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Old 28-07-2011, 12:08   #1
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NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

I'm planning on sailing my Morgan 35 from New York to Washington DC at the end of the summer season; probably late September or early October. The prospect of the trip has me a bit nervous. I've sailed mainly in Long Island Sound, although in the sound I have been in 30 kt winds right on the nose (not "fun" but certainly exciting). This trip will require me to actually go out in the ocean off the coast of New Jersey. I have not been there before, although I do have the appropriate charts. Also, I'll be doing this trip solo. Does anyone have any advice about the coast of New Jersey? Is it treacherous? Which direction is the prevailing current? I understand that there are several inlets to the ICW, where I could anchor in calm water, but what if I can't make it to an inlet. Can I anchor half a mile or so off of the beach? What's the risk that I'll be blown onshore while I sleep? Anyone know what the weather typically is around there in September or October?

Thanks for putting my mind at ease... or for scaring the nonsense out of me, whichever the case may be.
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Old 28-07-2011, 12:42   #2
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

So often choices about where you can anchor or find shelter are affected by your draft and mast clearances. Weather requires monitoring at the time that you travel and choices as to wether you remain in safe horbor or head out. We usually come out the East River leaving Governors Island to starboard out Buttermilk Channel and spend the night anchored behind Sandy Hook,- often behind the first of the breakwater at Atlantic Highlands. From here we often take the short sail to Manasquan and anchor in the Metedeconk River, but this requires passage through the Point Pleasant Canal that has strong currents where two bridges require opening. We often take the liesurely sail down Barnegat Bay which is available from the Metedeconk with our 4'3" draft. We don't favor Barnegat Inlet, but we do like to anchor up Rum Creek on the north side after entering Absecon Inlet at Atlantic City. Cape May Inlet is very good and there is anchoring available by the Coast Guard Station to port. With less than 55' height and less than a 6' draft, you can enter the Delaware Bay by the Cape May Canal. Additional information may be found at Active Captain or with Skipper Bob's guide. Though I've heard of it being done I don't favor or recommend anchoring offshore. If you're in water shallow enough to anchor, you're at risk on the lee shore. If your staying out you'd do best to stay the course and make secure headway sailing south.
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Old 28-07-2011, 12:58   #3
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

Good advice. I've been thinking that I should not take the ICW route because I really don't want to run aground, or have to be dependent on using the engine when traversing narrow channels. Although, going solo on the offshore route scares me a bit since it necessitates not keeping a good watch (at some point I have to sleep), and it seems like poor planning to plan on not sleeping between Sandy Hook and Cape May.

Thanks.
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Old 28-07-2011, 13:01   #4
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

Lot of snowbirds make that trek that time of year. Suggest you find a buddy boat. A good guidebook or two also will help with anchorages, etc.

I tend to think Delaware Bay can be more of a headache than the Jersey Coast. But overall, with decent weather, it's a relatively easy passage.
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Old 28-07-2011, 13:23   #5
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

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Originally Posted by flatlander View Post
I'm planning on sailing my Morgan 35 from New York to Washington DC at the end of the summer season; probably late September or early October. The prospect of the trip has me a bit nervous. I've sailed mainly in Long Island Sound, although in the sound I have been in 30 kt winds right on the nose (not "fun" but certainly exciting). This trip will require me to actually go out in the ocean off the coast of New Jersey. I have not been there before, although I do have the appropriate charts. Also, I'll be doing this trip solo. Does anyone have any advice about the coast of New Jersey? Is it treacherous? Which direction is the prevailing current? I understand that there are several inlets to the ICW, where I could anchor in calm water, but what if I can't make it to an inlet. Can I anchor half a mile or so off of the beach? What's the risk that I'll be blown onshore while I sleep? Anyone know what the weather typically is around there in September or October?


Thanks for putting my mind at ease... or for scaring the nonsense out of me, whichever the case may be.
Wow....where to begin???

The Jersey intracoastal is recognized to be the worst part of the USA intracoastal system. As an assistance tower in the Cape May area...I can tell you there are a couple of spots where at low tide the intracoastal is less than 3 feet mid channel.

But plenty of cruisers come and enjoy. each night tie up neat a Sea Tow baseand ask the local captain for local knowledge. if not him/her... ask some local marina patrons.

If all else fails...travel on an incomong tide and don't plan on anchoring in the ocean....except for Little Egg inlet and a couple oters...most are easy and once inside...drop the hook and call the local assistance tower for good info.

Cruising should be fun...as long as you are not on a tight schedule..there is some great cruising in NJ basckwaters.

One last problem...there are some 35 foot fixed bridges along the way....just plan ahead.
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Old 28-07-2011, 13:37   #6
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

Hide behind Sandy Hook and wait for weather. Then shoot down to Cape May. If I remember right it's about 120 miles. You do have to stay awake for this stretch.
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Old 28-07-2011, 13:40   #7
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

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Hide behind Sandy Hook and wait for weather. Then shoot down to Cape May. If I remember right it's about 120 miles. You do have to stay awake for this stretch.
You'll miss a lot of cool stuff...just beadvised that it's not a mindless voyage to do the NJ intracoastal.
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Old 28-07-2011, 13:48   #8
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

Wait behind Sandy Hook for good weather and leave in the morning. Towards evening go inside at Barnegat Inlet. You can't miss the light house and it's an easy inlet to navigate. Anchor just inside on the S. side for the night and exit next morning for the run to Cape May Inlet. With good weather quite easy and if you stay within a few miles of shore you will have the current pushing you south. Nothing to be nervous about in good visibility and a fair wind. Don't even think about anchoring outside unless you have a 500 lb. Danfort and a mile of chain.
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Old 28-07-2011, 14:24   #9
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

Plan your trip with tides in mind. Shoot for high tide 7am at Sandy Hook, let tides carry you down shore. Overnight behind Sandy Hook previous night, good sheltered anchorages (or my dock if you want). Make for Brigantine Inlet as first stop, just south of AC.
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Old 28-07-2011, 15:15   #10
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

The Jersey coast can be a very pleasant sail in the right winds and weather. As has been mentioned, you'd want to pick a good window.

The days are obviously shorter in sept/oct. I wouldn't recommend entering Barnaget in the dark. Little Egg is not advisable.

Highlands to Atlantic City..( absecon) is about 80 miles or so. Given that you're sailing solo, I would suggest that you stage yourself at the highlands and plan to leave in the pre-dawn hours. Get around sandy hook. By the end of sept you'll have about 13 hours of daylight to get to Atlantic City. Atlantic City is good entrance.

From there you have a short hop to Cape May. Depending on your mast height, you might have to exit and go around..or if under 55' you can head through the canal.

The prevailing winds are SW, but if you can catch a mild system moving through and can catch some W, NW, N, NE and E winds you moght be able to sail a good bit.

Anchoring is not really a good option...I like staying about 3 miles offshore in about 60 ft of water and just follow the coast. It keeps you clear of the big ships which stay further out, and somewhat away from the small private fishing boats. You'll see a fair amount of charter boats etc..it's a busy coast, so sleeping is not an option here.

Going in Manasquan and out Barnaget is another option as Capt Force says, but, it will test your nerves trying to navigate the currents, bridges, canal etc.
especially if you're seeing this area for the 1st time.

One other crew member, would make this a much easier trip for you..
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Old 28-07-2011, 15:29   #11
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Helpful if you told us what make draft and height of mast? I've done it straight thru. Because I'm deep draft big stick. I have stopped in atlantic city as well. Your getting good advice. I've done it solo 5 times I think. It can get bumpie not a nice sea swell it's the jersey chop. When I go straight thru I'm awake for 30 hours or there about. Auto pilot is a must. 8 hours of steering after a pilot failure expended more energy And really wore me out. I would not suggest going nonstop solo to cape may for your first solo coast trip tuck in at least in atlantic city. The potomac is. Neat And unheralded river the few times ive run the hold river i was amazed.chesapeake is wonderful. As a native dc resident a premature welcome from sabray.
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Old 28-07-2011, 15:44   #12
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

I just did this trip twice. I got my brother to go with me from Port Washington, NY down the East River and down the coast to Absecon Inlet at Atlantic City. This run took us about 23 hours total in a 30 foot boat, with the currents right for running through New York City. I'm glad I had help. I was thinking of single-handing it, but that would have been tough. There is a good bit of traffic, and somebody has to stay awake.

The run from Sandy Hook to Atlantic City was about 16 hours.

I single-handed from Atlantic City to Cape May offshore. That's a pleasant day sail in the right conditions. Then single-handed through the Cape May Canal and up the Delaware Bay to the Cheseapeake Canal. I ended up with an unforecast 15+ knot wind on the nose all the way up the bay, blowing against the current the whole way. Not fun, but I made it in one long day to Chesapeake City.

In early June, I made the reverse run with two teenagers as crew. We had a flat calm and favorable currents on Delaware Bay. But on the overnight run from Cape May to NYC, we had thick fog (not forecast) all night, including running into NY harbor in the fog.

This section of coast can be done singlehanded with patience and careful weather selection, but it sure is a handy place to have somebody else along for 2 or 3 days.

I did notice three sailboats running together in a line and staying in constant VHF contact overnight on the way down. This might be an option for you, as someone above mentioned.

For some reason, of the entire U.S. East Coast, all of which I have traversed at least a couple of times now, this section gives me the most heartburn. I'm not really sure why, but maybe this post will be of some use to you.
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Old 28-07-2011, 16:00   #13
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Quote:
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I just did this trip twice. I got my brother to go with me from Port Washington, NY down the East River and down the coast to Absecon Inlet at Atlantic City. This run took us about 23 hours total in a 30 foot boat, with the currents right for running through New York City. I'm glad I had help. I was thinking of single-handing it, but that would have been tough. There is a good bit of traffic, and somebody has to stay awake.

The run from Sandy Hook to Atlantic City was about 16 hours.

I single-handed from Atlantic City to Cape May offshore. That's a pleasant day sail in the right conditions. Then single-handed through the Cape May Canal and up the Delaware Bay to the Cheseapeake Canal. I ended up with an unforecast 15+ knot wind on the nose all the way up the bay, blowing against the current the whole way. Not fun, but I made it in one long day to Chesapeake City.

In early June, I made the reverse run with two teenagers as crew. We had a flat calm and favorable currents on Delaware Bay. But on the overnight run from Cape May to NYC, we had thick fog (not forecast) all night, including running into NY harbor in the fog.

This section of coast can be done singlehanded with patience and careful weather selection, but it sure is a handy place to have somebody else along for 2 or 3 days.

I did notice three sailboats running together in a line and staying in constant VHF contact overnight on the way down. This might be an option for you, as someone above mentioned.

For some reason, of the entire U.S. East Coast, all of which I have traversed at least a couple of times now, this section gives me the most heartburn. I'm not really sure why, but maybe this post will be of some use to you.
Your right I have had some wonderful sails in the jersey coast and Deleware bay. It is an area that makes me usually more vigilant then normal. Not a warm fuzzy place to sail. After blowing the forecast the last 2 times I think I'll jump straight to block island next time. That is a really great sail no jersey chop.
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Old 28-07-2011, 16:02   #14
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

One of the features of the coast of NJ is that it is pretty deep offshore close to shore. You can stay just a mile off the beaches which cuts down any weather coming from the west.

A good approach as mentioned above is to wait out the weather in Sandy Hook. Once things are 1-3 feet, even from the east, it'll be a nice ride.

Sandy Hook to Atlantic City is a long but easy run. Atlantic City to Cape May or Lewes, DE (other side of the bay behind the breakwater) will be an easy day. Jump up the Delaware Bay and you're home free in easy Chesapeake Bay cruising.
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Old 30-07-2011, 14:09   #15
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Re: NYC to DC Down Past the Jersey Shore

A west wind tends to flatten out the seas and makes for a nice beam reach along the coast. The reason I like to stay a little further off is to avoid alot of the small private fishing craft trolling lines.. and yes...jet skis... but also, if weather does come from the West in the form of a brief squall or thunderstorm ...you'll see it coming easier and you may want to head into it...until it passes...I want a little more than a mile..

In the fall, there's less traffic and fewer evening storms..so I would be less concerned..so yes a mile off would be fine..
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