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bmjnyc 05-05-2011 01:10 PM

Sailing the Hudson River NY

I will be picking and sailing my first sailboat home to NYC, a Contessa 26 from Lake Ontario via the Erie canal. I'm trying to figure out how long I should it expect it take me to sail from Waterford, NY to NYC? Waterford is just north of Albany. Any input would be greatly appreciated..


cruisingdream 05-05-2011 03:02 PM

I would call that motoring your boat thru the canal

bmjnyc 05-05-2011 03:03 PM

thanks for the tip

CrazyRu 05-05-2011 03:14 PM

It is about 160 miles of pretty wide river. Last 100 miles it is wide tidal canyon.

Since it is a canyon, you will get either tailwinds or headwinds. With timing tides and good wind it can be done in two days. With no luck and with help of motor - 4-5 days.

tempest 05-05-2011 03:30 PM

I'm going to say that it's about 125 miles or so.

I think it's 150 to the troy locks..

So if you can average 4.5 knots for 8 hours a will take you about 3.5 days...very rough guesstamating...

The river is tidal the whole way so you will have to take that into consideration. Wait for the tide....Around NYC the current can run 3-4 knots..or can literally stand still if you can't make good 5 knots..

I don't know how strong it is 100 miles north.... I know I've seen ice flowing up river in Hyde Park. You'd have to look at an eldridge.

I've give myself 4 to 5 days..minimum.....and more if you want to stop and see some sights. Depending on when you leave you might catch the clearwater croton

CalebD 05-05-2011 05:43 PM

I probably don't need to say this but you are going to want a reliable engine for this delivery trip. What kind of engine is in your new Contessa 26?
The 4-5 day estimate sounds about right to me as well although I would like a day on either side for a buffer.
There is commercial barge and ship traffic on the Hudson up to Albany or Troy. The current also reverses every 6 hours or so so it is not the easiest place to anchor overnight without keeping an anchor watch and there are not that many natural anchorages along the way.
Having said all of that it sounds like a fun and interesting trip. Wish I was doing it.

bmjnyc 05-05-2011 06:11 PM

Thank you all for you input. it's super helpful and a great starting point as I start to plan this journey. My boat has an essentially new Kubota Diesel 6hp. Clearly it's going to take me a while and I'll have to play the tides, but luckily I'm in no rush for once.

joethecobbler 05-05-2011 07:09 PM

where are you planning on stepping the mast? I've done his trip a few times in the lst couple years.

CalebD 05-05-2011 07:49 PM

Glad to hear it is a new-ish Kubota in your boat. You will have plenty of time to get to know it well doing the canals. 6 HP does not sound like a lot of power but the original diesel installed in these boats was only a 7 HP.
CONTESSA 26 Sailboat details on

You actually can go against the current on the Hudson. The average current in most of the river is actually around 2 knots or less for most of it. Examine this link that shows the maximum expected currents for the Ebb and Flood currents all the way from NYC to Albany: Current Station Locations and Ranges
You can use this link to look up the expected current strengths for the dates of your trip (influenced by moon etc.).
I have found that sometimes when the main channel current is running up-river that along the edges it may be doing just the opposite. Even if you motor into the main current it will just result in you getting worse miles per gallon than if the current were with you.
Joethecobbler brings up a good point. You will need to re-step your mast somewhere once you hit the Hudson. One place to do it is in Catskill and there is another place further north - someone will know the name - Hop o' Nose or something like that.
If it were me I'd re-step the mast as far north as possible so if you get any N or NW winds you can use some sails to get your southing done. Having a spinnaker might just help with this also.
Good luck. Yes, I am jealous! Always have wanted to do this trip.


Originally Posted by bmjnyc (Post 727423)
Thank you all for you input. it's super helpful and a great starting point as I start to plan this journey. My boat has an essentially new Kubota Diesel 6hp. Clearly it's going to take me a while and I'll have to play the tides, but luckily I'm in no rush for once.

bmjnyc 05-05-2011 08:02 PM

I'm new to these boards so I hope my thanks some how reaches everyone. I very excited for this trip. This is my first serious cruise. My end destination will be Orient Point, Long Island where I grew up and learned how to sail. I decided to buy myself a boat for my 40th birthday and to stop putting a dream.

Thanks for the information CalebD, thanks for the tidal info. I feel more reassured that my motor will be able to handle the river. Many Contessa 26's have more powerful Yanmar motors but my feeling is that the little Kubota will do me just fine and perhaps be less problematic. Also I think it will be easier to find parts if needed in the future.

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