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Anchoring by Lady Liberty

Home from their circumnavigation, a couple is at ease anchoring by the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

October 12, 2021
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The Statue of Liberty
The Hockleys celebrated closing the loop of their circumnavigation by finally anchoring at Lady Liberty’s feet. Neville Hockley

When my wife, Catherine, and I lived in New York over 14 years ago, we never anchored Dream Time by the Statue of Liberty—not once. We never even considered it. It’s not that we didn’t have the skills, or that the 25-nautical-mile trip from Long Island Sound down to New York Harbor is particularly challenging; it just never really occurred to us that we could.

New York City was where we went to work; the harbor was a place where ferries, cargo ships, tugs and tourist boats went about their busy business. I guess when we did have any free time, we wanted to sail in the sound and just relax in a quiet cove somewhere. Taking the boat down the East River, timing tides, dodging traffic, well, maybe it just felt like too much work.

But here we are. It took us a while—a 14-year world voyage, which we’ve just completed—but we finally did it. We anchored Dream Time, our 1981 Cabo Rico 38, right in front of Lady Liberty between the ferry channel and the restriction-area buoys that surround Liberty Island. It reminded us of anchoring on the other side of the world, off the Sydney Opera House for New Year’s Eve after we had finally crossed the South Pacific. Like then, we had the best view in the entire harbor—only this time it was the Statue of Liberty right off our stern, downtown Manhattan, the Hudson and the East River off the port bow.

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To celebrate our arrival back home after sailing 50,252 nautical miles, we raised every courtesy flag we’ve flown around the world—37 of them. We must have looked quite the sight. Other boats motored past; Miss New York—one of the Ellis and Liberty islands’ ferries—official tourist boats, jet skis, and a parade of helicopters flew endless sightseeing circles above. And Dream Time, in all her colors, was right in the very middle of it.

For the record, we weren’t in the way—we were anchored in 10 feet of water and out of the channel —but I suspect, 14 years ago, even if we had visited Liberty Island, we never would have been so bold. Ferry wakes, tidal currents and the general mayhem of the harbor probably would have had us anchor behind Liberty Island where other recreational boats seem to drop their hooks.

Maybe we’re a little more adventurous now. Or perhaps, like our arrivals in Panama, Sydney Harbour and Singapore, we just want to get the most from our sailing experiences. We’re willing to go the extra mile, to make the effort, like two energetic, enthusiastic cruisers arriving in New York for the very first time, even though we now live here again.

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