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Author Topic:   Trip around Manhatten
Riverwhaler posted 08-18-2005 08:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for Riverwhaler   Send Email to Riverwhaler  
Has anyone considered a trip around Manhatten Island New York? I have been contemplating it but it seems that there are some things to know first. Have sailed down east river about 15 years ago but things are quite different now. Has anyone done it and could they share their knowledge.
Hoop posted 08-19-2005 04:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoop  Send Email to Hoop     

I just read a book, or most of the book, titled River Horse, which is about a coast-to-coast navigation by rivers in a 22 foot C-Dory.

He wrote about going around Manhatten. You could find it in your library; I wouldn't just go out and buy it.

I'm on the west coast, myself, so have never been on the water


Curtis Johnson posted 08-19-2005 08:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Curtis Johnson  Send Email to Curtis Johnson     
I,too read River Horse; it's good and his other (Blue Highways )is even better.
jimp posted 08-20-2005 08:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
Riverwhaler -

We did it in our 1982 Montauk with a 90 ho Evinrude in 1988. Me, wife, two daughters (3 & 1). A fairly long day for the kids. We lived on Governors Island, 1,000 yards south of the Battery so getting going around the Manhattan.

We started up the East River and followed the charts. The tough part was coming down the Hudson in the afternoon. The wind was from the south and we ran into a "flotilla" of cruisers heading north (50 or so). Lots of wakes & waves.

Speedo66 posted 08-20-2005 09:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Speedo66  Send Email to Speedo66     
I did it two years ago in another boat, an 18' bowrider. I started down from Croton NY, about 25 miles north of the GW bridge on the Hudson.

I made a left under the Henry Hudson bridge between the Bronx and Manhattan (Spiten Divil area). There is a revolving railroad bridge there with low clearance. You didn't mention what boat you were going to do this in, but most Whalers should be fine, don't forget to lower your antenna. You are now on the North or Harlem River heading East. Columbia Univ. has their boathouse in this area for their racing sculls and you'll see the big "C" painted on one of the nearby cliffs. Proceed and the river curves around and then straightens. Once you are in this area the river is very calm, flat most of the time. There are several bridge bases as you continue, all with 5 MPH speed limits. The NYPD Harbor Patrol unit is based at the east end of the river and they do patrol this river, so watch your speed near the bridges. You'll soon pass Yankee Stadium and are getting closer to the Hells Gate area and the top of the East River.

Hells Gate can have a very strong current at times depending on the tidal flow of the rivers. You are at the convergience of the the Harlem River, the East River to the south, and the LI Sound to your left. There is also a passage to Flushing Bay (La Guardia Airport, Rikers Is.) straight ahead. This area rocks if you hit it at the wrong time, watch your tide charts and be carefull.

I then went right, down the East River. You are now traveling down the east side of Manhattan. You will pass under the Tri-Boro Bridge which connects Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. The East River gets narrower as you go south. At one point you are between Roosevelt Is. and Manhattan. Be VERY carefull here, it's narrow and if the tide is running it can be nasty. There are some rather large water taxis which have no consideration for you. They will blast by you and set up large wakes which bounce back and forth in this narrow area because there is no place for them to disipate. I guarantee they will rock you. The shore is concrete walls and large rocks with no place to go if you have problems, and usually no one to help.

After you pass under the 59th St. Bridge (Queensboro Br. is the proper name) the river widens. Keep in mind there is no place to tie up or get fuel anywhere on the East River. You will pass under the Manhattan Bridge and then the Brooklyn Bridge. Just south of the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side is the South St. Seaport Museum. You'll see some interesting boats including an old sailing ship and a lighthouse ship, but again, no place to tie up.

At this point you are near the southern tip of Manhattan. If you want to anchor, there are some bulkheaded coves on the opposite (Brooklyn) shore, and Governors Is., a former Coast Guard base, is ahead on your left. It's fairly shallow as you get close to it, and you can get out of the river flow and wind there. Manhattan itself is really not small boat friendly.

Straight ahead will be Liberty Is. with the Statue of Liberty. You are now in Upper NY Harbor and this can be very rough depending on tides and wind. Many water taxis, Staten Is. ferries, and other large boats. As you go right you will heading up the west side of Manhattan and into the Hudson River. This is the time to get gas. There are a few marinas on the NJ side. The next area for gas is just south of the Henry Hudson Br. on the NJ side. Another just north of that bridge on the NJ side. As you go up the West side you will see the floating aircraft carrier museum the Intrepid, with many different style aircraft on it's decks.

If you try and go up the East River againt a strong tide, be carefull. Between the current, winds, and the water taxis it can be really vicious. Even the normally placid Hudson, which also is tidal, can be nasty if you catch the river flow, an outgoing tide, and some winds from the north.

I had a great trip, a few "momemts", but a great trip. The views are magnificent and the water a little challenging in a nice way. As long as you keep in mind the tides, the fuel situation, and your boat and motor are in good shape, you should be fine. The East River is no place for an "iffy" motor. At the lower end near the harbor there are many security boats: NYPD, NYFD, CG, NYDEC, etc, so make sure your stuff is in order. Have a great trip!

Just out of curiousity, what direction will you be approaching from?

gimcrack225 posted 08-20-2005 07:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for gimcrack225    
I do it several times a year. It is a thrill. There are lots of small boaters in NYC and many people do this every day so its not something that is difficult. Speedo's post tells you a lot. It is possible to work with the currents to pick the best time and direction. There is a great marina directly across the Hudson from lower manhattan.

I have a 21' footer and cannot clear the Spuyten Duyvil railroad bridge in the closed position. It it normally open and closes only for a train.

All the security regulations are posted in the USCG "Local Notice to Mariners" Mostly they refer to docking and security areas. They really are not a problem for you as a recreational boater. I can send you a link to the publication and give you information on fuel docks and currents if you want.

Good luck


Riverwhaler posted 08-20-2005 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Riverwhaler  Send Email to Riverwhaler     
Well ContinuousWave does it again! What a wealth of information. Thanks for all the good info. If anyone wants to boat on the Connecticut River let me know. PS I will be in a Nantucket and if anyone wants to boat along we will try this in later October.
Yiddil posted 08-20-2005 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Hmmmmmmmmmm originally from NY...would love to make that trip...let me know....once around the Island Rend. ...what a hoot...I also heard it can be pretty vicious in different parts...had a friend (marina Owner and top Mechanic0 who took a jet boat(2 jets) Yamaha...that stalled in one of those ruff areas and they almost got killed...wouldn't want to do that alone...Have "Das Boat" Nantucket...will travel:))
gimcrack225 posted 08-21-2005 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for gimcrack225    
What is the Connecticut River like above Hartford? How far north is it navigable in an outboard? Is there a maintained channel?

I used to live in Farmington and occasionally took a small sailboat out into the CR.

Riverwhaler posted 08-21-2005 09:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Riverwhaler  Send Email to Riverwhaler     
Well I am not to familar with river below Greenfield Mass but above everything depends on Hydro dams to control the river level. At Vernon VT there is a big dam which backs up the water for 20 navigable miles it gets to 3 feet just before Walpole NH. Then at Bellows Falls there is another dam with good water at least 25 to 30 miles north to Windsor VT. The scenery is spectacular, farm lands come down to edge while mountains in Brattleboro climb out of the shore. Of course fall is the best, come around Columbus Day for peak foliage. It is like having several very long lakes nearby. Water quality is very good. Got to be careful of shallow places, usual river practice is best. Watch for stream outlets for gravel bars and stay on the outside of corners most of the time. A good fishfinder,depth sounder is necessary. Let me know and I will be happy to be your guide. Lots of ramps too.
gimcrack225 posted 08-22-2005 09:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for gimcrack225    
Thanks for the info. These dams - can I assume that I must portage around them? That would be pretty difficult to do in a cruise mode.

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