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Old 04-04-2014, 10:35   #1
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Cruising the New Jersey Shore

Hello- This is my first time on this website. We will be sailing from Port Urbanna Va to Buffalo NY beginning this May. Just came up from Grenada. Anyone have any suggestions for anchorages or resting places along the Atlantic New Jersey shore, heading up to NYC harbor. Thanks.

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Old 11-04-2014, 14:30   #2
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Re: Cruising the New Jersey shore

Not knowing what type of boat you have, this response can only be a guess.

I've gone up-down the shore there several times. For a sailboat, only a few places to cut in, so the best thing to do is wait for a good weather window. Whether you go north from Urbanna in the Bay and down to Cape May via the C&D Canal and the Delaware Bay, or south and outside Delmarva, the logical staging place is Cape May, NJ. Coming down the Delaware, if your mast is under 55', you can enter Cape May via the Cape May Canal, which is really a ditch. I do not recommend it in the dark. It is not lit and narrow. There are two bridges crossing it, 55' HW clearance. Low tide will give you a few feet more. If you cannot clear the bridges or are arriving at night, go outside the Cape and enter from the ocean. Same if coming up Delmarva. Lots of marinas; some anchorages in placid weather.

It is about 100 miles from Cape May to NYC. One can leave at midnight and motor-sail the entire distance, and if you keep 5-6 knots you'll get to NYC in daylight. That is recommended, especially if you have never been there. Nothing tricky going into NY harbor, but there is a lot of traffic and many channels leading into the harbor and within the harbor, all lit at night. Between the ATONs and the shore lights, it can be very confusing for the first timer, so time your entry to arrive in daylight if you can. The number of lights has to be seen to be believed.

If you cannot or do not want to make the run in an 18 hour day, the logical place to make the first stop is Atlantic City. One of the casinos (the name often changes due to economic slow rolls leaving one or another belly up) runs the marina. It is huge and you can book a reservation. There is a smaller one next to the USCG station, opposite the state marina. Nothing to entering Atlantic City (Absecon Bay) inlet, except last spring there were three unmarked red cans marking the north side of the channel. Not a problem in daylight. I came in late at night and the damn things are not lit. Not on my electronic charts either as the USCG reserves the right to move them due to shoaling. And moved frequently they are. Radar will pick them up. Not much for anchoring at Atlantic City, but there is a spot along the shore line west of the entrance to the inlet leading to the marinas and the USCG station. You'll see it on the charts. One time I anchored further up river beyond the bridge (60' clearance for your mast), but my current boat won't allow that. We paid for the marina last time I was there. Held up for a day in fact waiting out a storm.

Next up the coast is Barnegat Bay inlet. There is a USCG station there and a marina or two, plus an anchorage of sorts. Entrance is via jetties (like Cape MAy and Absecon Inlets). Guidebooks say to avoid entering unless you really have to, and not to do it if wind and tide are in opposition. I've never been there, but I know several boats which did pull in, and said it was OK despite the guidebook warnings.

Manasaquan is next--again, straightforward entrance between jetties. Several marinas just inside the jetties. At this point, you are about 35-40 miles south of Sandy Hook, so unless it is getting dark, might as well push on.

Rounding Sandy Hook (and the current is strong either way), you can turn south and anchor down near the USCG station just behind Sandy Hook peninsula or continue further south to Atlantic Highlands, about 6 miles from the Hook. That is a popular place with anchoring, a marina and a good size mooring field that takes transients happily. One can also go straight into Raritan Bay (outer NYC bay) and direct into NYC harbor after rounding Sandy Hook. 6 miles or so across the Bay from the Hook to the Narrows, and you are then in NYC. There is lots of water and well-marked shipping channels. Lots of traffic but nothing like what is coming when you pass the Narrows. Inside NY Bay there are some marinas, but not much anchoring for private vessels. Water is deep too. If you want to anchor in NYC, I recommend Liberty Landing on the Jersey shore opposite the former World Trade Center and now the new WTC building. Next to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. A nice marina but ouch! Be prepared to hand over your first born to pay the bill. But on the other hand, the view at night is worth every penny--but once in a lifetime. We stayed there last spring (in cheap season, than God), but it was worth the view.

Our preferred route is Cape May to Atlantic City, then to the Atlantic Highlands mooring field, then through NYC to Long Island Sound. A day for each leg, or three days. It can be a long one from Atlantic City to Atlantic Highlands, but it is easily done with good weather and a favorable breeze or a good bit of motor sailing.

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Old 11-04-2014, 18:28   #3
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Re: Cruising the New Jersey shore

I grew up around Barnegat Light, even though it's much better now it's best to avoid it.

I was down there a couple of weeks ago, on land, and watched the full running ebb tide. it must have over four knots. So I would think you would have to hit the entrance right, unless you have a big honking motor.

I have run South along the coast a couple of times, once from NYC, from Block Island area. I can't think of anything else to add to Moody's excellent post and advice.
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Old 27-04-2014, 07:12   #4
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Re: Cruising the New Jersey shore

+1 about the tide in and out the inlets. +1 about staying at atlantic highlands, its a protected anchorage and free, great food and drinks .. however i strongly recommend the 79th street boat basin on the hudson in nyc.. $30 a day to moore but you have to have a dinghy to shuttle yourself back and forth to the dock.
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Old 27-04-2014, 07:25   #5
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Re: Cruising the New Jersey shore

You didn't mention your length, draft, and air draft, but I agree with Moody46, except that I usually anchor before the bridge near the left bank in Atlantic City. The 79th st basin is limited to 40 ft or under. Once into Long Island Sound, my favorite anchorages are City Island and Manhasset Bay. I've also used the harbor of refuge at Cape Henlopen (not great, but OK for overnight).

Log on to Active Captain for more detailed info on anchorages and marinas.
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