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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 01-27-2013
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Hell Gate

What would be the strategy for navigating thru Hell Gate from say Northport to Liberty Landing Marina? Looking at Eldridge seems like 2 hrs after high water at the Battery would work? If I get delayed and hit those 5 kts at the Gate, can I control the boat if my max hull speed is 7 kts?
Also what side of Roosevelt Island is best or does it matter? Mast height is only 48'.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Hell Gate

Broke, 1 1/2 to 2 hours after high tide @ battery sounds about right. If you're looking at eldridge it also gives you the times of the current changes at the gate. You want the southwest ebb. You can probably time it to pass under the Throggs neck bridge 1/2 hour before the turn, if you are looking for slack. It's really only about two hour passage so you can be a few hours late for slack at the gate and still enjoy a nice ride down the river.
The tugs and barges also look for slack at the gate, so you are more likely to have big company with that timing. Not usually a problem. I've just slowed and let them pass, or waited until they come through. Monitor ch 9 and 16.

You want to leave roosevelt island to port as there's a rr bridge on the other side.
I would just check the local notice to mariners and make sure there are no " security zones" on the day of your passage. Sometimes they close the west side of the river due to a UN function.

The passage is about 15 miles, so missing the favorable current could add hours to your trip. I'd sit it out in either City Island or Manahasset bay or somewhere like that if I missed the turn, rather than make 2 kn. against the current. There's no diesel on City Island, that I'm aware of so if you needed fuel I'd use Manhasset bay.

The Max current can exceed 5 knots at time and in certain places It's unlikely that you'll be making max hull speed. against it. You'll get some chop that knocks your speed down. I wouldn't attempt it against max flood.
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Last edited by Tempest; 01-27-2013 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Hell Gate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
Broke, 1 1/2 to 2 hours after high tide @ battery sounds about right. If you're looking at eldridge it also gives you the times of the current changes at the gate. You want the southwest ebb. You can probably time it to pass under the Throggs neck bridge 1/2 hour before the turn, if you are looking for slack. It's really only about two hour passage so you can be a few hours late for slack at the gate and still enjoy a nice ride down the river.
The tugs and barges also look for slack at the gate, so you are more likely to have big company with that timing. Not usually a problem. I've just slowed and let them pass, or waited until they come through. Monitor ch 9 and 16.

You want to leave roosevelt island to port as there's a rr bridge on the other side.
I would just check the local notice to mariners and make sure there are no " security zones" on the day of your passage. Sometimes they close the west side of the river due to a UN function.

The passage is about 15 miles, so missing the favorable current could add hours to your trip. I'd sit it out in either City Island or Manahasset bay or somewhere like that if I missed the turn, rather than make 2 kn. against the current. There's no diesel on City Island, that I'm aware of so if you needed fuel I'd use Manhasset bay.

The Max current can exceed 5 knots at time and in certain places It's unlikely that you'll be making max hull speed. against it. You'll get some chop that knocks your speed down. I wouldn't attempt it against max flood.
Never been through Hell's Gate but I would expect this kind of traffic on channel 13. Tugs and barges are not even allowed on Ch 9.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Hell Gate

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Originally Posted by MastUndSchotbruch View Post
Never been through Hell's Gate but I would expect this kind of traffic on channel 13. Tugs and barges are not even allowed on Ch 9.
Yes, I forgot 13..my bad. In practice, I monitor 9,13 and 16. Around here
( NYC ) they do use 9
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Hell Gate

There is diesel available at City Island (but you have to go between Hart and City Islands, and it's all the way up by the City Island Bridge) - I don't know if the fuel dock is open in the winter. Also watch the current if it's pushing you towards the CI bridge.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Hell Gate

I second the comment about local notice to mariners. The western channel along Roosevelt Island is often closed, and also you can't go too close to the UN. The trip is not hard, but I would certainly not buck the tide.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Hell Gate

We knowingly timed it wrong once on a northbound trek. It was very distressing to see people walking significantly faster than we could motor. Next time, we wait it out.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Hell Gate

Weve gone through the Gate at least 40 times. Bucking current is not the way to go.

Anthing giving you slack to full ebb is fine. Yes you will be able to control your boat at max ebb..We have often shot through at 13.4 knots sog so we could continue to ride the ebb all the way out New York Bay at over 10 knots sog although at that speed in an emergency it is tough to steer. There is far less traffic away from the slack time though.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Hell Gate

Chef is correct with anything from slack to full ebb going down
(south on the east River).
Can ride an incoming current heading west from Northport and
continue down East River all the way to/out lower harbor on out going current.
Places to wait for current to go down river:
Little Bay, at foot of Throgs Neck Bridge (southeast)
Little Neck Bay, 1nm southeast, no services.
Manhasset Bay, 3nm east, all services...recommended for diesel over City Island.
City Island, 3nm north of bridge between City Is. and Hart Is.,
suggest do not stop for diesel at north end of City Island unless careful as is shoals and rocks just outside channel.
Or pick up guest mooring at Steppingstone Marina 2nm east of bridge (ch 71) as this is our home marina, give some notice and come say hello. But beware of Steppingstone rocks triangle,
marked to the north by the lighthouse and to the south by nuns
#2 and#4.
Pass west of Roosevelt Island, usually no security issues unless president or all heads of state at UN. Have gone down river on and around sept. 11th with no problem.
Can get up close and personal with Statue of Liberty no problem,
but watch for shoals on 3 sides north, south, and west actually
good place to stop out of traffic for site seeing or some lunch.
Or, if need to make time down to lower bay go through Buttermilk
Channel between Governors Island and Brooklyn.
Lot of history on that stretch of water...
civil war/confederate prison camp/Nike missile base on Hart Island
America Cup boats built on City Island
Typhoid Mary imprisoned on North Brother Island
British prison ships during revolutionary war at Wallabout Bay
same site as Brooklyn Navy yard
Fultons steamboat
Washington retreating across river from Brooklyn
(rowed across by Mass. sailors/fishermen)
and on and on... sorry...
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Hell Gate

Here's some Hell Gate advice given to me by a 'commercial' some time ago. For the past 10+ years or so its worked 'perfect':


General.
Use Eldrige Tide Tables to plan to cross Hell Gate at SLACK WATER.
Your best bet is to plan the trip so as to keep moving, if you're ahead of schedule 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.
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 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.

Going North start your trip at the Battery 2 hours after the low.

Going south start your trip from Throgs Neck 2 hours after high at the Battery.

Wear PFD's, stay in the center, have a sharp lookout for barge traffic coming around corners. Have your VHF on Ch13 and an aitr horn handy. Know what one blast means, as distinct from 2. Have a camera ready at all times for magnificant views, and 2 days after a heavy rain,a boat hook ready, if you see any bodies or other debris that may foul your passageway.
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Last edited by RichH; 01-27-2013 at 09:54 PM.
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