Ceres expects to set sail for NYC in October

Ceres makes her way across Hawkins Bay with Camel's Hump in the background.

Ceres makes her way across Hawkins Bay with Camel’s Hump in the background.

UPDATE: Ceres is now well on its way to New York City, carrying 12 tons of cargo to sell en route. As of October 15, the boat was leaving Hudson, with Kingston the next stop. Keep up with the latest at the Captain’s (b)log.

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The Vermont Sail Freight Project, which will deliver Vermont farm products to markets up and down the Hudson River between Lake Champlain and New York City via a sailing canal barge, now expects to make its first trip to New York in October.

After some shake-down cruises on the lake, Erik Andrus and his VSFP crew wanted an expert opinion on where they stood, seaworthy-wise and otherwise. From Andrus’s “Captain’s (b)log“:

I am very pleased that VSFP has recruited Captain Steve Schwartz, who has a pedigree of experience with traditional sail on the Hudson River going back to the inspired zaniness of the early days of Pete Seeger’s sloops, the Clearwater and the Woody Guthrie. Steve has been involved with skippering the latter for many years. So a couple weeks ago we actually got Steve to drive up to Vermont to scope out the project.  At this point we were still bearing down hard as possible to be ready to sail on the 15th.  Well, when Steve arrived and gave his analysis of our state of readiness, reality set in a little.  We were just not ready to take Ceres on an extended voyage.  There were a number of reinforcements and upgrades needing to be made.  None was really a deal-breaker by itself, but cumulatively it represented a lot more time.

So, with the interest in both Ceres and her crew surviving the trip to NY and back again with enough of us all left at the end of it to do the trip many times more, we simply postponed by one month. The advantages of the additional time greatly outweighed the deterioration of the weather one month closer to the end of the year. Though we have to consider that too.


Ceres on her trailer at the Little Otter Creek fishing access in Ferrisburgh.

Ceres, named for the Roman goddess of grain and agriculture (and, not coincidentally, the figure atop the State House in Montpelier), has been in “dry dock” at the South Slang fishing access in Ferrisburgh, undergoing some repairs and upgrades. But by September 27, the boat was back out on the lake for more trials.

The tentative schedule for the maiden river voyage:

  • Oct. 6 — Depart Shoreham, arrive Whitehall
  • Oct. 12 — Troy/Albany
  • Oct. 14 — Hudson
  • Oct. 16 — Kingston
  • Oct. 17 — Poughkeepsie
  • Oct. 19 — Newburgh
  • Oct. 20 — Beacon
  • Oct. 21 — Peekskill
  • Oct. 22 — Nyack
  • Oct. 23 — Yonkers
  • Oct. 24 — New York Harbor
  • Oct. 25-26 — Brooklyn Navy Yard
  • Oct. 27 — South Street Sea Port
The Vermont Sail Freight Project boat Ceres rides a light breeze on Lake Champlain.

The Vermont Sail Freight Project boat Ceres is nudged by a light breeze on Lake Champlain.