We docked in Amsterdam the night before our tours the following day. The forecasted rain finally hit us that night and into the next day while we were open for tours. We still had a great turnout on the rainy day! After closing for the day we packed up our gangway and made way above lock 11 to get a jump on the following morning, and to get a great Italian meal at a crew favorite, Russo’s. Our stop in Amsterdam was outstanding thanks to support from the community. We’d like to acknowledge and thank Gina DaBiere-Gibbs, Director of Tourism for the Fulton/Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce and Danielle Whelly, Assistant Recreation Director for the City of Amsterdam. Danielle organized a crew to receive our gift of a white oak tree to be planted in Amsterdam. Many thanks to Dan Nelli at Riverlink Park for great food and hospitality.
Drew Stierhoff, Amsterdam, NY
The Lois McClure crew left Waterford with thunderstorm forecasts looming overhead. The crew’s eyes were on the sky as we moved from Waterford to Schenectady, then from Schenectady to Amsterdam. Luckily for us the thunderstorms never came. We got to Amsterdam under clear skies. While underway the crew got a first hand look at the Erie Canal’s transformation from a commercial waterway to a recreational waterway. As we travelled along we encountered kayaks, fishing boats, row boats, water skiers, and more. The Lois McClure was the largest boat on the canal, where 100 years ago it would have been considered small and not gotten a second glance. It’s wonderful to see people taking pictures of the boat at locks and as we travel along as a moving piece of history. We have encountered plenty of enthusiasm for canal history already, and our tour down the Erie Canal is just beginning!
The following morning we got an early jump on it, meeting on deck for our safety briefing at 6am. Our early start was intended to allow enough time to remove our rig at the Canal Corp facility in Fonda. We had brought our masts with us anticipating wintering over in Waterford to get an early start on the Hudson in the spring for our 2018 tour. Rather than carry our rig throughout the season and try to navigate with limited visibility we opted to leave the rig behind, like so many other sailing canal boatmen before us, and become a standard canal boat. The crew at the Fonda facility under the supervision of David Lamphere couldn’t have been more accommodating, skilled or professional. We had the rig removed in less than an hour. What a transformation! With decks cleared we got underway for Canajoharie and an afternoon opening.