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Old 07-04-2009, 05:30   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: On my boat
Boat: Oyster 435 "Esper"
Posts: 22
What advice for cruising the USA East coast?

Our plans of heading down the Red Sea from Turkey are diminishing with every rejection I am receiving from insurance companies... we may, therefore, look the other way and head west to the Caribbean and on to the US for summer 2010.

We don't know much about cruising in the US, but like the idea of heading up the coast to Maine, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard - that general direction. We've been told that moorings/marinas are really expensive, but anchoring is free. As we are on a tight budget this is important! Are there plenty of places to anchor and what is the cost of living like in these areas? We have a watermaker and plenty of solar panels, so should be ok for power and water, but what about fuel? What are the visa/immigration restrictions? I believe we can take the boat to the US for six months, she is a UK registered yacht, is this correct?

Any advice, experience, recommendations, dos and don'ts for cruising the US would be very welcome.

Many thanks


Ever seen a cat swimming?
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Old 07-04-2009, 07:48   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Southern Westchester/Northport LI
Boat: Shiva - Contest 36s
Posts: 3,891
I would not use the watermaker except perhaps in the Gulf of ME. You stand a reasonable chance of messing it up unless you have some decent pre filtering. But water is free and if you have tanks of adaquate capacity, why make it? But then you have to pickle your watermaker membrane.

Marinas and Moorings in Southern NE are pricey and beyond the budget for most live aboard crusiers. I've not seen anything below $20US per night for a mooring and never even thought about a slip as I hate them.

Fuel is readily available at most marinas and finding a fuel dock is usually not a problem at all. You can also get propane bottles or refills in many accessible locations for a cruiser. You might have to change your fittings and they are enforcing certifications for alum bottles. Most can be recertified with new valves install for $50 or so.

Anchoring can be a problem from the point of view of location and size. Some small harbors have been filled with private and rental moorings which means to anchor there for free you have to be "way out" or sometimes outside a breakwater etc. Larger yachts can be seen anchored in those locations, but then the dink becomes key. Most harbors have some form of dinghy dock or place to land a dink. The more remote place do not. ME is challenging to anchor because it has a 15' or more tidal range. You'll find many free moorings up there. And lots and lots of beaustiful isolated places to anchor as well as charming little seaside towns to visit. ME is wonderful crusing grounds, but the "season" is very brief and it is know for its fog so GPS and radar are a must.

The region is well buoyed and they are maintained so with current charts navigation is not challenging.

Most boaters in the area move from slip to slip or to a transient mooring in a kind of weekend musical chairs. So you often won't see any open moorings, but the boats on them seem to change every weekend. In popular locations people book them in advance.

There is anchoring locations for sure. Newport has one right in the middle of the harbor amidst 1,000 (guess) rental and private moorings. Most days you can find one from one of several mooring services such as Old Port. But there is little advantage except you might feel secure leaving the boat for some time on a mooring as opposed to an anchor.

Many harbors have launch services usually associated with a yacht club or a mooring service. You pay for each pick up ($2-4), but some provide it free if you rent their mooring.

Cost of living is high as you might expect. Anything along the shore costs more than it would inland. But you should be able to get anything provision wise that you could dream about.

Marine repairs are accessible but very expenseive at boat yards such as Brewers which has yards thoughout Southern New England.

There is a lot of history in NE worth seeing from a yacht which is detailed in many cruising guides for the region. I would get one as a starting place.

Cheasepeake is known for its thin waters but it has lots of nooks and crannies to explore.

I've sailed these waters for 2 decades and might be able to answer some of your specific questions, but I am certain that others here will be able to assist.
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cape cod, east coast, maine, martha's vineyard, nantucket, USA

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