Cross Long Island Sound by Kayak

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Cross Sound Trips & Clinics 2018
Pre-requisite: Cross Sound/Offshore Prep clinic, or previous crossing with Kayak Adventure - see below.
Saturday, October 13, 6:30 am to 3:30 pm. Contact us if you are interested. See prep
class dates below.
Membership in Sound Kayakers' club
is required. Dues are $10/year.

Crossing LI Sound
is a team activity. We paddle in pods of 4-6 kayakers, staying within visual and auditory communication at all times. Regular paddling "in conditons" prepares you to handle 2-3 foot seas and 15-20 knot winds, an exhilarating challenge we've experienced on a third of our trips. Every participant must be able to self-rescue within five minutes. In addition to strong paddling skills, all participants must be properly outfitted, have a kayak with solid secondary stability to handle rough seas, and be able to maintain a speed of 3 knots for 5-6 hours with two short breaks each way. It's possible we'll get a calm day, as we did in July 2009, or a "pond", as we did in June 2008, and the inexperienced will wonder: "What's the big deal?" With any long crossing, weather can change substantially from start to finish. We had hail on our 2006 trip. Note that paddling more than one mile from shore is considered a level three skill.

Recent trips have required five to 6.5 hours of paddling time, with a two-hour rest and recovery on the New York shore. Strong mid-day tidal currents affect our timing, which is planned carefully. With different length kayaks, and a range of paddling abilities, kayakers have the potential to become separated. We go with a minimum of four kayakers and expect all to stay with the group. For 2018 all paddlers must have a VHF radio.

Photo above: On the beach at Lloyd Neck are Carlos, Tim, Jane, Michele, Bill, Lynne, Eric and Nancy - August 2016.
Photo below: Return with the wind - round-trip from Greenwich, CT to Lattingtown, NY, 14.3 nm at 3.3 kt pace - July 18, 2009.

Cross Sound/Offshore Prep Clinics 2018

Sunday, July 24, 9 am - 5 pm
September 8, 9 am - 5 pm, $140

To do a round-trip open water crossing of 10-20 miles in a day, you should be paddling 1-3 times weekly, for 2-3 hours at a time, covering 6-10 miles.

In the Cross-Sound clinic you'll learn on-water navigation skills using compass, chart and navigation aids. We'll evaluate stroke technique, stamina, speed and tracking in a 1.0 nautical mile course. While paddling, we'll learn skills such as staying together as a group, drafting, rafting up, towing, and sharing the sea with powered traffic. You'll demonstrate a panic-free deep water exit maintaining contact with your boat, and do a timed self-rescue. We'll teach assisted bow and t-rescues and towing procedures. Upon return to KA's home office (bathrooms, changing, BYO lunch) you'll complete a navigation worksheet for our planned trip, using tidal current charts for LI Sound, and tidal information available online. We'll discuss the importance of careful trip outfitting, and provide our packing list and preparation outline. At the end of the session we'll complete a Coast Guard risk assessment worksheet, and help you answer the question: "Are we prepared to cross Long Island Sound?"

The Cross Sound clinic is excellent preparation for anyone planning offshore trips. Our focus is on properly preparing solo paddlers who venture up to a mile offshore, especially in colder waters (spring & fall here, Maine, Alaska, Greenland and other cold-water destination paddling.) We cover:
1) trip planning and navigation, including reading charts, plotting a course, tidal currents
2 ) proper outfitting, preparation and procedures to reduce the risk of adverse events (on water skills such as launching, landing & bracing)
3 ) having a wide variety of practiced self-rescue options to draw upon if needed (on-water practice included)
4 ) knowing how to use emergency communication and locating devices should rescue become necessary (on-water practice)

When you sign up for this clinic, let us know what make and model kayak you have, how long you've been paddling, and what formal boating instruction you've had. Trip participation is at the discretion of our instructor.

Quotes from participants on our Cross-Sound trips:

  • Ok, just for the record, did anyone else feel like they were on rolling seas as they were going to sleep last night? Great trip everyone! Thanks Michele for leading, and to everyone for being such a good and fun kayaking team. - Eric, CT, August 2016
  • It was a pleasure paddling with everyone on such an amazing trip! The paddle back to CT was incredible! We really missed a horrible storm. Michele was right in getting us out of proud of our group...all our first cross LI Sound trip. Thank you Michele...your knowledge, judgement and the skills you possess are truly admirable! - Lynne, NY, August 2016
  • Thanks again for a great trip! Lovely kayaking, lovely people, great leader. - Jerry, NY, July 2012
  • A pleasure. Very fun, safe, and I'm only a little sore! I look forward to other paddles.- Alexandra, NY, July 2012
  • Thanks for the pictures - It was a great trip, well organized with a very enjoyable group. - Rob, CT, July 2009
  • With bathwater warm water and 90 degree heat, this was a very cool pleasure trip. Thanks again for such a great trip across the Sound last Saturday. - Tim C., CT,June 2008
  • Three foot waves, hail and cold made this trip, for me, the most exciting yet. At no time did I stop enjoying myself or feel apprehensive, knowing that should I overturn, the danger was lessened by the re-entry training we have all had under Michele’s expert guidance and that competent rescue was at hand. - Nick C., CT, April 2006
  • I have a new respect for what the boats are capable of. My personal "comfort zone" was in a whole different zip code. This trip has broken through to a new level. With my previous experience my call would have been to turn around at the half way point. Now I'm not so sure. I enjoyed the group and once we got through the tough stuff, there was a common experience bond that is different than the typical coastal tour. Thanks for being out on the edge, with the skills to bring every one home safely. - Carl L., CT, April 2006
  • I feel I owe you an enormous debt of gratitude for teaching me so much and for enabling me to take part in what was one fantastic adventure. Never did I think I'd be crossing Long Island Sound. I never could have done it without your most capable guidance in teaching me the techniques and safe kayaking rules I've learned over the past year. There were several times during the crossing when I wished I could freeze time. I simply can't put into words how much I enjoyed it. - Joe G., CT, July 2005
  • Thanks so much for organizing this trip. The day was perfect, the company was great and you were the perfect hostess. I had a wonderful time. - Jim G., CT, July 2004

    Launching from Lloyd's Neck July 2012 under a gray sky, with big swells from an east wind. We easily kept a 3 kt pace.

    Our 2012 team assembled for the pre-trip briefing: Jerry, Liddy, Jon, Jean, Alexandra, Casey, Michele and Alex. Mark is taking the photo.

    Above: A mid-Sound stretch on our calmest trip, Stamford to Lloyd Point, June 2008 with 92 degree air.

    Below: Warming up at Lloyd Neck, April 8, 2006. L to R: Nick, Claire, Howard, Mike, Carl and Rich.
    We had wind North 10-23 kts, seas 1-3' and hail.

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(203) 247-1390
e-mail: michele at