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Old 02-08-2020, 18:43   #1
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Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

Hi, our family is thinking about home school and work on a yacht while making our way up the east coast. A couple of factors. Can only sail on the weekends plus a day or so when needed. Mast height is 74 so motoring ICW is an option only when drawbridges are available. Need cell access for work. Interested in both National Parks and city scape, 4 boys on board (12, 11, 10, 8) so keep that in mind on the suggestion and going ashore every now and then would be great. Self sufficient power and water yacht so marinas not required.
If the cruisers who have experienced our amazing east coast have ideas on which anchorages you would stop at while making your way north towards Maine and any advice on when to turn back south that would be great.
I understand there are a million options but I look forward to the responses!
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Old 02-08-2020, 18:53   #2
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

Starting from where?
At 74’ air draft you are going to need to run off shore most of the way.
There are various guides and online resources to help you out.
But in general I think you will be running from major anchorage/inlet to major anchorage/inlet.

This be frank it’s going to be cold and nasty weather. I hope your self sufficiency includes significant heating capacity.

We ran South a few years ago starting in the upper Chesapeake. Left April 2 in short sleeves. Within 48 hours we had exposure suits on. Layed over in Deltaville in driving hail. You are going to have to go off shore around Cape Hatteras. That will require careful planning and perhaps a long wait in Moorhead City.

You also need to think about draft. With 74’ air draft I’m guessing you also have significant water draft. That may narrow your marina options. And you will need to touch docks for water, fuel and supplies.

This is not a trip I would do voluntarily.
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Old 02-08-2020, 20:14   #3
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

Going NORTH in November? Most cruising boats have cleared out of the lower chesapeake and higher latitudes then. Around the end of November getting fuel and water becomes an issue because docks start shutting down their dockside services. Some marinas pretty much shut down. Coastal storms that time of year can be fierce.

We left out of Harrington Harbor North (mid Chesapeake Bay) late November several years ago and the ice was crunching under our boat as we left the slip.
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Old 02-08-2020, 21:37   #4
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

First off, with four boys of those ages, someone will be going ashore EVERY day or there will be felonies involved. Second, I was told that north of the Cape Cod Canal, there were two things you must never be late, your wedding and your haulout appointment. I.E. most every vessel, sail or power, is hauled in October. Winter on the hook in New England is a complicated endeavor. Not to say it can't be done. Empty mooring fields in Narragansett Bay (RI) or Penebscot Bay (ME) may offer the best combination of reduced exposure, access to winter provisioning supplies and marine services if you are determined to avoid a marina slip. As for moving north from ??? In weekly 48 hour windows with offshore exposures and short daylight autumn days, you might consider leaving Friday. The coldest autumn/winter I have ever spent was on the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick and the thermometer never went below 25 F and that includes an October spent at Lat 59N - SE Alaska.
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Old 03-08-2020, 04:47   #5
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

Japarker,

That must have been a nice winter. We would keep our boat in the water all year long, spend weekends on it on the dock. I’ve seen weeks of teens °F and even the odd single digit. At the worst we were froze in and for a day you could walk around the boat.

That was Delaware.

We have a steel boat with diesel heat.

The OP has still not told us his departure point, what kind of boat he has, his water draft, nor what heat sources and fuel capacity.
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Old 03-08-2020, 07:16   #6
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

Have made the trip up the east coast three times so far. As far as I recall there are no significant sections of the ICW that you could transit with that mast height. So as mentioned, your trip will be outside from one harbor to the next. In the harbor, anchor, go back out to the ocean and proceed to the next harbor.

Also have to ask, starting from where? And north in November? How far north? More or less from the Chesapeake north will often be really, really cold and you will see nor'easters blowing through on a regular basis that can keep you in harbor for days and days at a time.
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:39   #7
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

I assume you are sailing but even with a power boat I think most of my following comments apply.


With your constraints I wouldn't venture north of the Chesapeake in November but in there you won't be able to make water and will need access to reliable pump outs. It would however put you in a wonderful place for accessing very historic and beautiful places. Annapolis would definitely be my first choice. People that I know that winter over Boston, for example, also winterize their boats - freshwater, engine, then shrink wrap - and rely on a marina for services. Going to the head over snow covered docs isn't much fun. Having a place for a composting head for emergencies, would be helpful.



Your plan of having weather windows line up with weekends is at best optimistic. Most of the lows that will bring you southerly component winds are also nasty and could easily be gale plus when you do not want to be out when the worst comes through. You might occasionally get lucky with high pressure that keeps things calm for motoring north.



Sorry to pile on the negative responses but you need to do more research on some of these practical and safety issues. There used to be Yahoo group for liveaboards in Boston. You might look for that or similar groups for some of the areas you are considering. There are many beautiful places to stop along the east coast but none that meet your critiera of heading north in November.
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:43   #8
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

If you’re much over 62’ air or 5’ draft ICW can be problematic
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:56   #9
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

I'm From New Bedford, MA. Youre going to freeze your butt off at sea after October. You need to be heading South in November. I left once in mid October off shore to Florida and it was cool then and it snows in November in New Engleand. There are boats that winter in Boston at Constitution Marina but they are enclosed with plastic wrap and shovel snow.
You asked when to leave, You shouldn't even start. Best Russ
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Old 03-08-2020, 10:45   #10
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

sniff sniff Do I smell a troll!
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Old 03-08-2020, 11:22   #11
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

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I'm From New Bedford, MA. Youre going to freeze your butt off at sea after October. You need to be heading South in November. I left once in mid October off shore to Florida and it was cool then and it snows in November in New Engleand. There are boats that winter in Boston at Constitution Marina but they are enclosed with plastic wrap and shovel snow.
You asked when to leave, You shouldn't even start. Best Russ
I left Massachusetts last October headed back to FL. First week and a half I was either freezing my ass off or holed up waiting for the rest of the latest nor-easter to blow over.
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Old 03-08-2020, 13:28   #12
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

Not sure why you want to head to New England for the winter. By November just about all the boats that are going to winterize against freezing conditions from the Chesapeake (Norfolk) north to Canada will have done so. In addition most marinas will also have shut off their fresh water supply to their transient slips. Freezing temps., N'or East Gales, Heavy seas, Ice and snow in any mix of two or more will be your weather. Just thought you might want to discuss it with the family before you have a mutiny. JMHO PS: Bring a shovel and plenty of ice melt / rocksalt for your decks if you do go.
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Old 04-08-2020, 05:01   #13
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

Ok, so I appreciate the energy! Boat is on the West Coast of Florida right now. Leaving end of Hurricane Season in late November. Swinging around the tip then heading North. Hopefully that will help and generally the idea is to stay south of the frost line and arrive in Maine late summer. No interest in snow on the boat or dealing with large seas outside in winter. Hopefully this guidance will open up where the east coat cruisers like to stay in the spring and summer months.
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Old 04-08-2020, 05:36   #14
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

Wathey,
That’s better reasoning and not outside the scope of your original post. We do try to help but you have not given us much to go on.

Air draft is a serious issue if not the main one. You will be limited to major ports of entry. The only reason for a bridge higher than 65’ is to allow ship traffic. Ships don’t travel the ICW.

Your best exercise is to break out the charts (electronic, paper, online) and look for yourself. A good option is to put AquaMap on your iPhone and then download active captain data.

You will be looking at a very limited selection of ports. Miami, Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Savanah, St Marys area, Charleston, Moorhead City. I’m sure I’m missing a few. And your dockage options will be limited.

I think things will ease up once you get past the ICW which ends in Norfolk. Annapolis, DC, Baltimore would be open and then Philadelphia through the C&D Canal.

Taking a stab in the dark I would think you want the biggest, RIB you can handle and with a substantial motor so that you can extend your touring range and make the dink rides as attractive as possible, and safe.
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Old 04-08-2020, 05:53   #15
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Re: Suggested east coast itinerary northbound cruise starting in Nov

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Ok, so I appreciate the energy! Boat is on the West Coast of Florida right now. Leaving end of Hurricane Season in late November. Swinging around the tip then heading North. Hopefully that will help and generally the idea is to stay south of the frost line and arrive in Maine late summer. No interest in snow on the boat or dealing with large seas outside in winter. Hopefully this guidance will open up where the east coat cruisers like to stay in the spring and summer months.

I would just stay in the Northern Keys for the winter - Key Largo and alike. It will have the amenities you need and great base for weekend adventure sailing. As soon as you get past Daytona you can easily see significant cold snaps with temps in the 30's/40's with Northerly winds through March. EVEN if you are a hardy lot, still no farther North than St. Augustine. FYI, Hilton Head/Savanna had snow two years ago. As springs unfolds, find your way to Amelia, Savanna, HHI or Charleston from the Keys. Wait for a good weather window and go around Cape Hatteras then up to the Chesapeake. If the virus has calmed down, you can spend weeks exploring there. Or so I am told. Come May/June start moving North again with an eye on Cape Cod and maybe Maine. Best of luck and sail safely.
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