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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

  The Voyage is from Washington, D.C. to New York, NY to raise awareness for children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  A new Autism Prevalence report was issued from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stating that 1 in every 110 American children (one in 70 boys) is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. Yet, for the vast majority of cases of autism, the cause is unknown. Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, provides more information about this devastating disease and how it affects children and their families on their website:

  The boat is a 17’ Chesapeake Light Craft Northeaster Dory  built from kit, with a Balance Lug sail rig.

The projected float plan includes:
  • launching from Washington, D.C.’s Fire Boat Station; 
  • row/sail the Potomac River to the Chesapeake Bay; 
  • up the Patapsco River to Baltimore's Fire Boat Station at Fort McHenry; 
  • up the Chesapeake Bay through the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal;
  • up the Delaware Bay and River to the Fire Boat Station in Philadelphia; 
  • from there it's further up the Delaware river where I pull out at Trenton, NJ. 
  • I then trailer the boat 6 miles to the Delaware & Raritan Canal. 
  • I will pass 5 decommissioned locks (now basically dams) before reaching the Raritan River 32 miles later. I have plenty of support to help me portage the boat around the "locks", and to portage from the Canal to the Raritan. 
  • The Arthur Kill will link me from the Raritan Bay to the Newark Bay, 
  • then the Kill Van Kull to Upper New York Bay.
  •  I finish on the Hudson River at the New York City Fire Boat Station in Manhattan. 

With an overall distance of more than 425 miles, an average of 30 miles per 10 hour day will take me an estimated two weeks. I have 2 down days built in, but sailing and working the tides whenever possible will hopefully increase that buffer.  I'll be beach camping, sleeping on the boat and taking advantage of offers from Yacht Clubs between Fire Boat Stations. As every good boater knows, Mother Nature will ultimately dictate my progress!
  The Philadelphia Fire Department's Fire Prevention Division is currently developing a City wide campaign targeting families affected by ASD's, which should be ready for release in conjunction with the trip. I am still finalizing the details with the other Fire Departments, but expect full cooperation and hopefully a coordinated Fire Prevention campaign.
 At the time of this writing, the US Army Corps of Engineers is working on approving my transit of the 14 mile C&D Canal, which is normally restricted to human powered vessels. Authorization is expected, with getting towed as my Plan B.
  A SPOT Satellite Tracker will interface with Google Maps to report my position, with Facebook, Twitter, and the News Media also following my progress.
  John Guider ( ) has been a great adviser and inspiration with his monumental 5,000+ mile "Great Loop" circumnavigation of Eastern North America in a CLC Skerry, which is still in progress.
 With John & Gina Monaghan of Wayne, PA as my rowing/fitness coaches, I just might make it! They've graciously donated their time, expertise and Concept 2 Rower to help me prepare for the long haul. 
  Many thanks to Tom Murphy of the Barnegat Bay Rowing Club for taking on the mantel of Jersey Shore Fund Raising Captain. 
  My biggest inspiration comes from the heartbreaking challenges that these families endure and those who selflessly help where they can - specifically Jim & Gerry Bonner of Philadelphia; Brie Van Reed of Bridge Valley Elementary School, Furlong, PA and Michelle Stecchini, Special Ed. Coordinator, Avon Elementary School, Avon, NJ. Their patience is certainly a virtue!
 My goal is to raise $25,000 in an effort to help Autism Speaks change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders.  Here is a quick plug for my donation link:

The Voyage for Autism Awareness
DC - Baltimore - Philadelphia - NYC
April 16 - 30, 2011

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