Category: 2017: Trent Severn & Erie Canal

Return to home port – Algonac, MI

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Yesterday we ran the final leg of our odyssey and headed northwest across Lake Erie and_DSC0013 (1) up the Detroit River back to our home port. Honestly, the trip was a bit melancholy for both of us; while we were looking forward to seeing our friends again, we were also a bit saddened thinking that a trip we had planned for for over a year (maybe longer) was actually coming to an end. We tweaked our thoughts about it as we got closer to home and changed from calling it the “end our trip”, to the “end of the first leg of our trip”, that will hopefully span several years to come. Now, that’s much better!

So some retrospective about this part of our trip.

Would we do it again? Absolutely. The scenery is really quite beautiful, and ever-changing as one travels from North to South then West as we did. Through the_DSC0014 (1)

entire trip we had a terrific time with navigation – which we both enjoy doing, and we met a lot of wonderful people along the way and were able to share stories with them and listen to some pretty cool trips and lifestyles that they were living. One thing for sure is that we are not alone on doing this kind of trip. There are a lot of people out there doing what we are, and definitely beyond. So our trip is just one of several we could do in the future.

We also heard about a number of alternatives to the Great Loop which I think are worth considering, for example, one being taking the Rideau and crossing the St. Lawrence, through lake Champlain, then down the Hudson to the Intercoastal – running south and then north, making stops in different locations on both legs. We might consider that over the traditional Great Loop trip of going to Chicago then down the rivers to the Gulf. Then on the other hand, we have a great boat to do the traditional “Loop” so why not?! More thinking to do on that.

We did decide that if when do it again we will plan on a fender along each side every 8 feet, and some large ball fenders under the port and starboard bow flare. While we didn’t encounter any issues with the 72 lock-throughs, we think that an extra level of comfort would be added with this approach. Sometimes wind and or current can make the stern swing leaving the bow vulnerable, the large ball fenders will address this potential issue. When you read the various guidebooks they can make you a bit nervous, about locks, about currents, etc. My take is that they are good to take note of and be prepared for, but if you are cautious and know your boat, you should not be overly concerned.

Comparison of Trent-Severn locks to Erie Canal locks: Trent-Severn are definitely easier to manage, mainly because the method to secure the boat is fixed at both the top and bottom of the lock where on the Erie they are typically not fixed on the bottom which can be a challenge to keep the boat from swinging away from the wall. The Trent-Severn locks are also in much better state of repair than many on the Erie Canal. They do fill and drain the locks more quickly on the Erie Canal system, that’s nice as there is less time in the lock, just need to be prepared for a little extra sway on the boat with quicker water movement. That being said, the people working both lock systems were great.

The Back Cove 37. Now that we have made an extended trip with the boat, I find that it has proven to be the perfect boat for us. First of all, it performed very well in all types of weather and wave conditions we encountered, without any feeling of discomfort or concern. Second, given the need for extended no-wake cruising in the canals and then fast runs on the lakes, the diesel and the BC37 hull design seems to pair very well, as we could “canal it” relatively fast without plowing and causing wake issues while the Cummins diesel just idled along – a very relaxing and quiet ride. When we did get on the lakes, we could transition to pretty much any planing speed we wanted, which made it fit our wants for that moment. In 3 – 5 on the bow we actually had a very comfortable 17 knot cruise.

The long trip had us tailor our storage locations on the boat a bit, and as such the fine tuning we did along the way made things a lot more accessible. We ran a lot with the back seating cushions tucked away in the Starboard stateroom, which allowed them to stay clean when you encountered lock demetrius, or “insect heavy” dockage. We had more than enough space for our provisions for an 8 week trip, and did not find us stepping on each other at all. We never felt claustrophobic as the topside lounge area provided great visibility, even during inclement weather.

No…this isn’t a paid endorsement by Back Cove! The boat just really fits our boating needs and desires. It was nice to have that confirmed on this extended trip.

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Now…lets start planning the next trip…

 

MnM

Vermillion to Kelley’s Island, OH

The boat lifted up from astern and caught its first surf on a fifty foot wave. She prayed the bow wouldn’t bury itself in the trough. If that happened, the boat would pitchpole and land upside down. With its weighted keel and watertight hatches it would probably right itself, but she might not be alive to appreciate it…. She adjusted the boat trim to match the boat speed to the wave, finding the balance point by feel. She surfed the next wave for over a mile, her wake as clear as an icy contrail in the jet stream…..

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Oops, wrong blog entry – that’s the book I’m reading, not our trip. Anyhow, we left Vermillion today, back to MnM SDT (Standard Departure Time), of around 11:00 am, and headed northwest to Kelley’s Island – around 18 NM. Seas in our story were around 2 – 3 occasional 4, but we cruised nicely at 17 knots, going to the island because Melodie had an appointment within someone named “Brandy Alexander” that she refused to miss. In any event, we went in at Portside Marina so that Melodie could make her appointment as efficiently and quickly as possible. Once landed we had a nice lunch dockside at “Dockers”, then rented a golf cart to take a ride around the island. I haven’t driven a wheeled vehicle now for seven weeks, so I had to drive it in lazy S turns to maintain the feel of our nautical life.

Anyhow, we’re here now for the rest of the day as Brandy is now waiting for us….

Vermillion, Ohio

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Spent the entire day lounging around and exploring the town and the shoreline.  Vermillion is a really nice place with nice facilities and a very pretty harbor.  Melodie forced me up into town to buy pies based upon a recommendation from some people we met from Port Clinton who came here to spend a couple of days, part of their annual boating activities.

Melodie was suffering from a lack of shopping, so later in the day she forced me to walk up into town AGAIN to purchase home improvement items.  After that she treated me to happy hour and to dinner at ‘Touche Bistro’ which was really good.

We needed the walks, especially given how we’ve been enjoying our time on the boat and it felt really good to get a few miles in.

Assuming the lake is in the same mood we are, we are thinking about heading over to the islands tomorrow – which one is yet TBD.

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We’ll keep you posted!!

MnM

And…the pie was great-peach!

Dunkirk NY to Vermillion, OH

Late last night we took a quick look at the weather for the rest of the week and decided to “eclipse” (yuk, yuk) our plans to visit Cleveland, and to go directly to Vermillion Ohio.  As such we got up early this morning and after a morning thunderstorm, set course for a run to Vermillion.

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Morning at Dunkirk

Lake Erie was much nicer to us this morning, with 1 foot all the way.  So we made an

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Eclipsing Lake Erie

extended day of it and went 179 miles from Dunkirk to Vermillion, stopping about 15 nm from Vermillion to enjoy the solar eclipse out in Lake Erie.  Great fun.

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Dunkirk Lighthouse

We plan to spend the next couple of days here (or perhaps stopping by Kelly’s Island (as Melodie wants a pitcher of Brandy Alexanders for herself).

At this point we are within range of our home port, and are wondering if we should head that way or continue our journey…..  How far is Key West?

Hmm….

MnM