Liberty got to spend the winter at the spa (aka Gaines Marina) getting a makeover and being pampered. The spa is right on the border of Canada, so it would be a few days trip to get her back down the lake to her homeport of Port Henry. The plan was to leave the spa on Friday and arrive in Port Henry mid-afternoon Sunday after overnights in Plattsburgh and Burlington. We anxiously watched the weather all week: although not much rain was forecast, winds were expected to be between 15-20 kts with 25-30 knt gusts on Sunday. Um, not what we wanted to be out in our first trip of the season. We decided to modify our plans to accommodate the weather by forgoing the stop in Plattsburgh, and making it all the way to Burlington the first night so that we could reach Port Henry Saturday before the winds really picked up.
Early Friday afternoon, after provisioning and a quick clean-up, we were ready to cast off. Click, click, click, click…The engine wouldn’t start. Now, we’d had some work done on it while at the spa- lots of little things and one big thing. What could be wrong? We got two mechanics over to take a look and eventually got the thing going. Yay! Uh, oh…now we can’t get it to turn off. Really. It wouldn’t shut off. After finally getting it to turn off, start up, turn off, start up a few times, we were able to cast off the dock lines at around 3pm (two hours later than anticipated.) With an estimated 5 hours travel time (not including a stop along the way to pick up our friend, Tony-Bag-O-Donuts, at Mooney Bay Marina,) I was concerned we wouldn’t make it to Burlington either while still light or in time to find a mooring available.
With a champagne toast and warm clothes we made a great start. Two miles into the trip… clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk. Oh, $%*t!! Not good when the engine starts making unexpected noises. Do we turn around? Yep! Double $%*t. Around we head, only to have the clunking stop. Should we stay or should we go? Survey says: let’s go! Down the lake we head again. This time there were no more surprises, and we picked up Tony and made it to Burlington as the sun was setting at around 9:30. And did we have to vie for a mooring? Nope! As a matter of fact, we were only one of four boats in the mooring field.
One of the only restaurants still serving dinner (it would be 10:30 before we could get to Church Street after a dinghy ride and 10-minute walk) was The Farmhouse Grill, one of our favorites. We had a great meal and some sour ales, then made our way to Church Street Tavern, another favorite because of their jalapeno cheddar soup and always (so far) serving Heady Topper. By this time it was past 1am and we were a tired bunch so we opted to head back to the boat for much-needed night’s sleep.
6:30 arrived way too early, but we needed to be out on the water by 7:30 to make sure we made it the remainder of the distance to Port Henry before the winds really picked up. It was cold and wet so we donned our foul-weather gear (although we all still had our pj’s on.)
As the wind was right on our nose and we needed to make time, we motored until we got to within about 5 miles of Port Henry. There was no way Liberty was going to make her entire maiden voyage without being under sail, so sails went up and we tacked a few times until we were before the marina. Jim made docking look easy as we took our place in our slip.
We celebrated Liberty‘s return home with a nice dinner at King’s Inn, mochatinis, and jamming until the wee hours with friends in Liberty‘s cockpit.
Ahhhhh…it’s good to be home. 🙂