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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lake Champlain, Day 2

It was a quiet morning at the anchorage. The one early riser who raised anchor left completely under wind power. That was considerate of him for the late sleepers. My little sailboat has no galley so I was out in the cockpit brewing the morning coffee. It was a real pleasure to sip a coffee while watching a competent skipper put his boat through its paces.

Cooking on the boat is something I’ve been mulling over for some time. There are pros and cons for many different fuels and stoves. To a large degree, my choice has been driven by working with what I already own. Last winter, I used my old propane stove, but it broke. In the end, I decided to adapt my Whisper Lite International backpacking stove. While I’m not a big fan of gasoline, I’m already dealing with it for the boat motor. The International model can run on regular gasoline, so I don’t have bring a second fuel. I cut out a piece of plywood the same size as my bottom cabin board. Might as well be able to use it as an emergency backup. On that board I mounded holders to keep the stove tank and burner in place. It keeps everything from sliding around while I cook. When not in use the stove stores in the same locker as sailboat’s fuel tank.

Cooking at dock or anchor isn’t all that hard. I just have to keep an eye out of for the odd wake or wave that would send my pot or pan flying. Being out in the cockpit those are easy enough to spot ahead of time. We realized that cooking under sail was just not going to happen. For that, we have “hand food.” Stuff you can eat uncooked with one hand: granola, fruit and energy bar, sandwiches, apples, carrots, stuff like that. In the morning, I brew a big pot of coffee that fills our big travel mugs and a large thermos. That thermos keeps us going all day.

After breakfast, we lifted our anchors and caught a light breeze that slowly moved us out into the middle of the lake -where the wind died completely. We poked around a bit, never getting much over one knot in speed. As much as I hate to use the motor, we did want to get to Snake Den Harbor for lunch. We motored over and beached the boat right up on shore. It’s public land so there’s no ugly no-trespassing signs. The dog was very happy by then to run around a bit.

After lunch, the wind had picked up enough to sail. We crossed the lake again to the VT side and explored Otter Creek. It’s a six mile motor up the creek into the tiny city of Vergennes, where there is some free docking. It’s a nice little city. We had lunch there on our way to the boat launch on day one.

One mile up the creek there’s a pretty decent boat ramp -wide and paved with cement. It was much better than where we launched. I decided to move my truck to that landing. We found a cell phone signal and called my cousin who lives nearby. She was more than happy to give me a ride to my truck.

Lake Champlain had terrible flooding of historic proportions in the spring. A really nice floating boat dock had washed up halfway on shore near the boat ramp. By lifting the swing keel and rudder, we were able to tie up to it. The dock had some damage but was very serviceable for our needs.

During our winter trip down to the Florida Keys, we gave a small bit of assistance to Roy and Dawn when their Flicka, “Laughing Dolphin,” was blown off anchor and into the Bahia Honda Bridge. They said if we were ever in their home town area in VT, to call them up. We were fairly near them and called them up. The took us out to dinner and we had a marvelous time.

We made it back to the boat just as it was getting dark. The creek was a good protected place spend the night. So ended a very busy day 2.



  1. Sounds like life is good Bro! Enjoy!


  2. Wonderful that connections made elsewhere are revisited on your journey.

  3. Very nice. I hope to do a little boat camping when the weather cools, maybe south down the ditch on a nice sandy spot I know.

  4. China: life is good
    Treesong: We do love to meet interesting people.
    Craig: go for it! Please take photos.

  5. I am cureous about your dog, especially on all day off shore stuff like you did in Florida. Did you make up something like a cat's litter box and if so, would the dog use it?

  6. Dizzy, the dog potty issue is almost a post in itself. The dog has shown amazing bladder control.

  7. Dogs and boats and potty are an interesting subject.
    Our first boat dog was a land lubber to start.
    That pooch would not go on the boat, that is until it got to critical mass !! You don't want know...
    Dog #2 was raised on the boat, trained her to just do it, right over the scupper in the cockpit. I put an automatic solenoid valve on the wash down pump with a little shower head back there, activated with a motion sensor on a delay. Worked fantastic !!
    We no longer have the boat, but still have that dog. Guess where she goes in an emergency now ? Jumps in the tub and does it right over the drain...GOOD doggy