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Old 11-22-2015, 05:56 PM   #1
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Harlem River?

I've heard everything about the Harlem River from "wear a bullet proof vest" to calling it a "must see" experience. When I had a fast boat I didn't worry about it, just went down around the Battery and back up.

Now I'm looking at the charts more closely and thinking how great it would be to cut off all those extra miles.

My air draft is 24' with the antennae down. I don't see any bridges less than 25' on the chart.

Sooooo..... Good idea or not?
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Old 11-22-2015, 06:56 PM   #2
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Hi,
We passed thru the Harlem River enroute from Manhasset Bay to Tarrytown while headed north on the Loop a couple of years ago. The current runs hard and the bridges aren't any too high. We need 24' and cleared, but barely. We had the current against us, so it was easy to creep thru and watch the clearance. The only opening bridge is Spytun Devil at the north end by the Columbia boathouse, they were slow to respond to radio calls and we had to wait for the trains. If you have not gone around the Battery, I would do that first, but the Harlem River does save some time. We had no adverse incidents from the natives, all the homeless people waved.
Have a good trip.
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Old 11-22-2015, 07:38 PM   #3
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From the bullet proof vest approach to boating....No Worries, Harlem in general is an nice place these days...enjoy the views, Yankee Stadium, Riverdale etc...it's a nice ride...
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Old 11-23-2015, 11:45 AM   #4
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Yes it is a cool ride, try to go at mid tide and buy another foot of clearance. Are you going to or from Hell Gate?
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Old 11-23-2015, 12:36 PM   #5
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"wear a bullet proof vest"


We have made this trip at least 40 times over the past 20+ years and typically go this route about 4X per year - last transit was about a month ago headed up to Kingston from Long Island sound.
About a dozen or so years ago the problems from shore on the Harlem were worth noting but nowadays there is no problems as other have noted. We have found it very help[full to call ahead earlier in the day of our transit to make sure the Spyten Dyvil bridge is operating - mostly it is always yes but occasionally you will need to make other plans. The currents on each side of the Harlem as well as the Harlem river are worth planning for as you can see some real affects of both ocean and river current and can either benefit or be hurt by these currents. Especially important for those that do not have the option of traveling at 15+ knots if and when needed.
Going through the Harlem now had one larger project (Bridge rework) that will cause you to slow down and use caution but going around the battery will leave you with larger wakes and many other things as well. A good place to watch the water carefully for submerged objects that can affect your journey.
We prefer a weekend trip early if possible to avoid some of the heavier traffic around NYC and the work that goes along with a weekday transit.
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Old 11-23-2015, 01:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the tips! I'm going to take this option seriously. I hope to be heading upriver from LI Sound to start the Downeast loop next spring.

I was concerned about the Spuyten Dyvil bridge, good to know I can call ahead.

I actually made a typo, my air draft is just under 21' with everything down. I ask for 24 if a bridge has any less than 21. If they need to lift anyway, no point in lowering anything. In theory I can squeeze under a 14' bridge if I take the mast and bimini down, too, but that's a bit of a project.
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Old 11-23-2015, 01:51 PM   #7
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"I hope to be heading upriver from LI Sound to start the Downeast loop next spring."


This is slightly more challenging current wise than heading back down as the rivers and currents run both slightly heavier and somewhat longer than going 'downstream'. Timing these currents especially from near the 'brother islands' up the Hudson can mean a difference of + - 2.5 knots average and over 5+ knots for shorter areas near hells gate.
Planning the trip you may find that the Eldridge tide and current book will come in handy - small and not so expensive it comes out yearly and is valuable even though you must 'hunt' around the book to get each leg of the trip in one place. Planning stops is equally important due to availability of locations, desired stops and the larger variation in costs at marinas as well as fuel costs. Right now the cost of diesel is almost $1.00 cheaper in Norwalk Ct than in Northport NY less than 10 miles away across the sound.
A great trip once you hit the palisades and plenty to see and do dependent upon your interests.
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Old 11-23-2015, 03:03 PM   #8
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You already got great advise but I'll throw in that I've done the Harlem also several times.
In 2013 when we were returning down the Hudson (into LI Sound) the Dyvil bridge was down. We had to go around. Luckily I had the current up the East River and thru Hell gate so the "penalty" wasn't bad.
In 2012 going UP the Hudson we got stuck waiting almost an houtr while they were fixing the Dyvil bridge.
Not much room to manuever in there but luckily we were the only boat waiting.
I never plan the currents, I go when I go. If it's slow, oh well, take in the sights.
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:16 PM   #9
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The Spuyten Duyvil RR bridge has a wicked cross current when exiting the Harlem river. The local boats (circle line and tour boats) only go from the East River to the Hudson. The local info is: the cross current is doable coming OUT of the SD, but going from the Hudson to the east river the cross current is too tough to allow for. The bridges in the SD are all cantankerous. The SD RR bridge is often broken, or has immense train delays. They will NOT open on demand during rush hour. Regarding the cross current: I had to put a barge there to repair the bridge motor. The current (even at slack) is still hard to predict. The influences of the sound, a good Easterly blow or a good NW blow effect the time and amount of current.

If you are doing the exit into the Hudson, then be aware of the cross current when exiting the draw. The good thing is, it will be over with in about 200'. The issue with going into the draw towards the East River is you have to line up at about a 40 degree angle while waiting, and adjust as you go through the draw.
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