Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

Long Island is, well, a Long Island....

by Ben Amato, www.hamptons.com on 20 Sep 2008
Blown Away Too at Sunset Harbour in East Patchogue Ben Amato
Wherever in the world you live, life takes on a different flavour when you see it from the water. Ben Amato lives on Long Island, New York, and has been sailing those waters for 40 years. Currently he sails a 32-foot catamaran, Blown Away Too.

I’ve always wanted to see if I actually live on an island, even though it is called Long Island. You commute on the highways, visit the malls or trek into the city and you forget that the shoreline, the beaches and the waves encircle us. My crew and I aboard my catamaran sailboat went completely around Long Island and came to realize it is really long. It took eight days to travel 226 nautical miles, including several stops between Montauk and Manhattan, eight drawbridges, a dozen or so lighthouses, two thunderstorms and crossing paths with one fin in the Atlantic - a sunfish - but I swear I heard the theme music to “Jaws” the whole time we circled it. Here is the first part of our journey.

Casting away the lines which held me to the Sunset Harbor Marina, in East Patchogue was a bit scary. Instead of my natural tendency to compromise and head out for another weekend trip or day sail, it was time to face the unknown and take the first step towards 'The End,' as Montauk Point is called. The cozy confines of the Great South Bay were replaced with a cathartic exit through Moriches Inlet. People have died there. I’ve had boats for over 40 years and for the last 30 have lived within six miles of this outlet to the Atlantic. Yet I never ventured beyond the stone jetties and into its ripping currents and breakers until the second day of this odyssey.



Inspiration and preparation produced a lot of perspiration, for just moments before we broke free from the inlet’s grip, only a wall of white water loomed ahead of us. On the right was the too near Fire Island shore, to the left the breakers and then all of a sudden, up ahead to the south was a channel. There were some swells, one dip of the boat’s bow and then we were in the calm Atlantic Ocean. You go through Moriches Inlet, and there's some turbulence and rocking down below and then you’re out in open waters before you know it.

The allure of sailing is the sound and sight of being pushed through the water with only canvas, lines and skill to drive you. There is an “ancient” feel to it, making headway without the technology that fills most of our lives. The fear with sailing is that in any confrontation, the ocean wins. So the trick is to avoid conflict through patience, practice and the good sense to buy every nautical toy there is that might keep you afloat, including, but certainly not limited, to a Global Positioning System (GPS), laptop charting programs, automatic pilot, an inflatable life boat, EPIRB personal locator beacon, transponders, radar, sonar, flares, photon torpedoes, and phasers.



And then you plan - there are books to read and guides to ponder. The “Eldridge Tide and Pilot” book offers invaluable information about currents, tides and courses to take. On the paper charts or the mapping program on my laptop, you move your pencil or mouse and visualize your voyage and pleasure. But once underway, the BlownAway Too’s Garmin GPS becomes the guide, for along with reporting the course and speed it also indicates every shipwreck, submerged rock and sea monster you will encounter along the way. Sailing is filled with contrasts, tensions between fulfillment and fear, ropes and readouts, sails and software.

The Great South Bay, the Atlantic, Block Island Sound, Gardiner’s Bay, Plum Gut, the Long Island Sound, Hell’s Gate, the East River, New York Harbor and then back to the Atlantic and home. Some boaters will read this list and cringe. Others will drool over the course while some will wonder why the rush to take all these beautiful waters in just eight days. This circumnavigation was a voyage of discovery, an exploration for future places to visit and linger at.



Montauk Harbor is a fisherman’s home, where outriggers, coiled nets, and fish traps provide the dockside restaurants the daily catch and tables filled with happy diners. The Montauk Yacht Club on Lake Montauk was our home for the evening. They had us amid the mega-yachts and towering sport fishing cruisers, so clean, new and beautiful compared to the hardened hulls of the fishing trawlers which populate the other side of Star Island. Between these two stood the Coast Guard Station, a brick house of stability in the busy harbor. The wealth and glamour of the Yacht Club had its perks - fine dining, luxurious rooms, a spa, three swimming pools (both indoor and out) and other amenities that illustrate how five stars are earned. But the blue collar feel of the fishing boats tasted like an ageless era gone by, when rods and reels were all you needed for a day on the water, rather than laptops, a Blackberry, and sunblock.

Gardiner’s Bay, the Island and the legends dominate my thoughts about the sail between Montauk and Greenport. We skirted the shore of this mysterious island, once a plantation paradise for the original owner Lion Gardiner. In 1639 he purchased it from his good friend Wyandanch, the shaman of the East End tribes, and also received a Royal Grant from King Charles I, establishing it as the first English settlement in New York State.


The Pirates of the Caribbean did not spend the summer down in southern waters off of America’s coast. They visited New York and Gardiner’s Island, both safe harbors where privateers and pirates could get provisions, new crew and a place to bury their booty. A monument stands on this island to Captain William Kidd, erected by his friend John Gardiner, the third Lord of the Manor. It commemorates the spot where the fabled Captain buried his treasure.

Over the centuries the Gardiner’s have seen military invasions by two separate British fleets during the Revolutionary and War of 1812. During Prohibition, their island became a warehouse and haven for another sort of pirate, the likes of Al Capone and Dutch Schultz. Their offshore booty traveled through the East End towards the speakeasies of New York.

The Second World War militarized the East End, symbolized by the gigantic radar dish that still stands at Montauk Point. But just as impressive is the ancient stone fortress called “The Ruins” that juts out on the north side of Gardiner’s, at Bostwick Point. Though a target for practicing pilots and gunners, it withstood those years to still protect this refuge from poachers, pirates, and prying eyes. No one is allowed on this island, six miles long and several wide. What remains of the original buildings, now hundreds of years old, or the Captain Kidd monument itself? Even the vast resources of Google could not produce even the text of what is written on the plaque or an image of the monument itself.



Southeast of Gardiner’s, the sailing was easy. When close to shore, the wind stopped and so did we, for a swim, some lunch and a glimpse of a mystery island I would love to set foot upon. North of the island, our wind and course resumed and Shelter Island and Greenport loomed ahead.

The East End of 2008 is strangely devoid of power boaters, with dozens of sails dominating the seascape. But that changed when we arrived in the bustling harbor of Greenport. Every dock space and slip was filled with happy power boaters, drinks in hand, but they were swapping stories rather than making new ones.

The Town Dock at Mitchell Park is in the heart of the town itself. Pulling into the slip was like parallel parking on Main Street, which was just on the other side of the carousel. At dusk on thi

Southern Spars - 100Naiad/Oracle SupplierMackay Boats

Related Articles

America's Cup - Japanese launch new Challenger in Bermuda
A historic day today at the Dockyards in Bermuda as SoftBank Team Japan unveiled their brand new AC50 A historic day today at the Dockyards in Bermuda as SoftBank Team Japan unveiled their brand new America’s Cup Class race boat, Hikari, the next-generation boat designed to win the first ever America’s Cup for a Japanese flagged challenger. Hikari, meaning “flash of light”, was selected from over 430 names submitted by fans in Japan through a nationwide contest held by SoftBank Corp. in the le
Posted today at 2:11 am
Cool drone footage of Dongfeng Race Team on the water
Dongfeng is back in the water and training is well underway for the returning Chinese campaign. Dongfeng is back in the water and training is well underway for the returning Chinese campaign. Stunning drone footage of the re-fitted Volvo Ocean 65 has been released as the team hit the water off the coast of Lisbon.
Posted on 25 Feb
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA loses crew overboard - Video
OTUSA video of crew member Graeme Spence when he fell off the front cross beam of the team's new AC50 Oracle Team USA came close to having a serious injury to crew member Graeme Spence when he fell off the front cross beam of the team's new AC50 - a situation that has been feared as he passed between the foils, while the new America's Cup Defender was sailing at speed.
Posted on 23 Feb
Volvo Ocean Race - 10 young sailors who made an impact on race history
Age is just a number, right? Well, yes – according to some of the sailors who've tackled the world's toughest ocean test Age is just a number, right? Well, yes – according to some of the sailors who've tackled the world's toughest ocean test. They say 'if you're good enough, you're old enough', and this lot certainly proved that. Here, we look back at some of the most iconic young sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race and its predecessor, the Whitbread Round the World Race's four-and-a-half decade history.
Posted on 23 Feb
America's Cup - Artemis Racing launches their AC50 in Bermuda
Artemis Racing's new race yacht, “Magic Blue”, was christened today by Torbjörn Törnqvist's wife, Natalia, at a special Artemis Racing's new race yacht, “Magic Blue”, was christened today by Torbjörn Törnqvist's wife, Natalia, at a special celebration in Bermuda. The launch sees the culmination of more than three years of intense design and development work, which began almost immediately after the finish of the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco.
Posted on 22 Feb
Volvo Ocean Race – Pablo Arrarte joins MAPFRE as watch captain
With just 242 days to go until the start of the 2017-18 edition on October 22, preparations are already well underway. Arrarte, who raced onboard Brunel in 2014-15, will also assume the role of deputy to Olympic gold medallist Xabi Fernández, who was named as skipper on Friday.
Posted on 22 Feb
Gladwell's Line - AC50 Roll Call shows several late or absent
The AC50 unveiling/launch/sailing call-sheet has had a few additions since Land Rover BAR were the first to launch The AC50 unveiling/launch/sailing call-sheet has had a few additions since Land Rover BAR were the first to launch on February 6 - the earliest day permitted under the 28-day voluntary Blackout amendment to the Protocol governing the current event.
Posted on 21 Feb
Emirates Team NZ and Southern Spars launching into the America’s Cup
Built by Southern Spars, Emirates Team New Zealand’s newest America’s Cup yacht has been launched. Built by Southern Spars, Emirates Team New Zealand’s newest America’s Cup yacht has been launched. The Auckland-based mast builder demonstrated its standing as one of the world’s top carbon fibre manufacturers. Southern delivered Emirates Team NZ’s most technically advanced yacht ever, meeting the extremely strict budget, construction, weight and timing requirements.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ's bike team in training - Video
Emirates Team New Zealand have released a short video of four of their grinding team in training Emirates Team New Zealand have released a short video of four of their grinding team in training - including two Olympic class sailors and an Olympic Gold medalist rower.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA sails AC50 for first time in Bermuda
Oracle Team USA took to the Great Sound on Monday, sailing its newly launched America's Cup Class boat, '17' Oracle Team USA took to the Great Sound on Monday, sailing its newly launched America's Cup Class boat, '17', for the first time. 'We had a successful day,' said skipper Jimmy Spithill dockside after the training session. 'First impressions were great. The boat went really well, so everyone is happy.'
Posted on 20 Feb