Sailing Back - September 19th-30th, 1993

With the last weekend program of the season over, and being at the furthest westerly position of the 1993 navigation, we needed to get "Discovery" back to Albany for winter storage. Perhaps it was the fine sunny weather or the brisk autumn breeze that wafted across the lake. But there we were at the east end of Oneida Lake in a 3-handed batteau, and we had a 3-handed crew (John Anson, George Haswell and Olof Jannson), all with time on their hands and no-where to go.

Click on any image to enlarge
Leaving Sylvan Beach to head home At mid-day on September 18th, in a fair breeze, "Discovery" left her mooring at the mouth of Wood Creek and started east.

We had been telling people for two years that the prevailing winds always came out of the west, and that it was on the eastward leg back to Schenectady that the sail was raised and the crew could sit back and cruise. It was decided that this was the best opportnity to test that hypothesis. The crew climbed aboard, raised the sail, pointed the boat east, and set off for home!

Ten days later, an exhausted crew pulled the batteau up to its off-season mooring at the Canal Shops in Waterford. Of the entire trip, only during two days did the wind blow from the west, converting what was to be a pleasant sail into an endless ordeal of rowing.

Sailing east on the canal The batteau "Discovery" heads eastward along the canal leading from Sylvan Beach to Rome, where the Mohawk River could be entered.
Taking it easy Volunteer Olof Jannson settles in for what was supposed to be an easy cruise, running with the prevailing winds from Oneida Lake to Schenectady.
Steering the long straight of the canal Olof is called on to steer, as the trip continues, but the long haul of straight canal to Rome makes this a job with few surprises.
At Rome, and a tired crew By the time the boat reached Rome, however, it was obvious that the trip would be anything but easy, as the wind died and the big 13 foot oars had to be put into service.
Anson takes a break from rowing Taking a break from endless days of constant rowing, sometimes into the wind, John Anson takes a much needed turn at the steering sweep heading down the Mohawk River.
Taking shelter from the wind Volunteer George Haswell seeks shelter from the cold wind in a makeshift canvas construction rigged against the canopy end. The crew usually slept on the boat under tents made from the sail, oars and bits of extra canvas and rope.
Heading with the wind Seen on the river near Fort Plain on the best day of the trip, "Discovery" approaches with a full sail, having covered over 30 miles in a single day.
Haswell steers past the camera George Haswell holds the course as the batteau passes by at a (relatively) high rate of speed - with a west wind for a change. John Anson, the only crew member who made the whole trip, enjoys the ride.
A crew of two enjoys the sail Since the batteau was only 2-handed for this leg of the trip, it was a good thing the wind cooperated..
The batteau is away downwind Almost before we could advance the film to snap these few shots, "Discovery" had flown by and was on its way downriver.


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