Hell Gate advise please - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-04-2010
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Hell Gate advise please

Back in April, you had aided someone with tide/transit information through Hell Gate, heading South.

I will be continuing North on Saturday June 12, 2010 from an anchor drop at Sandy Hook, NJ ... And wish to ask for your advise. I have a 50 ft. single engine power vessel cruising at 8 kts max. and not the best handling ship. A recent purchase heading to Maine with an inexperienced deckhand.

From the "Waterway guide" they mention I need to arrive at the "Battery" 1-2 hrs after low tide there. Assume, the Battery, not hell gate.

If at the Battery, either 3:05 am or 2:56 pm is low tide.
Would I be safe to assume, If daybreak allowed visibility well enough at 4:05 am ...continue up river past the Battery to Hell gate and Northward.

I would imagine, there would be less traffic, calmer sea's travelling early morning, than at 3:55 pm, also allowing an anchorage further up Long Island in the late afternoon.

Then comes Cape Cod Canal.......

Thanks for your assistance.
GFree
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Old 06-04-2010
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Well

There are two issues in that we have been having early fog a LOT this season and the river allways has a lot of BAD floating NON-RADAR items that may be hard to see in the dark

So IHMP i would not want to do it without daylight
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Old 06-04-2010
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Don't pay attention to state of tide. State of current is what you should plan around. See Tidal Current Tables .

I came through from City Island to Sandy Hook a couple of weeks ago in a 22000# 40' sailboat, 54hp single screw. If I could do it without much strain you can too!

Look up the current for the Verrazano Bridge and leave Sandy Hook to make slack-before-flood. The boost will build behind you through NY Harbor and up the East River. If you print the tables for Battery, Hell Gate, and City Island you can track your progress with the following current as you proceed.

Watch the ferries, particularly the orange Staten Island ferries. Once you are past Governor's Island the ferries are mostly behind you. Go west of Roosevelt Island to miss the lift bridge. At the bottom of Roosevelt Island and in Hell Gate the current will cause some swirls; just stay close to the center of the river and you will be fine.

I made it from City Island to the Verrazano Bridge in about 5 hours. You should be able to make it from Sandy Hook to City Island in 7ish or less.
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Old 06-04-2010
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Though Auspicious is correct that the current and not the tide is the important factor, it holds true that the timing for the favorable current is related to the tide and the advice to be at the Battery 1 to 2 hours after low tide holds true. Like Tommays, I would recommend the full daylight passage. Traffic is not a problem, particularly is you travel along the East side of Verrazano Narows and use Buttermilk Channel. Leaving Atlantic Highlands to arrive at the battery after low can give you an easy arrival time at Port Washington where you will find some courtesy town moorings available for the cost of the launch service alone. We like the protected anchorage at Onset, Ma just to port at the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal to wait for favorable current. Onset has a free town dinghy dock that is found by leaving all the town docks to starboard and entering close to the beach. Anthony's Restaurant there excels and groceries, Post Office and laundromat are convenient. Take care and joy, Aythya crew

Last edited by CaptainForce; 06-04-2010 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 06-04-2010
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Slack-before-flood at Liberty Island on 12 June is 0607 and 1744. I would leave Sandy Hook no later than 0500 (0430 if in Atlantic Highlands) and get through the East River and into LIS on the tide. Check the link I posted above and make your own choices.
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Old 06-04-2010
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I agree with the comments on current and daylight. One thing you should do is check with the Coast Guard to make sure the channel West of Roosevelt Island (Manhattan Side) is open. That channel goes fairly close to the UN and is sometimes closed at high security times. Usually it is fine. Since this is a sailing website, many of us cannot use the east channel because of a 40 foot vertical clearance on the Roosevelt Island lift bridge (which apparently does not open very often). I would suggest you make sure you are familiar with the security regulations applying in the channel, whcih are in the Coast Pilot.
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Old 06-04-2010
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The following is from advice given to me from a commercial captain who regularly travels through Hell Gate. I've found this advice extrodinarily correct and useful (I dont remember the name of the mariner who gave it to me, so apologies to that person):

"HELLGATE
Your best bet is to plan the trip so as to keep moving, if your ahead of scedule run slower rather than just stopping. As a tug guy I want any pleasure craft to be predictable, I am relying on it really, which means not going in circles in confined areas. If you must stop for a bit, going east through the river I would wait well north of the battery. From there south there is just too much current as well as tug, ferry, and dinner boat traffic to be tacking or motoring around with no purpose. People do, but you asked. Coming the other way there is plenty of room anywhere east of the Brothers, but you need to be aware of the little stuff, sand scows etc. coming off moorings, coming and going from Flushing Bay, and the other little creeks. Most traffic is passing trough. Listen to channel 13!! Most tug guys dont really want to talk to you, but they probably will. Your best bet is to listen so you know what is happening around you. If you want to talk make your life easier by making your transmissions short, and knowing the difference between one whistle and two both meeting and overtaking. Plenty of recreational passes through everyday. Its really not a huge deal, but if you do decide to hit slack water in all likelyhood you will encounter a greater number of commercial vessels. Another radio hint, listen to vessel traffic, the east river is channel 12, anything moving through the East River checks in at the Throgsneck or Brooklyn Bridge, and each time somebody checks in they get a rundown of all the traffic and their locations. It would be kind of like listening in on a weather net. Channel 12 is also anchorage control and the Kills south of the AK Railroad Bridge so dont get you landmarks confused.
Todd is right most of the commercial traffic especially the big stuff tries to hit slack water or within 30 minutes to an hour either side of it. Thats not to say there wont be traffic at all stages of the tide, but it is not uncommon to have multiple units on both sides of the gates stacked up waiting on each other to get through. A week ago I was fourth in line on my side coming around N. Brother Island. You need the ****current tables**** (ie.: Eldrige Tide / Current Tables) for slack water, the tide tables wont help you here. I would agree that if your boat can manage it ride the flood through planing to be at least to Rikers Island and hour before Slack at the gate, beware of the current from pier 17 through the Williamsburgh bridge as they are very strong here and you will not want to be against them."
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Old 06-04-2010
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If you leave at 1st light, you'll be fine, with plenty of wiggle room.

it's roughly 15 miles to the battery from Horsehoe cove; so for you that could be two hours @ 8 knots.

You should be through the east river in about an hour and 1/2 maybe less.

As others have mentioned, I would stay to the right under the Verazzano, ( the north flood begins at 5 am ) stay to the right and leave governors island to port via buttermilk channel.
Stay left of roosevelt island and you can cut between the brother islands..

June 12th is a saturday, ferry traffic should be relatively light, that early....
But I've hit big ship traffic. Stay out of the big ship traffic channel and you'll be fine.
You can cut through Bay Ridge flats and hug the anchorage area..to set you up for buttermilk channel.

You didn't say where you're 1st stop is. But leaving that early, you could easily make port jefferson by late afternoon. ( guessing about 3 pm. )
roughly 65 miles.. from the hook.
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Last edited by Tempest; 06-04-2010 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 06-05-2010
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Thank - you !

You guys are great, thanks so much for the invaluable information.
This has made my planning more confident. I appreciate the feedback.
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Old 06-05-2010
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GFree,

Let us know how you make out! Don't forget to have the camera ready lots of great pictures!
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