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Old 19-02-2016, 13:09   #16
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

Thank you all for your suggestions. I will probably have some specific questions after a night with the charts and Active Captain.
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Old 19-02-2016, 16:42   #17
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

This could be a marvelous experience Later on, say mid-to- late departure when the weather becomes your pal!


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Old 19-02-2016, 16:43   #18
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

Sorry-- mid to late June was my thought


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Old 19-02-2016, 18:50   #19
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

We bought our Moody in Stamford, CT, and sailed her to Deltaville-Fishing Bay in May. You have been given a lot of good suggestions, to which I can only add a few tidbits. Have some warm clothing. Even going along the Jersey coast was chilly. Not cold, but chilly. I'm sure it will be cold coming down from Maine. Also, check or call ahead to make sure places are open. Memorial Day is when a lot of places start their operations in that part of the world. We saw very little traffic. We pulled into one of the marinas at Port Washington to fuel for the journey south, tied up, and waited, waited, waited for the attendant. Finally I walked up to the office and got some assistance. The operator said he just wasn't expecting any traffic.

You have to go through the Hell gate and East River on a favorable tide. All the guidebooks will give you good advice. This can be safely done at night, but if this is the first time for you, I would strongly suggest waiting until daylight. The boat traffic in NY harbor is fearsome, and it all moves very fast. Particularly the orange Staten Island ferries. The lights on the shore, the vessels and the hundreds of buoys can be overwhelming. In our case, that meant waiting at Port Washington until 1100. Ordinarily that would pose no problem, as one would get through the river, then cross the inner harbor and then across Raritan Bay to Atlantic Highlands before dark. Atlantic Highlands has both an anchorage and mooring field and is the common staging point for a dawn or pre-dawn departure down the coast. Alas, Atlantic Highlands was still closed from Sandy, and I did not feel comfortable zipping out and down the coast to Cape May in the dark in a boat that was new to us. I knew where all the thru-hulls were and the safety gear, but if things went bump in the dark, there was a lot of "what was that?" and "where was that?" to ask. Consequently, we pulled into Liberty Landing on the Jersey side of the Hudson to wait until dawn the next day. The marina is right next to Ellis Island. It is a very nice marina. The cost is exorbitant, but we were in the off season, so semi-exorbitant. Regardless, the view of Manhattan at night is worth the price--even the outrageous in-season rate. Truly spectacular, and it really merits a stop. I'm not sure if one can anchor over by the Statue of Liberty with the restrictions put in after 9/11, but if you can, the view will be the same as from Liberty Landing and lots cheaper. Anyway, the tendency is to rush through NY harbor as fast as possible, but consider spending the night for the view of Manhattan at night. You won't be disappointed. It is something.

It is only a day run down to Atlantic City, but there are not many places to put in in case you have an emergency. Wait for good weather.

If you leave at dawn and have steady wind or you motor, you can make Atlantic City by night fall. Easy entrance from the ocean. One of the few surviving casinos has the contract to operate the state-owned marina co-located with the casino. It is pricey, but you can then conveniently walk right into the casino and drop some change. There is an anchorage in Absecon inlet adjacent to the casino, but if you look on Active Captain, you'll see a much better anchorage on the opposite side of the inlet up by the bridge. It is marked on Active Captain and there are lots of good instructions how to get in and out on Active Captain. But watch the tide--your draft might be an issue at low tide.

Cape May is a nice town, worth stopping for a day or two. Plenty of marinas and decent anchorages on either side of the Coast Guard base.

If you leave Cape May and head up the Delaware Bay with the tide, you will get a 1 or 2 knot boost and can easily make Chesapeake City or the Bohemia or Sassafras Rivers.
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Old 19-02-2016, 20:35   #20
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

We did Groton,CT to the Chesapeake at the beginning of May last year. Went west in LIS the jumped from Sandy Hook to Atlantic City. Spent the rest of May in the Chesapeake then jumped from Norfolk to Montauk to get back.

Left on the Monday before Thanksgiving from Montauk and jumped to Cape May.

We have extremely warm clothing. Also we're a southern boat. No dodger, no enclosure, just a bimini to keep the hot sun off us.

Warm clothing is the key for us.

Enjoy the trip!
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Old 19-02-2016, 20:40   #21
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

Also will add that a month is not a lot of time to go from Maine to the Chesapeake if you want to sail. Weather windows determine where we hang out and for how long. I've bypassed many places I would have liked to have stopped at because I had good wind I needed to take advantage of.
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Old 19-02-2016, 20:51   #22
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

Having done this trip or portions of it dozens of times, I would add that you must be extremely diligent about ship traffic, currents and other navigation hazards. Hell Gate is always best at slack or with a fair tide but heavy or powerful boats should not have a problem. The New Jersey Coast has many inlets of varying reliability. Sandy Hook, Atlantic City ( about 70 miles from Sandy Hook) and Cape May (about 100) are the best, but the 55' bridge in Cape May means many have to go around. Manasquan is fine in good weather as is Barnegat and Shark River, but try to follow a local boat and beware in foul conditions. (Great Egg may work too but I have not been there). The Delaware Bay is the worst place to sail on the east coast for many reasons--and stay clear of the ship channel! Leave as a foul tide ends and slack begins and ride the powerful tide. Most boats can do the 65 miles in a long day and stay at Summit North Marina on the canal or Chesapeake City. Limited facilities past the canal until the Bay opens up. Lots of shoals and boat traffic all the way.... be cool!
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Old 19-02-2016, 20:57   #23
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

If you do the CT shore, Mystic seaport is worth a stop certainly.
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Old 19-02-2016, 21:00   #24
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

Brought my boat from Annapolis to Boston in late October last year and took less than 3 days. I have sailed from Boston to to Northeast harbor Maine in less than 2 days. My point is that a month is more than enough time to make this trip even allowing for weather and many stops. I made these trips under sail. The most challenging part of the trip was running down Delaware Bay at night. Very busy with commercial traffic. You must know where you are relative to shipping lanes. If you time Hells Gate at slack you will be wondering what all the concerns are about. This will be a great trip for you. Have fun.
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Old 20-02-2016, 17:57   #25
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

Thanks again for the advise. I was originally thinking of staying outside and just hopping down but looking at the cape cod canal and the east river just makes the inside of Long Island Sound seem like something I need to do. We will definitely be stopping in Newport and Mystic if possible.
Is the 79th street marina in New York the place to stay around there if you want a few days in the area?

Jim
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Old 20-02-2016, 20:53   #26
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

We've been up and back from Annapolis to Maine 7 or 8 times; and up and back from the Newport/Vineyard/Nantucket area 3 times; but, we've done in July and August. ;^)))

Having said that:

I trust that your not in a hurry, thank goodness. You said a motor-sailor? It would help if we had a sense for your speed and whether you're looking at some overnight cruising as an option, etc? So my observations are based on generics. I assume you have radar? Chart plotter? Heater? etc.?

That time of year you should time your transiting of the Gulf of Maine so that you're fighting the wind plus the cold.

If you're coming from the Penobscot Bay area, I think that Booths Bay is a good stop. Then you have a choice to go to Portland (Casco Bay) etc. We have a pretty fast boat, so we tend to go directly to New Castle, NH. We like Wentworth Marina, they aren't cheap -- but you have a free loaner car and it's a nice place. You can load-up with groceries, wait for your weather window, etc.

Our next stop is usually Marblehead. You could try Gloucester or some other places. But Marblehead is just a great place. Walkable, etc.

From Gloucester you can either cut down to Boston, Situate, Plymouth, or cut across to Ptown. Weather and fog can be an issue. You may see some whales if you cut across to PTown. I've always found PTown fun. That time of year it will pretty cold out there, though.

Then it's through the Cape Code Canal -- ONLY WITH THE TIDE! It's really gorgeous on a nice day. Depending on the time of day, you can make New Bedford (pretty commercial fishing port) or South Dartmouth, a/k/a Padanaram.

If you want to go to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard instead, its probably a turn to the South right out of the Cape Cod Canal, the you have the Woods Hole run through a very tricky bit of tide, current, and timing. Along the way there are places to stop. There will almost no one there that time of year :^))). But that may part of your special experience.

If you get to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard, as you head back East toward Newport be careful to watch wind and tide. You will want to have the tide in your favor -- but if the wind is counter, it will be a LONG, MISERABLE, experience. Remember, Nantucket is where the billionaires are displacing the millionaires. But it is lovely. Edgartown is a neat town -- as is Vineyard Haven. The Vineyard has a convenient bus system that will allow you see that pretty big island.

Newport is special. if you haven't been there, its worth bunch of days. A mooring in the harbor is fun. Marinas might welcome you and your credit car for less pain than later in the season :^)))

Then there is the Great Salt Pond on Block. Worth a stop. I've not found going ashore so great, but then that's me.

I like Sag Harbor as a stop. Mystic is neat. Then you have LI Sound. That's a crisscross and tidal experience. Several places along the CT shore.

Once you get toward NY City we like Huntington. There are plenty of places to eat and a ton of boats.

There are some other places between there and NY also. You can try Stamford, CT. too.

Everyone has described Hells Gate and the run down the East River. I don't places to stop in NYC. There's the Battery and several places on the NJ side off the Hudson down there.

Sandy Hook is place to bail-out. The Bridge as you go down the East River are spectacular -- capped off the be Verrazano Narrows. BUT the traffic (REAL TRAFFIC) below NYC is AMAZING and confusing. Tide going out of the Narrows and wind are a big deal.

The only place south of Sandy Hook you should think about is Atlantic City if you want to bail-out until Cape May. I've never been there, but I've been by it.

Cape May, which I have visited once is interesting. It's entrance from the east is workable.

Delaware Bay, for me, is something to be passed through. Watch the wind, go with the current, stay near but on the edge of the ship channel. There is a lot of freight traffic going with the current. It's orderly though.

The C&D Canal has some places to pull off -- but by then you'll be home.

Watch the buoys, ranges, and ship traffic on the western side of the C&D. It a little confusing if you are trying it at night! There is a system, but by the time you figure it our, you'll be through it. The ranges appear "right on you" when they are far away.

If you want to discuss your trip further. Send me a message, we can chat off-line.

By the way, we often go non stop from Annapolis to SW Harbor, Maine. We're about 50 nm off of Nantucket before we turn North. I think you're much better off (especially that time of year) NOT doing that. There is a lot of fog, cold, fishing trawlers, current going all kinds of directions, and very cold water. If you hit a weather window wrong, there is a reason the area has a reputation for being tough.

The only other advice: Really watch the weather. Exiting NY Harbor is ALWAYS pretty lumpy (understatement) even with the current. But against the wind, it can be brutal. So are many of the other places along the way. By picking hops that you can do in 6-7 hours. If you pick your weather windows it should be a lot of fun. Keep it that way. One of the most dangerous things on a sailboat is a calendar. :^)))
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Old 20-02-2016, 22:07   #27
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

Well yeah. Hang out in and around Gardeners Bay. Spend a night in Sag Harbor, a day in Dering, and one more night in Three Mile for a quiet one. Then head back north past Fishers Island. Others have said Mystic, but we like Stonington. All that, without the "touristy feel". Head west across Long Island Sound and through NYC as suggested above. Stop over at Guilford Yacht Club on the way (our home base, don't enter at dead low) for a hot shower and dinner in town. Congrats on the new boat!



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Old 21-02-2016, 06:42   #28
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

Thanks a lot SG and others. We will be leaving from Harpswell which is in the southern part of Maine and as best we can tell the boat moves pretty good. We seemed to move along at close to 9 knots at fairly low RPMs during sea trial. 10+ when we got going but we needed some engine mounts and the vibration got us as we cranked it up so we are not really sure about what it will do in the ocean. That is one reason I was looking at some close (40-50 mile) places early so we don't have to push it.
I am used to counting on 5 knots average on my old Shannon so the range on this one is going to take some getting used to. Not that I'm complaining.

Jim
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Old 21-02-2016, 07:25   #29
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

I didn't see any mention of Delaware Bay so far.

If you can plan your transit so that you catch the flood tide shortly after entering the bay, you can get a real boost. I once rode the fair current for about 12-13 hours from Cape Henlopen, Delaware, all the way up the bay, through the C&D Canal, and down to Tolchester Beach in the Chesapeake before it went slack. We were motor-sailing due to light winds.

It was an overnight passage with limited visibility due to mist. We kept just outside the channel markers to avoid ship traffic. The radar came in very handy, as some of the markers were unlit and only came in view a couple of boat-lengths ahead of us. We had two people on watch for the transit--one to steer and the other to watch the radar/chartplotter overlay and call out the markers, ships and shoals. Sailing solo, you'll no doubt want to stop over in the Cohansey or some other spot.

Also, the Delaware Bay has a lot of shallows and shoals. A wind-against-tide situation can set up a really nasty chop. I've only been seasick once in my life, and it was on Delaware Bay.
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Old 21-02-2016, 17:56   #30
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Re: Maine to Chesapeake Bay in May

The Delaware Bay does have one place we've stopped at: The Cohancy River. It's about 75-80% of the way up the Delaware Bay from Cape May.


BoatUS towed us in. We had to get some emergency service work done.


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The marina has a nice Eastern Shore restaurant. You can anchor in the river -- but the reversing tide is strong. While we were waiting for the dock to open-up the next morning, our 65# CQR and all chain rode did its job. ;^))


The next morning, a mechanic in a boat came-out and took use to tie-up against the bulkhead. They worked all day and fixed everything. Very good, very clean, very thoughtful -- I couldn't have asked for any better. The rate that they had 12 years ago for a senior mechanic and technician was something like $50/Hour. But, hopefully, if you stop there, it want be for such a thing.


The entry is pretty straight-forward, it's deep and almost primeval how your wind through the approach. But when you arrive at the small town and harbor, it's clean and very conventional -- small town, friendly people.


Having said all of this. If the flies are biting or the mosquitoes are flying -- I'd get through the whole Delaware Bay experience and put it behind you. But I hate being bitten, having my blood sucked out, and chewed on. It might be nice that time of year...or it might not.


We've been 60 miles east of Cape May when we've been descended-upon by thousands of biting flies courtesy of NJ.
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