It’s time to sail south for the winter. The weather has changed in New York. Nights are getting chilly, and there’s a closing weather window, so we rush to get ready and depart on September 30th. In hindsight, we’re lucky that we do because according to Chris Parker’s forecasts, we made it south of Cape May just before he declared that there would be no good time to make the passage for the foreseeable future.
We awaken before dawn because there’s a lot to do, and we want to time our departure to get us to the top of the East River to catch the ebbing tide. We make it, passing Hell Gate with a 5.5 knots of current pushing us to a speed of more than 11 knots. We average about 8-10 knots going all the way down the East River, and the tide doesn’t turn on us until we are out of New York Harbor – perfect timing, resulting in a record trip from Port Washington, NY on Long Island to the mouth of New York Harbor in about four hours. This also gets us out of New York Harbor just past sunset.
We had also been tracking the winds and waves off the Jersey shore. They were going to be less than ideal (across our port beam) in the evening, and becoming more favorable (following seas and winds behind us) later in the night and into the next day, so we wanted to time getting down the East River during maximum favorable tide, and get through busy NY Harbor during daylight, but not get out into the ocean too soon to fight against the less favorable winds and seas any earlier than we could. We couldn’t have gotten luckier as everything worked out. We did have some bumps during the first night – I found it hard to sleep during my sleep shift as I listened to the seas, but by the next day we had nice, brisk sailing.