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  #1  
Old 03-29-2008
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Long Island Sound to Hudson River Cruise

Hello everyone...I'm planning on buying a boat on Long Island Sound; a Bristol 26 with a 15 hp outboard. Thing is I'm planning on keeping in in the Hudson River up near Poughkeepsie...60 miles or so (est.) north of nyc; which requires that I sail it from Stamford CT. Never sailed through New York City before...anything special I need to know? any place "off limits"? any places in which it is futile to attempt a passage because of tide conditions at certain times? Thanks again....cant wait to get my boat!

-Marty
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Old 03-29-2008
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Welcome aboard martsmth,

your best bet is to get a chart of New York City area and tide charts. Hells Gate has a 6 kn currant and I'm not sure about the Hudson River. It is 70 miles from the city to Poughkeepsie. Good luck.
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Old 03-29-2008
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Watch your tides going through Hells Gate and the East River. Try for incoming or slack tide. Let the river do the work for you.

Same holds true for the Husdon. Ride a slack-incoming tide and you're apt to reach Poughkeepsie before it turns against you.

Finally, watch out for debris in the water. New York harbor is full of old pilings floating around and the Hudson dumps lots of tree trunks, etc. into the harbor every year. For this reason I always travelled on the Hudson during the daylight hours.

You'll enjoy your trip!
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Old 03-29-2008
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It should be a great trip. Hell Gate is the only place to have to "negotiate", and as long as you pay attention to the tide tables you should be fine. It might mean a middle of the night trip through. The one place to really avoid around NYC is the Kill Van Kull. This leads into one of the busiest shipping centers in the region. When entering the upper bay, stay to the east side to avoid it. There is no need to call NYC VTS (Vessel Traffic Service - basically the Air Traffic Control equivalent for the marine channels), but if the weather is nasty you might want to let them know you are there and also do securite calls. New York City is a very cool place to sail through. You can get fairly close to the Statue of Liberty. The traffic down there can get pretty nasty. We went through on a Sunday which seemed to minimize the traffic. Water taxis, tugs, barges, ships, homeland security, tour boats, ferries, etc. - you have to keep a fairly sharp lookout. This page should give you all the current info you need... Current Station Locations and Ranges
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Old 03-29-2008
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Not only Hell Gate but the entire East River must be approached to catch the tide "downstream" ...especially in an outboard powered boat. This is NOT sailing territory so with a new boat....you want to be VERY sure of the reliability of the outboard before you depart.
Best way to do it is to anchor or take a slip in Manhasset Bay/PortWashington the nite before and then plan to be under the Throgs Neck bridge and at Hell Gate at the ebb so you have the current with you all the way past the battery.
On the East River, use tide tables for New York. High tide at Hell Gate, Hallets Point, is 2 hours, 4 minutes later. SLACK tide only lasts for four minutes so you want to time things closely and NOT arrive early as you want the ebbing southerly current to help you. Stay OUT of the center of the channel and off to the sides where the current is weaker.
You can consider anchoring off the Statue of Liberty, taking a mooring at the 79th st. basin or perhaps going for a slip on the Jersey side at Liberty landing. You want a flooding tide to propel you up the Hudson so don't think about heading upriver against the current. Labatt's suggestion of a weekend passage is a good one. You need to pay attention to the current details but otherwise you should have a great trip and it is a thrill to go by NYC on your own hull!
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Old 03-30-2008
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Worst part of the Hudson, from a current perspective, seems to be by the George Washington Bridge by the way... it seems like fighting your way up there is a treat when against a heavy current, and once you get past there you go a bit faster. If you are against a big ebb, though, it feels like (and actually is) hours before you pass the bridge.

Cam - Thanks for pointing out the East River. I haven't done the trip from NYC to Long Island Sound - YET - so I just know what others have said. I have done the trip up the Hudson and that's pretty cool. New York's Upper Harbor is definitely sailing territory on the weekends. I'd probably hesitate during the week with a ton of shipping traffic.
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Old 03-30-2008
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I echo all that is said about the East River and Hells Gate. Playing the tides down the East River will rocket you down to the Battery in 3-4 hours. You can add anywhere from 3-5 kph over the ground speed to your knotmeter.

Take a camera as there are many famous snapshots along the way including the Empire State, Crysler, UN, Brooklyn and Manahhatan Bridges..etc.

My suggestion is also to stay at Liberty Marina on the Jersey side close to the Statue of Liberty and the ferry which runs to it. Running up the Hudson has lots of boat traffic till you get to the GW Bridge and the famous "Little Red Lighthouse" of childrens story tales next to the bridge. At that poisnt the current eases some.
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Old 03-30-2008
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You can see the water under the bridge and the little red lighthouse... this was on a fairly light wind day, except for the 20kt winds howling down this section...

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Old 03-30-2008
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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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Everyone....your replies are exactly what I wanted to hear. I believe I've been given all the information that I need to send me in the right direction....thanks again; I'll post a thread in a few weeks with pics of some landmarks. Tide info is key it seems. Thanks again members
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