au fur et à mesure de notre progression vers le Sud , le lac se transforme en rivière, devient plus mince . Nous reprenons le lac Champlain majestueuse , de parfois de plusieurs centaines de mètres qui s'écoule dans une belle nature préservée.  Nous arrivons enfin à notre premier fort:  Ticonderoga.

Dimanche 7 Juillet

Nous restons dans un mouillage calme à deux pas du Fort  que nous rejoindrons demain matin pour retrouver les soldats americain, francais et britaniques.
Cette apres-midi estconsacré à la découverte de la ville de Ticonderoga par la riviere La Chute que toutes les informations recueillies et les guides nous invitent à parcourir pour se rendre a le Mont Defiance.
C’est la première ville qui ressemble à une vraie ville. Elle a un fort caractère d’authenticité et est à échelle humaine. Elle a été fondée en 16ieme siecle par les français qui ont ont revendiqués ces territoires des indiens. Elle restera longtemps dans les dépendances francaise et sera évidemment conquise par l’Angleterre qui la cèdera aux américains en 1776 lors des guerres d’indépendances. Ces trois pays se disputaient systématiquement les territoires conquis par les uns ou les autres.
C’est la première ville aux USA que nous voyons par la riviere La Chute qui rejoin le Lac George.  Nous laissons nos petits zodiacs sou un ancien pont de bois couvert pres des chutes et pres de la rue commerçante.  Dans cette rue, il y a plusieurs vieilles maisons en bois restaurées et un museé du pays et son developpement forestiere:  bois, papier et crayons.  Encore il y avait des mines de fer dans les environs.  
Nous pouvons laisser nots annexes au ponton de la ville sans cotisation, mais nous avons tous bien attacher les annexes et de tout cadenasser.  
Nous rencontrons quelques touristes étrangers et américains pendant notre visite de la ville ainsi que le Mont Defiance. La visite du Mont  peuvent se faire a pieds avec un soldat americain qui nous sert d'interpret pour la longue histoire de la region.   


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Sounds like it was an amazing cruise week Marc! Your description makes me even more sad that our engine and work kept us away this year.

Susan said...

Unknown is Susan who sad to say is less tech savvy than my cat today!