Written by Dave Dave
Category: Captain's Log Captain's Log
Published: 15 August 2021 15 August 2021
Hits: 303 303

At 4200 feet above sea level, Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the shoulders of Mt Marcy is the source of the Hudson River. From a small rivulet in the alpine regions of the Adirondacks, it flows through valleys, gorges, and wide bays to the sea. We joined the Hudson on its journey to the ocean at the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers at Waterford, NY about two weeks ago. Since then we have made our way downstream with extended stops in Catskill, Kingston, and now Croton-on-Hudson. This is not the typical itinerary for a cruising boat trying to reach the ocean. 

If you are following us on Spot you might have noticed our extended stays in Catskill and Croton. Old slow bodies kept us in a Catskill for an extra day or two. The mast was stepped and a new Mack Pack sail cover was installed. Our stay in Croton was not so pleasantly disposed. Recipes in gourmet magazines often omit a critical ingredient or two to keep you coming the restaurant. The omission of a critical piece of information is not unique to gourmet magazines.

Prior to leaving on our adventure the electrical system was upgraded; solar power was installed, new batteries, and a new alternator. After considerable research the parts were assembled and installed, except one “secret ingredient.” Hence our extended stay in Croton while waiting for the secret ingredient. Such is the plight of the DIY boat owner.

It is fairly common knowledge that v-belts and serpentine belts must be properly aligned and tensioned. Heck, I even had an article published on this a few years ago. The seldom told story in alternator replacement is the adjusting bolt and its inability to maintain proper tension when a high output alternator is installed. There in lay our difficulty. The belts would slowly loosen, eventually rubbing on some part of the engine and self-destructing. Frustrated by the expense and worry (ever have an engine overheat a few hundred yards above a dam?) we consulted with a marine mechanic while in Kingston who shared the secret, we needed a new adjusting arm and belt tensioning device.

On Sunday afternoon we anchored in Half Moon Bay near Croton-on-Hudson and went to work locating the critical part, finding a place to ship it to and waiting. The part arrived yesterday shortly before we arrived at the marina and by mid-afternoon the part was installed. We ordered belts which arrived this morning, but it was time to do laundry and wait for Instacart to replenish vital supplies. Tomorrow we leave for NYC, and plan to anchor off Liberty Island. After one stop to pump out the head, top off the fuel tank, and pick up a water pump to replace the one that seems to be on its way out. 

Cruising is fixing your boat in exotic (and no so exotic) places.

Back to the Hudson. During our stay in Kingston we visited the Hudson River Maritime Museum. This is an exceptionally well curated regional museum. The Hudson has a rich maritime history which continues. The Schooner Appolonia is reviving cargo sailing on the river. We have seen numerous barges plying the river as we motor to NYC. Should you visit the Kingston area, take an afternoon to visit the museum and the adjoining boat building school, it will be a well spent afternoon.

The river is impressive in both its size and majesty. Seeing it from the water yields a different perspective than from shore. The river widens and narrows along its path. At West Point the river narrows with steep cliffs on either side. It is easy to see why the Revolutionary Army chose this spot to place a chain across the river to deter the British.

Here, in Haverstraw Bay and neighboring Tappan Zee are the widest sections. Large bays on either side of the channel offer great sailing, a sailing school sets out each afternoon. In past winters the area was known for ice boating. The bay would freeze, but not accumulate snow making for ideal conditions.

Cruising is not just about the grand moments; small seemingly insignificant moments occur that make for memories we hold. Like Afro-Jack the resident duck at Riverview Marina. Jack, who is really a she, has an unusual feather-do which prompted her name. And then there is the “slack-wire turtle” hanging on a dock line in Kingston.

There is also the community, a reminder about how connected we all are. In Catskill we met a couple and they two young children who are setting out on an extended cruise through the Caribbean. I mentioned a boat’s name from our home marina who set out on a similar adventure. Melissa’s response, “Oh, you know Jillian too?”

Tomorrow we set out for New York City, the end of the Hudson River. I would like to say sail, however, the forecast is not looking good for sailing. What little wind we will have will be on the nose, again. We have not raised our sails since we put them on. The forecast for the next doesn’t look promising either. Maybe we should start shopping for a trawler?

Hudson River Factoid:

Tomorrow we sail, err motor, under the Tappan Zee Bridge Mario Cuomo Bridge. The bridge is built at the wideset point in the Hudson River, from Tarrytown to the Nyack. It hardly makes sense, when less than a mile downriver is a narrower place. It seems when the original bridge was built consideration was given to the controlling agency, built at the narrower location control (and revenue) from the bridge would go to the Port of New York Authority. In its present location control and revenue goes to the Thruway. Governor Dewey was thinking ahead.

Website Updates

We continue to work on the website. High on the list is adding captions to photos, without them it is hard to know what your are looking at. Comments are now available on each article, share your thoughts on our journey with us and fellow readers. We are also working on up grading our photo displays. Finally, we will be adding a FAQ page. If you have a question send us a note via our contact page or if you have our email addresses to that. We’ll post the question and the answer. Also note, our entries are often a few days behind our current location.