Shelter in place…on trawler Clare! August 2020

2020 – need I say more?

The coronavirus has impacted us all in so many ways, and it’s been a wild ride for the past 4.5 months. When we left the boat in September 2019, we never would have anticipated the changes that 2020 would bring to our world. Praying that you and yours have stayed safe and we are thankful that our family has weathered the pandemic thus far without too many hardships. After months of staying home, working from home, and isolating, along with low rates of infection in the northeast US, we’ve decided to try isolating on the boat for the remainder of the summer. Western end of the Erie Canal, here comes trawler Clare and crew!

Our original hopes for 2020 were to join the boat after her winter storage in Brewerton NY at Winter Harbor Marina, then continue west, crossing Lake Ontario, through the Trent-Severn canal (reportedly amazing) into Georgian Bay and North Channel. Canadian wilderness. Delays in opening the Erie Canal, the Canadian border being closed, and ongoing concerns for all with the pandemic caused us to put this leg of our adventure on hold. God willing, 2021 will look different for all of us.

Clare at Winter Harbor Marina storage

We did get some boat projects done over the winter, although limited to portable projects that could be done at home while Clare was nestled in safe, dry, heated winter storage in NY. Dean redid and revarnished some screens, added sliding drawers under the stove and sink (my knees are very thankful), reinforced the dinghy davits, added new blinds to the main cabin, installed a new 60 amp battery charger, and planned for some re-wiring. Painting and staining are on our radar for when we are onboard. We made new shower curtains. Biggest improvement – we had the boat cushions in the salon (main cabin) and the forward guest bunks reupholstered in a rich blue – they turned out great and spruce up the interior quite a bit. We had the boat yard do a little work for us as well – added a stainless piece on the bow (no more anchor dings in the hull), removed and sent the pump injector for rebuilding, and replaced the cracked starboard window.

Our forward guest bunk with the new upholstery-
sadly, no guest crew this year….

Mostly, we did TLC to our Maine house and yard, which generally gets ignored from spring through fall when we are more involved with boat projects. House is looking very good! And we spent physically-distanced time with family and friends – lots of outside visits and masks- which was critical during these uncertain times.

Our tentative plan, subject to change at any point, is to head west along the Erie Canal. Last year, we only went as far as the Oswego Canal (labeled (3) on this old map) which we used to head north to Lake Ontario and into Canada. This year we will do the remaining western section of the Erie Canal to Buffalo, just touching Lake Erie. It sounds lovely! We may dip into two of the Finger Lakes, Cayuga and Seneca, which sound beautiful as well. More locks! More history! More bike paths and exploring of towns! More shore birds! We are thankful for this opportunity to be back on the water traveling.

We’ve loaded masks, disinfectants, health supplies and staples for a month or two and traveled to NY through the rains brought by tropical storm Isaias, eager to see Clare launched. We will spend a day or two getting things organized and checked then off we go. Thanks for reading along and following our journey. We pray for health for all!

By the grace of God we go,

~ Karen and Dean

When we were younger, circa 1980s – thanks to Rich and Cathy Lawlor for sharing this gem

Categories: 2020, Erie Canal


  1. Bon Voyage! Have a wonderful trip. Love you guys and your adventures. Keep us posted, I love following your journey. Sending love ( and thanks for the photo cred… you both look the same!) xoxo C&R


  2. Looking for more sterling updates and praying for safety, peace, joy and wonderful pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great trip! We biked along the Erie Canalway from Lockport to Cohoes and Waterford, then cut up to Petersburg in 2012. I bet it’s easier on a boat! How long are you off for? I’m envious! (THAT’S the Karen I knew from UVM!) Have a wonderful, awesome trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We did some biking last year on the eastern end of the Erie, and hope to do more on this western side. We will see dock walls with access to the trail and will think of you and your family. We hope to travel for 4-6 weeks, we’ll see how it goes and how everything at home happens. Such uncertainty these days. Hope your hip is healing well!


  4. Pleasant journey you two!!! I look forward to “my summer read” as I follow along your journey. Be well and safe and enjoy!!!


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