Tom Sakmar provided this eyewitness report last Friday of:
A large bi-hull sailboat was de-masted today (September 26, 2014) at about 2:47 p.m. when it hit the Roosevelt Island Bridge. The boat was in the East Channel of the East River heading South propelled by a rapid tidal current...which triggered these memories of similar sailing accidents from Roosevelt Island residents.
... The metal mast and all the rigging and struts came came crashing down to the deck within seconds as the two adults on the deck, a man and woman, scrambled to stay clear. Neither of them appeared to be injured,...
Image From William S
Christopher Scott Knell remembers a time long ago:
Back in the "early days" (daze?) of Roosevelt Island when the park was brand new (What is now called Cappobianco Park), there was always a huge amount of kids and parents playing with all the new toys....Full Court Basketball games, The Mens RI League Softball, Hippies with Frisbees, New Paddleball courts..and Al Short has a more recent memory:
And we all begin to notice a rather large sailboat heading North in the East Channel being carried quite swiftly by the afternoon tidal flow.
Suddenly, we all hear the sounds of a big motor racing it's engines and begin to realize that the huge 30 to 40 foot sailboat is trying it's best to avoid hitting the bridge with it's very tall mast.
They didn't make it.
With what sounded like a huge crack of Lightning, the 40 foot mast came crashing down onto the boat as it's passengers dove into the river.
Collectively, all 200 people in the park said "OH SHIT!!!" all at once and in perfect unison. I think we were all just as surprised at our perfectly shouted and echoing expletive as we were at the boat's demise.
I live atop Manhattan Park looking south. One 4th of July, back when the fireworks were down off 34th St, some guests and I were looking down on the 4 hr traffic jam to get out of the Motorgate and also the big flotilla of pleasure boats coming up East Channel afterwards. One sailboat clipped the bridge with its mast. It did not break but it sent the boat into an almost surrealistically slow set of 360's. The boat almost hit the rocks behind the Motorgate but recovered in time.If I had a boat
I'd make sure not to hit the Roosevelt Island Bridge.