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Old 22-11-2010, 16:22   #1
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One Month Cruise Out of NYC and Back ?

Hello all,

Last summer I took my Pearson 26 from NYC to the easternmost point in Maine and back over 31 days with a few friends. We spent most nights at anchor, averaged 50 miles per day, and on the way out we ran offshore 250 miles from Cape Cod to Lubec, ME. My crew and I spent a lot of time and money getting the boat ready, and she is now quite capable and comfortable for a P26. She has radar, gps, a huge gas tank, good power storage/supply, good dinghy, large ground tackle, lots of safety gear, etc.... What I'm trying to say is that she has been upgraded a bit beyond 'weekend warrior' status, although of course she'll never be suited to any real serious offshore passages.

With another July and August available to me and my boat looking ready for action, I am interested in planning another big trip. I'd like to see some new territory. This is what I'm hoping for:

3-6 weeks round trip starting and finishing in New York
Nice scenery with some remote anchorages
Not too expensive overall (relatively speaking)
Some offshore sailing (but not so far out to be without a weather forecast)

I am considering the 'Down East Circle Route' as I think it is called. I would go from NYC though the Long Island Sound to Cape Cod, 250 miles offshore to Nova Scotia, up the coast and through Strait of Canso, past Prince Edward Isle and up into the Saint Lawrence, past Quebec and Montreal, down through Lake Champlain (stepping the mast, I know) to eventually connect with the Hudson and back to NYC. I think most people end up doing this clockwise, but I think for the sake of prevailing winds and getting out of the Atlantic before hurricane season heats up, it would make more sense to go counter-clockwise instead.

Any general thoughts on this plan? At nearly 2,000 nm, it is a little on the long side for my summer vacation, but I really like the idea of completing a giant loop and not having to backtrack. Also, I know my boat is small for a trip like this, but she has proven herself rather seaworthy and dependable and we are used to the lack of space (I would have one or two of the same crew along with me). Still, if you think I'm pushing my luck with that boat please speak up.

Any other good options out there for a guy like me? I have considered just going to Nova Scotia for a few days, turning around and beating back. Or sailing down to the Chesapeake and exploring that area. Or maybe just go back up through New England and only go to spots I skipped over last time.

As you might have figured out, I'm dying to get out there and very open to suggestions! Thanks in advance,

Jack
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Old 22-11-2010, 19:05   #2
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I would think about doing a whole lot fewer miles and a whole lot more exploration. Going from the Cape Cod Canal to Lubec in one shot missed the entire coast of Maine. Try hoping from the canal to the Penobscot Bay and then hang around island hopping for a few weeks. Find out which town has the best lobster rolls and enjoy some of the best sailing in the world along with some of the most perfect anchorages.
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Old 22-11-2010, 19:35   #3
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On the way back down we did explore the coast of Maine relatively well, including Roque Island Archipelago, Moosabec Reach, Trafton Island, two days in Penobscot, three days around Mount Desert Island, Damariscove Island, Portland, Isles of Shoals, others. Of course there are thousands of little places that we passed over in doing so, and I don't mean to imply that Maine is checked off my list. Still, there is something really appealing about getting out into some open water and covering some new ground...

But dealing with the expense of such a long and remote trip is less attractive. Sailing down and around the Delmarva Peninsula and back could be interesting, and a much easier undertaking. Any idea if the Chesapeake is more or less crowded than the busier places in Maine? Hey if we do well on our stop at the Trump Marina Casino the trip could pay for itself! Very different trip, indeed.
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Old 22-11-2010, 19:41   #4
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The Chesapeake is an incredible place but I'd aim for that in September and October personally. July/Aug is the domain of Maine.

I've lived in the Penobscot Bay for 18 years and I haven't seen everything there is to see on the islands.

If you didn't sail through Eggemoggin Reach, you're missing one of sailings best afternoons on Earth.
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Old 22-11-2010, 20:01   #5
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Way too hot in August? Or is it the bugs and speedboats? Yeah I do prefer the more northern climes myself...

I'll have to check out Eggemoggin next time The coast of Maine has always been one of my favorite places, and so good to finally get to know it from a sailboat. Thanks for the tips.

Also, I just stumbled upon ActiveCaptain today while reading another post. That is a great site! I wish I'd known about it sooner.

Thanks,

Jack
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Old 22-11-2010, 20:50   #6
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ActiveCaptain is your gateway to finding outstanding anchorages reviewed by people who's actually been there. But if you use it, you have to add to it or else the current will always be against you. Really!
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Old 22-11-2010, 20:56   #7
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Sounds like an awesome cruise! I am green with envy.
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Old 22-11-2010, 20:57   #8
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July and August are the two worst months to sail the Chesapeake. Hot, humid, and light wind days is what you'll mostly experience.
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Old 22-11-2010, 21:12   #9
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That's tough news about the Chesapeake, it was starting to look like a good alternative.... any experiences out there with Nova Scotia and Gulf of St. Lawrence that time of year? What would be the biggest budgetary and logistical challenges in doing that loop? Seems like marinas aren't as pricey as the US, but I am sure re-provisioning and refueling up there won't be that cheap.
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Old 22-11-2010, 21:31   #10
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Chesapeake in summer is not much fun.

Based on your last trip, you'll have a great time in Nova Scotia. Go to the Bras-dOr-Lake (you could spend weeks here) and circumnavigate Cape Breton Island. These are not short distances for a 26ft boat.

I would not go up to the St. Lawrence in your boat. That's a really long way with some big pieces of exposed water getting there. While there are some wonderful spots like Quebec City there's a whole lot of nothing in between the interesting spots. Not enough reward for the effort. (I hope I'm not insulting any of my Canadian friends. I've only done the St. Lawrence trip once and it was a long time ago).

Instead, come back along the New Brunswick shore. Go up the river at St. Johns through Reversing Falls. You could spend a week or more there.

Then go to St. Andrews, Campobello, and Grand Manan island.

And finish with Maine -- some of the best coastal cruising under sail in the world. I can assure you there is more to see.


Carl
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Old 22-11-2010, 21:46   #11
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My favorite Maine cruising guide (A Cruising Guide to the New England Coast) was authored for many years by Roger Duncan who just passed away well into his 90's. You should find a copy as it will help you pass the long winter. Here's a paragraph:


"To be headed east by Schoodic bell before a summer sou'wester with
Mount Desert fading astern and the lonely spike of Petit Manan light
just visible on the port bow is about as close to perfection as a man
can expect to come on this imperfect earth....
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Old 22-11-2010, 21:53   #12
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Yeah we read that book cover to cover, if not more, on our trip. It served us well and even entered our daily lexicon. Our favorite were the Elliot of Harvard anecdotes. 'Rather long spars for a parson!'

Bras-dOr looks amazing!
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Old 23-11-2010, 06:11   #13
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A cruise that is stuck in the back of my mind is the south coast of Newfoundland. . . . You could spend a whole month there and see only a fraction of it all (not unlike the Maine coast).
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Old 23-11-2010, 09:14   #14
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OC,

We're in Center Harbor, on Eggemoggin Reach. Like Jeffrey, we've been sailing between Portland and the St John's River for 20+ years, and we still find new anchorages and adventures every summer. The Maine cruising guide of choice for us (and our friends) is Hank and Jan Taft's A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast.

On the other hand, we're also planning a Novia Scotia cruise this summer or next. We might make it as far as the Bras d'Or Lakes or PEI, then double back. The plan is flexible. You know how it goes Down East - fog, current, and variable winds mean that some days you can sail 100nm with pleasure, and other days you might crawl through the fog and lobster pots for 5 miles before you wisen up, drop the hook in some cove, and pick blueberries, instead. Soon you learn to stay on the hook and bake blueberry coffee cake.

Aside from the advantages of a flexible daily itinerary, the one thing you might consider is that August is usually the better sailing month in Maine and the Maritimes (September's my favorite). Your counterclockwise route will have you sailing the Maritimes in July and the inland portion in August. If you went clockwise you might hit the sweet spot in terms of water temps, fog, etc.

Either way, though, I'm sure you'll have a great time. Give a holler if you sail down Eggemoggin Reach.

Colin Farrar
s/v Mufasa
Brooklin, ME
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Old 05-12-2010, 17:57   #15
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I ran that same ininerary by a friend who teaches CYA cruising courses in Nova Scotia. I haven't made the trip, but his take, which I would have considerable faith in, is that a.) the tidal current in Fundy (greatest tidal range in the world, as you probably know) can be difficult to deal with and b.) the going upstream in the St. Laurence isn't too practical in a sailboat. I know many people have done both, of course. But, I'd consider the same circuit in reverse--North through Champlain/Richeleu R., down the St. Lawrence, etc. Hit the inland lakes in N.S.
John V.
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