Aground at the Dock in Lincoln Harbor

We’ve already said we think this marina, Lincoln Harbor,  is the worst built thing ever, but now we know it is also being run by thoughtless people.

We came around from Brooklyn, as so vividly described here.  When we asked ourselves why the docks were jumping in place and wondered about the scream of tortured steel, we hadn’t yet felt the strange shudder that happened occasionally on a wave trough.  Didn’t figure out what that was until this morning.

Here’s a taste of a medium-bad wake.

Main pier, finger pier, and boat – all moving independent of one another.

The place works on 3 shifts.  The dockmaster, Janier, works days and two guys split the time between 4pm and 8am.  I called before we left Brooklyn and spoke with an office manager who told me candidly that it was her first week on the job (remember, this was Wednesday).  I was careful to tell her that we are a sailboat and that our draft is 4’9″.  Power boats are concerned with telling marinas their beam – how wide they are – but sailors have keels that go deeper than most any power boat.

She wasn’t confident enough to assign us a slip or give us directions into the marina.  We got ourselves over just fine and called the dock hand on the VHF, channel 74.

Every time James hailed the guy, he said, “…this is the sailing vessel Nomad…” because that’s what one is supposed to do.  Somehow this didn’t soak in and it seems he didn’t get the note from the office manager that we were sailors.  James even told him our draft!

He assigned us slip B-15, but when he saw us, changed his mind and put us in B-33.  Meaning he hadn’t thought this through at all.  How did he miss the “sailing vessel” part that James said a dozen times or the actual draft measurement we gave him?  He actually said to us, “I didn’t know you were a sailboat!”

The next morning, I introduced myself to the dock master.  We spoke a while about getting groceries, getting to Manhattan, and (not) getting a discount.  He and I looked at the tides together to see when we’d need to be out in order to catch the favorable currents around the Battery and through Hell Gate.  We agreed that it would be a good idea for us to be at the fuel dock around 6:30 and fueling up around quarter til.

This morning, we had a wonderful cup of “Mile High” Papua New Guinea coffee from a LES roastery called the Roasting Plant.  Before it was gone, we had topped off the oil in the engine and I started trying to get our line off the piling.

Strange – I couldn’t get the boat to move toward the piling.

Assuming I was dealing with current, I waited for James to get back from the head.  With him pushing and me pulling, though, we were still unable to move.  Foreboding in my mind, I touched the tiller and found it stiff.

We were aground in the slip.

On the small, pre-ferry waves, I could move the rudder when we lifted but not when we were down.  We tried pulling the boat back toward the fairway and tried to find a deeper area within the slip.

No go.

As time ticked by, I got more and more angry.  By 7am, we saw our window closing.  We wouldn’t be able to fuel up and still catch the flood tide around Manhattan.

Oh boy, is that a drag.  We missed our tide, meaning we can’t leave today at all, meaning we miss our head-start on the boaters heading into the Long Island Sound for the weekend.  Now we will arrive with the pack, and probably after the much faster power boaters.

I went to tell the dock master and we “had words”.  He claims to have told us we’d have to be out by 6 or 6:30, which is ridiculous, since the tide was lower then.  Somehow, I was supposed to hear the misgiving in his voice and ask for another slip?  Bullshit.  We’re staying another night, but we are not paying for it.

We are writing this post while waiting for the tide to rise enough to move the boat into another slip.  We’ll fuel up on the way  to the new slip, but that only means that we’ll be able to get right out tomorrow.  Does nothing for us today.

Here’s where I sit:

On the one hand, the night dock hand was incompetent and the dock master lazy.  One put us in a slip that was too shallow and the other allowed us to stay there, though he did say he was surprised we’d been assigned that slip.  Really?  Just surprised?  Not going to have us move somewhere with enough water?

On the other hand, I’m on my sailboat, without a schedule and with all the chores done.  We finished laundry, grocery shopping, and boat washing yesterday by 1pm.

Life could be a lot worse.



  1. Ugh, what total assholery. Congratulations on your un-agroundable attitude and clean laundry. Better luck in the morning.

  2. I agree with Kate.. Dena your skillful thought process , tells me this will be a step to making you an AWESOME Captain. Which you already are !!! Keep my boy safe and Chin up .Aloha

  3. And upstate (Plattsburg) NY is so nice and green and friendly and——-guess it’s a long way from the ‘city’ in more ways than one.
    Where next?

  4. To James: Last year I came from Long Island Sound and had in mind to stop at Lincoln, but changed my mind and went to Weehawken in New Jersey. It was much better to dock there, and stay ovenight. I also motored through Hells Gate against the tide, only did about 1 knot with a Hunter38′, but made it slowly.Lot of commercial traffic, always talk to the Tug Boat Captain and ask if they see you and what you or he could do to make things safer. Good Luck and happy sailing.Things are not going to get any easier with the people on Long Island Sound.


  5. James and Dena,

    OMG! … What an experience so far. We’ve boated all over the entire Chesapeake Bay for 35 years and have never run into what you guys have in such a short time. (Of course as James and I always used to kid about at West Marine, we “stink potters” have a little less draft to worry about than you “blow boaters” – haha). Dena … congratulations on the reading success. We sold our house in Baltimore 4 weeks ago, we both retired, and next week are moving into our waterfront condo in Ocean City for the summer while our new “retirement home” in Lewews, Delaware is being built. We’re close to the canal in Lewes that runs from the Delaware Bay down through Rehobeth, so let us know whenever you cross back over the Atlantic and head stateside again. Godspeed, guys … stay in touch and we’ll follow your adventures.

    1. Hey Chuck, thanks for stopping by!
      …Yes, it’s been a bit intense but would you expect anything else?!
      We’re just living the dream here, and for some reason we just can’t seem to wake up!

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