Thursday, July 26, 2012

Liberty welcomes Freedom, part 2

We cruised right up to the lower tip of Manhattan, The Battery, and around the bend past the quiet ferry terminal into the East River. First bridge, the Brooklyn bridge, is undergoing a facelift. There are many more fantastic old bridges with beautiful iron work all the way up the East River.

This is where the tidal flow begins to pick up. We throttled back to high idle to save fuel and enjoy the ride and still did 6 knots. We passed the UN and the upper east side with lots of great old buildings. The Empire State & Chrysler buildings looked fantastic.

Half way up Manhattan, the East River turns 90 degrees right toward Long Island Sound. This is the infamous Hell Gate. The current is very fast here and there are huge rock outcroppings deep below that cause numerous whirlpools. We were doing 10 knots through here without much effort. It's a blind corner so I called ahead on the bridge to bridge VHF channel 13 that the large commercial ships use announcing our position & course. As expected, no response. "As expected"? I have a great ap on my Droid called Marine Traffic. It gives me real time AIS reporting that all commercial ships are required to use. It shows position, speed, direction, size and pictures of the ship. A fantastic tool!

So our trip through NY harbor, with proper planning (back slap), was uneventful. I spent most of my time shooting video (to be released soon on youtube) while Chris did most of the piloting. Maybe next time through we'll stop for a brief visit. But viewing from the water was pretty satisfying.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Liberty welcomes Freedom! Part 1

I missed a post! I forgot to write about our NY cruise!

A few posts back I noted that we anchored behind Coney Island, staged for a run through NY harbor. The tidal flow is strong, so timing is important. The currents were in our favor for Sunday morning as was the weather. We got underway around 8am, first landmark is the Verazanno Narrows bridge. It acts like a giant gateway to NYC. We rounded the point and made the approach to the city.

The Staten Isl ferries are notorious for being fast & numerous. But there were only 2 of them running this Sunday morning, making this a piece of cake. We crossed the main ship channel to run up close to the Statue of Liberty and then directly toward lower Manhattan. The new World Trade Center was topped off a few months ago but its upper floors are still getting their glass skin.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Now that's low!

Our stop after running through NY harbor was Northport on Long Island. A good stop on two counts. One, good friends Craig & Jen are in the area. Two, the town dock is free to tie up to during the day. That means we don't need to load laundry or groceries in the dink for a mile long ride.

We tied to the dock around 1pm. The dockmaster asked our specs and then had us come around the back side of the dock out of the wind. We made a trip up to town to the laundromat on our bikes. 2 hours later we went back up to the grocery store. Well we tried. It was a STEEP hill. Only one of us made it! Got the groceries put away and took quick showers just in time to join Craig & Jen for dinner.

We were supposed to be off the dock by around 8pm. We came back to the boat around 8:30 to get underway. Not so fast! We were sitting on the bottom. Not a lot but definitely aground. We draw about 5'6" and that's what the depthsounder was reading. The tide range here is over 7'! Our boat was even with the dock when we left but now it was a very long climb down to the deck. This was after dark, sorry no picture. The pic here is in the morning. I talked to the evening dockmaster, she said no problem. Stick around till morning to get underway. So we had a few beers and spent the night.

Low tide is every 12 hours, so around 9am would be the same condition. We got up early and cast off by 6am with several feet to spare. This was our first encounter with big tides. Florida & the Chesapeake are only 1 or 2 feet. Up in Maine they have 20' tides! We'll save that for next year.

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

Sunday, July 22, 2012

North to New York

We rode out rain & hi winds off Sandy Hook for 2 days. Today we stopped at Atlantic Highlands for fuel before heading to NY harbor. They had the cheapest fuel we'll see in New England. They also had crappy NJ attitudes!

We sailed across choppy waters to outer NY harbor, anchoring behind Coney Island in the shadow of the Verazanno Narrows bridge. We stopped here to time the tides right Sunday morning. We'll be going up the inner harbor, past Liberty & Manhattan into the East River. Half way up the East River is the aptly named Hell Gate. The current runs 4 knots there. You must not hit the ebb when running to Long Island Sound. Lots of whirlpools and other nasty stuff that can ruin your day!

Should be a fantastic morning, can't wait. A good day to follow our spot track, departing around 9am...

Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom