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Old 16-04-2009, 06:20   #1
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All and any opinions sought for July - Sept itinerary

Hey all,
I'm planning to hit the US in July. I'm going to buy a boat (sub 6' draft, sub 55' mast height), hopefully I'll have most of the arrangements set up on-line first and so I'm allowing a couple of weeks to complete the deal... but that's another story.
My post here calls for any and all opinions on an itinerary.
I'll be sailing with my wife - novice sailor - and two kids (7 & 8). One of my main goals is that I don't scare the crew, as I want them to enjoy the experience... and for them to want to do more of it.
I will probably purchase in Florida. I need to end up in New York.
I've been thinking of going to the Keys and Bahamas first, and then heading up a combination of the ICW and a bit of outside, probably via Washington and Philidelphia.
Alternative thoughts are to head straight up NYC and to the lakes. But I've not got much idea what that entails, or what would be good to do.
Please give me your opinions, as I'm wanting to narrow the choice set.
Thanks
JMB
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Old 16-04-2009, 06:31   #2
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I would do my best to squeeze in the Bahamas if you start in Florida. A few summer squalls come through, but the sailing is easy, and sometimes a wee bit of motoring. The Bahamas are a real treat. You can have night life, socializing, and or complete solitude with abandoned white sandy beaches. The holding is good nearly everywhere too. My gallery is full of Bahmas pics........i2f
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Old 16-04-2009, 06:50   #3
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Florida may have the best prices for boats because of many reasons. However, you are not giving yourself much time to enjoy all the best cruising on the east coast.

I have only done a delivery through the Bahamas to FL and then outside to Wrightsville Beach NC. All locations on the coast are of interest to sailors. However my experience limited as it is is that the best areas are the Chesapeake,Southern NE and of course ME.

ME is best in the month of August when there is little fog. But ME is thousands of islands and harbors to visit it is one of the best cruising grounds in the world. Too cold for swimming, but if that is not a requirement you can spend years gunkholing in ME and never be bored.

If you do purchase in FL I would suggest you can the motor sail up the intercoastal which will take weeks or more of motoring. If you don't have the boat trucked up north, I would either have it delivered off shore by going up the stream and begin your cruise in Chesapeake or LIS and work your way up to ME.

Some places you want to visit on the way up to ME if you begin in LIS:

Thimble Islands
Fishers Island
CT River
Mystic
Stonnignton
Newport and Narragannsett Bay
Block Island
Gardiner's Bay, Sag, Coecles, Greenport
CuttyHunk
Hadley Harbor
the Vineyard
Nantucket
P Town
Marbelhead, Glouschester

With the prevailing SW breeze most of these points are broad reaches if you make your way north and east from LIS.

Leave at least 3 weeks for ME and a few weeks for the return trip to NY which can be on the wind. But if you can choose your times, you'll get winds from the East, NE and NW.

Regardless of where you buy the boat you should seriously consider shipping it. The costs are probably about $3+ / mi and this offsets what it costs to sail with wear and tear... and the time factor is significant as well.

Good luck!
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Old 16-04-2009, 07:28   #4
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When you get to the Norfolk area, you might want to spend a week or so to cruise up the Chesapeake, especially if you're going with family and novice sailors. In July there's not much wind, but if you don't mind some motor sailing, there's some great places to drop the hook and walk around some small historic waterfront towns such as Oxford, St. Michaels, and Annapolis. From there you can do a side land trip to Washington.

Sailing north, you can sail up to Baltimore. From Baltimore you can keep sailing north and connect with the Delaware Bay through the C&D canal, and back out to the Atlantic. Just be sure to go out of Delaware Bay when the tide/current are going out, preferably with low wind or wind on your stern, you don't want to have contrary wind and current on the Delaware Bay.

If you sail the Chesapeake, you should pick up a Chesapeake Cruising Guide, because there's a lot of options and alternatives there.
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Old 16-04-2009, 08:05   #5
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Definitely think about buying cruising guides to help you plan your itinerary. The best have just about everything you'll need to pick your anchorages, marinas, provisioning, repairs, restaurants, etc. They will allow you to do your homework well before your trip so that you will be prepared when things change and you need a new plan in a hurry. You'll also be able to ask more specific questions on the Forum, which will result in better advice.

Here are links to some past discussions on the topic...

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f19/cruising-guide-east-coast-9535.html

Opinions of Skipper Bob's Guide?

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f19/best-guide-to-chesapeake-24845.html

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f19/icw-clearances-depths-20003.html

Best chart book for West Florida
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Old 16-04-2009, 08:20   #6
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High level is good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
Definitely think about buying cruising guides to help you plan your itinerary. ..... You'll also be able to ask more specific questions on the Forum, which will result in better advice.

Here are links to some past discussions on the topic...
Thanks for the links. I have been doing lots of detailed research, I've got the pilot guides and all the chart sets running on SeaClear, and some books on the way from Amazon, but I really need to decide on the overall plan. For example I hadn't considered ME until Jeff suggested it. So keep the random suggestions coming!
cheers
JMB
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Old 16-04-2009, 19:14   #7
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"All and any opinions sought for July - Sept itinerary"
Better have a good plan on how to deal with any Hurricanes that time of year. Not something that is easy to do if you are not a local between the Keys and the Chesapeake.

Paul L
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Old 16-04-2009, 20:04   #8
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July can be fickle. If it runs cool then often early July can be nice. If it runs warm you need to scoot north. Hurricanes are not always the big ones but it wouldn't take much to teach you a lesson. get a lot of guides and pick about ten times the number of places you could go.

If would consider the trip north a by chance trip. You'll need days for the crew to go ashore and you'll need other days for a lot of non planned things. Let the weather steer you and sail all you can. Since it is a new boat bring extra money and don't take too many chances until you can shake it down well. It takes some time.

Having a lot of tricks in the bag means reacting to good sailing days and keeping the crew happy. No one knows how bad it can be on a boat until they are darn sure it's that boat with you.

It is all supposed to be fun and you can't do everything so don't try to. Doing everything fun is possible. A day chicken leg crabbing can be some of the best fun you ever had. A great anchorage can hook you for life and it is more how you look at things than what you really do. Keep the boat moving, manage expectations, and seeking out the other side of everything while learning all the things you never knew.

If you had Internet access along the way we would be glad to help. We have members almost everywhere.
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Old 16-04-2009, 21:01   #9
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some more detail?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
"All and any opinions sought for July - Sept itinerary"
Not something that is easy to do if you are not a local between the Keys and the Chesapeake.
Paul,
can you expand on this comment? Is this because finding somewhere safe to put the boat will be difficult? I'd imagined it was a matter of getting back to the mainland and up a river. But maybe this is easier said than done.

Also just a general comment on the schedule side of things, I don't have one, so if I end up spending 2 weeks messing around avoiding a storm, it doesn't bother me.

cheers
JMB
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Old 17-04-2009, 04:58   #10
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As I mentioned I haven't sailed much along the SE coast. But I don't think there are many snug harbors you can tuck into after working your way up (or down) the coast.

Boats go slow and so if the next landfall is more than 30 miles from your position, figure 6 hrs to get there. And then consider that you are sailing in unfamiliar waters and making landfalls are less stressful when you have light and you have more visual cues.

One of the joys I found in cruising in ME and Southern NE, of you are not in the process of getting from one point to another as in a long distance delivery, is that you have many options for a landfall.

For example, if we have been anchored in Newport RI, and want to sail we can pick a destination with a comfortable point of sail. If we have winds from the entire northern quadrant we can do a pleasant sail to Block Island or to the Vineyard. If it blows from the Southern quadrant we can sail up into Naragannsett bay which has lots of nice harbors to visit in anything from a few hours to a 4 or 6. And a safe easy landfall is never that fall away.

I found the sailing in the Windward and Leewards was not challenging as far as landfalls and so the longer sails between islands was hardly a problem.

Maine is gorgeous and full of wonderful harbors and thousands of islands. But it has fog, cooler weather, lobster traps galore and rocky ledges all over the place. But it's well marked. If I had to choose one region to sail in for any length of time, it would be Maine. Also ME is pretty remote so the on water traffic is very different from the regions near bustling metropolitan areas. This is why, though I live in NYC I keep the boat 100 miles to the East out in Shelter Island. Nice as it is out there, it is nothing compared to Maine.

My sense about Florida is that many live there because of the year round warm climate and since it's surrounded by water there are tons of recreational "weekend sailors" along with those cruisers passing through. So it seems crowded with boats an not many good places to sail. aside from the Bahamas which are up wind and across the stream. Perhaps this is the view of someone who doesn't know the region.

NJ is another coastline with hardly a harbor worth visiting as is the south shore of Long Island. I think the most flexible and interesting sailing for gunk holing day to day is from Southern NE up to crown jewel of cruising - Maine. I've never heard anyone bash ME except for the short sailing season and the fog. GPS plotters and radar have made this more attainable and less stressful.

My fav guide to ME was the two part series by Don Johnson. But there may be newer and better guides out there now. As Hud says, these are indespensible and worth their weight in gold.
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