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JT1019 07-30-2007 09:55 AM

Deep River CT to Shelter Island NY via The Gut
Itís time for me to get help from the real experts. I am planning to sail from Deep River CT to Shelter Island NY this Saturday. I plan to leave Deep River at 8:00am with the tide going out making it to the mouth of the river around 9:00am. Plum Gut low tide is at 8:34am and high is at 2:48pm. We need to get to Shelter Island early afternoon so Iím forced to go through early. Plum Gut does not really scare me but with the tide on its way in during our crossing Iím not sure if I should be concerned.

Important Information; my boat is an Irwin 33 Sloop. I have an atomic 4 that moves me at a good clip. I have been sailing for years but not on this boat and not through the gut. My girlfriend had not sailed until I taught her 2 months ago. She is a very experienced power boater (Sea Ray 52).

Does anyone have any advice?

camaraderie 07-30-2007 10:23 AM

We need to get to Shelter Island early afternoon so I’m forced to go through early. Plum Gut does not really scare me but with the tide on its way in during our crossing I’m not sure if I should be concerned.

Deadlines and passagemaking do not mix.
You will be fine in your I33 unless the fuel tanks are not clean 'cause you are gonna feel like you are going through a super-surgilator agitator...but nothing the boat can't handle.

Brezzin 07-30-2007 10:25 AM

Should be no problem. I've done the gut a number of times. There is plenty of room ro move. Biggest worry is the ferries and that shouldn't be an issue. If you been through it before then you know it will get choppy and you may get a little wet. It would not concern me in a 33.

I'll be headed over to Shelter Island on Sunday.

JT1019 07-30-2007 10:31 AM

I know, I know...I'm not happy about that. I told my girlfriend that if we have to get there that early then I wanted to leave around 6am. I think by my posting it's clear who is the captain and who is the deck hand.

hellosailor 07-30-2007 10:39 AM

If the WX is off by just a day:

"Friday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 90. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Friday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday: Partly cloudy, with a high near 89."

And it has been unsettled and off for several weeks now. If you really HAVE TO be there for an appointment...Friday night you may need to discuss the ferry. Or leave on Friday, depending on what's predicted.

That's just the way it is this time of year.

JT1019 07-30-2007 10:53 AM

Here is what I’m thinking; I will leave on Saturday as early as possible and push for the gut before 10:00am when it will start to get ugly. I’m going to drop the jib and power through with my main only. If I get out there past 11:00 and it begins to get bad I can always shoot around Plum Island and run through the race. I think I will be better off in the gut but at times the race can be a pond and the gut a mess.

Hellosailor; If I did my job the way the weatherman did I would be fired. They called for a really poor weekend and I was able to sail all day Saturday and Sunday. A good thunderstorm does not bother me all that much, if anything it will cut down on the traffic in the gut. I can't take the ferry as we will be staying on the boat Saturday night in Shelter Island. Thank you for the idea though.

Any thoughts?

hellosailor 07-30-2007 11:04 AM

I don't mind downpours, but "thunderstorm" means "lightning" to me, and that stuff makes me want to find a cellar and dive right in. I've had the pleasure of having my hair stand from the static buildup, and heard buzzing as it discharged from antennas on the boat I was on, and I have no interest in being out on the water, in a small craft, when I can expect lightning strikes.

Wind, water, no problem. "BANG! ZAP!" Now, that's where I draw the line.

SanderO 07-30-2007 11:28 AM

For what it's worth I have sailed and or motored through Plum Gut perhaps 150 times or more in every condition imaginable.

Unless it is slack or a fair tide I will have the motor on. I have tried to sail my 36' sloop in perfect wind conditions against the full tide and I can make a knot or two, but you can get set down on to Plum Island on the ebb. The current runs SE - NW or the reverse so consider the set. You can see some very confused roiling water in there and get slapped around by waves... but your boat can make it though no problem.

The passage can be a bit hairy because the fisherman bob around in there.. not anchored and are darting around. They will almost always get out of the way of a vessel passing through.

Plum Gut is plenty wide and deep. I have even seen a sailboat pass on the west side of the lighthouse! But only one.

I would set a course as close (200' perhaps to the light house as you feel comfortable and keep it abeam as you enter Gardiner's Bay and head toward Shelter Island.

If you are going to Dering Harbor you can sail close to the shore along Orient and easily pass half way between the R2 and Bug light.. there is plenty of water there. I suppose they set the R2 so far south because you can more easily fetch it from the gut. 99% of the vessels honor the R2 rrr.. I don't.

It is not as scary as some make it seems, but a decent motor is good to have and you might still consider using it while sailing in moderate conditions to have more control because of other traffic. You will have to deal with the ferry or even two. They run through there every hour, but again there is plenty of room.

Have fun...

sv shiva

S/VNirvana 07-30-2007 11:35 AM

Most times when we entered the gut we were behind a ferry and never had a problem. I guess we are just lucky, we never had a problem with the tide.

BarryL 07-30-2007 03:09 PM


I have only sailed through the gut twice - on June 24 on my way to Montauk (from sound to Montauk) and then home from Greenport on June 30. The first time we arrived about 30 minutes after the tide had turned to flow. The water was getting rough, but wasn't too bad. As soon as we got into Gardners bay it was fine.

On the trip home we had the wind opposite the current. It was a miserable trip. The boat was fine (O'day 35) but the crew was not.

I won't go that way again if the wind and current are opposite.


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