Out of curiosity, what is so intimidating about Hell Gate? I have looked at the current tables and videos. Videos seldom show the true picture.
Out west I will go though a pass at 3 knots or less, although slack is prefered. Our worst is probably Skookumchuk Rapids at 16.5 knots; I have not been through there. Our busiest is Dodd Narrows which runs 8.5 knots; that I do at or near slack. It is about 75 meters wide.
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As I sail, I praise God, and care not. (Luke Foxe)