Sunday 9/10: I have done this trip through the East River and New York Bay a number of times:. Roughly it takes one hour from the mooring in Manhasset Bay to the Throg's Neck Bridge, then one hour to Hell Gate, one and a half to the Verrazano Bridge and The Narrows and one hour to Sandy Hook. To get a favorable tide, timing is everything. The ebb starts to run at Hell Gate around 1330. As the current here can easily run at 5 knots you don't want to have the flood against you. To get there at slack tide means a departure from Manhasset Bay at 1130. I would still have the current against me at Throg's Neck, but it should be minimal.
Leaving Manhattan behind
In the morning I took the dinghy on deck and deflated it. I did not want it inflated on the foredeck because it obstructs my view and with all the traffic around Manhattan I needed all-round visibility. I droped the mooring at 1130, about the same time as a two other sailboats: a Tayana 37 and a 50 ft Swedish Amel. I passed Throg's Neck at 1220, Hell Gate at 1330, The Narrows at 1510 and Sandy Hook at 1615. There was zero wind. Nothing. Nada. Just an oily swell from the east. I hoisted the mainsail just to reduce the rolling. A pod of dolphins greeted us when we entered the Atlantic. At 1920 I turned on the running and steaming lights, only to discover that the steaming light was not working. Probably a burnt out light bulb. I turned on the all-round white anchor light instead. Not exactly in accordance with the regulations, but I was not going to climb in the mast to replace a light bulb. At 2310 I was off Barnegat inlet.
Monday 9/11: Unlike last year, when a whole fleet left south after tropical storm Hermine had passed, I saw only a few boats on this trip. On the AIS I could see that the Tayana was still nearby, but the Amel was way ahead of us. At 0925 I entered the Cape May inlet and anchored off the Coast Guard station. Half of the anchorage was taken by dredging equipment, but there was still enough space to anchor. The wind, if any, during this entire trip was below 10 knots and dead astern. All motoring. I climbed up the mast (steps) and removed the burnt out lightbulb from the steaming light. It's a 15W festoon bulb and I didn't have a spare on board. I also noticed that the bulbs for the deck and spreader lights were in poor shape. They are regular halogen 2-pin MR16 bulbs that you buy at the hardware store. I will have to replace those when I'm back in Baltimore. And might as well buy LED bulbs. I inflated the dinghy and went to the Lobster House for oysters and beer and then walked across the bridge to West Marine to buy a replacement bulb for the steaming light. Then to Lucky Bones for pizza. Finally back on board and up the mast again to put the new bulb in the steaming light.
Cape May anchorage