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Old 06-05-2014, 12:44   #1
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Cape May--Block Island--how long?

Am planning to go from Cape May NJ to Block Island or Montauk later this month, probably close to Memorial Day. Can anyone who is familiar with this run tell me how long to plan for? I figure with decent wind I'll average between 5.5-6 knots and can motor at that speed if necessary. I'm thinking 30-34 hours, so leaving Cape May at 6 AM with a prevailing SW would get me to BI around 12-3 PM next day. That departure would also get me across the shipping lanes from/to NYC in daylight. Looks straightforward--rhumb line seems to run close to NJ shore until around Barnegat Bay, then heads NE to BI.

Is there a need for HF radio? Have VHF, radar and EPIRB. Boat is Moody 46.

This will be first ocean voyage for wife, although she has done NJ shore a couple of times but not open water. Lots of sailing in Chesapeake. I've crewed on a sailboat the size of mine from Bermuda to Newport. Any other suggestions?

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Old 06-05-2014, 13:32   #2
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Re: Cape May--Block Island--how long?

We have gone from Atlantic City to Block many times. We haven't seen much ship traffic although we have had to avoid commercial fishing boats off of Long Island. The VHF is fine. If your antennae is on top of your mast you will have no problem reaching the different Coast Guard stations as you go up the coast. They come in loud and clear.

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Old 06-05-2014, 13:44   #3
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Re: Cape May--Block Island--how long?

VHF should be fine if it's in good working order.
A good radar reflector as well but just keep a good lookout for fishing boats at night, they often are running autopilot and not really looking for anything smaller than a freighter. Then again they have right of way if on a haul or run.
Sometimes helps to hail them if your not sure of their course.
Commercial traffic in and out of NY changeable, commercial ships going into and out of Narragansett Bay usually sit Southeast of BI for pilot boat but some commercial tugs run barges up along Long Island north of BI between the island and shore heading for Buzzards Bay and to the CC canal, worth looking out for at night since the tow cables can be up to 3/4 mile long depending on sea state and size of load.
Not a bad run though weather that time of year is wide ranging and the water's still cold.
Will be sailing to Nantucket around then from RI, I'm bringing shorts and cold weather gear, you never know.
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Old 06-05-2014, 13:51   #4
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Re: Cape May--Block Island--how long?

Your time estimate is about right. I always like to carry something more than a VHF when out of sight of land. On the rhumb line you may lose VHF. Instead of an EPIRB consider a PLB. Same signal and response. Only difference is a 24 hour instead of a 48 hour battery and it doesn't float.

Or get a Delorne Inreach or Spot (I really like the Inreach).

But don't fight the weather. I've had some truly terrible experiences on the NJ coast. This is a great trip with a South through Northwest wind. Your wife will love offshore. If there is a forecast for wind out of north thru southeast, wait in Cape May or you may never get your wife on the boat again.

The tides are strong in this whole area. Study the tide chart to understand what it will do to your speed (e.g. sometimes helping, other times hurting)
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Old 06-05-2014, 14:03   #5
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Re: Cape May--Block Island--how long?

It's basically a 30-36 hour and a night and a day. Definitely keep a sharp lookout at night, as you'll occasionally encounter ships headed NW that are outside the lanes. VHF is fine, monitor 13 and 16 and you're good.

If you've never done it before, be prepared to wait in Cape May for the right weather window, since trying to put in at one of the inlets on the NJ or LI shore in bad weather is A Really Bad Idea.

And don't run close to shore...angle out to 5-10 miles offshore before you head towards Block.

Lastly, if you're going up the Bay and through the canal and down the Delware to get to Cape May, give the extensive shoals on the north side of the mouth of the river a wide berth (you have to go around, you're probably too tall for the Cape May Canal). It's tempting to try and pick your way through them given the hours it could save, but those shoals are constantly shifting and should be avoided.
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