Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 07-08-2018 Thread Starter
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Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

If someone had a boat around City Island New York and wanted to sail it to the Chesapeake, would the best route be to take it South through the East River, through Throgs Neck, around Rikers, under all the bridges, to join up with the Hudson and follow the Great Loop from there? Or would it be better to skip the traffic and congestion to sail Northeast up the Long Island Sound and go outside and South? All of the bridge clearances through the East River route look fine but there is all of the congestion and controlled areas around Roosevelt and Governor's Islands and around Hell Gate.
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Re: Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

As usual it depends... on the winds. There's a fair bit of traffic in LIS and getting through the gut and around Montauk is not without peril... timing the current is everything running down the Sound.. well almost.

It's not as if you are not maintaining watch...

I would take the inside route timing the passage through Hells Gate and hopefully sail after you pass under the Throggs Neck Bridge. If the SW has been blowing... the sea will be calmer in the "lee" of the Jersey shore.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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Re: Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

The trip through the East River is not a big deal, you just have to time the currents. Especially at Hell Gate. From there it's a trip along the New Jersey shore, then up the Delaware to the C&D canal and through to the Chessie. Watch the weather for the Jersey shore leg and plan on which inlets you might jump into. Some are OK and others are dangerous in bad weather.
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Re: Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

Done it both ways. Coming out of Montauk was a long trip for myself alone. I think I left Fishers island about midnight, sailed all day and night and arrived about 5:00pm in Cape May. It’s about 200 miles. For me NY Harbor is a zoo. I prefer off shore, but that’s just me.

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post #5 of 35 Old 07-08-2018
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Re: Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

East River - Planning Your Passage for a Fair Current or Slack Water


As JimsCal says the East River is not that bad if you time it right, and your engine is reliable!

You can cut between the Brother Islands, there are channel markers. Keep to the right of Roosevelt Island. When you get near the Hudson river and the Battery and Brooklyn Bridge you can take Buttermilk channel ( behind Governor's Island ) ( a left turn after the Brooklyn Bridge). Unless you desire a closeup of the Statue of Liberty. Buttermilk Channel will exit toward the Bay Ridge Flats, there's plenty of water in there and it keeps you out of the main channel. It's an anchorage area for barges etc. The big boats and Ferries use Buttermilk too so keep an eye out for traffic. I try to stay to port as I approach lower Manhattan to avoid the ferries pulling in and out, but sometimes it's not possible. If you're riding the full current down the east river, you shouldn't see to much commercial traffic coming up, as they usually wait for slack or fair current.

Depending on the wind and current, you may see some chop under the Verrazano Bridge as wind against current can churn it up. just plow through. There's good water to port fairly close to shore.

If you need to wait for a weather window to head offshore you can Hang out in the Atlantic Highlands for a bit. The Yacht Club has moorings with Launch Service for $50. Or you can anchor behind the breakwater and get launch service for $25? I believe. Or you can anchor off Sandy Hook in Horseshoe cove.

The overnight passage to Cape May is Roughly 24 hours. However, you could make it to Atlantic City in a Long day if you leave Dawn or pre-dawn. Otherwise there's Manasquan and Barnegat Inlets, which I wouldn't recommend on your first trip.

If you time the east river for Slack before ebb expect to see commercial traffic doing the same.

Listen to channel 13 and 16

*** Note, Before planning your passage make sure you check the current Local Notice to Mariners to make sure there are no closures or restrictions in place! There are often, races, events, U.N activities, construction, etc. that you'll want to be mindful of.

I wouldn't shy away from the East River and go out around Montauk, The prevailing winds are SW ( on the nose) and there's no good places to duck into. So timing that trip would be critical too. Waiting for a something with a northerly component.

Good Luck! I listened to all the horror stories...at the end of the day.. it ain't so bad, it's very cool.
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post #6 of 35 Old 07-08-2018
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Re: Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

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Originally Posted by midwesterner View Post
If someone had a boat around City Island New York and wanted to sail it to the Chesapeake, would the best route be to take it South through the East River, through Throgs Neck, around Rikers, under all the bridges, to join up with the Hudson and follow the Great Loop from there? Or would it be better to skip the traffic and congestion to sail Northeast up the Long Island Sound and go outside and South? All of the bridge clearances through the East River route look fine but there is all of the congestion and controlled areas around Roosevelt and Governor's Islands and around Hell Gate.
How many crew members, where to in the Chesapeake, and is there schedule?

My experience with the East River was amazing - leaving City Island at dawn to catch the tide we scooted through very quickly. The views of New York city were great and there was minimal traffic - just a couple of other sailboats, a float plane that landed a few hundred yards behind us, but no other obvious obstacles. The Upper Bay can get congested, but it is mostly ferries and moored barges and there is plenty of room to maneuver. From there we carried straight on down the New Jersey coast overnight, reaching Cape May around dawn, continuing up the Delaware and through the C&O canal to stop in Chesapeake City that evening (so around 36 hours non-stop, with a crew of four). From there is was a relatively short day down to Annapolis.
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post #7 of 35 Old 07-09-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

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How many crew members, where to in the Chesapeake, and is there schedule?
Crew would probably be three of us. No schedule. I'd probably take a week. Don't like being in a hurry. I've not decided on a home port yet. I'd be looking to get farther south to a cheaper area. Some place where I could get in and out through an airport, with a plan to eventually, make a series of similar moves to be south of the snow belt before winter but to schedule it to miss the hurricane season.

I have family near Selby, south of Annapolis, and near New Bern North Carolina. I'm guessing that City Island is more pricey for storage and service.
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Re: Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

Annapolis area is every bit as pricy as City Island

We’ve done the trip over 50 times. Both ways. Waste of time heading out the Sound from City Island.

Ride the outgoing ebb current down the East River through Hell Gate and continue through NY Harbor and out to the Ocean. Don’t wait for slack or you’ll be keeping company with three -barge barge trains

Good advice on NJ inlets. Only Atlantic City and Cape May are fine. Manesquan is ok but no place to anchor. Barnegat excellent anchorage treacherous inlet first time or with and Eastern wind component against outgoing current.

Delaware River to Chessie is leaving Cape MY 1 hr before CURRENT changes and you’ll ride it up and through the C&D Canal provided you motor.

If you need help planning contact me.
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Re: Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

i95...
if you trailer.
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Re: Best Route: LIS to Chesapeake

Why do I feel like the OP is a first-time author planning to write a book?

Long Island is pretty much a hundred miles long. City Island is pretty much at the west end of it, so you can either go south and out NY Harbor, or make a hundred mile detour to get east of Long Island and then come that same hundred miles back west again. Two hundred extra miles in a small boat. Hmmmm.

Buy a copy of "Eldridge", any year will do. You'll have details for landmarks and distances and courses for the entire trip in it.
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