I left off from Part One of our sailing journey to New York City with our arrival in Manhattan at 3 am, after a harrowing adventure up the eastern seaboard. Oh, how happy we were that we finally made it! I was particularly grateful, having been horribly seasick for most of the trip north. We celebrated our victory with some scotch (well, ginger ale for me) and some pictures of Lady Liberty from the best seat in the house. A boat ride into Upper New York Bay is an amazing trip at any time, but if you really want a unique experience you should do it at night when no one else is around.
We’d been planning to dock at North Cove Marina, but obviously we couldn’t go there until the morning, so we anchored for a few hours right offshore from Ellis Island. We didn’t get much sleep, since as soon as the ferries started their morning runs, the wakes shook the boat and jolted us awake. Any annoyances, however, were soon erased when we went topside and saw this:
If you’re going to do NYC, this is the way to go. I should point out that North Cove is a pretty upscale marina, being right in Lower Manhattan near the financial district. We figured we’d be slightly out of place coming in with a sailboat, but thought, “eh, why not?” and decided to splurge. The total cost ($6 per foot) came to about how much we’d pay for a hotel in that area, and since we had our own kitchen and could save on food, we thought it would be a good deal. (Looking back, that second point was stupid because come on, who comes to New York and doesn’t partake in the awesome food?) Hilariously, we knew we were out of our element when we were instructed to motor past the three superyachts to find our parking spot.
Of course we had to get some more pictures, to the mild annoyance of the superyacht residents beside us, looking down their noses at our unkempt “I got five hours of sleep over the last two days” attire. Whatever, dudes. Rich guys can hate on us riffraff all they want, because we just parked our boat in front of the World Trade Center. BOOM.
North Cove’s big disadvantage is that it’s not protected from the boat traffic in the bay, so we could still feel those constant wakes from the ferries and other boats passing by. It made for a pretty rocky stay, even in the evenings. But the marina’s central location made it easy to either walk or take the subway to go sightseeing, so that made up for it. Over the next three days we played tourists and hit many of the big sights.
We did actually spend an evening with the fancy people, since Speed Racer was a member at the New York Yacht Club (of course he was.) Pictures weren’t permitted, but it was pretty much what you would expect: sitting around a nautical-themed bar sipping cocktails while wearing dresses and suits. We were the youngest people in there by about twenty years, but it was still entertaining (in a “we totally don’t belong here so please don’t call the police” kind of way.)
Not wanting to experience crippling seasickness for a second time, I decided to try Dramamine for the trip back. Now, I’ve tried it a couple times before with no success, but each time had been before leaving the dock. This time, I started taking the pills six hours before we left, thinking that maybe if the Dramamine was already established in my system, it might actually work. And lo and behold, it did! Our trip back out the bay and toward New Jersey was quite bumpy, but I wasn’t sick at all!
After a solid day and night of sailing, we opted to stop at Cape May, New Jersey for the evening. Now, I’m sure Cape May is a perfectly lovely town when the weather is nice and it’s summertime, but pulling in on an overcast afternoon made it look like the setting for a Stephen King novel.
We also ran aground. Utsch’s Marina happens to be quite shallow, but at least we didn’t get stuck until we got to the dock. We hadn’t planned on leaving until the next day anyway, when the water would be high enough for us to get back out. Note to self: high tide is your friend.
Despite our difficulties getting the boat docked and the ominously gloomy weather, we still had a nice evening in Cape May. We got drinks and oysters at the Lobster House (one nice hangout in town) and got dinner at Lucky Bones Backwater Grille (the other nice hangout.) We also went to the Lobster House for breakfast, where the guys tried scrapple and we all found it disgusting. You know something is bad when the waitress tells you the best way to eat it is to douse it in butter and maple syrup.
Sadly, my technique of taking Dramamine several hours before sailing didn’t work this time, because I found myself ill and bedridden during most of the trip between Cape May and Virginia. Oh well, not much happened anyway.
So! That was our first long trip in the boat, where we learned a lot:
-Overnight sailing and open ocean sailing can be hard! Get a very accurate weather and sea forecast.
-New York pizza? Hell yes!
-Dramamine is worth a shot if you’re prone to seasickness
-Early October is probably the latest one should attempt a sailing trip north to New England
It was an amazing trip and a lot of fun. Bermuda is the next long trip on the horizon, but not until the spring, thank goodness. I need to somehow figure out how to get my sea legs before then.