Cruising Through New York City

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By Rich

If one is going to deliver home from Newport to Annapolis via Long Island Sound, then a transit through New York City is in order. We decided to make a night of it and have Brian take the train up to join us in the wee hours of the morning so we could begin the final leg of the trip home. 

For the second time in two days, we had delightful dead downwind sailing from Seawanhaka to New York. We didn’t douse and start the Westerbeke until Execution Rock.

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Cruisers working their way through New York City will need to pay careful attention to the timing of the currents, with special attention paid to Hell Gate. The highly turbulent currents that rip through this part of the East River can top 4 knots. Our original float plan called for an arrival timed to coincide with ~2 knot fair currents as we headed west, but we decided it was just as well to arrive early and fight the equivalent foul current than to sit somewhere and wait for the fair. A foul current just gave us more time to take in the sights and sounds of the city.

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Be prepared to put those big kid pants back on while transiting the area between the East River and the Hudson just south of the city proper. Crazy volumes of commercial and recreational traffic (and the resultant chop) combine with a serious din whipped up by  helicopters arriving and departing (presumably for tours?) to make the area an intense experience.

We decided to get our first slip of the season at MarineMax Chelsea Pier Marina. This is an historic location, as MarineMax was built at Pier 59, where Titanic was scheduled to arrive at the conclusion of her ill-fated maiden voyage. Today Pier 59 combines the yacht marina with, of all things, a golf driving range.

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A few notes about your slip at MarineMax should you decide on a visit:

  • Reach deep back into those big kid pants for your big kid wallet: the rate is $5.50 per foot plus $30 if you want electric.
  • Be prepared for serious rolling any time you get a slip on the Hudson. We learned this the last time we cruised this area  few years ago; tie up well and be prepared to check your dock lines frequently for chafe. The roll is that serious and it lasts into the wee hours of the morning.
  • At MarineMax be prepared for some noise and stadium-quality spot lighting from the driving range – both of which persist until late at night as well.

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As for the destination itself, what could we possibly add? It’s New York and MarineMax puts you right in the Meatpacking District. Walk ashore and the possibilities for night life, provisioning, etc are endless. Our stay was very brief to provision, get a nice dinner out (which we did) and get some rest before our 5am departure the next morning. For these purposes New York city proved to be a fine host.

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