MASS MoCA Director Joe Thompson also spent some time on the Hudson River with Simon Starling.¬† Here he details his role in the creation of the second phase of Strip Canoe.
My job was logistics support on Friday, Day 2, from Hudson to Kingston: actually, my job was to provide lunch.¬† I had the brilliant idea of using a high tech rotomolded sit-on-top 17′ Hobie cat, which boasts outriggers and a 17′ self-furling mainsail and would allow me to run 2009 circles around those canoeists, caught up in 1909.
But it didn’t work out that way.
No wind.¬† Not a breath.¬† The Hudson was like glass for most of the 25-mile trip.¬† Which meant I worked my tail off trying to keep up with the old technology, and even then failed.¬† Simon and Dante were polite and kept their boats in eyesight, or maybe this was¬† because I had the food.
We had a great time: hawks, eagles, herons, and lots of fish hitting at the surface.¬† The bridges from below are magnificent: Rip Van Winkle, in particular, is a structural marvel.¬† We noticed that 9/11 angst has infiltrated the river in the form of signage threatening 5 years imprisonment or a $50,000 fine for loitering under the bridges.¬† Strangely, the closer you get to NYC, the cleaner the river seemed.
This was the only part of the trip that I participated in, but there was one lesson I’ll never forget: on the river that flows both ways, it’s all about the tide.¬† With the draining tide, we made our first 22 miles in about 4.5 hours, and were still pretty fresh.¬† We lost the ebbing tide during lunch, however, and the horrible flooding tide slowed our rate to 2 miles over the next 2 hours, and we weren’t loafing.¬† I bailed at that point, on the north side of Kingston, and the canoeists carried on for another mile or two to complete the Hudson-Kingston reach.