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Old 01-07-2012, 07:52   #1
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Navigating Plum Gut or The Race

Planning my first trip out east on the long island sound and am starting to look at my routes around the orient. It seems I'm stuck with either the race or the gut.
Have heard some serious warnings about both plum gut and the race and was wondering if there was any alternatives or ways to avoid any issues?
Is there a minimum boat size that should stay out of these waters? I have a 2012 hunter e33.
I have a lot of experience on the water in smaller vessels but this is my first of this size so I would like to keep it cautious.
Thanks!
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:24   #2
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Re: Navigating Plum Gut or The Race

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreggL View Post
Planning my first trip out east on the long island sound and am starting to look at my routes around the orient. It seems I'm stuck with either the race or the gut.
Have heard some serious warnings about both plum gut and the race and was wondering if there was any alternatives or ways to avoid any issues?
Is there a minimum boat size that should stay out of these waters? I have a 2012 hunter e33.
I have a lot of experience on the water in smaller vessels but this is my first of this size so I would like to keep it cautious.
Thanks!
I've gone through the gut in my 24 foot Bristol and my 30 foot Nonsuch. It was never that scary. The thing is you DO NOT want to do is buck the current otherwise it will be a long slow slog. Also the currents can create strange sea conditions that you might not have experienced before as the currents from Long Island Sound and the Ocean collide in the waters under your boat but, don't panic they don't last long. Short choppy rips form and may make it look like you are crossing a shallow reef. But, if you trust your navigation and GPS then just keep on trucking and these conditions will soon pass.
Strongly recommend you pick up an up to date Eldridge Tide and Pilot book:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: FROM BIANKA'S BOOK SHELF: ELDRIDGE TIDE AND PILOT BOOK
and become familiar with the current diagrams and times you plan to travel through either the Race or Plum Gut. Either passage is fine provided you "go with the flow" and have a good weather window.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:27   #3
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Re: Navigating Plum Gut or The Race

A couple of things.

First, make sure you have your course planned and you stay in whichever channel you pick. Get on the wrong side of some of the markers and you will be in shallow water, maybe on the rocks.

Then you just need to watch the state of the tide. If your Hunter has a strong engine and can motor at least 6-7 kts you should be able to make headway if just barely, even going against the currents but if you time your crossing correctly between ebb and flood you will go through with no problem. There are plenty of references that will show you the state of tides and currents in LI Sound. Just remember that the currents through the Race or the Gut will still be booming along for a few hours after high or low tide outside the sound.
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Old 01-07-2012, 15:45   #4
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That's great. Picking up a copy of eldridges. Thanks!
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:59   #5
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Re: Navigating Plum Gut or The Race

Where are you going to? If you are going east to Block Island, Newport, etc and the tide in the Race/Gut is against you, just go down Fisher Island Sound and out Watch Hill Passage. Alternately, pass through the passage East of Plum between Plum Island and Gull Island. The current rip there is very short and manageable when it is against you.

If you are coming from the west and going into Gardiner's Bay or Peconic area, then Plum Gut is the closest entrance. Just have the tide with you and you will be swept in OK. There really isn't much of a slack tide - it turns almost instantly and there is only a short time of non-ripping water around slack. Don't try going through in a full-throat roar against you - the shipping there is heavy and you won't have much speed or control.

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Old 03-07-2012, 15:26   #6
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Heading to sag harbor so plum gut seems to be the obvious choice. Thanks!
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Old 03-07-2012, 16:10   #7
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Re: Navigating Plum Gut or The Race

If you are coming from NYC, use the same kind of planning as you would with the East River.
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Old 03-07-2012, 16:17   #8
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Re: Navigating Plum Gut or The Race

Plum gut is a short and easy passage. I have been through there in all kinds of weather and have never experienced the conditions that can be found in the race. Either with the current or against it is not a difficult passage, it is just quicker with the tide. Just keep in mind that the passage is short before you are again in clear water.
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