Sailing down the East River N.Y.C. - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 20 Old 10-06-2009
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John,
I can't add much to the above advice as it is all good, IMHO.
I can say that the 'predicted' tidal current in the E. River is between 4+ (on the flood; current NE) and 5+ (on the ebb; current SW). If there is a significant easterly wind event it can pile up water into the western Sound which will cause some variations in both the timing of the current changes AND the maximum current to be expected +/-.
I have never used the Roosevelt Island eastern channel because of the low bridge there. I have never been 'asked' by CG to do so but apparently it happens. I have been down this section by the UN and almost always see a CG rib gunboat so be prepared for that.
As others have said, it is a fun trip.
Enjoy.

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post #12 of 20 Old 10-06-2009
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Don't stress too much about this trip. Catch the tide, follow the markers and watch out for traffic. There are no whirlpools that are going to spin you in circles and no giant waves that will knock you down. It gets choppy if the wind blows against the tide, but really don't stress too much.
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post #13 of 20 Old 10-06-2009
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I have gone as fast as 13 kts and as slow as 2 kts coming and going on the East river, depending on the current. I usually go through at least once a year on my way from my home port on the Hudson River to the cruising grounds in Mass, Maine and Nova Scotia. If you have an adequate motor it is no problem at all. In the last 6 or 7 years I have been shunted to the East side of Roosevelt island (it was called Welfare Island when I was a kid) only once.

It is an incredible trip at night, though I don't recommend that if it's your first trip. As mentioned before, keep a lookout for stuff in the water. A long time ago when I was on crew at Columbia and we were out on the River a Police launch came by and asked us to be on the lookout for a floating corpse that had been reported. Things are calmer now, but RR ties and suchlike are common.

A couple of weeks ago we had to get through on a foul current and i decided to give it a try. We went quite slowly, at best. Took 3 1/2 hours to get from the Throg's neck bridge to the Battery and we made it from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge in less than 1 hour. It was a real pain, but doable. I certainly don't recommend going against the current.

By the way, careful reading the tide and current tables. The change of current does NOT coincide with high and low tide. It can be off by quite a large amount. Eldridge has separate tables for hight of tide and current direction for that area so make sure you consult the right table. As a matter of fact Eldridge has a multiple page section showing the current situation hour by hour, with the strength of the current clearly marked. If you are coming from or going to the Hudson river you can time it so that you get to the Battery in such a way that you are riding a favorable current all the way.

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post #14 of 20 Old 10-06-2009
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All good info above,- it hasn't been mentioned, but I always use the Buttermilk Channel south of the Battery. I guess that's the obvious choice. I've made this transit six times and I've never found any difficulties with the west passage being closed, but I'm sure it's a possibility. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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post #15 of 20 Old 10-06-2009
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Weve done the passage as recently this summer when we went from the Patpsco in the Chesapeake to Block Island up and back through Hell Gate.

Both ways with the current at 12.8 knots in our C&C 35 MKIII. Was a little like when you hit the black ice on a highway bridge...you surf right along and dont want to make any sudden changes in direction. Saw no debris..saw a CG boat at the UN and saw many police boats and even a helicopter which flew under the Brooklyn Bridge looking for someone who had jumped off the bridge 10 ninutes before we got there...scene right out of Law and Order.

Watch out for the fast moving ferries out of the Seaport and Battery area. Great trip...take lots of pictures. See if you can find the one time you can get the Crysler and Empire State Bldg in the same frame.

Nothing to fear in this trip at all. The Cape
May Inlet was worse in the afternoon with all the big PB fromk offshore running in like the Indy 500


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post #16 of 20 Old 10-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genieskip View Post
A couple of weeks ago we had to get through on a foul current and i decided to give it a try. We went quite slowly, at best. Took 3 1/2 hours to get from the Throg's neck bridge to the Battery and we made it from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge in less than 1 hour. It was a real pain, but doable. I certainly don't recommend going against the current.

By the way, careful reading the tide and current tables. The change of current does NOT coincide with high and low tide. It can be off by quite a large amount. Eldridge has separate tables for hight of tide and current direction for that area so make sure you consult the right table. As a matter of fact Eldridge has a multiple page section showing the current situation hour by hour, with the strength of the current clearly marked. If you are coming from or going to the Hudson river you can time it so that you get to the Battery in such a way that you are riding a favorable current all the way.
To contrast genieskip's first paragraph I believe it takes a little over an hour going from Throgg's Neck to the Battery when going with the current.

Genieskip also makes a VERY important point in the 2nd paragraph. ALWAYS use the current tables and NOT the high tide tables for Hell Gate for timing your trip. The current tables are calibrated for high tide at 'The Battery' only. Never assume that high or low tide is when there is a slack tide or current on a river or estuary.

If you heed the above advice then Hardalee22's advice is also highly recommended. Don't sweat it if you timed the current correctly. Just go!

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post #17 of 20 Old 10-06-2009 Thread Starter
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Hey folks,
You all just confirmed why I love this site so much. Great advice, will take heed and have fun as well.
Cheers,
John
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post #18 of 20 Old 10-07-2009
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Hey,

I went from the LI Sound down the east river (and back) for the first time this past June. All the info you got is spot on.

I just want to second the comment regarding the traffic around the South Street Seaport and the Battery. Plan on lots and LOTS of traffic, some paying attention, some not, some being courteous and some not. At one time I was staying to the right side of the river (heading south) and getting passed by a water taxi. A circle line boat was heading north in the middle of the river. Just as I was passing the Seaport, a large 3 master schooner let the dock right in front of me, leaving me VERY little room.

There will be water taxis, tour boats, tugs with barges, private boats, police boats, coast guard vessels, helicopters, etc. And the worst seemed to be the Staten Island Ferry, which moves at a high rate of speed and in a straight line and did not seem to move for ANYONE.

Time it right and you'll be through in an hour or so. Have someone take pictures and enjoy the sites but the helmsman better pay attention front, sides, and rear.

Good luck,
Barry

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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post #19 of 20 Old 10-07-2009
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If the president or other dignitaries are helicoptering into the wall Street heliport there will be a huge CG and law enforcement presence keeping you well away from the heliport.
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post #20 of 20 Old 10-10-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks again, folks. You've been very helpful.
John
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