couple new to boating decide to take the leap and rent a canal boat to rediscover the historic Hudson River, on the 400th anni- versary of explorer Henry Hudson’s 1609 excursion up the river that would bear his name. They learned about history, yes, but mostly about pace — By Mary Armao McCarthy A
NOT IN A NEW
“Be your own captain,” the advertisement had promised, “No experience necessary.” Well, that was mostly true!
My husband Kevin and I had been planning this trip for a
year, studying charts and the Hudson River edition of The
Waterway Guide — the bible for boaters on these waters.
We’d nervously booked a replica of a European canal boat
for six days, then looked forward with great excitement to
the scenic pleasure of the river, and the feeling of accomplishment that we hoped to get from traveling the same
path as Henry Hudson in 1609. Though we didn’t yet own
our own boat, Kevin had served in the Navy, taken boating
classes and had an excellent knack for making friends with
boat owners who were gracious hosts.
Now, finally, we were about to embark on our own
journey. This would be our first boat trip, and it would
take us down the Hudson from our home in Albany, New
York. Instruction for our roles of captain and first mate
consisted of an hour-long, on-the-water tutorial. Our canal
boat instructor took us for a short cruise and demonstrated
the boat’s rudder-guided steering system. We did a practice
run through the lock in Troy, New York, while Ed explained
gauges, the propane and battery power sources, VHF radio,
location of life jackets, and emergency procedures.
Our floating home would be a long, low, canal boat —
40 feet of old-world charm with colorful tulips painted on
hatch doors and around portholes to reflect the Dutch heri-
tage of its home port in upstate New York. The interior was
equally charming, in the style of a knotty-pine Adirondack
cabin. After descending three steps from the stern deck,
there was room to walk upright through the well-equipped
galley and two sleeping cabins to a forward deck resembling
a front porch. I unpacked and we moved in.
Kevin McCarthy on the couple’s rented canal boat at Garrison,
New York, across the river from West Point Military Academy.
PHOTO MARY ARMAO MCCARTHY