New York, New York – so nice they named it twice

Leaving Catskill, we enjoyed a nice motor trip down the Hudson – doing 6 knots over ground when the tide was against us, and 10 when it was with us.

We spent a nice Sunday night at the Poughkeepsie Yacht club and planned to get an early start for the final 80 mile run down to Manhattan. We awoke at 0600 to a falling tide and with our bow pointing downstream we fired up the diesel and began to release the dock lines to make our getaway.

Unfortunately, we casually released the stern line before the spring line and the tide immediately grabbed the stern of the boat and pushed it out into the river – which then jammed the bow of the boat into the dock. So now we’ve got a triangle – where the dock forms one side, the boat forms another side, and the spring line (from amidships to the dock) forms the third side. The force of the tide (and current) made the spring line ‘bar tight’ and there ain’t no way that this boat is moving until the tide changes.

We then spent a while debating our options and decided that the best course of action was to rig new stern line from a cleat on the dock to a winch on board, and winch the boat into the dock. Then we could get ourselves set up to embark correctly on this trip. The only problem with this strategy was the dock itself. I wasn’t sure that it could take the load that I was about to impose on it (hauling a 40,000 pound boat upstream against a 2 knot current).

Well, I started grinding away and the dock held. The boat came alongside, we tied it up again, and then we cast off properly (this time releasing the stern line LAST) and then motored out into the river (at about 0730) to continue our journey south.

By the way, we were departing into ‘pea soup’ fog. It was a cold morning and with the warm water temperature (about 22C), the fog was thick. We motored slowly past a barge that was anchored in the river (but which we could see ‘onscreen’ with our AIS receiver) and then continued motoring south relying heavily on our radar to let us know if we were about to hit anything.

A few hours later, the fog lifted, the sun came out, and we enjoyed a nice ride down the Hudson, taking in the mansions and West Point military academy. Then, late in the afternoon, we sailed beneath the George Washington Bridge and had Manhattan to port – our most significant destination on the trip so far.

We spent 2½ days doing the tourist thing in New York – which was very nice – and then we pushed south a few miles to Atlantic Highlands, NJ to re-provision and generally decompress a little. We’ve been pushing pretty hard since we left Toronto (cross the lake, get to Oswego, mast down, 30 locks, mast up, down to NYC, do the tourist thing) so we decided to sit on the hook (anchor) for a few days, catch up on some school work, Colin’s work, and boat projects.

Additionally, we need to wait for some favourable winds for our next passage, which is a 120 mile run down the Jersey shore to Cape May. We were going to leave tonight (9/28) but a nasty squall came through the anchorage around 1800 and we all got a little freaked out when the boat beside us dragged anchor while its captain and his two sons were on our boat. His wife and daughters were aboard and were able to haul anchor before things got out of hand, however, his kayak, which was tied to our boat, came free and started drifting downwind at an alarming rate. During all this, I was ashore with our dinghy waiting out the squall on a friend’s boat at the marina. When the squall started to pass, I dinghied back to discover the mayhem in the anchorage. I was then dispatched downwind to search for the missing kayak. As dusk was falling rapidly and the wind was still honking, this was no simple task. However, I did locate the kayak about a mile downwind and was able to bring it back.

Anyway, nobody got hurt and nothing broke, but after all that, we decided that we’d sit tight tonight and leave for Cape May after Colin’s conference calls tomorrow afternoon.


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