History is all around at Sackets Harbor, our first stop on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Not long after anchoring, we came ashore to stretch our legs. Within a few paces, we encountered two attractions – the Sackets Harbor Brewing Company and the Sackets Harbor battlefield. The first took priority, of course. But once properly lubricated we ventured toward the other.
Here, we learned that the War of 1812 was declared by a young United States outraged by British seizure of U.S. merchant vessels in international waters and impressment of U.S. sailors into British service. With Britain and France engaged in a global struggle, the “War Hawks” in the U.S. saw war as a way to complete the American Revolution and drive Great Britain out of North America.
The border between the U.S. and Canada was the front lines and the
Great Lakes the naval battlefield. Sackets Harbor became the headquarters for the U.S. Army and Navy on the northern frontier. To this day, the town preserves the battlefield where twice the British attacked, once in June 1812, and again on May 29, 1813. The first ended after several hours without a clear victor; the second resulted in losses that set back American plans for an 1813 offensive into Canada.
Here, too, rests the body of Brigadier General Zebulon Pike in a military cemetery on the edge of town. Pike is credited with discovering the Colorado peak that bears his name while exploring the western territories earlier in his military career. He was killed in an explosion of a powder magazine while leading a successful U.S. assault on Fort York (Toronto) on April 27, 1813.
Our history lessons complete, we weighed anchor for a short sail to Stony Island 10 nautical miles off the coast. We passed a quiet night in Dutch John Bay before setting off for Little Sodus Bay and a visit to
the village of Fair Haven. We broke out the Bromptons and took a pleasant ride through the Fair Haven Beach State Park and surrounding countryside. Apparently, the bucolic countryside appealed to Jocelyn who remarked, “I would recommend upstate New York to my friends for a vacation.”
We capped off the ride with a stop at a local winery where we met Vince and Joanne Myerly who were celebrating their 31st wedding anniversary. They had arrived at the shore side winery by water in their 38 foot motor yacht. When they learned of our plan, the offered us the use of their mooring in Big Sodus Bay the next evening. We gladly accepted.
After a glorious beam reach the next day, Windleblo arrived at Big Sodus. After taking the mooring ball, we went ashore for happy hour at Vince and Joanne’s home, which had a beautiful view of the bay and the lake beyond. Vince generously loaned us his Caddy for a quick tour of
the area, which included a stop at the local watering hole aptly named Captain Jack’s Goodtime Tavern. I picked up some pride wear.
With one to two meter seas predicted, Jocelyn chose to make the last leg of the voyage by bicycle, pedaling 25 miles to Rochester while I singled handed. Again, a glorious beam reach propelled Windleblo along. We both arrived at Port of Rochester marina at about the same time, though she cheated, taking an Uber the last few miles.
The season’s last crew change is now upon us. Jocelyn returns to Golden and Rod Larsen and Phil Dear fly in for the final push to Detroit. The weather gods appear to be favoring us. We’ll have to wait a couple of days for the remnants of Hurricane Harvey to push through, but then things start to look good. Stay tuned…