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Old 10-03-2014, 09:57   #1
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Cape May to Mass

We're considering a cruise from our base in the northern Chesapeake to Mass. Boat=Hunter 41 sloop. Rig recently inspected, jack lines installed, AIS, but no radar. Crew=couple (65 & 70). 30+ years of coastal cruising.
We could either jump straight off from Cape May and sail directly to Block Island, or do a series of day sails up the Jersey coast to NYC and across LI Sound. Pros and cons of either scenario are appreciated. Ultimate destination is Gloucester, Mass, where nephew will be getting married in early Sept. Probably leave early August, and return mid Sept. Thanks.
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:12   #2
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Re: Cape May to Mass

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Originally Posted by truant View Post
We're considering a cruise from our base in the northern Chesapeake to Mass. Boat=Hunter 41 sloop. Rig recently inspected, jack lines installed, AIS, but no radar. Crew=couple (65 & 70). 30+ years of coastal cruising.
We could either jump straight off from Cape May and sail directly to Block Island, or do a series of day sails up the Jersey coast to NYC and across LI Sound. Pros and cons of either scenario are appreciated. Ultimate destination is Gloucester, Mass, where nephew will be getting married in early Sept. Probably leave early August, and return mid Sept. Thanks.
Very doable.

I've done it both ways, coming and going, a few times. Much prefer direct shot from Cape May to Block Island. It's just an overnight, and in the summer months you will likely have a favorable wind.

HOWEVER, you need to keep a very careful eye on tropical storm developments. Be sure to pick a good WX window.

There ARE a few good spots to stop along the way, but in rough weather only Atlantic City (and Cape May, of course) make sense. I've done Barnegat Bay entrance in deteriorating WX to wait out a hurricane, but you don't want to try this entrance in rough weather.

Bill
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:23   #3
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Re: Cape May to Mass

It all depends on time and your desire to do overnight watches. Summer is this area often can be hot with no wind and a glass calm sea broken only by fins of sharks. Your biggest concern will be heavy ship and tug traffic...keep a sharp watch. While Atlantic City is a good inlet and Cape may is excellent, the other inlets can be tricky but usually good and often busy with small boat and local traffic so easy to use generally except Shark River due to all the bridges. Break the tri up into Cape may and Atlantic City and then proceed to Sandy Hook or new York. Atlantic City buys can be tricky...stick to southern side and come in very close to corrugated steel bulkhead to your starboard as odd as it may seem. Farley Marina is expensive but nice and safe.Time your passage through hell gate and with the exception of boat traffic and currents, it's a fairly good trip to New England. Caution that Delaware Bay can be the worst part of this trip for many reasons...shoals, debris, buoys, ships, currents, biting flies, no place to duck into etc...for many reasons the ocean rhumb line usually easier than the congested and confusing shoreline route. I hope this helps.....
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:19   #4
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Re: Cape May to Mass

You got lot of good comments above.

My favorite route is from Cape May to Block Island in one shot. It is about 200 nm. Leave in late afternoon, this will you many hours of day light to get settle and get your groove for off shore. Just about 20 hours or so, you will get to Great Salt Pond in day light. Make sure you check you tide.

Unless you like to visit places and heighten your senses, I don't stop between May Cape and Sandy Hook.

When you sail back to Chesapeake Bay, make sure you go thru Hell Gate and East River, it is the sight that you will never forget.

Have fun.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:36   #5
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Re: Cape May to Mass

Correction...the corrugated steel bulkhead at atlantic city will be to your PORT heading in to the harbor...geeze,,,,that's the left, right? I mean correct. Oh keep it to your left...yeah that's it... whoa..
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:06   #6
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Re: Cape May to Mass

It seems that you're going to take your time getting there and bypassing the Long Island Sound sights would be a shame. Lots to do/see on both shores... LL
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:14   #7
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Re: Cape May to Mass

As with any cruise, the right weather makes all the difference.

I'd hang out in Cape May until you are sure of a southerly wind. Then take the straight shot. If you aren't used to doing offshore at night, downwind is the way to start.

You should be prepared to motor the whole night as southerly's do often die away but you are just as likely to have a lovely broad reach under a beautiful night sky.

Another good option is to do the New Jersey coast overnight. You then have a glorious early morning trip up the East River. Alternately, you may want to do the East River on your way home because it's harder to to get a fair wind going from Block to Cape May.

Coming home, try to get back to Cape May by mid September. Gales seem to start earlier these years. It can be hard to find a weather window.

Is your AIS just a receiver? I'd consider upgrading to a transponder. It takes much of the stress out of navigating crowded waters like these. Your family and friends will also enjoy seeng your progress on Marinetraffic.com when you are reasonably close to the coast.
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:16   #8
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Re: Cape May to Mass

We did a family cruise a few years ago.

On the way up, went C&D, Delaware, then Cape May direct to Block. On the way back, we worked our way through LI Sound bouncing back and forth between LI and CT.

Highly recommend both paths. Lots to see, great experience for everyone.

As has been said, watch the weather systems and time the jump off from Cape May carefully. We were fortunate: full moon and a 10-12 kt breeze just off the beam all the way to Block. Made for fantastic trip.
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Old 16-03-2014, 02:43   #9
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Re: Cape May to Mass

i would take the cape may to block island route on the way up, we usually get a nice 10-15kt south westerly, will make a nice ride. when you leave block, cruise to Nantucket sound, cut through the cape cod canal, (make sure you have the tide with you for that) then make your way to Gloucester. if you want to make it a quick sail pull into the west gap in point Judith, (not block island) it's easy to get into, there's a good anchorage, and you won't have to deal with the block island crowd or going around the north reef that extends a couple miles off block.(don't try to cross it, there are lots of rocks, bad currents and people diving on wrecks). as for the trip back, I would go for the whole show, round the cape, stop in Nantucket, the vineyard, block island, (or Newport/Jamestown if you went to block on the way up) then long island sound, nyc, and down the coast of jersey.
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Old 18-03-2014, 19:32   #10
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Re: Cape May to Mass

Hi Truant, we did this route last summer in august on our 45' sailboat.

Left from the Chesapeake (south end) and overnight cruise to Cape May. Cape May to Barnegat is about 60 miles sail, but as others have said, tricky inlet if wind is up, was no problem for us with 15 kts E wind at slack high. From Barnegat to NYC (Sandy Hook or any NYC marina/mooring) is another 50 miles sail to NYC harbor entrance. We couldn't resist visiting the Big Apple. We then proceeded through the East river to LIS and stopped at many wonderful places. Plan your routes in LIS to benefit from the tide which ebbs northeast. Had to stop in to Newport, but not too long ($$$)... From there it is another easy day sail to most Buzzard's Bay or Cape Cod locations (and the many islands of course)

Have a great trip, fair winds, PJ
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Old 18-03-2014, 20:11   #11
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Re: Cape May to Mass

All pretty good opinions. I would suggest straight shot to or from Block in one direction, and in the other direction go through LI sound. Some decent anchorages in the sound, Oyster Bay, Northport, Charles Island, Duck Island Roads, Fischer island, stop at Mystic, etc. The trip into Manhatten and up the East River is an experience. Try to time it to get their at sun up, if the tides work to go through Hell's Gate. If going back that way, overnight at City Island on a club mooring, leave early, and just keep going, down the East River and right on out and back to Cape May. Tides at Hell's Gate is the controlling factor.

Weather at that time of year has been difficult the last couple of years. Had to wait out tropical influences a couple of times, or changed locations to get a little more protection. It's going to be a good trip no matter how you do it.
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