6000 miles in a 35 year old Trojan – Is it possible?

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Resolute
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6000 miles in a 35 year old Trojan – Is it possible?

Post by Resolute »

What does everyone think of taking a 6000+ mile trip in a 35 year old 10 Meter. How about if I told you it was one with the original 454 gas engines. Do you think it’s possible? Well, I’m here to tell you IT IS!!!

When I originally purchased a Trojan 10 Meter Sedan 3 years ago I had no intentions of taking it on the Great Loop. I had heard of this trip several years ago and dreamed of doing it, but not until the timing was perfect. I wanted to wait for retirement, wait until I had enough money saved, wait until I had the perfect boat, one with diesel engines that would be economical to run.

One day while surfing the net I was reading about the Great Loop and thinking about the boat I was going to get for retirement to take me on this elusive trip. Granted retirement was still 20 years away, but it’s still nice to dream, right? One comment that I read about selecting the “perfect” boat was that there was no perfect boat since each boat fills a different need based upon ones wants and needs at the time. It further went on to say that the perfect boat was the one that you already own. That statement right there got me thinking. Thinking that now, not later in life was the time. Now if I could just convince my sweetie that this is what we needed to do. We needed to do this now, while we are both young and healthy and while we still like each other.

We spent 2 summers cruising with this boat and 3 winters getting it ready in hopes of leaving on the Great Loop trip. When I first thought about planning for this all I really thought about was getting the boat ready, but there was so much more that needed to be done. It was not just about getting the boat ready, but about getting our lives ready that took a lot of time. Things that I didn’t think about early on were the aspects surrounding our dirt house, what do we do with that? What about our vehicles? Do we rent out the house and store the contents or just close it up? This and so so many other factors caused us to have a later departure than we wanted, but I am happy to say we finally left on this trip of a lifetime called The Great Loop on August 10, 2019.
Finally underway. Departing CT for our Great Loop trip
Finally underway. Departing CT for our Great Loop trip
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Last edited by Resolute on Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
1985 Trojan International 10 Meter Flybridge Sedan - 454 Crusaders

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Re: 6000 miles in a 35 year old Trojan – Is it possible?

Post by Resolute »

We left from Mystic, CT at 0700 on a beautiful morning with our friends and family waving goodbye. The plan was to go all the way to Port Jefferson, NY and spend the night. Well sometimes things do not go as planned and we did not make it that far. Instead the boat had other plans for us and had us wondering if we were making the right decision as the starboard engine stalled about 25 times throughout the day. I had this intermittent issue the year before and replaced EVERY ignition component that I could think of until finally I resolved the issue… or so I thought. With the engine stalling this much there was no way we were going to make the 70+ mile trip before sundown, meet up with our friends and still depart early the next day. We stopped for fuel and I asked if I could use the dock for a bit to check some things out. I tightened every single electrical connection on the boat and after having found several that needed some tightening I wasn’t convinced that the issue was resolved. We left the fuel dock and the boat ran great for the next 45 minutes, then it happened again. Ugh, what now. I told the First Mate to call our friends and tell them we would not be making it into the harbor that night. Instead, we limped into the CT River on one engine and found a quiet anchorage for the night. Here we are not even 30 miles into our 6000+ mile trip and things are not off to a good start.

While wincing about the decision to make this trip I also had some time to think about all the things I would check on the boat. Could it be the battery cables, a ground somewhere in the system. Those were the first things I was going to check when we got in for the night. While cruising up the CT River I did a little bit of experimenting. At this point we were only running on one engine as the stalling was happening every few minutes now. One of my little tests led me to what I thought the new suspect problem was: the ignition switch. I did not start the engine but instead just kept the key in the on position. This was annoying at first as the low oil pressure alarm kept beeping, loudly I might add. Then all of sudden it stopped, but came back rather quickly. I thought this odd and watched the gauges the next time this happened and noticed that the voltage gauge also moved quickly when this happened. Oh my I thought, could this be it, Could this be the problem? I toggled the switch ever so gently and noticed that even when in the on position I could get the switch to stop making contact, albeit momentarily.

At anchor that night I took the switch apart, cleaned all the contacts and tested the switch again and again. I wasn’t totally satisfied with the reassembly so I took it apart 2 more times and finally said that was as good as it was going to get. Since that day the switch has performed flawlessly.
Early morning CT River departure
Early morning CT River departure
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NYC & Lady Liberty - here we come!

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We finally arrived in Port Jefferson the next day and met up with our friends. Finally, this is what we really wanted on the trip. A relaxing cruise during the day and enjoying the company of some great friends while sharing a fantastic meal at a local restaurant. Isn’t this one of the reasons why we all own boats?

We departed PJ early the next day as I wanted to make sure we got through the East River and the current of Hell’s Gate at the optimum time. We did manage to add a whopping 6 knots to our travel speed while cruising down the East River. What an amazing experience it was to see the NYC skyline from a distance and travel under all these huge bridges. It was a special treat for us too when we found that at times we were going faster than the cars on the FDR Drive. The trip down the East River started out pretty easy. We first noticed the planes flying overhead to LGA (about one every minute) then the current started increasing, then the ferry boats appeared, then there were the helicopters. All this made it pretty tough, but not impossible, to enjoy the scenery. But seriously, there was a lot of traffic. Those ferry boats were everywhere. The current was pushing us along pretty good, but I usually like to keep the mood light when underway, so at the peak of all this I said to my First Mate. “Here, take the wheel, I’ve got to go pee”. She immediately looked at me and said: “WHAT? NOW!? Just pee in your seat, I’ll clean it up later.” So I kept driving and we cruised over to the Statue of Liberty where we planned to spend the night.

We anchored on the back side of the Statue as close as we could legally get. We enjoyed a quiet lunch and dinner, although it was a bit bouncy. I knew about this going in, but I heard that it calms down once the ferries stop running for the day. By 7pm it was flat calm there. We retired for the night at about 10 and I said, see I told you it was going to calm down, isn’t this great? And it was, the city skyline looked awesome at night and Lady Liberty was right next to us keeping her torch lit for us. Well, it is possible that I should not have said that it was calm as we were awakened 2 hours later to an unbelievable rolling motion. I figured it was just a passing ship, but it continued though the rest of the evening until we woke up. So much for it being a quiet anchorage.

Oh, in case anyone is wondering, I did NOT pee in the seat. :D
Cruising under the Throggs Neck Bridge-the start of the East River
Cruising under the Throggs Neck Bridge-the start of the East River
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Planes flying overhead to LGA
Planes flying overhead to LGA
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59th St Bridge - East River
59th St Bridge - East River
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Lady Liberty keeping the nightlight on for us.
Lady Liberty keeping the nightlight on for us.
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Our Anchorage for the night
Our Anchorage for the night
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Liberty Landing Marina & the Hudson River

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We left Lady Liberty the next day and ventured over to Liberty Landing. This was a very nice, although pricey marina. They had everything one might need, fuel, pump out, nice showers, restaurants, a ship store and even a ferry that would take you over to Manhattan. We searched in the store for an ignition switch, but couldn’t find one. Instead I purchased an ON/OFF switch that I figured I would make work if necessary for the ignition issue, but so far it has been good.

Having lived in Manhattan we did not feel a need to stay for several days to explore, but instead only stayed at LLM for one night, took the ferry to Manhattan to meet up with friends and then departed the next day to cruise up the Hudson.

The trip up the Hudson River was beautiful. We took a few days to do this and stopped at some great marinas and found some beautiful anchorages along the way. It was not long before we were able to enter the Erie Canal. Neither of us have ever had an opportunity to lock a boat through so we didn’t know what to expect. The first lock was a little intimidating, but now that we have done >150 locks to date, it’s not too big of a deal.
Entering our first lock
Entering our first lock
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Cruising the Erie Canal
Cruising the Erie Canal
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Re: 6000 miles in a 35 year old Trojan – Is it possible?

Post by prowlersfish »

Thank you so much for sharing . On my bucket list but likely won't happen LOL . But up the Hudson may
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Re: 6000 miles in a 35 year old Trojan – Is it possible?

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Envious!
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Erie and Trent-Severn Canal

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The Erie Canal was pretty cool. I’ve always wanted to cruise it. There were plenty of places to tie up for free or low cost. The towns were quite eclectic. They seemed very happy to have cruisers visiting their little part of the world. We would have loved to cruise the entire length of the Erie canal all the way to Buffalo, but due to fixed bridge height restrictions we were limited to a 15’ maximum air draft. We have an air draft of about 17’ so the alternative for us was to take the Erie Canal to the Oswego Canal.
It was a tight fit under some of the bridges on the Erie Canal, but we made it
It was a tight fit under some of the bridges on the Erie Canal, but we made it
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It took about 2 weeks for us to cruise up to Oswego. We had to wait a couple days for the weather before we could cross Lake Ontario into Canada. We crossed the Big Lake without issue and checked into Canada without any problems. From Oswego we plotted a course almost due North across the Lake and into the Bay of Quinte. We checked into customs at Picton, spent the night, and then headed over to Trenton which is the start of the Trent-Severn Waterway.

I’ll admit that we were a little intimidated when we first starting doing the locks on the Erie Canal, but the size of those compared to that in Canada is of no comparison. The highest we had previously encountered was a 40 foot lift at Little Falls, NY. Now that we are in Canada they had something called a double-lift lock. This is a double lock with 3 doors. You enter the first lock, the boat rises up x feet then they open the second door directly into the next lock. These locks were absolutely humongous.
Entering our first double-lift lock
Entering our first double-lift lock
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The double-lift locks were not the only highlight of the Canal system. First of all Parks Canada, that runs the canals, does an absolutely fantastic job of maintaining them. All of the locks were clean and the lock operators were very friendly. (eh?) Most of the locks on the canal were manually operated. The operators opened the large wooden gates by turning a crab, a large metal gear that is connected to each door. Turning the crab required the operators to spin in a circle about 65 times for each door (2 doors at each end).
Locks gates being opened manually
Locks gates being opened manually
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The lock operators do not monitor the VHF, they actually do not even have a handheld on them. Instead they just know when you are coming and open the gates for you. They are usually expecting you as the previous lock operators will have called ahead. Since there is a speed limit on the canal they know how long it should take you to get there. If another boat is in the lock chamber you can just tie up to a section of the wall that is painted blue, that is the staging area. Often times you will see boats tied up to the lock walls that are not waiting to go through, but instead just hanging out. Since this is Parks Canada camping is permitted at some of these locks (for boaters only). Our boat was large enough that camping was not necessary, but we found many boaters taking advantage of this from their small runabouts, bowriders and even jet-skis.

As I said earlier, the double-lift locks were pretty amazing. Actually the entire Trent-Severn Canal system is an engineering marvel. But what impressed me the most were the two unique lock types that they had. The first is called a lift lock. There are two of these, one in Peterborough and another in Kirkfield. The other engineering marvel was the Big Chute Marine Railway.

We spent the night at a marina just before the Peterborough Lift Lock. We wanted to check it out beforehand and see exactly what was in store for us. There are tons of biking/walking trails that run along the canal so it was pretty easy to get there. When we first got to the lift lock I was in awe. The lock consists of two basins connected to large hydraulic cylinders. It operates on a see-saw principle. When one basin is heavier than the other, it lowers and the other raises. So you drive into the lower basin, a door is closed behind you creating a very large bathtub that you and your boat are contained within. Water is then added to the upper basin to make it heavier, a crossover valve at the bottom is opened and the lift process begins. I would describe the lifting process as a really slow amusement park ride. It took ~ 60 seconds to raise the boat up 65 feet. When we got to the top the door at our bow was lowered so we could drive over it and we continued on our way.
Peterborough Lift locks
Peterborough Lift locks
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View from the top of the lock
View from the top of the lock
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The massive hydraulic cylinders that raise and lower the basins
The massive hydraulic cylinders that raise and lower the basins
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Attachments
The doors from the first opening directly into the second lock
The doors from the first opening directly into the second lock
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Re: 6000 miles in a 35 year old Trojan – Is it possible?

Post by prowlersfish »

How tall is that R.R. Bridge ? What is your air draft ? Again thank you for this great thread .
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Re: 6000 miles in a 35 year old Trojan – Is it possible?

Post by Away »

60 feet.
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Erie Canal Air Draft

Post by Resolute »

Away wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:58 am
60 feet.
:wink: LOL. While technically true I think Prowlerfish was looking for the distance from the bottom steel to the waterline. Although it seemed like we only had inches to spare with our 16'8" Air Draft, we actually had a lot more than that. Most bridge air drafts on the Erie to Oswego Canal section are at least 19'. If one takes the Erie all the way to Buffalo there is a 15' fixed bridge that one has to deal with.

This website has the bridge heights listed:
http://www.canals.ny.gov/boating/bridgeheights.html

I actually think the air draft on the guard gates was less. These structures are used to close off the flow of water in the canal for maintenance or in the event of an emergency.
Erie Canal Guard Gates.png
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The Big Chute Marine Railway

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The other engineering marvel that impressed the heck out of me was called The Big Chute Marine Railway. It is the only one of its kind in North America. This system consists of a cradle which lowers into the water and physically lifts your boat up then transports your boat on a track system for a 60’ elevation change before launching the boat back into the water where it can continue its journey.

This railway was built over 100 years ago (1914) and remains in use today. Actually the original railway was much smaller and consisted of a single set of parallel tracks. The larger improved railway system was built right next to the old one in the mid 1970’s and is the one that we traveled on. This larger railway consisted of 2 sets of parallel tracks that were at different elevations throughout their length. This allowed the cradle to remain almost parallel to the surface of the water throughout its ride.
Original railway and cradle
Original railway and cradle
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Inside of the cradle there were several slings with hydraulic rams attached. This configuration allowed everything from a megayacht to a kayak to be transported. We only know this as we spent the night at a nearby marina so that we could check out this awesome structure.

I flew the drone early the next day and was able to see the railway in operation from a birds eye view. To say I was impressed would be an understatement on how smooth this whole operation was. I have heard that the crew operating the lift were extremely professional, and they absolutely were. They knew boat configurations, models and how to sling them so as to not damage anything. To give you an idea of how good they are, they will usually call you out by type of boat you have while waiting. They can’t see your boat name so they will usually call you out by boat type or other distinguishing feature. I figured, yeah right, like they’re really going to know that we’re operating a Trojan, but guess what they said over the loudspeaker when it was our turn to approach: “Trojan Powerboat, you’re next. Approach the line and await further instructions.”
Big Chute Marine Railway.JPG
Big Chute Marine Railway.JPG (126.09 KiB) Viewed 525 times
I was a bit nervous when approaching this for the first time as there was a dam with a switch current just to the left of the now submerged cradle. I had read about this current and everything said if you approach it straight on, you will end up sideways because of the swift current. So I went parallel to the cradle on the far right and let the current line us up without issue. We slowly pulled in, centered the boat and before I knew it the back end was in the sling. The front end of the boat rests on its keel on the wooden deck. Then the journey up over the hill began. This is a trip that I would describe as another slow amusement park ride. This one was akin to a really slow wooden rollercoaster. Before I knew it the ride was over and we were in the water powering away.
On the Big Chute Railway.png
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Last edited by Resolute on Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 6000 miles in a 35 year old Trojan – Is it possible?

Post by Away »

Trent Severn System is 20' minimum.
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Georgian Bay & the North Channel

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After our trip through the Trent Severn Canal we entered Georgian Bay and slowly made our way up to the North Channel via the Small Craft route. Don’t let that name deceive you as there are routinely 100’ vessels that transit this route. Not that sharing the waterway with a 100’ vessel is bad it’s just that it is very challenging with the tight narrow channels that you must absolutely stay in. Canada is full of rocks and more rocks just below the surface of the water waiting to come into contact with your boat bottom and running gear. We were fortunate that we did not make contact with any of these obstructions but have talked with several boaters who were not so fortunate. I have always used and trusted Navionics software for navigation, but believe it or not, it is not to be trusted outside of the channel in Canada. We personally saw rocks just beneath the surface, just outside of the channel that were NOT on Navionics. Other boaters that have hit bottom and done extensive damage to their boats have reported the same thing about Navionics.
Narrow channel in the Small Craft route
Narrow channel in the Small Craft route
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To say that the waters of Canada were beautiful would be a huge understatement. We had an opportunity to anchor is some of the most pristine locations including a Fjord. We could have easily spent multiple summers exploring these pristine waters, but we’re continuing on our Loop trip and trying to get back to the Northeast by next summer. Plus it’s going to be getting cold here this far north in Canada.
Chimney Bay Anchorage
Chimney Bay Anchorage
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Kilarney
Kilarney
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Baie Fine Fjord
Baie Fine Fjord
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Re: 6000 miles in a 35 year old Trojan – Is it possible?

Post by Paul - SW Ontario »

Excellent post, fantastic adventure...thanks for posting!
We have been to the 30,000 islands of the Georgian Bay many times over the last 15 yrs, it never ever gets old, and photos can only give an a small sense of what it is like boating in the Canadian North.
Each of our trips up there are only for 14-16 days at a time, usually at a different secluded anchorage each night. Could only imagine spending the entire summer exploring.
We chose between our Trojan, and our C&C Sailboat...depending on our energy level, lol...

Rawson Bay, Massassauga Provincial Park, South of Perry Sound Geoargion Bay:
IMG_0639.JPG
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Baie Fine, MaryAnn Cove 'The Pool' at the base of Topaz Lake (a creatureless, salt water lake nestled high above in the white quartz):
IMG_0611.JPG
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Georgian Bay & the North Channel

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Paul - SW Ontario wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:29 am
We have been to the 30,000 islands of the Georgian Bay many times over the last 15 yrs, it never ever gets old, and photos can only give an a small sense of what it is like boating in the Canadian North.
When we first started cruising trough Georgian Bay I kept wondering why it was called the 30,000 Islands. I figured there's no way there could be that many islands, but after cruising through there and seeing how many islands there really were I now realize the reason for its name.

We too anchored in MaryAnn Cove at the base of Lake Topaz. We also had an opportunity to hike up to that Lake. Wow, seeing that pristine water sure was a beautiful sight.
Lake Topaz
Lake Topaz
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While we were in Georgian bay we also visited a town called Kagawong. We took a hike up the Kagawong River to the Bridal Veil Falls. During the hike we also got a chance to see the salmon swimming upstream as it was spawnig season. When we finally got to the Falls there were about 50 fish in the pool at the base.
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls
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