Tara docked in NYC at the foot of Freedom Tower

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5 February 2012

Sunday morning around 6:30, with the brilliant sun scarcely compensating for the 2° C temperature, Tara began her final approach to New York City. The first skyscrapers began to appear on the horizon, breaking the surface of the ocean where we’d seen no construction for eleven days.We were still 25 nautical miles from New York, about 45 kilometers.
Excitement on deck, first photos taken, but the Big Apple kept us waiting impatiently. A white-bearded pilot came aboard to escort us through the labyrinth of New York’s islands. Then the Manhattan skyline began to be clearly visible.
Several of us were experiencing their first arrival in this part of the east coast of the United States, and to make it even more special – arriving by sea.
We passed the Verrazano Narrows Bridge (the second time for Tara), but now Loïc Valette is the skipper. With little wind but a rather strong current, the approach was made smoothly. This was the occasion for the pilot, Captain Thomas G. Britton, to learn more about Tara’s history and be impressed by the itinerary already completed since the beginning of Tara Oceans, and by the previous Tara Arctic expedition (from 2006-2008).
Being careful to enter the Hudson River without getting caught up in the traffic of ferries sailing between Staten Island and Manhattan, Captain Britton passed around cigars in sign of his admiration.
Then on deck we heard “Statue of Liberty!” That’s all that was needed to stir up enthusiasm among the paparazzi on board, otherwise slowed down by the very cold morning temperature. A series of photos in front of the world-famous American symbol, and Tara headed up the East River.
The Brooklyn Bridge, then a passage in front of the United Nations headquarters in mid-town Manhattan, for an historic souvenir photo.
Finally, we came back down the East River, took down the sails, and headed towards Battery Park, North Cove Marina. The tourist trip was over, and we started preparing for the final manoeuvre, installing fenders and mooring lines. The strong current complicated our entry into the small Marina at the foot of Freedom Tower.
After going around once to check out the situation, Loïc Valette and the pilot entered the Marina. A last port side turn, and Tara was rapidly moored along the wooden dock, at the foot of Ground Zero. We will stay here throughout our stopover, before leaving for Bermuda on February 12th.
Vincent Hilaire