Chinook: Photojournal, Part 3

This final installment completes the Chinook Photojournal. Carefully and beautifully compiled by the owners of Back Cove 37 ‘Chinkook,’ Klaus and Elizabeth spent four months exploring the Great Lakes Loop – a route comprised of inland waterways and canals, plenty of locks, a marine railway, and the Great Lakes of North America.  The Back Cove Yachts Blog would like to thank Klaus and Elizabeth for sharing their amazing adventure. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015: Vermilion OH

Hi All,

Monday 17, Aug: easy run from Sandusky to Vermilion, Ohio. We discovered an absolutely charming little town (very reminiscent of New England) and found the star attraction, Chez François, just yards away.

Definitely worth the trip.


Back Cove 37


Monday, August 24, 2015: Chinook Continues on Lake Erie

Hi All,

From Vermilion we came to Cleveland, Mentor Harbor and to Erie, Pennsylvania. Vermilion to Cleveland was easy, but Cleveland to Mentor Harbor was lumpy with residual wind and waves tossing us a bit. The entrance to Mentor Harbor was my scariest event for the year, waves on-shore and the entrance ever so small. Thankfully, Mentor Harbor to Erie, PA we judged perfectly and got in a long run on a flat calm day.

We spent a perfect day in Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University area, and especially loved the Pre-Columbian art from Central and South America and the American and French Impressionist paintings featured at the Cleveland Art Museum.

Image G

At Rock and Dock next to the R&R Hall of Fame, the Science Center and the C. Browns Stadium: couldn’t be more ‘center.’ The nautical flags spell out ‘Cleveland’

Image H

The Great Lakes steamer W. G. Mather is now part of the Science Center exhibits

Image I

Aboard the W. G. Mather. Looking aft from the bridge.

Image J

Cleveland Art Museum’s Hall of Armor.

The Crew on CHINOOK 


Friday, August 28, 2015: Back Cove 37 CHINOOK Reaches Buffalo New York

Hi All,

Friday 28, Aug: we reached Buffalo. NY on the eastern end of Lake Erie on schedule. A short 32 NM run from the Dunkirk Yacht Club in Dunkirk NY with 10 to 12 kts of following wind and perhaps two ft waves. It was quite nice.

We are now in Erie Basin Marina, downtown Buffalo. The whole waterfront area is crowded with locals and visitors.

Image 36

WWII US Navy ships at Canal Side on the Buffalo Waterfront.

Image 37

WWII US Navy Ship

Image 38

Plan of our run on the western Erie Canal from Buffalo to Tonawanda, and to Brewerton,  near Syracuse.

We will be here through Sunday. On Monday we plan to make a short 10 NM run down the Niagara River to Tonawanda and the western end of the Erie Canal. Some caution is advised there; go too far on the Niagara River and you go aaaaaahhheeeeeeeee” over the Falls.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015: Buffalo NY To Tonawanda NY and the Erie Canal

Hi All,

Monday 31, August: we left Buffalo for a short run down Black Rock Canal and the Niagara River to the western end of the Erie Canal in Tonawanda, NY. Thanks to keen navigation and helmsman-ship we we able to avoid going over Niagara Falls. Here we are central to everything for excursions by car rental for several days. On the Canal at North Tonawanda for $20 a day with electricity to keep the A/C running.

Image 39

Garmin Blue chart of the area

We were at the bottom Lake Erie, and took Terminal A to State Armory (Buffalo). The Niagara River flows around Grand Island, then turns west and becomes Niagara Falls where Dufferin Island is marked. We took the eastern branch of the river to North Tonawanda. The thin line thru the W of Tonawanda is the Erie Canal.

With that, our Great Lakes adventure crossing L. Ontario, thru Georgian Bay, the North Ch., L. Huron, L. St. Clair, and L. Erie is behind us. Western Erie Canal to go.

The Crew on Back Cove 37



Wednesday, September 9, 2015: Heading East on the Erie Canal from Tonawanda. Day One

Hi All,

Sat. 5, Sept: Our first day under way heading east from Buffalo and Tonawanda. Our first locks are No. 35 and 34 in Lockport.

Image 41

Invaded by Canada geese

Image 40

Big double gated Lock E35. To the left the remnants of the original 1825 flight of five locks replaced by 35 and 34

Image 42

Looking into E35 from the other side

Image 43

And what was the flight of five locks.


Back Cove 37


Wednesday, September 9, 2015: Heading East on the Erie Canal from Tonawanda. Day Two and Three

Hi All,

The guard gates on the Erie Canal are 16 1/2 ft above the water limiting who can pass through. Our Back Cove handles these just fine but I did have to fold our VHF antenna part way.

Image 44

A guard gate on the Erie Canal

Image 45

Fairport lift bridge

The last lift bridge is this one at Fairport. It is one hundred years old, and in the Guiness Book of Records: one end is higher than the other and built on a slant, with no two angles the same anywhere.

To our surprise Rochester did not have good places for transient boats. Everybody seems to prefer nearby Fairport, and we agree.



Tuesday, September 15, 2015: Heading East in the Erie Canal

Hello All,

We continue to make progress heading east in the western part of the Erie Canal. Next came Newark, but it rained for a day and a half, and on to Lyons.

Image 46

Our last evening in Fairport. We are the second boat on the left (north) side. The crews raced by at an incredible speed.

Image 48

New York Canals Tug ‘Seneca.’ Check out the crocheting! We are the boat behind Seneca.

Imge 49

A fine skirt for a wahine for a hula

Image 47

Seneca under way at Lyons


Back Cove 37



Chinook Crossed her wake where the Erie and Oswego Canals Meet

Chinook took four months in 2015 to complete the Great Lakes Loop.  Our trip measured 1750 nautical miles, took 250 engine hours and 840 gallons of diesel. That is 2.1 NMPG! We went through all 34 locks on the Erie Canal, 7 on the Oswego and 44 on the Trent-Severn Waterway. Our low average speed is explained by the speed limits on the NY Canals and Trent-Severn Waterway, and when not speed limited one still had to follow no wake rules or courtesies. 

We had this inland cruise in mind when we decided on buying the Back Cove 37. It turned out to be an excellent choice. Our biggest concern was our ability to handle the locks and this was quite easy, given the secure side decks and the location and spacing of cleats. We did add a stern thruster and proportional thruster control to our options list, which were invaluable for close maneuvers in the locks. 

Our low 13 ft fixed air draft, water line to all round mast head light, allowed us to do the western Erie Canal, probably the most pleasurable part of the entire cruise. 

With best wishes to our fellow Back Cove Owners and All,

Klaus and Elizabeth

The crew on Chinook

Chinook: Photojournal, Part 3
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