Thursday, September 04, 2008

Boston to New York City - Day 8

We Made It!

[Kyle] So we finally got to start at a normal time of day (11 a.m.) for the last day to New York. The day was beautiful and clear and the wind was blowing just the right direction for us. We left Larchmont Harbor under sail. We had everything out and we were chugging along nicely for about...oh....a minute. Then the wind clocked around to a direction that wasn't completely bad for the trip except for this one little clump of rocks we had to get around first. We spent the next 15 minutes thinking we might make it. No, wait. We're definitely not going to make it. Well...actually, we might make it. Eventually, we decided we could just baaarely make it, so we gybed everything around (we were using our screacher, which is wonderful for its great size but is not so user friendly in close quarters situations) because we don't like cutting things that close.
We sailed across to the other side of the sound, which at that point is only about 3 miles wide, redid everything back the way it was in the first place and went gliding by the rocks in safety. Then the wind did a couple of staggering circles around us before dying completely. Man, that's what we get for leaving later. the wind had been steady and strong all morning until then. We could still see Larchmont!

So...fine! We'll use the engine! Actually, the breeze generated by our forward motion felt pretty good on the hot, now windless day.

We got just past LaGuardia airport and the wind came up again! Yay, wind! Maryanne, get everything back out, we're sailing again! Well, as you could imagine, all dem buildin's create quite a lot of turbulence, so we had wind reversals, dead spots, strong spots, everything. Our average wind was good but we were incredibly busy setting and resetting the sails. We were both (well, okay, mostly Maryanne but I was doing my part, too and someone had to steer) running from one side of the boat to the other and as soon as everything was set, we'd have to do something else. Steering was especially difficult because we were going through....dun, dun, dun...HELL GATE! Hell Gate is a part of the East River that all of Long Island Sound tries to drain through and the currents are fierce (we saw 6 knots at times). This meant that we were just zinging past Manhattan, trying to negotiate the river and its bridges, dodging ferries and water taxis, all while performing constantly changing sailing maneuvers. Ooh, it was fun!

Kyle Sails through Hell Gate

Then the wind died down and started swinging all over the place again. At first this was merely irritating. The second twenty seconds, it got frustrating. Then, with the help of a geometric increase in the ferry traffic (we were drifting past the terminal) it started to become stressful, then frightening. We weren't moving through the water anymore. I couldn't even keep the boat pointed in the direction we were heading. The only plus was that we were still going six knots in the general direction we wanted to go.

Downtown Manhattan

We rounded The Battery at the South end of Manhattan and ended up directly in the teeth of both the wind and the Hudson river ebb current. No more sailing. Honestly, with all of the traffic, it was a relief to get the sails out from blocking huge fields of view and to make the boat go where I pointed it.

Killing time while the current reduced a bit, we motored over to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island before topping up our tanks at a marina and heading to our mooring just as it got dark.

[Maryanne]First a little about our whole journey from Boston - NY. For me it was a GREAT journey. We mostly arrived where we were going in daylight and several times before noon - that never happens; wind and currents were unusually favorable for the most part, and although we had some early starts, arriving so early where we were headed made it all seem pleasant - like a holiday.

Arriving in NY is an obvious highlight, this is our second time here by boat (previously in Prydwen) and it is (as you might imagine) a special (and very large) city. It has lots of waterfront, and as we entered from Long Island Sound and the East River, and moored in the Hudson River, we saw plenty of Manhattan (from both sides). We saw plenty of the "usual" boat traffic: jet skis, power boats, luxury cruisers, ferries, taxis etc. but we also saw plenty of less common (to us) transportation modes: gondolas, helicopters, air-ships (blimps), and sea planes - it is a very busy city.

When we anchored in Larchmont, we arrived just ahead (and gave away a great anchor spot) to a large motor vessel called the Blue Guitar. Later we discovered it is owned by Eric Clapton (Kyle had to remind me what band he played in!); I spied with my binoculars (could not help myself) and saw Eric hanging out on his boat, and being whisked off to shore (presumably for lunch) and back. We were surprised to see the Blue Guitar leave before we left Larchmont, and then discover it also at 79th street Boat Basin where we are moored. I hope they don't think we are following them (although that would hardly be possible at our speed)!

There were plenty of highlights on the trip, but mostly (for me) it was the time spent hanging out, enjoying good food and great views with my wonderful husband, Kyle.

One final picture - Kyle was hoping this was a bug free marina - but it turned out the nets were for a city driving range for golfers!

No comments: