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Old 30-06-2015, 07:52   #1
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Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

I'm on my honeymoon sail for three weeks. I've taken my 1969 C&C Redwing 30 from Kingston NY down the Hudson, up the east river to the long Island sound, and out to Block Island. I had serious over heating problems with the atomic 4 coming up the East River and manage to sail through hells gate to the long island sound. After being forced to shut down the engine. The engine still runs but I have little faith in it now after seeing cooling water seeping through cracks in the cylinder head casting. I'm essentially all sail power now.

We'd like to avoid the east river on our return and are considering sailing the south shore of Long Island back. It will be the start of July when we begin our return.

Any thoughts on the best strategy for sailing the south shore of long island back to NY Harbor? Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

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Old 30-06-2015, 08:15   #2
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

Most inlets on the south shore of Long Island are not easily navigable by a sailboat and/or only in good conditions. Good conditions means to avoid outgoing tide against onshore wind and swells. You will need to pick a good weather window to do the sail to NY Harbor in one go as there is not much opportunity to dug in anywhere. I'd do an online and Active Captain search for every inlet and write down notes for each inlet in case you need to consider stopping for whatever reason.
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Old 30-06-2015, 09:00   #3
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

OK. I'm hoping for that good window this week. I'll note the inlets. I'm thinking to sail from Block Island to Montauk, then Montauk to stony point. I expect that's a long sail in one shot. How far offshore is it safest to sail?

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Old 30-06-2015, 11:16   #4
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

I just did that sail last week, after bringing a boat down from Maine and through the CC Canal. But we had a functioning engine so had more flexibility. Keep an eye on PassageWeather and/or WindFinder. On any given day, and sometimes for several days at a stretch, you might get steady winds from the SW, or NE, or E. Just time it right and you'll make good miles. We were blessed with easterlies on our last day and flew along.

We stayed within a 1/2 mile of shore most times, just for the view. But with a dicey engine, you should err on the side of caution and stay a mile or two out.

BTW, we ducked into Shinnecock Inlet one night and it was fine. But weather was clear and no crazy wind-against-tide situation.

We looked at Moriches Inlet but decided against it because we had heard so many stories of shoals and groundings. But who knows? It may be fine. Local fishing boats do it all the time.

Fire Island Inlet was also good. We went in there to end up in Great South Bay. Just follow the buoys and you're good.
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Old 30-06-2015, 11:34   #5
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

Without an engine, ITWMB, what I suggest is that you would be better off doing an overnight offshore, and thinking about a place or places to anchor, like sailing to Sandy Hook, and then head north with a fair wind. I don't know of any anchorages on the south shore of LI that don't require running an inlet, so without an engine how can you expect to get in and then out again? Of course, weather could play a big part of it: a south wind to get in and a north wind to get out. Can you even pretend to think this would be possible? IIRC, there may be an anchorage on the Jersey side of the Upper Bay after the Verazzano Narrows. Gravesend Bay has a marina that may be possible without an engine. Sheepshead Bay has a narrow channel, so without an engine it'd be dicey.

Good luck, whatever you choose to do.
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Old 30-06-2015, 13:46   #6
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

When you say an over night off shore I presume you mean sail through the night. Is that correct? I'll be converting to diesel after this trip!

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Old 30-06-2015, 14:01   #7
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

Stu is right. If you really are down to almost no engine power at all, it's best to sail all night and not mess with the inlets. Hell, they can be tricky even with a good engine.

Montauk to Sandy Hook is 110 nm. With reasonably favorable winds that'll be anywhere from 18 to 24 hours. It's beautiful out there on a starry night.

Good luck!
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Old 30-06-2015, 14:18   #8
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

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Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
OK. I'm hoping for that good window this week. I'll note the inlets. I'm thinking to sail from Block Island to Montauk, then Montauk to stony point. I expect that's a long sail in one shot. How far offshore is it safest to sail?
Sorry to hear about your trouble...

I'd forget about Montauk, doesn't really gain you much, but there's no way I'd want to try to sail into Lake Montauk with a 30-footer. Very tight, lots of traffic, easy to get into to trouble... Upon departing Block go straight out around Montauk, instead, and you really want to do that on the ebb, the currents run strong around there, a flood tide could stop your progress dead, and might possibly set you into danger...

I'd want to give myself more sea room along that shore than others have mentioned, 3 miles at a minimum... You really need to plan on making it straight thru to NY harbor, and don't even THINK about attempting to sail into Moriches Inlet ;-)

I'd suggest shooting for Gravesend Bay, then staging your transit of the Narrows and NY Harbor from there... Someone mentioned Sandy Hook, but that's quite a bit out of the way, and would require you to sail across both the Ambrose and Sandy Hook Channels... I'd avoid having to do that, if I were you ;-) Be prepared for anything sailing thru The Narrows, the breeze can do some very strange things in that vicinity...

Good luck, hope you appreciate the degree of risk this might possibly entail... ;-)

Oh, and you do have this book, I presume? Or, some smartphone app showing the tidal current charts for Block Island Sound, and New York Harbor?





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Old 30-06-2015, 16:02   #9
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

Yes I have Eldridge's and have been referring to it faithfully. I was thinking of anchoring in fort pond bay at Montauk, then to Gravesend Bay as you suggest. But your making me consider if I should go straight from block. Also you mention the risk. Do you think this route is riskier than the east river with a unreliable engine?

Everything said, so far we've been having a great sailing adventure! I appreciate the feedback so I can minimize the risk and keep this a safe and fun trip.

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Old 30-06-2015, 20:07   #10
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

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Yes I have Eldridge's and have been referring to it faithfully. I was thinking of anchoring in fort pond bay at Montauk, then to Gravesend Bay as you suggest. But your making me consider if I should go straight from block. Also you mention the risk. Do you think this route is riskier than the east river with a unreliable engine?
Ahhh, never having been in there, I hadn't considered Fort Pond Bay, that's probably not a bad option... But you'd still want to try to ride the ebb out around Montauk, and beyond...

I'm still not clear exactly how much use you might have of your engine in an emergency, but I think heading back outside is definitely the way to go...

With the important caveat, of course, that you get a decent/favorable weather window... Try to allow yourself plenty of time so you don't butt up against a schedule, is probably the most important consideration... If there's any SW breeze in the forecast, brace yourself for a potentially long slog, and don't get caught too close inshore...

Good luck, let us know how it goes...
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:24   #11
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

Heading from Fort Pond you will have to round Montauk and do something like a 240 degree sail, which limits your weather window opportunity.

Starting from Block you could possibly sail the whole way on one tack. Unless you have a strong reason to go to Montauk I'd start from Block. Much easier

It will be hard to time your entrance to NY Harbor unless you slow down at the end to make at the start of the flood. You should look at a few spots where you could drop anchor and wait for the next tide. In good weather, a spectacular, and designated, anchorage would be right north of the Statue of Liberty. Though it is protected only from the east and there will be wake. Great view though and you are right at the mouth of the Hudson. Slightly southeast of the Statue is a better protected anchorage with good holding but you need to use your engine for 20 minutes to go in and out.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:51   #12
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

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Heading from Fort Pond you will have to round Montauk and do something like a 240 degree sail, which limits your weather window opportunity.

Starting from Block you could possibly sail the whole way on one tack. Unless you have a strong reason to go to Montauk I'd start from Block. Much easier
Exactly...

Ideally, I'd wish for a nice SE breeze for that trip... Even though the distance from Fort Pond Bay out around the point is not all that great, with any ebb flowing, having to beat out around there could still be a bit sloppy... Not to mention, that spot sees a tremendous amount of small boat sportfishing traffic, guys trolling every which way... They could care less about a sailboat trying to thread its way through there, and most will quick to give you the finger if you take their stern too close ;-)

If it were in the fall, leaving behind the passage of a cold front could also be pretty sweet, hugging the beach initially, close hauled in flat water in a NW breeze, and hoping/waiting for it to progressively more to the N and NE, that can be a nice sail. Although, you can really have to pinch it to weather, to be able to stay in smooth water close in to shore...

This time of the year, however, that classic pattern is far less likely to occur, or a frontal passage will probably be far more fluky, and less dependable...
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:40   #13
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

Get the engine fixed. It may just be a head gasket or worst case the cylinder head. It has to get fixed sometime. South shore of LI doesn't have good inlets for sail only. NY harbor is not a good place to be without an engine. Going back the way you came, without an engine, could be EXTREMLY dangerous, particularly trying to transit Hells Gate. I transit this area every year and would NEVER attempt it without a reliable working engine. JMHO
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:35   #14
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

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Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
I'm on my honeymoon sail for three weeks. I've taken my 1969 C&C Redwing 30 from Kingston NY down the Hudson, up the east river to the long Island sound, and out to Block Island. I had serious over heating problems with the atomic 4 coming up the East River and manage to sail through hells gate to the long island sound. After being forced to shut down the engine. The engine still runs but I have little faith in it now after seeing cooling water seeping through cracks in the cylinder head casting. I'm essentially all sail power now.

We'd like to avoid the east river on our return and are considering sailing the south shore of Long Island back. It will be the start of July when we begin our return.

Any thoughts on the best strategy for sailing the south shore of long island back to NY Harbor? Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

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Go well off shore. The ground swells can be murder.
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Old 01-07-2015, 19:40   #15
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Re: Sailing South Shore of Long Island in July

Stay well off the beach. The further from land you are the safer you are. Watch the East West Shipping Lane into NYC.
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