The East River
May 24th -25th
Listening to the weather forecast for five days of moderate southerlies we quickly got underway. Our original plan was to spend another day in Portsmouth but the forecast was too good to pass up, so at 0800 hrs, we were motoring down the Elizabeth River.
From the marina, down the harbour and across the bottom of Chesapeake Bay is a distance of 22 miles. But assisted by a strong outgoing current, we were bearing off northeast in light southerlies at 1100 hrs.
Aircraft Carrier in Norfolk
At 0800 hrs the next morning we gybed and headed in to Cape May, NJ where we anchored at 1030 hrs. Not wanting to launch the dinghy and with no particular reason to go ashore, we just spent the day aboard, resting and cleaning up. At noon, we were joined in the anchorage by Swift Current with Howard and Lynn Bradbrooke aboard. They had arrived a few days before, having started their cruise from Annapolis where the boat wintered. With drinks in the cockpit, we discussed plans, and agreed to take advantage of the continuing excellent forecast.
We set out at 0800 in the continuing 10-15 knot southerlies, and by days end were anchoring in the excellent protection of Barnegatt. And a good thing too for the protection, as the forecast had changed, and we spent the night in 25-30 knot winds. But with the protection of the anchorage, we felt nothing.
Swift Current exiting Barnegatt
We got an early start on our planned run up to Atlantic Highlands, the last leg of the coast of New Jersey. Exiting the Barnegatt inlet provided some entertainment with the wind opposing the outgoing current, but we were safely out and bearing off in the continuing southerlies. The forecast was for continued southerlies but increasing to 20-25 later in the day. Well, they were right about the increasing part, but not the timing. So we spent the day romping up the shore in 20-25 knot winds, wing on wing... an excellent sail! Rounding Sandy hook, we doused the sails as the wind made up to a nice steady 30 knots. With Swift Current close behind, we motored down into the excellent protection of Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club where we picked up a mooring. This is an excellent and welcoming stop.
Ashore, we made a beeline for the grocery store to replenish supplies. On the way we noted The Flakey Tart bakery and a few other interesting stops. Back aboard, we headed over to Swift Current for a great dinner and evening to Celebrate our cruising, as we would be parting in the morning, SC staying to visit NYC and Estelle off through NYC harbour and the East River.
The timing of the East River is everything. There is no point in a sailboat trying to buck the current. So when we looked at the current charts, we decided there was no point in leaving Atlantic Highlands until noon. That gave us time for a trip ashore to the Flakey Tart for pastries and for an excellent breakfast at the Hudson Cafe... VERY highly recommended! Another stop at Giannni's Specialty Foods for some excellent bread, salads and meats. Atlantic Highlands is a great stop!
At 1100 hrs, we were off, coasting up through New York's Outer Harbor and under the very impressive Verrazano Narrows Bridge into the inner harbor. Down the harbor and past Governor's Island with its very impressive Coast Guard base, we headed up the East River. We have done this trip many times, but never fail to be impressed with it. Being swept up the river past The Battery, the UN building, the upper east side and Roosevelt Island, through Hells Gate, we were spit out into Long Island Sound where we tucked into Manhasset Bay for the night. South winds still holding...