Two boats — one powered by the sun, the other propelled by the wind — embarked on an 11-day carbon-neutral odyssey last week.
On Thursday, Aug. 13, the 44-foot wooden passenger launch Solaris set off from the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, while the 64-foot steel schooner Apollonia set sail from the City of Hudson.
The two vessels met at Norrie Point, in the hamlet of Staatsburg, in Dutchess County. The next day they headed south, bound for Brooklyn. In between, they stopped in Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Garrison, Peekskill, Nyack, and Inwood.
On Wednesday, Aug. 19, the boats passed Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, and Hastings. On Aug. 22, they will pass this area again, on their way from the South Street Seaport to Peekskill, and then return to Kingston on Aug. 23.
The boats’ latest round trip, of the southern Hudson River, compliments their northern loop from Kingston to Saugerties from June 20-26. Both voyages were part of a project titled RiverWise, and documented on the website www.hudsonriverwise.org.
The goal of RiverWise, as stated on the website, is “to help Hudson Valley residents (and beyond) understand and appreciate the Hudson River and its role in history and American society.”
To accomplish that goal, the captains and crews used Facebook, Instagram, and the website to share photos and videos of their journeys. The website also includes a captains’ log about the history of the areas the boats passed.
The southern trip was led by captain Sam Merrett of the Apollonia and two captains, John Phelan and Emilie Hickox, of the Solaris. The captains and crew all ate and slept on the boats.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum owns the Solaris, which was built there in 2018, and uses it for tours of the Kingston waterfront, including the Kingston Rondout Lighthouse and the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse.
The Apollonia, which was launched in 1946, is at the forefront of a movement to resurrect the use of sailboats to haul freight. On the South Hudson Voyage, the boat carried three skeins of alpaca yarn, a box of CBD oil, 10 oak barrels, 30 petroleum-free pillows, 600 pounds of malt, and 700 pounds of corn from upstate businesses to downstate customers.
The RiverWise story has a host of subplots — more than can listed here. For more information, and to support this remarkable project, visit the website as well as the museum’s Facebook and Instagram pages.