Just a final thought from me.
Hellgate, as has previously been mentioned, is way overrated. It looks nasty on the surface, and if you run it at max flow, you might feel a little buffeting, but that's about it. Just south of Hellgate, you run the narrow channel between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island, and this IMHO, is much more challenging. This is because:
1. It is narrower than the rest of the East River, and as has been stated, tug/barge and sludge boat traffic requires a good lookout and some maneuvering.
2. Along the Manhattan side, you have the cement wall of the FDR highway. Along the Roosevelt Island side, you have a wall of rip rap. The boat wakes just reflect and refract back and forth between the two, setting up some potentially large waves. I was on a C&C
35 that was totally covered, stem to stern, by a magnified wake wave in this area. (Secure your hatches).
3. Unfortunately, with the exception of one skipper
in 15 years, I'v never seen a power boat
slow down in this area. Some of the bigger cruisers throw quite a wake. See #2 above when that happens. It seems the only two throttle settings that power boats have around here are "Off" and "Full Speed".
4. The tide current runs fastest between Roosevelt and Manhattan (even faster than Hellgate). Many folks like to ride this at max flow and get a fast "yee-ha!" ride. However, the faster the current relative to boat speed, the less water
pressure you have on the rudder
, and subsequently less control. You should be able to maintain steerage, but your helm
will be sluggish. Keep that in mind if you find yourself in heavy traffic in this area.
5. Again, given #4, I'd recommend entering the East River at the Stepping Stones either between High Tide at the Battery
, or HT+1 hour, or between HT+4 and HT+5 hours. The Eldridge Guide will show the currents for each hour from slack to slack.
Depending on your timing, you may get some negative current in the Hudson
, but since the Hudson is tidal all the way to Albany, you're going to face it each day anyway.
Good stopovers on your way down would be Port Jefferson, Milford CT, Mamaroneck, Oyster
Bay, Huntington Harbor. If you have Yacht Club affiliation, try Blackrock and Stamford CT, Rye NY (American Yacht Club), City Island and Manhasset Bay.