For those who plan to travel to New York Harbor for the Sail for America celebration on September 14th, some advise from the Organizing Committee: It is important to pay special attention to the currents and reefs, as well as the traffic patterns of New York Harbor.
The Manhasset Bay One Design (MBOs) at the start of a race with little wind in the middle of August
Approaching from the east through Hell Gate presents challenging conditions, with currents up to five knots, eddies and whirlpools fill the confluence of the Harlem and East Rivers and the tidal currents from Long Island Sound. Safety calls for extra attention to your position as well as your neighbors' at this point. Once out of Hell Gate, you make your way down to Roosevelt Island, which divides the river into two channels, the western channel being the preferred route. With a width narrowing to about 200 yards, this channel is usually a sheet of fast moving water moving down toward the United Nations complex at the southern tip of the island. The Coast Guard and New York City Police boats heavily guard this area. Midtown streets rush by as the balance of the East River leg widens before gliding under the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. For Sail for America, all boats must continue south down Buttermilk Channel between Brooklyn and Governors Island before entering the Upper Manhattan Bay. The channel between the Battery and Governors Island is closed to non-commercial traffic for the event. Please avoid this area.
The reward for safely sailing into New York Harbor, in addition to supporting the families of those who were lost on 9/11, is the view that you will see from your boat. Entering the Manhattan Bay from any approach is awe-inspiring. The Statue of Liberty, lower Manhattan, and the bridges encircling the bay prove a spectacular seascape. The busy commercial traffic on an ordinary day is quite active. Cruise liners gracefully gliding out to sea with passengers lining the decks, the Staten Island and Waterway Ferries crisscrossing the bay, and ocean-going shipping moving up the rivers, combined with the largest assemblage of sail boats in the history of the harbor will be a spectacular sight. (and will call for following traffic patterns carefully).
From Michael Fortenbaugh, "We at Sail for America are confident that this event will bring everyone together to memorialize those who were lost on September 11th with honor and pride. We look forward to hosting visiting sailors to share with you the splendor of sailing in the great harbor on this most auspicious occasion. When New York Harbor celebrates, there's no other place on earth as exciting. Viewing sunset over Lady Liberty with her torch held high promises to be a tribute to the fallen and a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit."
Skippers who are looking for dockage overnight, there are marina slips are still available at Lincoln Harbor (201) 319-5100 for boats with a draft of less than 4'. There is also space at the Newport Marina (201) 626-5550 and the Shipyard Marina at (201) 201-798-8080 for boats with a draft of up to 7'. There are also free anchorages in NY Harbor, which have been specially designated by the US Coast Guard plus three main Staging Areas outside the harbor.
The Cow Bay Cruising Association (CBCA), more commonly known as Thirsty Thursday, held their Fall Race #7 on August 29th. All divisions were given course ZDC, 5.28 nm. The results: Division 1:: 1. #128, Zero Gravity, Tony Dahlia, 2. #39516, Avalanche, Al Albrecht, and 3. #51676, Promise Kept, Sandy Lindenbaum. In Division II: 1. #53384, Vision, Marc Epstein, 2. #466, Irish Blessing, Ed Gillen, and 3. #87922, Nemisis, Bruce Logan. Division III results: 1. #18, Tootsie, Ron Fink, 2. #152, Serenity, Jacques Blinbaum. Catamaran: 1. # 248, Renegade, Andy Ledins.
Bay racing was held over the Labor Day weekend. Saturday's weather was 15 plus knots, and the seas were about 3-4 feet on the sound. Sonars went all the way to the Throgs Neck Bridge and must have had a very wet beat back home. The MBOs stayed in the bay which was somewhat protected from the high winds. On Sunday, in heavy drizzle, the wind was still from the northeast, blowing 10-15 knots. All fleets completed two races. Monday's racing was cancelled because of heavy rain. The reason for all of this wet weather is a low off the coast of Carolina moving very slowly up the coast to the northeast. Results for Saturday for the Sonars (Course SNI): 1. #652, Sounder, Rick Jordan/Jeff Shane, 2. #487, Jonathan Siener, and 3. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland. Sunday Sonar results - Race 1: 1. Sounder, 2. #573, Selhun, Bahar Gidwani/Tao Dao, and 3. Delight. Race #2 on Sunday for the Sonars: 1. Delight, 2. Sounder, and 3. Selhun. The MBO results for Saturday: 1. #9, Miss B Haven, Grace Allen, 2. #21, Blue Chip, Chip Allen/Einar Haukeland, and 3. #5, Escapade, Bed Baker/Dick Moore. MBO results for Race # 1 on Sunday: 1. #11, Bob Adams/Curt Champlin, 2. #20, Southerly, Tom Godfrey/Don Richardson, and 3. #25, Blackjack, Adrian Alley/George Graf. Race #2 results for the MBOs: 1. #11, 2. Blackjack, and 3. Southerly. The KOD results for Sunday - Race #1: 1. #11, Bon Chance, Matthew Temares, 2. #15, Dybbuk, Roy Israel, and 3. #14. Second race for the KODs: 1. Bon Chance, 2. #14, and 3. Dybbuk.
Tom Schnackenberg, who was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in 2001, when asked the what is it about sailing that has captured his interest over his 35-year career, replied, ""It's a combination of the aesthetic - boats look good - the romantic - being on the sea close to Mother Nature - the competition - it's fun - the technology - which feeds another part of the intellect - and the drama, like the America's Cup. The America's Cup is a complete ball game - it has all the dimensions of life, all in a microcosm. It's beautiful." One doesn't have to be an America's Cup skipper, or even a racer, to agree with these sentiments. Those who live on our peninsula, and take advantage of the surrounding water, have always understood the romance of the sea. How lucky we are to live so close to open water that we can take advantage of what Mother Nature has so splendidly provided us.