#13 Utica, New York to Brewerton, New York

Rainy Day on Lake Oneida

Written by The Crew

Rev writes all the posts as "The Crew" at What Yacht To Do. It's just part of the First Mate duties. That list just keeps growing...

June 18, 2019

It was a chilly, rainy, stay-in-bed kind of morning.

A morning most loopers would look outside, turn over and pull the covers up tight.

But, of course, we are not most loopers!

Having a schedule is not a good thing while looping but we learned this way too late.

We are trying to get to Pirate’s Cove Marina to catch a flight out of Syracuse in a few short days.

So we get up at 5:30 a.m. so we can leave at 6:30 and get to the first lock by 7 when they open.

We had had a really fun time the night before with the crew of Independence and we were the only two boats tied up in front of AquaVino Marina/Restaurant.

Right on schedule, we pull away from the dock.

Sam gets us turned around and heads for the very narrow channel.

I wave “good-bye” to those on the Independence who had gotten up early and we were off.

Not So Fast

About 50 feet in front of AquaVino, I noticed that Sam was still headed for the bank on the other side instead of heading down the center of the channel.

In my unusually calm voice over the headsets, I comment, “Honey, I think you are supposed to be headed that way.

And I point down the Erie Canal in the direction I thought we were going.

You know, just to be helpful.

Here’s what I hear.

I’ve lost steering.

Just that calm.

No yelling. No screaming. No panic.

I said screamed, “What do you mean???”

Sam: The steering wheel is just spinning like a roulette wheel.

So we head back to the dock.

I yell out to the crew of Independence and they jump into action!

Now, I don’t know how you turn a giant, 50.000-pound boat around without steering and not hit the million dollar boat that is parked right next door, but Sam does.

Jamie, Larry and Owen helped us tie up right back where we were.

Down But Not Out

Larry and Owen got on board and helped Sam troubleshoot the problem.

The problem required Uber rides to three different stores for parts and this.

Steering Problem

Owen and Larry came back on board after Sam returned and fixed our steering issue.

I don’t want to know what we would have done if Independence had not docked next to us in Utica.

We will be forever grateful.

Here We Go

After all the drama, we were ready to leave. Again.

By now the rain had stopped.

But so did the autopilot.

Sam would have to manually steer us all the way to Sylvan Beach.

Thankfully, Independence was ready to leave and we followed them.

Traffic on the Erie Canal
Back on the Erie Canal

What was different about this morning on the Erie was the amount of traffic that we had to maneuver around.

We did not fully appreciate all the other rides down the canal where we commonly saw a boat in front of us or behind us but only a couple of times where a boat passed us going the opposite direction.

This morning was nuts!

We saw tugs and barges and boats.

Traffic on the Erie Canal
Around the Tug
Dodging equipment
Dodging equipment
Dodging Barges
Dodging Barges
Around the Tug
Traffic on the Erie Canal
I don’t even know what this is!
In the Erie Canal
Here’s the rest of it…

We are from Dallas and used to traffic on the highway but this???

And why did our first day like this have to be without the autopilot?

I couldn’t watch several times so I would go to the back deck area or down below just so I didn’t have to see the close calls.

I was a wreck!

Three Locks

We had three locks to go through to get to our destination.

The first was Lock 20 and like all the other locks before, we started at a lower elevation and then moved us to a higher one.

heading to Lock 20
Heading to Lock 20
Lock 20
In Lock 20

Where the Skies Were All Cloudy All Day…

Most of the time the skies were gray.

Cruising down the Erie Canal
Cruising down the Erie Canal

Every now and then we would see a little blue sky pop out.

But not for long.

Come on blue sky
Come on blue sky!

Going Down

So Locks 21 and 22 and are the first locks where we start at a higher elevation and then travel down.

Lock 21
Approaching Lock 21
Going into Lock 21

I don’t really use the boat hook/pole much but when the ropes are down low, you have to be able to hook one to grab.

It was easier than I thought it would be.

First Down Lock
First Down Lock

When the water started going out it didn’t seem like the current was as strong as the locks going up.

Just like letting the stopper out of the bathtub, we sunk slowly.

Leaving Lock 21
Leaving Lock 21
Leaving Lock 22
Leaving Lock 22
Lock 22

Go or No Go

Once we got to Sylvan Beach the sky started spitting rain.

Sylvan Beach has a free dock where you can tie up but there is no power.

We decided that we would push it and go on across Oneida Lake and get to a marina just in case we had more issues.

The Here’s To Us!! had been leaking hydraulic fluid the entire way but didn’t know if we had a leak or it was residual fluid from the leak.

Also, even though it was raining a bit, the winds were good and the next day even though it was going to be sunny, the winds were high.

So we went on.

Crossing Lake Oneida
Crossing Lake Oneida
Rainy Day on Lake Oneida
Rainy Day on Lake Oneida
Crossing bridge to get to Winter Harbor
Crossing bridge to get to Winter Harbor

Finally There

We arrived at Winter Harbor Marina outside of Brewerton, New York at about 4:30.

It had been a very long day.

Winter Harbor Marina
Winter Harbor Marina

The manager heard about our day and gave us a beautiful loaf of Italian bread from a local baker.

Wasn’t that nice?

It was delicious.

Italian Bread
Italian Bread

Lessons of the Day

People are awesome.

Do whatever you have to do to get your autopilot fixed.

Our Thoughts

Our Trip

Nebo Trip: Utica, NY to Brewerton, NY
Nebo Trip: Utica, NY to Brewerton, NY

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  1. Issues? Yes however you will always figure them out and you will always find help or overcome them yourself without panic or lousing your cool. Trust me. Been there done that! Carry on you will make it.

    • I’m ready for some really boring days where nothing goes wrong! I’m not sure it is in my personality to not panic but I’m going to give it a try. LOL

    • My husband, Bill, is a calm and collected guy like Sam. Me, not so much! Your adventures are fascinating to us. I read your blog, but Bill and I will watch later. We’re in Ocean City, MD for tomorrow’s air show. We would rather be boating, but we get to be with our son and his wife! That’s great!

  2. WOW, another exciting experience. Sufferers of triskaidekaphobia would have warned you not to complete segment #13 on the 13th of the month! Although doing it on Thursday instead of Friday most likely helped. When you cross your wake next year you will have enough material to write a book, perhaps two books. Another great post, Rev! You have a talent for weaving the narrative with the accompanying pictures which puts the reader on the timeline with you. Bravo Zulu! Safe travels on you break from the action.

    • I know! Right?!? The 13th leg on the 13th! That’s just too much!!! Thanks for the kind words. I’m ready for a break!

  3. A bit too much excitement for that one day. I’m very excited to see you soon!??

    • Me too, Mom!

  4. those pipes you weren’t familiar with are pulling mud of the bottom and transferring it over the side, i think.

    • Thanks, John! Really appreciate the education.

  5. Glad you made it ok. Safe flight home

    • Thanks, Lois! We made it.

  6. Oh my! I had been seeing posts on Vanessa and your mom’s FB pages – about your trip – but today is the first time I read all of them and all I can say is WOW! Thank you for sharing your ongoing adventure….now I will anxiously await your next post!

    • I’m so glad you are coming along on this journey with us, Barbara! Welcome aboard.

  7. Revina, there is a written procedure for purging the hydraulic steering system, the auto pilot is all part of that. My Dan said,” Oh, They got air in the system.” We have lost steering as we left the dock before also and once on White Lake, at home. Dan always carries a bottle of hydraulic steering fluid.

    • Yes! It was air in the system. We are getting that fixed and I suspect we will now always have hydraulic steering fluid on board.

  8. Love it! I’m enjoying following along with your adventure. Your blog has a great mix of words, pics and video. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Hey Chris! We are so glad you are coming along with us. Welcome aboard!

  9. I am thrilled to find you two and your story. My husband, Mike, and I have a Carver 550 (1999). It looks identical to your boat, with the enclosed fly bridge. We have traveled far in “Adventure,” and have fantasies of living aboard at some point. We have taken her from as far north as Long Island, NY to as far south as the Keys. I sure look forward to following your adventure.

    • Well, we are so excited that you found us, Mary! I’m afraid our Carver was used for the past 20 years mostly as a floating condo so we are really putting it to the test. We are new to owning a boat this size and moving around but we are looking forward to getting down to the Keys. We are really glad you are here. Welcome aboard!


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