Join Date: Jul 2018
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Re: Visiting the Statue of Liberty via Sailboat.
Hiya! Everyone has covered the statue pretty well. I second Mark's advice about the 79th street boat basin, it's a great location. Since I sail 2-4 time a week on the Hudson, I can probably provide some tips.
With the exception of some silted-up areas near New Jersey, the entire river is dredged. The ferries and the giant cigarette-style tour boats are very fast, but they're maneuverable and their skippers are highly competent. Just hold your course and they'll go around you. The one exception is that it's polite to stay away from the ferry terminals, which you can identify from Google Maps.
There's a good amount of shipping (and cruise ships on Sundays). They can't maneuver well; stay out of their way. The dinner cruisers are highly maneuverable in theory, but I think their skippers would rather run you over then spill a customer's drink. Give them as wide a berth as you would a barge, and your trip will be less stressful if you avoid getting too close to Chelsea Piers.
Around the 4th, there will be a lot of power boaters. Most of them are courteous and polite, but some are drunk and/or jerks. There may be jet skiers, they're fine.
Do keep a sharp eye out for kayakers. They're hard to see and have rights on you.
The environmental conditions are pretty interesting. Lake sailors have told me that it's way shiftier and puffier than any lake they've been on, and the current runs both ways up to 3 knots. I have had 180 degree wind shifts in less than 5 minutes, and 90 degree insta-shifts are not uncommon ("I guess we tacked"). If you're picking up a mooring, definitely approach it from the direction all the other boats are lying, which may be downwind! I've noticed that the vast majority of cruising boats I see are motor-sailing.
I (and hundreds of other people) learned to sail on the Hudson. While there is a lot of traffic, it's really not that bad. Just stay at the helm and keep an eye out.