Valley Boy Page 2

The early morning air was redolent with the tang of low tide on the Hudson River as I steered upriver, bound for Lake Ontario via the Erie and Oswego canals. I’d gotten underway shortly after dawn to ride the flood tide north. The Manhattan skyline towered above me to starboard. Behind me the green-hued Statue of Liberty looked grand in the soft sunlight. The sounds of bustling Manhattan and
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The next morning I motored on into a series of bends winding between bluffs and mountains. The Bear Mountain Bridge, part of the Appalachian Trail, loomed above me and then fell astern. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point hove into view on the western shore right in the heart of the Hudson Highlands. It has been in operation since 1802. I found the 22-nautical-mile stretch of river between Croton Point and Newburgh Bay particularly spectacular.

The river widened beyond West Point, gradually at first and then in a more pronounced way. Dead ahead off the eastern shore was my next anchorage, southeast of legendary Pollepel Island. The island is also called Bannerman after the family that purchased it in 1900 and used it to store ammunition and other war surplus goods that represented the backbone of a prosperous business. The family built a castle which is in ruins today but remains an impressive sight (landing a dinghy on the island is prohibited). Sitting at anchor in Newburgh Bay, I found myself falling into river time and felt happy to be traveling slowly through some of the most picturesque waters I’d ever encountered.

Rising a bit later the next morning to catch the flood tide, I continued north 32 miles to Rondout Creek and Kingston, New York. Gone was the wide water of the Tappan Zee. The channel narrowed and the tree-lined shores closed in, giving the river an unmistakable rural feel. Since the wind tends to blow north or south up and down the valley, I sailed when I could, hoping to catch a favorable tide for an extra boost, and when wind and tide were foul, I motored.

Later in the afternoon, I spotted Rondout Creek Lighthouse, turned west into the mouth of the creek, and passed under the first fixed bridge (56-foot vertical clearance). Just to starboard, I noted Kingston’s revitalized waterfront and the Hudson River Maritime Museum. The museum’s collection of historic vessels, artifacts, paintings and photographs celebrate the rich history of the Hudson. A number of marinas are on the creek, and there’s an anchorage as well. Kingston City Marina offers hourly dockage, overnight transient dockage and dinghy dockage for a fee.

Kingston marked a turning point in my Hudson River voyage. The next stop would be Catskill, New York, so it was time to unstep the mast in preparation for transiting the low bridges ahead both on the river and in the canals; the mast would stay down until I reached Oswego, New York, a town perched on the shores of Lake Ontario, a vast inland sea I longed to explore. My small boat had opened to me a world of adventure I never imagined I might enjoy firsthand. I was living the cruising dream, at last.

Related

FB-BHM-1024

SAIL Black History Month Series: James Forten

James Forten was born on September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia to free Black parents Thomas and Margaret Forten. Forten attended a Quaker school as a young child, then went to work with his father who was a sailmaker. His father died when he was still young, and Forten worked ...read more

sailme-app_ SAIL

5 Ways Sail.me Helps You Monetize Your Boat

Ready to earn some extra funds by renting out your boat or yacht? Sail.me is an interactive service that allows you to monetize your boat in a secure, safe, and easy way. A user-friendly app and website will help you manage reservations, add-ons, and set customized routes to ...read more

VendeePromo

2020-21 Vendée Timeline

As a spectator event, France’s Vendée Globe never disappoints, and the 2020-21 edition of the quadrennial round-the-world race was no exception. From equipment failures to climactic rescues, heartbreaking abandonments and a breathtakingly close finish, this edition, which ...read more

valleytrunk3

BVI Chartering in the Pandemic

The week before I flew out to the British Virgin Islands for a bareboat charter, I was having a few second thoughts. The islands had broken out of their Covid-enforced tourism hiatus in December, but the conditions of entry seemed a little stringent: a negative Covid test within ...read more

01-LEAD-windfarm

Sailing Amid Offshore Wind Farms

Here in Europe, the general feeling about green energy from offshore wind turbines has moved on after an initial surge of general skepticism. Concerns raised over cost, threats to seabirds, wind interference and the rest have to some extent been answered, and it’s hard to argue ...read more

LunaRossaPrada

VIDEO: Luna Rossa Wins the Prada Cup

The show has gone on despite last week's Covid panic in Auckland, and the "underdog" Italians are victorious. After being bested by INEOS Team UK in the round robin section, they seemed to have an uphill battle ahead of them going into the finals. However, the Italians have been ...read more

FB-BHM-Cuffe-2048x

SAIL Black History Month Series: Paul Cuffe

Paul Cuffe was born on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, in 1759. His mother was a Native American woman named Ruth Moses, and his father was Kofi Slocum, a formerly enslaved man from the Ashanti Empire, located in modern-day Ghana. They had 10 children including Paul. His ...read more

Ryan-Finn

Point of SAIL: Ryan Finn on Solo-sailing a Proa Round Cape Horn

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with solo-sailor Ryan Finn, a veteran bluewater passagemaker looking to re-create the famed New York-to-San Francisco clipper aboard the 36ft proa, Jzerro. Although Finn was forced to abandon his first attempt ...read more