Marcy is the site of Lock 20, the highest point on the magnificent New York State Erie Canai (this has been made bigger since the first digging in 1825, from 54 ft. wide and 4 ft deep to 100 ft. wide and 14ft deep. Chambers 300 ft x 45 ft and 500 + 650 ft at Buffalo and Troy which are Federal Locks.)I had plans to move nearer to the sea but, observing the canal, realized I could go anywhere and still hunt and fish in the mountains. My first boat was a Lyman 1953 clinker built wooden with 55 hp "Evinrude Twin" outboard. I lavished her with white racing paint on hull and everything else with multiple coats of carefully applied varnish. Trailered to the St. Lawrence River, did some Canadian places and Maine, cod fishing and camping with two kids and dog!Next vessel! was a 21 ft. fibreglass "Sportcraft", 140hp. Mercruiser, inboard/outboard drive. (Another company who went out of business building quality boats!) Now I am stepping out! Down to the oggin via the Erie Canal and the beautiful Hudson River and out to Montauk - "The End" as the locals call it. Two ways to transit - down Long Island Sound or along the south shore of Long Island for 100 n.m. Rough seas. (People since and now call me a 'Daft B—d!)On to my present vessel, my pride and joy, the" Salty Dog", is 29 ft. Albin 1987, a small trawler/lobster boat style, I have owned for 18 years and has kept me broke! Customized her. Lots of good wood, wheelhouse doors, etc., all varnished with many coats. My son (carpenter/joiner) says its "passable". 150 hp Cummins Turbo Diesel, 100 gallons fuel, 40 gallons water and 10 gallon holding tank. Top speed 12 kts @ 2200 rpm. Cruise 8-9 kt @1700 rpm. Radar, GPS, Depth Sounders, Wind, VHF/AM/FM/ Fog and Lound Hailer. 2000 watt inverter and big battery banks to give me 120V, so that I can run a good sized A/C Fridge. Nice galley with Origo alcohol stove. Electric oven. She also carries a selection of Traditional Jazz and Blues and a full bar!I usually navigate with charts and compass. GPS is handy to tell me if I am where 1 should be! When she’s bunkered, loaded and victualed and ready for sea, you name it and she’s got it. Just like the M.N.Over the years the "Salty Dog" and I have traversed the East Coast from Massachusetts to the Carolinas. Mostly single-handed. Been in extremis a few times! Right about now, you have probably had enough of this worthless shite I am writing, but I’ll finish anyway.
Membersof the MNA Boat Club certainly have some interesting craft – a good example of what I mean is Arthur Woodhouse’s 41 foot converted Mark 3 LCS (Landing Craft Support) now called “Wanderer” which was built for the Royal Navy around 1942/43 - All the details described below were provided by Arthur, but I assume that at least some of the kit has probably been removed by now – if not it would probably be wise not to upset Arthur and to give Wanderer a wide berth! She’s around 12 tons, including side armour over her wooden construction, carries (or carried) a quarter-inch smoke mortar, two ½” heavy machine guns and two .303 machine guns - she carried a crew of eleven, with power provided by two 130bhp Ford petrol engines.
Tony & Pat Collins
I joined P&O Bulk Shipping Ltd straight from school in 1973 as a cadet, and after gaining my 2nd Mate's "Ticket" continued with them on their gas, tanker and bulk fleets until 1985. My wife, Pat, sailed with me for five years, signing on articles as librarian, secretary etc, but also completing her Steering Certificate during that time. Pat "signed off" in 1982 when she fell pregnant with our daughter, but thoroughly enjoyed the five years tramping the oceans. In 1985, I changed employer, becoming a Sea Fisheries Officer with the Scottish Government, rising to Master Mariner, and eventually into senior management at headquarters in Edinburgh. In 2011, I got the opportunity of an excellent early-retirement package, which I jumped at.Our boating career started in 1979 when we had our first holiday on "the cut" (the old boatmen's name for the canal system). We have holidayed most years since then, waiting for the opportunity allowing us to have our own boat. This happened in 2012, and we started looking for a suitable boat/builder. "Paws 4 Thought" was launched on 8th April 2014. She is a 60ft semi-trad narrowboat, built on a Tyler/Wilson shell, and fitted out to our own spec by Top Notch Boat Company of Cradley Heath. She has permanent berths for two, but we can sleep four at a push. We have retained our house in Scotland, but hope to explore as much of the canal system as we can, living aboard for 8-10 months per year. Although our base is at Fazeley (near Tamworth), we expect to be out and about most of the time.We have a blog of our adventures (including a real-time tracker). We are also happy to have other members join us for short trips.For website address and contact details please see members' directory.
Tony & Pat Collins
Tony & Pat Collins
I started serving 7 years as a Shipwright apprentice in 1945 at Bristol. My first foray into the world of boats was a 26ft Norwegian built and war damaged ships lifeboat, which was bummed from my employer and converted in partnership with a draughtsman apprentice. We built a fore-deck and coach-roof and, as my wage was only around 15/- a week, I must confess that most of the timber and fittings were either bummed or purloined. OOPS! Hope the statute of limitations has expired.We were racking our brains as to how we could acquire an engine, when it all became irrelevant. I was informed I would be completing my indentures and, subsequently, my National Service on one of Elders and Fyffes “skinboats” and my partner in crime became a £10 Pom, so we sold the aptly named “Scrounger” for the princely sum of £20. After 3 voyages and a falling out with the Mate, I was given a pier-head jump on a British Tanker Company vessel and stayed for 32 years as a Chippie and then as a C.P.O under the general purpose scheme.After retiring and nearly 30 years of testing my late Wife's patience with a multitude of hobbies, I decided to build a boat. As the clinker and copper rivet method that I was familiar with wasn't possible single handed, I purchased plans from Selway-Fisher, lofted them in my sitting room, roofed part of my drive, welded up a building cradle with castors and went ahead. The Barbara Anne now has spars, a suit of sails and basic electrics. I am now slowly fitting out the small cabin. A small outboard is the next purchase.At 83 I have also progressed from eccentric neighbour to man of achievement, still reasonably sane and occasionally sober.Regards Walter (or more often John.)
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One feature of the USA is that although the Coast Guard is a part of the US Military their stations tend to be fairly far apart based in major centres of population. To fill the gaps there is a subordinate civilian but uniformed ( by choice) organisation called the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. For website click hereThis is purely volunteer, self training, usually manned by holders of what is known locally of a 'six pack' ie a certificate to take out a boat with up to six passengers. Their duties include: regular checks on navigation marks; checking of safety equipment on boats, Providing training courses for local boat owners. They also act as a social club for the local boating community and is entirely self financing.
This is “Arabesque” at Charfleet, just off Stangate Creek. My wife Denise and I raft-up regularly with some friends most weekends. I sail mostly single-handed as Denise is not the best heavy weather sailor, although she kept her calm in a 41knot south-westerly a couple of years ago, coming home from the east coast where we go for 3 weeks every year - Ipswich, Deben, Burnham. I also love night sailing and sail to Ramsgate through the night and have done Dunkirk twice through the night. We love Dunkirk, and now I am on a 2.5 day week, finishing Wednesday 12.noon, I am hoping to get to Boulogne, a trip my mate Peter has done many times.In the past, as part of the commitment to other sea farers, I have assisted Thames Coastguard. Once, in response to a pan-pan when a yachtsman called up to say he thought he was sinking as smoke and water was filling his boat off the Clacton coast, I called the Coast guard to say I had experienced the same not so long ago. They put me in touch on channel 68 and I talked him through to check his exhaust connection. Sure enough it had failed, filling his boat with water and steam. He was relieved and the coast guard thanked me, as he was happy to continue to Shotley. I got a second call early evening. as I was on my way out to Charfleet, when a mayday went out as a gin palace had lost all engine and was being blow onto the Forts in the River Medway. I was first boat there and had to move quickly as I draw 1.70mts Fin keel. I managed to throw him a line and towed him back to our fuel pontoon at Gillingham.Well that’s about my sail, been sailing for 45yrs now so I am an oldie - 62 this year.
The following was received from Bryan on 30th August 2015:“I have just returned from Punta Arenas in Southern Chile where a group of local businessmen are trying to purchase from the Chilean Navy the former Iron Sailing Vessel now hulked “ The County of Peebles” in order to restore her.I was able to locate for them the original plans and original certificate of registration.At the moment they are still in negotiations with the Chilean Navy to be allowed to purchase the Peebles. They plan to build a pier around the hulks with a dry dock in the middle, so that the Peebles and the other two hulks have the dry dock built around them and then rebuild to Cutty Sark Standards.”This looks like a fascinating project which, hopefully, we will be able to follow through to completion.