Welcome to New York

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Thu 28 Apr 2011 00:35
We expected to have a welcome of Fire Boats and a Ticker Tape Parade, but that didnât happen, they threw everything else at us at us instead. There always was a weather system coming in towards the end of our voyage and our plan was to outrun it and get in before it struck.
We pretty much made it, but without the main sail for 12 hours we lost 24M, so that added an extra 3 hours even though we motored for about 40 hours to keep speed up in the lulls. On the day before arrival the fog came down, it did clear during the day and the night was not too bad. The final day Wed 27 we had fog all day, which this time didnât clear when the sun came up. Then the freezing cold rain started, heavy like a tropical downpour but bloody freezing, still at least it washed the salt off the sails and boat. Then as the day progressed the system started to come in and soon the wind was at 25-30kts, not a problem for Suzie Too as she eats 30+kts for breakfast without even flinching.
We expected the 30kt wind to clear the fog, but no, it got thicker with visibility down to 1/4 mile. As we went into the night heading for Sandy Hook Island to anchor we had larger waves, 30kt winds and thick fog. So I lit the boat up like an Xmas tree, Tri, Nav, Steam, Deck lights all on, had the Raymarine hailer on AutoFog, 1 long and 2 short at 1 min intervals and Radar and AIS overlays on the chart plotter, doing 1 hour watches each, because it was freezing.
We crossed the TSS of which there are many, but there was very little traffic and as we came into Sandy Hook we had at tanker at anchor on the Radar and AIS but we would not get a visual on it even with the binos. I manoeuvred around it keeping the Racon beacon to starboard and then headed for the channel, where a fishing boat was showing up on Radar, right in bloody channel, in freezing fog, rain and wobbly water with 30kts of wind â really nice, the most challenging entry we have ever had.
As we entered the channel the wind really hit us so we had to go back out to sea to drop the main and then try again to line up the buoys on the Radar, really nasty stuff, but with Lisa calling the reds and Suzanne calling the greens (IALA B) we made it in safely and dropped the anchor for a reasonable nights sleep.
I wonât mention the lighting storm, which hit within 50m of us, and severe weather warning we had motoring into New York the morning after I had been up the mast to re-reeve the main halyard, nor the fact that our friends Rick & Chrissie on Macy were turned back 150M north of Bermuda by Herb Hildenberg (Southbound 2) because they were going too slow to outrun the system. But good old Suzie Too got us through safely and into New York New York.