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Old 02-08-2015, 13:59   #1
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Planning Baltimore to NYC

Long time lurker, but first time poster....so go easy on me!

So, I am buying a new to me sailboat down in Baltimore MD, and am sailing it up to my home port in NYC. I was wondering if anyone had tips on this trip. I've looked through past threads on here and elsewhere, I've got the paper charts and cruising guides, etc. But I would love to hear some real life experience.

My plan for now is to go
Day 1) Baltimore to Chesapeake City
Day 2) Short day through the Canal so I can time the current in our favor
Day 3) Delaware City to Cape May
And then Do a straight shot from Cape May up to NYC. I know I can duck in at Atlantic City, Manasquan, and Sandy Hook, but I would like to make it a short trip. I've never night sailed before. So I am scared/excited.

Does this sound reasonable to most of you? Any changes I should consider? I have made the trip from Atlantic City to NYC (stopping over night), but I've never made a trip this long before. I will have at least one crew member with me.

Thanks everyone
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Old 02-08-2015, 14:58   #2
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Re: Planning Baltimore to NYC

Chesapeake City is ok but I prefer Summit North Marina because it is quiet, protected and has shade--and a pool. Delaware City is a tiny canal with little else and a bit out of the way. A short trp there is a waste of a day. If you have good wx--just go. I suggest you go through the canal with a fair tide and shoot down to Cape May. In a sailboat you will get some tide with and some against in the 60+ trip. You can expect a good southerly during the daytime so just know that once you are in Del Bay--you are pretty much committed. What kind of boat and what is the air draft? How come OP's so often leave out this crucial information? If you are 55"+ you cannot go through Cape may Canal unless tide is low. Going outside Cape May is either Waaay outside, or hug the beach in a reasonable channel--but not in rough weather. Atlantic City, manasquan, Barnegat and Shark River are all doable in good weather and daylight. Sandy Hook offers many marinas. NY has options for channels--just pay attention for ships, and tugs and wakes. It's about 100 miles from Cape may to NYC. The only real hazard off NJ coast other than boats and ships is Brigantine Shoals. I sent you a PM....
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:42   #3
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Re: Planning Baltimore to NYC

Hey Paul-

Thanks so much, this is a huge help. And thanks for the private message. I'm just getting back into sailing, and it is real comforting to be reminded how welcoming the boating community is! I have no idea why I forgot to mention the type of boat. It is a 1986 34' Catalina. The survey came back super clean, and of course I'm taking time to get her into ship shape for the trip. Thanks for the thoughts on Delaware City. The only reason I had included it was because I was afraid we couldn't make the Canal and Delaware bay all in daylight. Is there a better stop to make after Chesapeake City or should we just push all the way to Cape May? Planning on starting the trip WED morning, and it seems that the way the currents work out I can't make the right current and do a straight shot..but perhaps I am wrong about how long the trip takes? Thanks so much for your help
-C
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:54   #4
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Re: Planning Baltimore to NYC

It is 65 miles so tide will be with and against no matter how you plan it--except in very rare cases where timing, tide and strong winds come together perfectly. Use algebra to calculate (??) But Del City is a waste, Stay at Summit North--closer to Del Bay than Chesapeake City and about the same to main Del Bay as is Del City, so go for it. There are the Cohansey and the Maurice Rivers but they have narrow entrances (they are deep enough!), are off the beaten path and should not be entered at night your first time. Entering Cape May Canal is every easy. You have many long hours of daylight, so if tide is not right--just go anyhow. But winds often build up during day from SW. I have transited DEL bay many times and it is often not easy--and can be difficult for many reasons. It really can have "square waves" and watch for the abandoned and unlit light house platform. Do not stay in the ship channel. Do not go at night unless well prepared and qualified. Lewes is a good stop but current can be very challenging.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:37   #5
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Re: Planning Baltimore to NYC

I've made the Annapolis to NYC trip twice. Paul pretty much summed up most things already. I'll add one thing though. There's a lot of commercial traffic in the area. If your boat doesn't have AIS download one of the many AIS type apps out there to your phone or tablet. You should be close enough to shore to have cell signal. It's great Pc of mind especially if you hit any fog which we did one time. Some fishing boats don't have AIS but it's still better to see some vessels than none.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:04   #6
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Re: Planning Baltimore to NYC

We did a couple of deliveries taking that route years ago, can't remember the places we overnighted but I second the commercial traffic comment. I thought I was prepared for "big" traffic, but being overtaken by a huge Costco container ship was a revelation.

It sounds like a good boat. It sounds like you have a good plan. Now go and have a good trip!
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:37   #7
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Re: Planning Baltimore to NYC

We have never done Cape May to NYC, but we have done Cape May to Martha's Vineyard several times. If you have flexibility on your dates, I would first go to Chesapeake City and time it so you can leave before dawn (the canal is easy at night) and catch the Delaware while the tide is still against you somewhat. You should make Cape May before dark. We anchor out near the Coast Guard station and then I would do the next leg in one shot as well. Just my opinion/preference. We chartered a Catalina 34 years ago and I liked the boat very much. Good Luck and have fun
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Old 03-08-2015, 14:30   #8
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Re: Planning Baltimore to NYC

i have made the trip from the Chesapeak bay to Cape May a couple times in the last few years. I like your original plan. Delaware City is small and not a lot of action and no pool . But itt dose have a couple of nice places to do dinner or brreakfast. But for the trip to Cape May it is about 7 miles closer and a better spot to catch the tide. If you catch the best current out of Summit you will hit the incoming current at the top of the delaware bay. If you leave Delaware city 1 hr before the current starts to run out you can ride the 2 + knot current down to the wider Bay where you will meet the 1 knot current coming in at some point. in a sailboat at 5 to 6 knots it can be a couple hours of diffrence. Have fun .
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Old 03-08-2015, 14:33   #9
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Re: Planning Baltimore to NYC

I did the reverse trip about his time last year. Helped a friend move his sailboat from Sandy Hook down the NJ coast, then up the bay, into the Delaware river to Essington Harbor. We left from Sandy Hook Friday evening about 6:30pm, sail down the NJ coast about 3 to 6 miles off strait through. There was three of us rotating a two man watch. Rounded Cape May point about 6:30pm Saturday evening into a run up the Delaware Bay, arrived at the mouth of the C/D Canal about 6:00am Sunday.

Unless you intend to only stay in marinas, there are some nice anchorage areas along your route through the upper Chesapeake. Once in the canal there is only Chesapeake city or summit north marina. Delaware city gets its share of transient sailors, but because of bridge clearances on the branch canal, it can only be approached rom the Del. river I've sailed the area from Baltimore up through the Elk river, canal and Delaware bay extensively.

In case you may not be aware, the C&D Canal can only be motored through. Not sailed. Once through the canal there are anchorage areas up river of the canal exit behind Pea Patch island and down river behind Reedy island. To wait out the tidal current.

About mid way down the Del. bay there is an abandon light house base just north of the shipping channel. Its charted, but not marked or lighted; Also there are not any good harbors to run to if the weather kicks up until you get to Cape May or Lewis Del. Just off of Cape Henlopean, Del. There is a large stone breakwater that forms a harbor of refuge that gives safe anchorage in any weather. Avoid the Cape May canal unless your sure of your mast clearance hgt.

Depending on when you are making the trip. If you would like some additional experienced crew. Send me a PM.
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:34   #10
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Re: Planning Baltimore to NYC

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreadenSails View Post
... buying a new to me sailboat down in Baltimore ... and ... sailing it up to ... NYC ... tips ... [?] ...

My plan for now is to go
Day 1) Baltimore to Chesapeake City
Day 2) Short day through the Canal so I can time the current in our favor
Day 3) Delaware City to Cape May
... reasonable ... ? Any changes I should consider? ...
You have already received good ideas from many others. In a 34 footer I assume you make 5.5 to 6.0 knots under power without strain, so I'd suggest something like Baltimore - Chesapeake City (or the nearby marina to the east) - Cape May Harbor - offshore to NYC. You have not mentioned crew or available time (more on this below).

One thing perhaps not covered already is something called "the weather." You definitely do NOT want wind against tide on Delaware Bay, or wind out of the northerly quadrant along the New Jersey coast. This means allowing a reasonable number of days to wait out the weather if necessary, and consequent arrangements for crew schedules, provisions, fuel, stores, etc. Some sort of AIS support is always a good idea.

Even a relatively short passage like this deserves as much respect as you can give it. Many are the tales of unhappiness associated with the Delaware Bay.
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