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NYC Navigation

3028 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  nk235

At the end of June, probably Friday, June 26, I plan on sailing my boat from my home port of Mt. Sinai NY (just east of Port Jeff) through the Long Island Sound, down the East River, around the Statue of Liberty, then up the Hudson to the 79 street Boat basin.

My proposed itinerary:
Day 1: Sail from Mt. Sinai to somewhere in Port Washington (around 35 nm). Spend the night in Port Washington
Day 2: Sail from Port Washington down the East River, around the Battery, then up the Hudson to the 79st boat basin (around 25 nm).
Day 3-4, hang out in NYC
day 5 - ? return home.

I have some questions:
-Timing the east river (hell's gate). According to my Eldridge book I want to arrive at Hell's Gate at least 2 hours after high water at the battery. Is this correct? It's around 13 nm from Port Washington to Hell Gate, so if I left 1 hour or so BEFORE high water I should arrive at the right time, right?

-Navigating the East River: Are there any restrictions regarding Roosevelt Island? Where can I get the latest information? The charts don't have any special information.

-Marina's: I'm looking for a place that is convenient to Manhattan. Is there anything wrong with the 79th St. Boat Basin? My boat has shoal draft of less than 4.5' Is there anything better?

Anything else?

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I don't have much knowledge of the East River, but there are 3 marinas that are convenient on the Jersey side of the Hudson:

Newport Marina is a block from the PATH (subway) into Manhattan, has floating docks and is rather affected by the river.

Liberty Harbor is convenient to the PATH (5 blocks), out of the river, but has a noisy bar on Friday / Saturday nights. It also has a ferry leaving from the marina.

Liberty Landing is on the south side of the Morris Canal, across from Liberty Harbor. It also has a ferry and is inconvenient from the PATH.

If you can't get into 79th St or have some reason not to, they are reasonable choices.
Normally you must transit west of Roosevelt Island. There is a lift bridge on on the east channel. The lift bridge will not open if the west channel is open and you will not clear the bridge unless it is lifted.

The west channel is closed based upon security threats to the UN. This may or may not be in the Notice to Mariners. When the west channel is closed security forces are highly visible at both the north and south ends of Roosevelt Island. They will hail you on Ch. 16. and direct you into the east channel. Failure to respond ensures an imminent opportunity to see CG machine guns up close.

If you are directed to the east channel you will need to hail the lift bridge operator. The bridge opens on demand but there is a thirthy minute wait as they go through their signal sequence.

Westbound you will face strong adverse currents once you round the Battery. Eastbound try to time your rounding so that you enter the East River just as the current turns northbound; you'll have a favorable current down the Hudson and out the Sound all the way to Stamford. Keep your head up as you round the battery for brisk ferry traffic.
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We have stayed at Liberty landing and intend to on our trip to Mystic this summer. It has a great restaurant and a killer view of Manahttan and the Statue of Liberty at night. Easy high speed ferry down to the Battery/ Trade Towers area right from the marina.

We've done Hell Gate (it's actually not Hells Gate) twice, once in each direction, both times entering the East River just after the tide turned to the direction we're going. The first time, when we headed from the Hudson to the Long Island Sound, I turned to my wife as we passed through Hell Gate and said "This is it?". The second time we had a 5kt current with us and saw SOG of over 13kts. It's not a big deal as long as you have a favorable current.
Make sure you read the current tables in Eldrige and not the tide tables. There are charts showing the current direction and speed and clear directions on calculating which page you should consult at what time. Going around Manhattan is great fun, especially at night, though daytime is easier, especially if this is your first time. Lots of ferry traffic in the downtown area. And the current can really move. I've shown 14 and 15 kts. over the ground going through Hell gate and the East River. If you're going the wrong way you won't be moving very fast. One time, from the vantage point of waiting while my wife was having a procedure at Hospital for Special Surgery, I watched a 26 footer make about 200 yds in two hours. The guy obviously didn't have or didn't check his current tables.
Or go here for currents... Tidal Current Tables
Hey Barry - I actually made this trip 2 years ago when I had my 25 footer. If you want we can meet up one day or evening at the boats in Mt. Sinai and I can offer some advice and let you know about our trip?

Other wise as long as you have decent weather the trip is excellent. Also Hell gate is not that bad so long as you have favorable current and you can expect to be doing over 10knts over ground so the trip down the east river flies by!

We stayed at Liberty Landing. The bar across is noisy but the marina was excellent, views outstanding, and there is a good restaurant right there if you don't want to go into the city.

Def let me know when you are going because during the week I work in the city and I live in a high rise apartment building right on the water in Long Island City which is right across from the UN building looking over the river so I watch the boats go down all day. If I'm around the day you go I can bring my camera and zoom lense and get some good shots of your boat if you want?

Anyway let me know if you'll be down at the harbor anytime soon. I should be there tomorrow mid afternoon as my boat is in Smithtown tonight and I'm sailing her back to Mt. Sinai tomorrow around noon.
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