This year's Sara B cruise stayed within New York State waters. It turned out to be an interesting trip with a wide variety of experiences- hot, not so hot, flat calm and thirty knots, sunshine and thunderstorms. The trip was also short, just six days and the little schooner was manned by just Chris and Sue this year – all the potential crew had obligations and schedules that precluded cruising.
A slow ghosting trip up to Oswego concluded with a spell of work for the Thornycroft. We traveled about two miles in two hours and then pretty much came to a dead stop a little more than half way to the city. After we got in, we had a pleasant visit with two old sailing friends who had come up for the races. They ended up only getting one race in due to lack of wind. Still it was fun to see Harry and Fran again.
Here, too, we crossed tacks with an impressive hard working woman named Jennifer Mays who has started up Oswego Expeditions, a new boat bike and hike business that seeks to use outdoor experiences to educate and improve health and well being. She had her fleet of kayaks out for rent at the H.Lee White boating center where we spent the night. Her efforts to engage folks with the great outdoors are essential in my view for the welfare of both humanity and the natural world so essential to our existence.
Her website is here and her tagline is education through exploration.
From there the next day we spent most of the day sailing slowly along the shore to Mexico Point. This is a real gunk hole and not the kind of place recommended for 47 foot schooners needing five feet of water. But we knew Ramsy Luddington had been in and out of there with his big Tahiti ketch with 4.5 draft so we were game to try. We slipped over the bar with a foot or so to spare and inside the winding cattail lined river we had six to eight feet or more. Splendid big oaks and maples lined the entrance, and canoes and kayaks were out in force on a Sunday afternoon as we felt our way cautiously up the river. As we came around a curve we were hailed unexpectedly by a passing motorboat. It turned out to be Spencer who directed us to the family dock we were just passing. So we tied up for the night.
In the Little Salmon River
We checked out the family compound (the Little Salmon River has hosted a summer 'colony' of cottages since the early twentieth century) and took the dinghy up the river perhaps a mile to the Rt 104 crossing. The river has a substantial marina with Travel lift haul outs and a gin pole and also at the entrance has a state park with a good ramp. Ramsey's Dream a 20,000 pound ketch, gets hauled out there each fall by a boat mover. The creek shoreline still has undeveloped stretches and most of the camps are modest and inconspicuous as they're tucked away in the trees. In the evening we discovered a beaver family living right next to Sara B's dock. They were not happy about detouring around us and kept slapping their tails on the water as they swam by.
From there we headed up to Henderson Harbor and spent a night at White's Bay passing by the huge and noisy ring bill gull colony on Little Galloo. I wanted photos for possible future video use and there were lots of gulls. Not so many cormorants as in past years. I guess the state has been oiling the eggs. We had a brisk run to Henderson and plugged down into the south end against the wind for good shelter from the predicted thunderstorms. They came through that night with wind rain and even some hail but the Fisherman anchor held fast.
From there we ran into Sackets with a lively west wind the next day. We reached along under fore only making 6.5 knots and ran into Black River Bay with some steep close spaced 3 to 4 foot rollers. We tucked in at Navy Point for two days. Didn't see anybody else out on Black River Bay that day.
Sara B associates John and Deb joined us for dinner driving up to check out the Sackets art scene. We then headed home because of a forecast of several days of southerlies pending. Sara B doesn't do headwinds very well so we figured no harm in a low stress crossing a day early. A long eleven hour day for the Thornycroft got her back on the mooring in time for dinner.
Though our trip was short we enjoyed socializing with cruisers and friends as well as quiet anchorages and low key cruising. Possibly we could go on another short trip later in the summer if anyone was keen to go. Meantime, we are day sailing with Sara B and associates as summer moves on.
Little Galloo Island
Big boats at Sackets Harbor (our deck isn't much above the neighbor's water line!)