Friday, May 22, 2015

Haverstraw - at anchor in Haverstraw Cove

A shot from 1 mile away from a severely rocking  boat, we're braced, "Ann take a photo" She stuck the camera out the side zipper and pushed the shutter. Amazing technology to get a steady picture, Canon PS 330HS
We left Atlantic Highlands with every intention of docking at our home port, Poughkeepsie YC but the weather and tides would not cooperate. The winds started out at 15 kts on the forward quarter, not too bad, and we headed towards Verrazano Narrows. The tide was supposed to change in our favor when we reached the bridge but it did not. What we did see were three large ships headed our way, all together, spread side by side coming at us. We got over to one side as far as we could but got a call on our VHF for "Fleetwing" (see, they do have AIS activated even for small boats) asking us to cross over in front of him. That seemed like a foolish thing to do since there were two other large ships also coming right beside him. We declined, he was not happy. We used a large tanker at anchor as cover as he passed by, hit us, you hit the tanker!

Headed up the Hudson dodging ferries - rolling, rocking, bouncing - but still got the picture
We later learned that there are eight lanes of traffic under the bridge through the narrows, they are shown on shipping charts and labeled with destinations. So large ships and tugs are supposed to stay in those lanes depending upon where they are headed. I guess it helps the flow of boat traffic in a very busy harbor like New York. 

Here are the lanes that ships are expected to keep within  by the Verrazano Narrows bridge
So we made it though the bridge and used AIS extensively to watch out for other traffic. The tugs go where they want, even if they are not pulling a barge. AIS showed we were on a collision course with a tug on our starboard side, he was not going to change course so I ducked in behind him. Then it was time to dodge the bright orange Staten Island Ferries as they headed across all the lanes. Up the Hudson it was dodgeball with the local ferries, about a dozen in all. You are expected to avoid them, they don't move too much from their set course.

Finally, finally we reached the George Washington bridge and still no favorable tide! PYC is starting to look unlikely. It's an 82 Nm ride and we need 1 to 2 kts of push to make the trip in time to dock in daylight. The icing on the cake was Haverstraw Bay. The rule of thumb is to double whatever the wind prediction is for the area when passing through Haverstraw Bay. So we had been seeing 8 to 10 kts and expected perhaps 20 kts but when we reached the Tappan Zee bridge, the wind was gusting 25 to 30 kts with 3 to 4 ft waves coming over the bow and covering the bimini with water spray.This was not good.

Haa, nice and calm, no waves - still blowing 15 to 20 kts outside with gusts to 30 kts
After a short discussion (about 2 seconds) we decided to put into Haverstraw Cove. It's an unchartered cove in the bay with 360 protection but with an unmarked entrance. A couple of years ago I was shown the spot and how to get in by a local and I drew up a chart with waypoints of the entry route and posted it on Active Captain. I faithfully followed my own chart and anchored safely inside, no waves, very little wind, calm.

So now we're at anchor and will leave in the morning for PYC. The current will be against us all the way but we'll get there eventually.