Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ossining, NY
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Hell Gate/East River
Follow the advice given. I've done it over 60 times. You must time the tide, and Long Island Sound is the way to go. You should expect to see small whirlpools at Hell Gate then enjoy a sleigh ride down the East River.
Neither of these matter much. The whirlpools are more aesthetic than real, and when your GPS says 12k on the East River you are really only sailing at 5k relative to the water. It's fun to see the scenery go by quickly without any worry.
Be prepared for a possible bucking bronco experience around 60th Street (near the Roosevelt Island Tram). There's an under water waterfall in that area that can surprise you but never causes any real problem.
Make sure you have a full fuel tank when you start as it's a motor trip and getting gas is complicated in Manhattan. Stay out of the center of the channel to let the commercial traffic go by. Know your horn signals to reply to the commercial boats, and monitor your VHF.
Don't miss the trip, it's a lot of fun.