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An Epic Journey


Notes on an Epic Journey by Captain Nesanel Reed

In the summer of 2021, Captain Nesanel Reed piloted the schooner Red Sea from Kenosha, Wisconsin to New York Harbor. He thereby retraced many legs of watery voyages he had made with his family on their boat two score years before. Here are some of his notes from that trip.

In the midst of a pandemic, my partner Yitzy flew in from California and I from New York to purchase a replica of an 1830s working schooner in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Why would we do this? you might ask. To run kosher cruises in New York City, of course.

Captain Nesanel with partner Yitzy on the search for a vessel, here pictured in Portland, Maine. Kosher cruises in Manhattan or bust!

Renovations and Preparation for the Journey in Kenosha

Of all the shipowners in all the towns in all the world, it was Captain Andrew Sadock who was to sell us this schooner. I could devote an entire book to him, one of Kenosha’s crown jewels. But he has written many himself. He truly gave us his all to make this mission a success. I will be forever indebted and grateful to him and will never forget what an absolute blast I had–and I hope he did too–making this project work. Here he is training myself and the crew after we launched:

But we are getting ahead of ourselves with this video.

To recap in short, Yitzy’s Shiffel LLC acquired the Red Sea, a 77-foot double-masted gaff-rigged schooner, in Kenosha, Wisconsin in April 2021 and leased it to Metrosails. Our mission was to sail the ship to New York for operations as a kosher commercial passenger vessel.

We undertook extensive renovations over the next few months, including the recaulking (recottoning) of the entire hull. Milwaukee shipwright Peter Little executed and/or oversaw all the renovations, himself replacing worn frames and planks.

I had my hand in the work too, using the legendary PaintShaver Pro to strip the entire hull.

Peter also taught me how to properly hammer cotton into the seams.

Kenosha was a very welcoming temporary home, mitigating my homesickness. The city itself was very familiar to me, having grown up in Pittsburgh, another part of the Rust Belt. Kenosha too had given itself a makeover, auto industry complexes having been creatively redeveloped to facilitate state-of-the-art cottage industries. Kenosha is much more pristine than Pittsburgh. Some neighborhoods look strikingly 1950s. Everything is well-kept, functional and modernized.

Kenosha’s Southport Marina is a world-class marine facility. The staff was unbelievably friendly, the ownership unbelievably accommodating. Every morning I was strengthened in my resolve to carry on with this project through the smiles and words of encouragement of the marina staff. The Red Sea had always been in keeping with its name: red. Though we exercised due care, a lot of red paint dust ended up–inevitably given the scale of our project–all over the marina and neighboring boats, some freshly washed down for the spring. Not a single person ever complained to us about this. Everybody was excited about our refurbishment project and did their part, if only through quiet toleration, to see it succeed.

New Kenosha Friends

I made many wonderful acquaintances and hopefully lasting friendships both in the marina and outside. So many people did so many things to make sure I felt comfortable and at home, leaving me with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and blessing. I’ve already mentioned Captain Sadock, who let me stay on Red Witch 2 and even let me zip around Kenosha and environs in his souped-up Nissan Cube. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Wilschanski and family kept me nourished physically and spiritually. It was such a pleasure to run into Michael & Sarah again and again. Patrick, Everett, Emily & Paul and crew were always there for great conversation and useful insights at the dock. I will always be touched by Frank & Maria arranging kosher hors d’oeuvres for the Fourth of July and by meeting Frank’s father who caulked wooden vessels in his youth in Bari near my family’s beloved Barletta. I raise a Spotted Cow to you all! If Kenosha didn’t have only four months of warm weather and didn’t regularly experience polar vortexes in the winter, I would seriously consider relocating there.

A Diligent Work Crew

We had a very dedicated working party, without whom the Red Sea never would have been launched.

Craig after a hard day’s work Abbiey & Peter setting a plank James routing the cabin top


I’ve already mentioned shipwright Peter Little, who inspired us with his work and knowledge and kept us moving in the right direction. But there was Abbiey, Peter’s assistant, whose knowledge buttressed the overall renovation and whose painstaking attention to detail helped to make the hull sound. Weston Lorenz at One Source Staffing Inc. provided us a number of helpful workers, including Kayla and James, whom I thank. Nobody on the project was more indefatigable than Craig. We were in the water only because Craig literally spent days on his back with sawdust from a disk sander pouring down on him. In truth, however, everyone was instrumental in their own way. Bart led the way with the seam compound. Kathleen did a fantastic job of organization, among many other things recruiting the team that made the end-spurt possible: Matt, Flash, George, Michael and __, the Colon Family and Dylan. Thank you, Brandon, for your work, for the video footage and for sparing me embarrassment by climbing the ratlines at night to get the stuck mainsail down. Thank you, Kody, for painting both suspended and floating in the water after the boat had already been launched and for attaching the spreaders–from the manlift 50 feet up! Thank you, Jared, for the beautiful dutchmen. Thank you, Nick. Thank you, Mr. Debbink, for donating your carpentry skills.  Thank you, Mr. Sorensen, for redesigning the exhaust system. Thank you, Captain John, for getting the spreaders back up.

The work crew had the boat ready for launch on June 5, 2021. Another short haul a week later was needed before the wooden hull finally swelled to the point that the boat was no longer taking on water.

(Video: Brandon Debbink)

The Road Ahead

After nearly three months of preparation, we were now ready to embark on a journey that would take us through Lake Michigan, the Straights of Mackinac, Lake Huron, the St. Claire River, Lake St. Claire, the Detroit River, Lake Erie, the Welland Canal, Lake Ontario, the Oswego Canal, the Erie Canal, the Hudson River to New York Harbor.

Epic Route of the Red Sea (click on map for greater detail)


Departure from Kenosha

Though the survey, Coast Guard inspections, insurance and weather slowed our departure, I left Kenosha Harbor with a somewhat heavy heart and a crew of two, Dylan and Karl, on July 7, 2021, about six weeks behind schedule.

This proved to be the roughest day of the entire journey.

While the weather report had called for waves of one to three feet, the Red Sea encountered waves of eight to ten outside Milwaukee. The wind was from the north, making a beam reach extremely uncomfortable for myself and the crew. During a few monster waves, we literally were holding onto the helm, like a bucking bronco, for dear life. Rather than experience the infamous (now concretely lived) roll of this boat when it has waves on its beam, I decided to overshoot Milwaukee and come back on a following sea. Slowly becoming familiar with a new boat, we learned that the Red Sea takes a following sea like a champion surfer. As soon as we came about (i.e. got turned around)–which was not easy!–the extreme discomfort was over.

A few hours out: Dylan ruminating in the rain on what he had gotten himself into

Bad weather kept us in Milwaukee for four days. As soon as the weather changed, we crossed Lake Michigan to Ludington, finally leaving America’s Dairyland for the Water Winter Wonderland.

Pulling into Ludington just after dusk, a line from our bow fell into the water and wrapped around the prop. I quickly killed the engine. We had just enough forward momentum to reach the dock. After an early call the next morning, Scuba Steve arrived to extricate the line from the prop. He also admired our handiwork below the waterline, confirming that everything there was okay.

A Starry Night Puts Lake Michigan Behind Us

After a late afternoon start, our plan was to run through the night and to cross the Straights of Mackinac the next day. The nighttime navigation was demanding, but went off without a hitch. The night sky approaching the Straights of Mackinac was awe-inspiring, one of the journey’s highlights in terms of sheer natural beauty–and that’s saying a lot in the Upper Peninsula. Untainted by light pollution, the dark sky revealed an unbelievable depth of stars, seemingly teeming with the haze of galaxy after galaxy. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Inspired by such a dazzling evening, First Mate Dylan and I were full of energy coming through the Straights of Mackinac the next morning.

Passing under the Mackinac Bridge was the first major milestone of the trip.

Milestone 1

But no two individuals share the same perspective, particularly when it comes to the sea. We turned into Cheboygan, Michigan to let our unhappy second crewman, Karl, disembark to return to Kenosha.

Going the Upper Peninsula Alone Down to Harrisville…

Dylan and I were undeterred by the idea of continuing on alone and did so the next day, running with the “big guys” for a while in following seas over the Straights before covering a good portion of Lake Huron and turning into beautiful Harrisville, Michigan early Friday morning for Shabbat. This was a real test for Dylan and I. Arriving at 5:00am in the dark, nobody was around to assist us with docking. But I managed to put us on the dock and Dylan skillfully lassoed two pylons. We were indeed becoming masters of this vessel.

At every port, the Red Sea drew a lot of attention, but probably nowhere more than Harrisville, where captain and mate tried to answer the questions of around 100 interested passersby. Bonds of lasting friendship are tied quickly. Avi, we’ll come back for you yet…Don’t worry, Dakota, we’ll take you too!

…Then A Giant Water Slide Takes Us into Detroit

A midnight departure after Shabbos had captain and first mate positioned to pass under the Blue Water Bridge early the next morning. Friends of Captain Sadock sailed out on a catamaran to welcome us at the mouth of the St. Claire River. Our goodbyes to Lake Huron had to be brief, though, as we entered the roller-coaster-like rapids under the Blue Water Bridge, where Lakes Michigan, Superior and Huron empty. Because of the strong currents, we covered the start of the St. Claire River, the second major milestone of our journey, at 12 knots (!), nearly 100% faster than our normal cruising speed.


Milestone 2

We crossed Lake St. Claire late that same afternoon and turned at dusk into the ultra-hospitable Grayhaven Mooring Facility at the entrance of the Detroit River, where no less than 10 people met us to handle our lines! I got to break my Tisha B’Av fast with Yitzy’s brother, Rabbi Bentzion Geisinsky, co-director of Chabad of Bingham Farms near Detroit, who drove an hour across town to pick me up.

Trouble in Paradise outside My Childhood Playground

Exiting the Detroit River late the next afternoon, we hit our first major snag. The engine began to overheat. We shut it down, and exited the River channel under sail. It was a long and exhausting evening, with little to no progress.  Frustrating. I was now smack in the middle of my childhood stomping grounds. As a kid, I had always wanted to anchor out in the cove of Rattlesnake Island. Alas, with rocky shoals everywhere and no power and no wind, it would have been too treacherous to make an approach under sail. My childhood dream anchorage will have to wait for another venture.

The wind did pick up the next morning for an excellent beam reach around the islands in the southern portion of Lake Erie to Huron, Ohio, where a diesel mechanic awaited us. Here was my report to Yitzy (notice the (greenish) blue water of Lake Erie!):

Many in Huron greatly appreciated the Red Sea, none more so than Susan Shamhart, who took this beautiful series of photographs.

Engine repairs and rough weather extended our stay in picturesque Huron Harbor to three days.

Back on Our Way up Blue Lake Erie

Our next stop was Cleveland. Dylan had called ahead to book a slip in a marina. But someone forgot to raise both halves of a drawbridge. I wasn’t going to risk it. The approach was just too narrow. After a short exchange on the phone with the harbormaster, we tied up on a wall in front of the railway bridge at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. In the light of the next morning, we could clearly see the “no docking” signs that had been obscured in the dark…So we weren’t offended when the employees of the adjacent cement facility told us unceremoniously to leave at 6am.

Shabbos was coming, so we didn’t push on to Buffalo, and turned into Ashtabula instead. It had been at least 40 years since I entered Ashtabula Harbor on my parents’ boat. But I was the navigator then too. I remembered the Harbor and the Ashtabula River with its lift bridge like it was yesterday. Today, however, I had to recall Captain Sadock. As we were coming down the channel in Kenosha Harbor during my training on the new vessel, he had said to me, “No, no. Get in the middle. You’re the big boat now.” As the small boats lined up for the lift bridge in Ashtabula, I had this lesson firmly in mind and gave a menacing blast of the horn when one of them started to cut in front of me. Captain Sadock would have been proud.

On Sunday, we started to shuffle off to Buffalo, but made a stop in Erie, PA first to visit with my brother, Doug. The two of us hadn’t been on a boat together for close to 40 years.

The captain’s brother was always a great pilot

It was a beautiful afternoon sail. Doug was still a prodigious deckhand. He also saved the day after we had dropped him off on the dock. “Wheel hard right,” he yelled over calmly as I was trying to back off the busy dock with the wind pinning us down. Those three words were enough for me, then and later. We motored away smoothly in front of the gazes of scores of onlookers.

I was able to confirm with my brother one of the most positive phenomena of my journey: the water quality of Lake Erie and the Detroit River had improved remarkably since our childhood. Crossing Lake St. Claire, I was waiting for the water color to change as we hit the Detroit River. But it never did. Nor did it change much when we entered Lake Erie. Blue. The water was blue and not the brown mud of our childhood. Feel good, humanity. You have learned and are cleaning up your past messes. It is possible. Lake Erie is wonderful proof.

Nowhere was this more evident than with the walleye fishermen who lined the southeastern shores of Lake Erie early in the morning. Who used to fish on Lake Erie? I spotted a private buoy off our starboard bow at about two o’clock and instinctively made a sharp turn to port. Sure enough a line of private buoys could then be spotted for about a half-mile going north. We headed due north along the line to avoid the fishing nets and the fouling of our prop.

I am proudest of our overnight passages. We had to navigate and stay our course. We had to keep a sharp eye out for freighter traffic. Dylan was a consummately reliable crewman, showing up for his watch right on time. He was always vigilant. It was a long and dark haul to Buffalo. But we pulled into the harbor with the early morning sunrise, having reached the third major milestone of our journey. We now had three Great Lakes behind us.

Milestone 3

Bureaucratic Obstacles

To this point, Covid hadn’t been a factor at all in our journey. In most places, we didn’t even have to wear masks. We could even forget there was a pandemic. But now it was time for us to transit the Welland Canal, which connects Lakes Erie and Ontario, sparing us the indignity of going over Niagara Falls. In other words, now we had to enter Canada, where the lockdown was still in full swing. I consulted the website of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System. There were no special indications regarding Covid there. I booked our passage online for Tuesday (downbound). Bright and early Tuesday, we left Buffalo for Port Colborne, just avoiding a mounting storm.

Buffalo too was in much better shape than in the 70s

I radioed ahead to Seaway to confirm our appointment. “Call customs,” they told me. Then it started. Even though we were traveling recreationally in the eyes of the U.S. Coast Guard, in the eyes of the Canadian customs authorities we were still a commercial vessel. Under the Canadian Covid guidelines, we would therefore have to return to where we came from and fill out the required paperwork. No, we couldn’t stay in Port Colborne to let the storm pass. We had to leave right away. Ugh. Coming out of Port Colborne, the previously averted storm was now in full swing. It was pouring rain, with heavy winds and the worst seas we had encountered since Milwaukee. Southwest winds; we thus had to deal with the tremendous roll of this boat with the wind and the waves on our beam. Good thing it was only a three-hour trip back to Buffalo.

Let the scramble begin. Fortunately, the Red Sea is actually owned by an LLC. The LLC was therefore able to hire myself as its captain, after I drew up a corresponding agreement. This loophole in the Canadian regulations spared us from having to hire a Canadian captain to pilot the boat through the Welland. Originally, we had planned on entering the Erie Canal in Tonawanda near Buffalo. But the water was low in the Buffalo portion of the Erie Canal, making it impassable for us. We had to switch plans and take the Welland. For this reason, both Dylan and I did not have our passports on us. This was going to cause a major delay. Thank goodness for electronic transmission. In the end, we were allowed to return to Port Colborne Wednesday night to transit the canal the next day–though we weren’t permitted to disembark on Canadian soil because of Covid.

Transit code. Finally cleared for the Welland!

A Commercial Seaway

I had transited the Welland Canal, one of the world’s greatest civil engineering feats, many times as a youth with my family. Boy, did my father make it look easy! This thought kept recurring to me throughout the long, arduous day. The Welland is primarily used for commercial freighter traffic. Recreational vessels are more or less tolerated. It was our day to rub elbows with the big boys.

The pressure was thus on to move through the Canal in a rapid and orderly fashion. The conditions on this day were terrible early on, with the wind right on our stern, seemingly taunting me to drive right over the lock wall. It took me several ungraceful approaches in the first locks before I got my act together with the wind and currents in the well. But by the later locks, having endured a bit of giggling by the lock attendants, Dylan and I were working together like a seasoned team.

Still, starting out at 7am and finishing at 5pm, those 8 locks were quite a workout, especially for Dylan.

Last Welland lock now behind the captain

We gave up any thoughts of pushing further up Lake Ontario that evening. Instead, we made our way for Youngstown, NY, the first American city on Lake Ontario after exiting the Welland Canal. But our long day wasn’t over yet. Pulling into the Youngstown Yacht Club at cocktail hour, there were scores of people out to watch this big schooner tie up on the tight city dock. But my Welland training stayed with me, and Dylan got the lines off like a pro. We rose to the occasion and made a respectable impression on the onlookers. Now, thank G-d, we could relax, safe and sound, having put the fourth major milestone of our journey–the Welland Canal–squarely behind us.

Milestone 4

One thing was clear to Dylan and I after our Welland experience: with 31 locks approaching on the Oswego and Erie Canals, we needed to find another crewman fast.

A Rejuvenating Respite in Youngstown

Youngstown was the most picturesque town we had encountered on our journey–and that is saying a lot. Right at the outlet of the Niagara River, the area is steeped in the history of the early French and British settlements. A beautiful French-built fort overlooks the approach to the harbor.

We had a busy but productive and memorable day. Two classes from a sailing school came by to see the boat. The older group hoisted the sails. The younger group remained convinced, despite our protestations, that we were pirates. To all, I underscored that the principles of sailing remain the same, both for their prams and for the Red Sea. They will remember the lessons from their prams when someday they are piloting the likes of the Red Sea.

Dylan with the sailing school

Busy as the day was we were determined to get a brief look at why we took the Welland Canal in the first place–Niagara Falls, my last look having been nearly five decades before.

I had been in touch with an Israeli seaman who was making a delivery in Florida. Or at least that was the state of affairs during our last communication. Now on the telephone I learned he had returned home to California. I initially thought that was it for the chances of him joining us. But I was overlooking the amazing flexibility of real mariners, those with a passion for the sea. Guy loved the idea. He said he would take a red-eye flight Saturday evening and be there in Youngstown to shove off early Sunday morning, ready to take on the Erie Canal.

Guy’s commitment made it easier for me to rest on Shabbos. Though the scenery was terrific, I was preparing for another Shabbos away from the family. Compounding this predicament, I had run out of kosher meat shortly after leaving Kenosha. When I googled, I saw that there were two kosher stores just across the Niagara River on the Canadian side, only several miles away. But, oy veh! with the Covid lockdown in full swing there, Canada was still off limits. I had had no meat for weeks now. It was Shabbos, though, and I wasn’t going to let my spirits down due to mere material concerns…Besides, I had discovered some highly recommendable soy-based chorizo.

On Shabbos day (Saturday), I took a walk in Fort Niagara State Park. Looking out over the water, I could see Toronto on the other side of the Lake. As a child, I had spent many summers there on the boat. Often in life, people get separated from loved ones without any forewarning, long before they’re ready. That was certainly my case with my parents. Looking out at Toronto now in the midst of this voyage for which my parents had prepared me so well, I could close the circle that had been left open. This time I could say goodbye without sadness, full of gratitude for the simple joy of the present.

The captain at age 14 on the deck of his family’s boat with Toronto in the background

Back on Lake Ontario for an Excellent Sail with Guy

Sunday morning there was Guy, just in from California, ready to embark on his next delivery. Introductions were short, familiarity with sailboats helping to curtail formalities. Within hours, we were having the best sail of the entire journey, the northern winds offering the perfect conditions for a beam reach to Oswego.

Unfortunately, the winds picked up too much over the course of the day, as did the waves–contrary to all weather reports (so much for weather prediction algorithms). By nightfall, the seas were pretty uncomfortable. We turned into Rochester, experiencing some of the infamous Red Sea Roll. Sorry, Guy, for the rude welcome!

Bright and early the next morning, we were up to push on the rest of the way to Oswego, arriving there in late afternoon, milestone five of our journey, Lake Ontario, now having been traversed.

Milestone 5

The Erie Canal’s A-Comin’ – Down with the Rig!

Low bridge, everybody down!” goes the Erie Canal song we sang as school children. Standing 55 feet off the deck, the masts were just not going to cut it on the Erie Canal. The rig had to come down–sails, spars and masts! After taking down the foresails, we turned in early for the evening to gather strength for the big day ahead.

It was partially a testament to what can be accomplished with the right tools and equipment; but mostly it was the amazing expertise of the owner at the Oswego Marina that enabled us to de-step the masts in about 8 hours.

Somebody had to go up the foremast to release the queen’s stay, which connects the main mast to the foremast. At times like these, the captain is called upon to step up…or, in this case, climb up. With the crane, I was able to make short work of it.

The Red Sea‘s providence immediately seemed clearer as soon as the rig came down. Shipwright Nathaniel Zirlott, who built the Red Sea, was known for making commercial shrimp trawlers. Amazingly, back in Youngstown, a man from the Gulf Coast had noted that the boat looked a lot like a Gulf Coast shrimp trawler. After he made this comment, I told him about Mr. Zirlott and that the boat was built on the Alabamian Gulf Coast in Bayou LaBatre. But those lines were now much more evident with the rig down.

The rig wouldn’t have come down without Guy. Thank you, Guy, for your hard work and terrific seamanship!

Shrimp trawlers in Bayou LaBatre, Alabama, where the Red Sea was built. With the rig down, the resemblance was clearer.


Yitzy takes the old adage, “Walk softly and carry a big stick,” to an extreme. Here the masts of the Red Sea before they were laid on deck

Within no time, we had the entire rig resting all over the deck. Cluttered as we were, we were now ready to start the Erie Canal!

The next three locks would be open until 5:00pm, so we still had time to begin this leg of the journey that same day. The four locks after those would be open until 9:00pm. If we were lucky, we would clear the Oswego Canal the first evening. Depicted below was our first of 31 locks, Lock No. 8 of the Oswego System. “Okay, you guys are goin’ up,” the lockmaster announces to start us off down the Canal.

The Lazy Pace of the Erie Canal

The locks on the Erie Canal seemed quaint and relaxed compared to the Welland’s massive wells and business-like tempo. In fact, it soon began to sink in that we were not going to be able to run at our previous clip. Now, we were subject to the lockmasters’ schedules, which weren’t always transparent.

In Yiddish, they say, “Der Mentsch tracht und G-tt lacht.” Loosely: man’s designs are definitely not G-d’s. Sometimes you just need patience in life. This was one lesson of the Erie Canal, which had long before us stopped being used for commercial purposes. We were delivering the Red Sea to New York for commercial operations. We were not sightseeing, though we clearly did enjoy the scenery everywhere. Our pace on this voyage had to date been grueling. When we could move, i.e. weather permitting, we did move, travelling at all hours of the day and night. This was a physical challenge, a test of endurance. We could have easily stretched out the journey over the entire summer. But we had to operate. We had to get to New York as fast as at all possible. Yet here on the Erie Canal, Yitzy and I were just going to have to temper our business plans.

There was a dreamy quality as we went our way through the landscape of rolling hills and mountains, stunning beauty everywhere.

The first evening everything clicked. We did make good progress, docking in Phoenix, NY, near the end of the Oswego Canal, at around 9pm. The second day, however, we were not so lucky. We had to lock through with a NY State barge, which was slow-going. We did cross Oneida Lake. But we only went through three locks on the day. Lock 20 closed at 5:00pm, and we found ourselves on its western side. The third day was much the same. I don’t even remember why it took us so long. I just remember that, calling ahead to the lockmaster at Lock 13, we were in disbelief when we realized that they had already closed shop at 4:00pm. We were again stuck in the middle of nowhere. I was only a few hours driving distance from home…so close but yet so far.

The Red Sea in Fultonville, NY near Lock 13, another compulsory early day

Day Four on the Erie Canal was shaping up to be like the previous three. It was Friday, the eve of Shabbos, and I had already resigned myself to spending it in the boondocks tied to a lock wall. Without exception, the lockmasters on the Erie Canal were pleasant, each a character in his or her own right. The lockmaster at Lock 4, who also handled Lock 2, he griped to me on the VHF, was a bit ornery, though the charm of his Caribbean accent smoothed out all the gruffness. After much bewailing about all that I was putting him through, the flood gates opened, literally and figuratively. In no time, we found ourselves on the eastern side of Lock 2. “Thank you, Lockmaster 4, for all your efforts!” I said enthusiastically on the VHF. I had broken through: “You’re welcome. Have a safe rest of your journey,” came the reply.

A feeling of mission accomplishment indeed started to sink in once we were there in Waterford, the last (or first, depending on your direction) town on the Erie Canal, where we pulled in just a few hours before Shabbos. We had to scurry to the supermarket for supplies. We were nearly running through the streets. We could see a bridge up ahead. We would have to cross on foot to get to the store. And there it was: the mighty Hudson! The sixth milestone of our journey, the Erie Canal, was behind us.

The mighty Hudson! We had arrived! (I left my finger on the lens in my pre-Shabbos rush.)

Milestone 6

What Goes Down, Mast Come Up

Waterford was absolutely charming, it being the oldest incorporated village in the United States, having been incorporated in 1794. But we still had to navigate the Hudson; New York City was still a 150 nautical miles away. And we still had to get this cumbersome rig back up!

The owner of the Oswego Marina had recommended that we use Hop-a-Nose Marina in Catskill, NY to step the masts again. I spoke with Shawn, the owner there, who said that we should arrive Sunday and that he would have a team ready for us on Monday morning to do the work.

We cleared our final lock at Troy and headed down river to Catskill for our rendezvous with gravity–this time we would be working against it.

What we lacked in equipment at Hop-a-Nose, we overcame with old-fashioned manpower and brawn. We had ten people to put the sticks back up.

Another solid eight-hour day with the rigging. As soon as it was back up, I used the re-erected foremast to hoist the Red, White & Blue. Let nobody kid themselves: Where else but in America would any of this have been possible?

In the Home Stretch

We wasted no time shoving off from Catskill. In fact, we were making such good time, moving with the current on the Hudson, that we were going to reach New York Harbor in the dark.

We turned into Poughkeepsie for the night, so as to head out early in the morning to make the final leg of the voyage in daylight.

Around 5:00am, the wind was brisk, cold, raw, fresh. The waters of the River were animated; the current streaming. The Hudson is a beast.

Rounding the bend towards the majestic West Point campus, I was in my recent sailing stomping grounds.

Now, it was hitting home (pun intended): Yitzy and I had nearly succeeded in this massive endeavor. The Bear Mountain Bridge is literally my backyard.

I had been pursuing this idea for so long and now it was becoming reality. In no way could I have done it alone. Yitzy too believed in the idea and made it possible. He believed in me, as well. For that tremendous confidence placed, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I am also grateful to the myriad of other people, some mentioned here, but especially Dylan! who made this mission possible, each in their own way.

We made it to New York, in the midst of a pandemic! Thank you, G-d, for keeping us safe on this epic, consummately American journey! Or as Patrick put it in Kenosha, thank you, G-d, for allowing us to enjoy Your bounty.

Here’s the Kenosha Kid at the helm tooling into Manhattan for the first time. Bring it on home, Dylan!

We logged close to 1,500 nautical miles. Seventh milestone reached.

Milestone 7

Delivery accomplished. The Red Sea is now in New York City, open for business.

May G-d bless the Red Sea on her further adventures and may G-d continue to bless these United States of America.

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