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.
Sailing for me came as something of a surprise as there is no known maritime history in my family. In my early twenties I was looking for an outdoor active pastime (I hesitate to use the word sport) to replace the golf that I had taken up. I am very definately nota competitive person and I was finding golf much too competetive for my liking. Those of you that play golf will know that it is a sport where you compete against yourself. I have no idea what put the idea into my head, perhaps a moment of madness but I thought "what about sailing". I made some enquiries and came across the Bosham Sea School in Chichester Harbour. I booked a trial trip for a week aboard their 45 foot sloop the Tyree 3. The middle of July and the weather was filthy. However, I boarded the yacht and met the other beginners and the skipper. As I remember there was a public school headmaster, a Foreign Office diplomat, a French schoolboy, an Italian Countess and me. A rather surreal collection of people! However, over the week we sailed down to Poole and back and the weather did not let up for a moment. It blew a hooly and was cold and damp. Despite all this we got on like a house on fire and had a great time. I was hooked! If sailing could pull such wildly different people together this was for me. Not only that, but I got my Competent Crew ticket on that trip into the bargain. All this took place in the early 1970's and I was determined to find myself a boat.In the small ads of the yachting press I found a 22ft. plywood sailing cruiser for the princely sum of £900, also in Chichester Harbour. I went down to view it and found that whilst it needed some work, it was complete and even had a brand new Seagull outboard. The deal was done and my sailing career was under way!For the first year I confined myself to sailing the waters of Chichester Harbour to gain experience and I also started a correspondence course in navigation. I had recruited a friend to crew for me but he was not a keen yachty and I found myself sailing single handed much of the time. The next year I took the bull by the horns and put out to sea. Over the ten years I had that boat (I had renamed her Thor) I sailed every nook and cranny of the Solent.By the turn of the decade It was time for me to broaden my horizons. I sold Thor and bought a 30ft yacht called Dick Hymas (named after a well known east coast boatman of the times). With this boat I sailed the English Channel covering the Channel Islands and the French coast from Britanny up to the Bae de La Sienne. I had the good fortune to have a crew of expert dinghy sailors with me for these cross Channel trips. With them I also sailed Southern Ireland in chartered yachts.In the early 1990's I had the opportunity to study for, and take, my Yachtmasters exams. This while my career was on temporary hold due to the complete collapse of the building industry where I worked as a surveyor. During these times I joined the Ocean Youth Club as a volunteer. I sat on the London committee for a while and took up sailing as afterguard on their large yachts to gain experience sailing 70 and 80 foot boats. I did this for about ten years before I gave it up as it was getting to be hard work. I was no spring chicken by this time.I had by this time sold Dick Hymas and was without a boat of my own. Being again single handed and getting on in years I decided to change to motor boats and for a few years I had an assortment of small vessels which I sailed around the Solent. I had moved to Ryde on the Isle of Wight where I kept the boats in the beach front harbour there. Chief amongst these boats was a Peche Promenade of 21 feet which on one occaasion I sailed across the Channel to Alderney and Guernsey for a few days. That was quite a trip and the locals were somewhat surprised to see me. Small as it was that boat was a good sea boat. In 2002 I sold it to an airline pilot who was very keen to have it as he was an enthusiastic angler. I bought a 7.5 metre sports cruiser that had been offered to me brand new at a very keen price. I named it Zambezi and took it by road to the south of France where it now lives providing me with a practical and affordable Mediteranean holiday base. I have done some cruising in it around Golfe de Lion but mostly use it as my sunshine home. How long this happy state of affairs is going to continue is not certain due to the Brexit vote but I am reasonably sure that a deal will be done to allow Brits to stay in Europe and Europeans in the UK. In my view it would be far too difficult an undertaking to make all the millions of ex pats move back to their respective home countries.In 2010 I retired from work and moved to the Norfolk Broads. I bought myself a Wilds Carribean from the Nancy Oldfield Trust who had been using it as their wheelchair boat. They are a charity that provides boating enxperiences on the Broads for dis-abled persons. The boat was basically empty save for a "drive-in" bathroom and a store cupboard. This, I thought, was an ideal configuration for me to fit out as a cruising yacht tailored to my design. It was completed the following year and I renamed the boat Zephyr. She now lives in Horning Village Marina where I spend several months of the year on her. I have taken her on one long cruise around the Broads and up to Norwich, which was fun single handed in a 10 ton boat. The lower reaches of the Broads rivers are quite tidal but with some careful planning I managed the trip without misshap.All in all I think I have been very fortunate to have had such a diverse and often exciting sailing career. As I said at the beginning of this article I have no idea what put the thought of sailing into my head but I am very thankful for it. Long may my life on the water continue.