Which day are you looking at transiting the river? the 11th..or 12th?
I have the SW ebb starting at Hells gate at 8:46 a.m. on the 11th and 9:27 a.m. on the 12th. Ideally you would want to hit Hells gate at slack or as the current begins it's turn to the SW. Based on that, I'd be looking at hitting the Throgs neck by 9 am. You can certainly leave later, but you really have two needs in my opinion. You want to carry the current down the east River, but you will also want to keep the current with you all the way through the Verrazano ( the Narrows). The current turns against you at the narrows at 3:30 p.m. on the 11th and at 3:46 p.m. on the 12th. So with that in mind, I think you are looking at an early morning start...hitting the throgs neck around 9 a.m. It takes me about 2 hours to transit the river with the current, So you should hit the battery around 11 or so, and keep a fair current for another 4 hours as you go south.
As for the route, you can cut between the brother islands, keep to the right of Roosevelt island ( unless restricted, check ahead) once in lower manhattan I'd favor the left side of the river to avoid the ferries leaving the docks, Cut behind governors island ( buttermilk channel ) and then just head for the left side of the verrazano.
You can do this in a long day, if you leave early from Northport...otherwise you can stop at city island and head down the next morning. Obviously, weather plays a big part.
For you, strong south, southwest, winds would not be kind to you on this trip. which is another reason to get an early start, as the winds are usually down.
Hope this helps
Last edited by Tempest; 03-30-2010 at 07:11 AM.