Monday, June 11, 2007

Locks and Bridges

Here are some photos that show what we've been doing, with both locks and bridges!


The Winnie W has 18 feet of "air draft" with the mast up and when our antennas are lowered (our antennas are ~17 feet long, mounted on the side of the pilothouse, and would add about 10 feet additional "air draft" if not lowered); we can get down to 12 feet in height if we also lower our mast. The vertical clearance signboard at each bridge varies with the tides and water levels, and can be used to predict if a boat will fit under the bridge (see photo). Nonetheless, it's a bit of a nail-biter as we go under bridges. Sometimes the bridges are "fixed" (don't open) or the period between openings is so long that it is worth lowering the mast and going through (under) the bridge before the next opening.


Kathie is usually the one who watches as we go under the bridge. Even if we realize that we cannot make it under the bridge, there are certain situations, such as when the current is behind us (carrying us along) when it would be impossible to stop. The best situation is when we go through a bridge with the current against us, because the current might hold us off the bridge if we decided we needed to stop to avoid hitting the bridge or the sturdy structures around the bridge. See the phot looking at the underneath of the bridge as we go underneath; it often looks like we will hit even if the math indicates that we will fit underneath!!









Last week, we went through Lock #1 at Troy NY where these photos were taken. We are about to go through 22 more locks on the Erie Canal before we reach the western side of Syracuse when we enter the Oswego Canal which has 8 locks.



Kathie tending the lines. There are 6 different types of locks, and before each lock, it is helpful to know about the type of attachment to the lock wall so you can prepare lines of appropriate length and fenders to protect the boat.







You can see that this doesn't bother Doug!

Best wishes, Kathie and Doug

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression (perhaps mistaken) that it was possible to carry 20 ft of air draft all the way to Lake Ontario at Oswego. I assume some bridges have to be raised for that to happen. Since our GB49 has an air draft of about 19 ft with the mast down, this is an important issue for us.
I'd be interested in hearing about any "low" spots.

Wayne B

Bill Davis - davisblk@alltel.net said...

Me again with more land based (water ignorant)questions.

It looks like these lock things are pretty narrow. How do you determine who gets to go first if two boats going in opposite directions arrive at the same time? Do you flip a coin or something?

Are you travelling the original "old" Erie Canal or have parts been rebuilt or rerouted over the years?

Musing on your issues with travel - is it possible to rent a PO Box ahead on your route and have items shipped to it?

I suspect boating is very popular the next 2 months up there. Are you concerned over crowds or wayward crazed boaters here soon?

Winnie W. said...

Bill D said...

Me again with more land based (water ignorant)questions.

It looks like these lock things are pretty narrow. How do you determine who gets to go first if two boats going in opposite directions arrive at the same time? Do you flip a coin or something?

Are you traveling the original "old" Erie Canal or have parts been rebuilt or rerouted over the years?

Musing on your issues with travel - is it possible to rent a PO Box ahead on your route and have items shipped to it?

I suspect boating is very popular the next 2 months up there. Are you concerned over crowds or wayward crazed boaters here soon?

June 12, 2007 10:23 AM

Bill: Great to hear from you and as good teachers say, the only bad question is one that you don't ask if you are interested in the answer! I am copying your comment because we couldn't add your past comments via the usual route.

The lockmaster makes all the decisions about which direction opens, and usually the vessels waiting on each side organize themselves according to who got to the lock first. This may vary when we get to locks with commercial traffic or vessels of disparate size that have to be fit in particular ways to use the space wisely. In regards to which direction opens, whichever side is ready to go, i.e., if the lock is full of water and both an "upgoing" vessel and a "downgoing" vessel arrived at the same time, the downgoing vesssel would be lowered and then the upgoing vessel would go "up."

The NYS Canal System locks (Erie, Oswego, Cayuga-Seneca, and Champlain canals) are all 300 x 43.5 ft except the Troy lock (492 x 44 ft)and Black Rock lock at Buffalo (650 x 68 ft).

We have a book "Locking Through: A Guide for Pleasure Boaters (Richard Capek);" this and a book that my brother lent us "Wedding of the Waters: the makign of the Erie Canal (Peter Bernstein)" would be excellent references, plus of course what Doug is writing in the blog!

In regard to mail, most people have a "mail service" and ask the service to forward a box periodically. There are lists of locations that will accept mail (General Delivery is refused in many locations).

Yes, summer brings lots of boaters and of course, seasonally in the south, lots of boaters in the winter. There are some especially busy spots, ex., Canada during Canada Day (July 1) and during the month of July when everyone in Quebec is on vacation.

There is an "old" Erie and an "old" Champlain trail in Waterford NY. There are places along the Erie where the charts show the old canal. Many sections however are still the original route. Some locks are in better condition than others and better attachments at the side wall to hold your boat in place while being raised or lowered.
Hope that answers your questions! Kathie