Sunday, September 24, 2017

New York, New York

Planning to take Askari down the East River through New York and directly onto the Chesapeake required some serious planning, we needed:

- A weather window; ideally we wanted it to be fairly calm so we could enjoy the sights and take some nice pictures, but also with the hurricanes out there we needed a safe spot to go. Hurricane Jose had potential to stall and head back to the coast and Hurricane Maria had just turned north.

- Favourable current - we had tidal gates at Hell Gate in NYC, at the entrance to the Delaware River and also at the C&D canal. We definitely needed slack water at Hell Gate followed by the ebb (pushing us down the East River into New York). Ideally we wanted a flood tide into the Delaware although were conscious that wind over tide at the entrance could also be quite nasty. Then finally we really wanted slack water then ebbing tide as we transit the C&D Canal.

- Approval to pass the UN. This week 193 UN representatives were meeting in New York and the East River was subject to closures and restrictions. Andrew called the Coast Guard and was told we would need to arrange for the Roosevelt Island Bridge to be opened if we went through Saturday. the Bridge operator confirmed this was possible.

Andrew worked it all through and I checked his timing (yeah like I needed to) and Saturday looked great, with lights winds and most importantly low swell (Hurricane generated) for our overnight passage. We needed to be at Port Washington by 11am, Hell Gate at 1pm, Statute of Liberty by 2pm, Sandy Hook Fairway by 4pm, Cape May at 7am Sunday and the entrance to the C&D canal by 1pm. We needed to achieve just over 7 knots to do this and had a number of bail out options if the weather forecast for Maria changed. We were on! 

This is the route we took and as we were entering the East River we heard on the radio that the Coast Guard was letting boats pass the UN as long as they kept their distance - one less thing to worry about.
More detail on our map page....

It all worked perfectly and we had a blast, we did 10 knots at one point and got an armed escort from the USCG passing the UN. It was over so quickly as we sailed under the Verrazano Bridge leaving the Harbour I wanted to go around again!! However, we check the weather (all fine) and headed out into the Atlantic for our first overnight passage since we arrived in the USA. It was a perfectly boring trip - just what we ordered other than a lot of shipping and a few other yachts; one deciding to do a crazing turn right in front of us at 5am on my shift - they nearly got an ear bashing on the radio but A was sleeping!

We arrived on Sunday at 1700 having motored the entire 240 miles in 32 hours. Boring and perfect.

First glimpse of the big city through the East River

Spot the maintenance guy - we changed course not to go underneath him!

Entering Hell Gate

Our escort past the UN

Not too close the UN

Coast Guard keeping an eye on us

Empire State

Leaving East River

Brooklyn Bridge


Helicopters, jet ski's and so much going on

Staten Island Ferry

Manhattan - perfect day

Keeping watch in such a busy harbour

There it is!!

Our girl with all the sights in view


Cheesy but so happy!

Just cruising by....

Time to chill now

Sunday morning arrival in the Delaware

There's a lot of industry on the Delaware

Calm in the Delaware

C&D canal - very beautiful lots of eagles

Oh yeah - silly Sunday.....

C&D Canal

Miami Vice???

C&D traffic on a Sunday

Big barges on the C&D Canal

Party time on the C&D

End of a perfect trip

On Hurricane Watch

Saturday morning was a stunning day and Long Island Sound was sprinkled with yachts gliding along in light airs, it felt a bit odd to be running for cover in these conditions. The news on Hurricane Jose was better, however there was still a chance it could venture into the area in the middle of the following week and even if it didn't it was going to be pretty windy and rainy for a few days plus the swell would have made a lot of places uncomfortable, so to the marina we went. It's surprisingly shallow on the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound so we waited for a rising tide and made our way into the river and through the Hurricane barrier at Stamford to our snug berth, alongside OCC boat Dawn Piper.
Jokers at Flinders Lane - Andrew with Chef Brad
Pinot Noir Heaven
Reminders of home

Super excited to be in town we immediately set about booking a restaurant and couldn't believe it when we found an Australian Restaurant, called Flinders Lane - styled very much on Chin Chin in Melbourne..... we had a great night and the food and wine made me quite homesick. Brad the chef shouted us an entree of sausage rolls that were worthy to place high on the Zofia sausage-roll-table-of-fame.

Arriving at Grand Central Station was pretty cool
Next morning despite being a bit cloudy we jumped on the train to New York to meet Fi and Steve who were flying to the UK that night, but we couldn't miss the chance to spend a day with them. We had such fun - Empire State Building, Mexico Day Parade, lunch in roof top bar, walking the highline  and just taking in the sites. Andrew and I ended the day at Rockefeller Plaza where we always used to meet up for lunch when he was in the City working - memory lane....
Cloudy Day from Empire State

Empire State with Fi and Steve

Empire State

Roof top lunch in NYC

Mexico Day Parade photo bombed

Mexico Day

Mexico Day

Fi in the parade

The High Line Walk
Bubbles at Rockefeller Plaza
Rockefeller Plaza
We really enjoyed our time in Stamford, its a really young town with great food. We were taken in by the lovely Heather and Charles from Dawn Piper, who had an apartment overlooking the marina. Charles and Andrew prepared both yachts for the risk of bad weather and as they were going to be away we had the keys to their apartment and boat. They took us out to meet their sailing buddies from the CCA and OCC - we had a great night and Scott & Kitty's house with Bill and Sue plus John and Joan who we met briefly in Maine last month.

Lots of lines  and canvas down- Askari safe for the storm
Us with Charles, Heather, Scott and Kitty - the OCC photo 
The weather passed us by and the Army did close the barrier one night to protect the city from flooding at high tide but we were safe as anything. We provisioned, got hair cuts, had one last great dinner at a fabulous Italian, fitted about the 6th new fresh water pump and then headed off to New York City with Askari this time, to make it to our next safe spot before Hurricane Maria turns north.

The storm, Jose, stayed offshore but was pretty big

Andrew can now replace a water pump in about 10 minutes!

Going back through the hurricane barrier