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Old 12-04-2024, 03:19   #1
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Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Hello everyone, I hope to close on my next boat soon, located in northern Chesapeake Bay. I am looking to head to Nova Scotia and will be sailing solo. I don't know what the easiest route is. I was thinking of going through the C&D canal and then out to the Gulfstream and north. Most of my experience is on the West Coast, so I am not really familiar with the area. Is there a decent spot to anchor near Cape May to wait for the weather?

I keep hearing it is going to be an exceptionally bad year for storms. I am open to going to St. Lawrence or the Great Lakes via inland waterways; I'm just wondering how they connect when the mast needs to come down, etc. That's a long way to go when I plan on going south again in the fall.

The boat is a Cabo Rico 38 ( 5' draft )
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Old 12-04-2024, 04:43   #2
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

If you're going alone and prefer to anchor most nights, you can go as you suggested through the C&D Canal, down Delaware Bay to Cape May. I've anchored near the mouth of the Bohemia River before going through the Canal. You can also stop along the Canal, or behind Reedy Island when you come out of the Canal. Cape May has marinas and anchoring. From Cape May I prefer going straight to Montauk if I have crew, which is about a day and a half, to the east end of Long Island, but you can do a very long day hop from Cape May to Sandy Hook, NJ, with a possible overnight in Atlantic City to shorten the longest day, and then go through NYC's East River into Long Island Sound. From either of those places, you can do day hops all the way to Maine, passing through the Cape Cod Canal. From mid-coast Maine I've done an overnight passage to the southeast corner of Nova Scotia, around Cape Sable, but if I was alone, I'd look at a day hop from Down East Maine to Grand Manan Island for Canadian check-in.

I can recommend two great cruising guides: 1) Cruising Guide to Maine, Taft & Taft, Rindlaub, 6th Edition, 2017 and 2) Cruising Guide to the Nova Scotia Coast, by Cruising Club of America. You'll also want a copy of Eldridge Tide & Pilot Book with tides and currents from Nova Scotia to Key West.
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Old 12-04-2024, 05:50   #3
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Thank you very much, this is very helpful. I was hoping to avoid New York Harbour but I think that is mostly because I do not know what to expect. In 2022 I had the same issue going North from Victoria to Alaska via the inside passage. Lots of uknowns, dangers etc that made sense once I got there but were very overwhelming prior.
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Old 12-04-2024, 07:06   #4
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

New York Harbor can be one of the easiest and most interesting parts of the trip. Just ride the tide. https://www.offshoreblue.com/cruise/...ver-timing.php
Keep west of Roosevelt Island and watch out for ferries.
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Old 12-04-2024, 07:47   #5
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Thank you, that is very helpful!
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Old 12-04-2024, 08:04   #6
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

If it was me going from the Chesapeake to Nova Scotia solo I would do coastal hops: C&D Canal to Cape May, to Atlantic Highlands or Sandy Hook, to LI Sound, to Block Island, to Cuttyhunk, to Onset, through Cape Cod Canal to Provincetown, then one overnight from PTown up to midcoast Maine, probably Penobscot Bay, then coastal to around Mt. Desert, than offshore to Grand Manan, then offshore to Nova Scotia. Beautiful trip with favorable winds most of the time, and no need to really worry about hurricanes (usually) until August or so.
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Old 12-04-2024, 13:21   #7
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

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Originally Posted by Danm1 View Post
New York Harbor can be one of the easiest and most interesting parts of the trip. Just ride the tide. https://www.offshoreblue.com/cruise/...ver-timing.php
Keep west of Roosevelt Island and watch out for ferries.
Correct, one can ride the current from Sandy Hook up thru East River and Hell Gate into LI sound. (With current about 3 hours/15nm from Sandy Hook to Battery, which is south end of Manhattan Is. and then about 2 hours/12 nm to LI sound.) Harbor/river is busy but ok with a proper lookout.
Once thru East river/Throgs Neck bridge be sure to pass North of Steppingstone Lighthouse.
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Old 13-04-2024, 04:56   #8
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Ok my 2 cents

The Gulf Stream is about 200 miles offshore where the Hudson canyon (bight apex) turns it, at basicly the 200ft depth where the North American shelf ends.

I keep my boat on the NJ side of the Delaware 40 miles from cape May on the hard in winter so I make the trip up the NJ coast thru NYC and out to oyster bay Long Island 2x a year.
I stop at Atlantic City to drop hook and again in NY harbor there’s an anchorage behind the Statue of Liberty, for a couple of hours as I am either single or double handing. AC is the only harbor I would risk in heavy weather as my vessel draws 7.5 ft.
If you catch the start of the in going tide at the entrance to NY harbor you can ride the 6+ knots of current* right out on to the Long Island sound. NYC harbor is busy with big boats but as long as you follow the COLREGS, you will be fine.

Ride the tide and “Hell Gate” is no big deal. Going against will just take longer, and as mentioned stay to the west of Rosevelt island.

Cheers
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Old 13-04-2024, 05:31   #9
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Thank you so much for all the great advice everyone. Sounds like sticking to the coast is the way to go.
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Old 13-04-2024, 05:44   #10
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Where is the anchorage in Atlantic City? Looking on Google Earth and do not see one.
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Old 13-04-2024, 06:22   #11
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Re: Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

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Where is the anchorage in Atlantic City? Looking on Google Earth and do not see one.
People anchor south of the fixed bridge and west of the green can buoys, but I find it a miserable anchorage due to the substantial current, tidal range, and lots of traffic. When it is windy you will find yourself swinging around a lot! I have found the best way to tackle the Jersey coast is to wait for good weather and then just go until it's over, which usually includes some overnight time unless you are very fast. The problem singlehanding is then all the traffic and stuff to watch out for.
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