Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New York
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Cam nailed it. 100%. All I'll add is that like most things in life, the angst about doing it is far worse than actually doing it. Going through Hell Gate and the East River is no more difficult than traversing Plum Gut, the Race, or any number of other places where some level of vigilence is required due to tides and traffic. Time the tide, keep a lookout so you don't hit anything, and you'll have a great trip. There's plenty of water most everywhere along this trip, so going aground shouldn't be a major concern (there are some exceptions, for instance if you get too close to the wrong side of the Statue of Liberty, but those exceptions are few and far between).
Get hold of Eldridge's tide book (about $10 anywhere). It's got very good tide information for LIS generally and for Hell Gate/East River. Not just information on the timing of tides, but decent chart renderings to give you a sense of how and where the current flows.
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