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Old 05-06-2016, 13:40   #1
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Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

We are new owners of a 27 ft Ranger tug and want to sail/bring her from Annapolis to Portland this July with only minimal power boat experience This boat is very seaworthy and loaded with new radar and electronics.


What would be the best route for new and inexperienced owners? Is this even something a husband and wife should attempt in their first season... The boat will live in Maine.


Or, should we consider a captain but we are trying hard to save money and also enjoy the adventure but we don't want to make a foolish decision.


The boat can be trailered with no special permits but we have neither 3/4 truck nor trailer.


Please send thoughts, suggestions, recommendations, best wishes ect!
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Old 05-06-2016, 18:48   #2
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

The boat can make it fine, but you will have to pick your weather windows and tides very carefully to avoid uncomfortable cruising. There are not many options about the route -- Chesapeake Bay/Delaware Bay/Cape May - New York Offshore/LI Sound/Cape Cod Canal/Coastal port-hops to Portland. I would not advise going offshore around Long island -- the inlets can be terrible in a blow. You could consider trying the inland waterway through most of new Jersey but it reportedly has many shallow spots and tricky navigation.

Be sure to time your trip through NYC's East River at slack tide -- the current boils and slogging through an adverse tide would be rough in the Ranger 27. Similarly, be sure to go down Delaware Bay when the wind and tide are in the same direction -- it can be very, very rough when they are against each other.

Of course, the offshore legs -- along the NJ coast, from Cape Cod Canal to Portland, and a short leg from Fisher's island to Narragansett bay -- should only be undertaken in good weather. Just be patient, and wait out adverse weather conditions.

If that sounds OK, by all means make the trip in your new boat. There are many great harbors along the way, it is a wonderful cruise. Seeing the NYC skyline by boat is thrilling, Newport RI is a fun port with amazing yachts (but it can be expensive), Boston is fun to explore, the New England coast is a fantastic cruising ground. Just buy a couple of good cruising guides and plan every day. Do it in the shortest hops possible to give yourself time to explore the places you stop.

The Ranger 27 will get bounced around sometimes but it should handle normal summer weather along the route without any problem.
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Old 05-06-2016, 19:27   #3
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

If you have the time (retired?) to spend a week or so in the Annapolis area, you should take the time to get to know your new boat. It's a great area to cruise in with lots of treasures to be discovered. The mid summer can get a mite warm and sticky so you may want to be north before then. I would be hesitant to take any boat offshore before you have truly checked all the systems, changed the filters , etc.

It's an easy trip up the bay , through the C&D canal ( watch out for large ship traffic) then down to Cape May via the canal. The first challenge will be the trip from Cape May north to Atlanti City or Barnegat. Those are the only decent inlets, and they get really crappy in the wrong weather. Wind against tide and they get downright scary. Perhaps you can make it all the way to Sandy Hook ( no problem in anything but really nasty weather) and rest up there.

Read up on the East River and Hells Gate, time it with the right tide and it's no problem other than ship traffic. Hop your way up Long Island Sound to the Cape Cod canal ( read the cruising guides for more info and watch the tides) into the Cape.

I haven't been north of there yet but I believe you can plan out day trips and harbor hop up to Maine.

Some thoughts....
Join Boat US or seatow for towing if needed. It's cheap insurance.
If you have limited navigation skills get some lessons or bring along some help.
Learn how to properly use your radar, you may need it once north of NYC.
Have good paper charts and cruising guides, not just a chart plotter.
Learn where ALL of your seacocks are and make sure you can close them.

Take it slow and easy and enjoy a wonderful cruise on what looks like a great boat!

Paul
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:36   #4
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Smunson.
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Old 06-06-2016, 09:02   #5
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

Great trip! Be sure to get the cruising guides for each area. Also, as one other poster mentioned -- you really need BoatUS tow insurance. It's incredibly cheap and can be a life-saver.

The other idea about spending some time in the Chesapeake is so appropriate. You are in a wonderful area to explore and enjoy. Be gone by mid July if you don't like sticky hot weather. ( Like, it will be any different until you get up to Rhode Island?)
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Old 06-06-2016, 09:22   #6
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

One thing I learned when I was young and learning to build houses:

If we were pouring a footing I didn't have to know how to install a skylight. With that said, you don't have to worry about the East River when you're in the C&D Canal.

What is important is that you have a few basic boating skills like docking and undocking, anchoring, understanding of tides and currents, the rules of the road, how to interpret weather reports and how to read a chart and understand how the aids to navigation work. After that basic understanding the trip can be a succession of very short safe hops from Annapolis to Portland.

For me it was always comforting to know I didn't need to worry more than a step or two ahead.

I will add that if you have the skills mentioned here July would be a great time to make the trip and you'll have a blast.
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:13   #7
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

Your nervousness is pretty evident in your post. If you are new to boating, it might be best if you got someone to teach you on your own boat for a few days. It would be best to get a captain who is familiar with Ranger Tugs and their systems.

I just finished a trip with a new boat owner from Florida to Maine. We made all day passages, took 3 weeks, and by the time he arrived in Maine he was pretty confident in himself and his boat (ready to take his wife as crew the next time). However, at the start he said the learning experience was like taking a firehose to the face.

Wives are part of the mix. If the boat was your idea and your wife is a reluctant participant, the last thing you want to do is to lose control of a situation with the boat--she will likely walk off at the nearest opportunity. If you are equally enthusiastic about boating, you will both be able to learn from the adventures/disasters.
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:13   #8
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

I would ship the boat with a transport company before I hired a captain, with that said I would cruise it up yourself, like the good advice above, take it in pieces. You didn't state what the boat cruises at, along with max cruise.
You can make stops at C&D, Cape May, Altantic City, Atlantic Highlands. Now if you can cruise in the mid teens I would head to Shinnicock Inlet and stop in one of the Marina's by the locks, continue on through the Peconics, nice cruising grounds, stay in Shelter Island, Green Port etc (bunch of good places), Block Island, Cuttyhunk, Sandwitch, Plymouth, Gloucester, Portland. Just to name a few.
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Old 06-06-2016, 13:00   #9
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

I'm planning to make this same trip from Annapolis to Bar Harbor in August, except I'm returning to Annapolis at the end of the month or early September. I'm an experienced sailor, but I have no knowledge of this area except what I can read on charts and in cruising guides. Is there any important difference in sailing this route in August vs. July?
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Old 06-06-2016, 13:51   #10
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

With a deeper draft vessel I would go up the east river and out the hudson unless you don't mind an overnight and if that is the case I would sail from Cape May to Block.

These are interesting topics but so much comes into play, are you comfortable cruising in fog, can you handle 3-5's, do you only want a 4 hour cruising day (I know some like that).

I've been up and down these area's many times, but me personally I'd rather be out 10-20 miles offshore then dinking and dunking into every inlet.

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Originally Posted by Dr. Sea View Post
I'm planning to make this same trip from Annapolis to Bar Harbor in August, except I'm returning to Annapolis at the end of the month or early September. I'm an experienced sailor, but I have no knowledge of this area except what I can read on charts and in cruising guides. Is there any important difference in sailing this route in August vs. July?
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Old 06-06-2016, 13:54   #11
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

Although I felt confident based on years of sailing, years ago. When I got back into boating, I took the safety courses offered by both the states of PA (where I lived) and MD (where I sailed). They were surprisingly comprehensive. From docking and rules of the road to first aid and basic navigation. A good place to start and having taken a course will lower your insurance a bit.

Not sure what the time limit is, but the courses basically took me 2 nights for each one. Longer if you want to research the topics a bit or take some notes (cheat sheet) to take along when practicing the real thing. As mentioned, do some practicing and force yourself to learn docking and maneuvering in some chop and current. That experience will build your confidence once you get past the initial learning curve terror.

Make a list of what you need to bring and keep it on the computer (or phone) for future updates. There are so many things to remember, I would be lost without my lists. I have lists for everything. I keep an inventory of what's aboard, what's needed, first aid kit, tools, maintenance tasks, etc. etc. Organization buys me piece of mind. Times like these, I miss my ex-wife. She was really good with organizing, as a lot of women tend to be.

Have fun!!
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Old 07-06-2016, 21:37   #12
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

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Originally Posted by Dr. Sea View Post
I'm planning to make this same trip from Annapolis to Bar Harbor in August, except I'm returning to Annapolis at the end of the month or early September. I'm an experienced sailor, but I have no knowledge of this area except what I can read on charts and in cruising guides. Is there any important difference in sailing this route in August vs. July?
Be aware of afternoon thunderstorms, if memory serves me August can be very hot, sticky and windless with some impressive brief storms.
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Old 07-06-2016, 23:18   #13
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Sea View Post
I'm planning to make this same trip from Annapolis to Bar Harbor in August, except I'm returning to Annapolis at the end of the month or early September. I'm an experienced sailor, but I have no knowledge of this area except what I can read on charts and in cruising guides. Is there any important difference in sailing this route in August vs. July?
Get the hell out of the Chesapeake in August ASAP. The temperature will drop 20 degrees when you go down the Delaware Bay.
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Old 07-06-2016, 23:42   #14
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

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I've been up and down these area's many times, but me personally I'd rather be out 10-20 miles offshore then dinking and dunking into every inlet.
I agree. I plan to go through New York Harbor, East River, and Long Island Sound going one way, probably north, and then return offshore. Offshore is easier with some crew to take shifts, but I've never been through New York by water and I want to see the scenery along that way. But once is probably enough.
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Old 07-06-2016, 23:44   #15
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Re: Advise on cruising Annapolis to Portland maine

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Be aware of afternoon thunderstorms, if memory serves me August can be very hot, sticky and windless with some impressive brief storms.
Thanks for practical advice. Apparently you don't work for the New England Chamber of Commerce. I could stay in Kentucky for sticky and windless, but I want to sail the coast of New England and see what it's about. Many friends from that area have told me that it's beautiful and that I ought to cruise up that way.
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