09/30/2011, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Staten Island Ferry Crosses our bow; Lady Liberty Can Just Be Seen
We planned at 10:15 departure from Manhasset Bay to arrive at Hell Gate at slack current, 12:47, enroute to Sandy Hook, NJ, a distance of 38 miles. Due to anticipated head current and wind, we planned a speed of 5 knots to Hell's Gate. We actually arrived at 12:43, 4 minutes early.
The passage went uneventfully through Hell Gate. The current rapidly increased throughout the 3 mile stretch, and by the time we reached the Verazanno Narrows Bridge, we were making about 8.5 knots.The was very little opposing traffic, and those fellow travelers in line with us were well behaved.
The action really started as we approached Manhattan, with the East River Ferry charging across the river, helicopters buzzing us from all directions, and all sorts of commercial and sightseeing traffic. At one point, the Staten Island Ferry crossed our bow, exercising "the bigger boat has the right of way" rule.
We continued to benefit from the following current, and arrived in Sandy Hook, NJ at 4:30. We are tucked in behind the Atlantic Highland breakwater (see Google Earth position plot).We plan to stay here until favorable conditions develop for a run down the coast to Atlantic City.
Tomorrow we will depart for Sandy Hook, NJ, transiting for the first time through New York City/Harbor. The trip planning is determined by our passage through Hell Gate, also known as Hell's Gate because of its fast and dangerous current. We must arrive there near slack current to make a safe passage. We will depart Manhasset Bay at aroud 10:15 to arrive at Hell's Gate at slack (12:47).
In the 1700s and 1800s, strong currents and numerous rocks made Hell Gate a graveyard for ships. By the late 19th century, hundreds of ships had sunk in the channel.
In 1851, the year that this chart was published, the U.S. Army began blasting the submerged ledges and dangerous surface rocks within Hell Gate. This blasting continued for the next 70 years. At the time, the Hell Gate explosions were some of the young nation's earliest and most spectacular earthmoving projects. The largest Hell Gate explosion occurred in 1885 when, before an appreciative crowd of thousands, the nine-acre expanse of Flood Rock was blown away. Reports claimed the explosion could be felt as far away as Princeton, New Jersey. The New York Times devoted its entire cover page to this "triumph of human will over nature"
09/26/2011, Near NYC
This morning finds us moored at the Manhasset Bay YC. We left Port Jefferson around 8:30 a.m. yesterday and arrived here around 3:00 p.m.
The Execution Rocks Light Station, approaching the Bay, is located between Sands Point and New Rochelle, NY. It stands 55 feet tall and has a flashing white light every 10 seconds.
It is rumored that the lighthouse's site got its name before the American Revolutionary War when British colonial authorities executed people by chaining them to the rocks at low tide, allowing the rising water to drown them. The same was said of the rocks further south near Hell Gate in New York City's East River. In reality, the name for this island was chosen to reflect the historically dangerous shipping area created by the rocks' exposure during low tides
We will spend today reprovisioning and taking on water/fuel and will then await a good weather window for the next leg through NYC and down the NJ coast to Atlantic City.