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Old 09-03-2020, 07:58   #31
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

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We're a liveaboard couple planning to sail from the Chesapeake area up to Nova Scotia this summer (2020). I'd love to hear from others who have made the trip with any advice (route, best experiences there, etc). We're assuming we'd aim for Lunenburg with bailout options along the way should the weather forecast change. Probably late June or early July. Also, regarding the return trip, we're assuming that would likely be a coastal hopping trip since the likelihood of the right weather/wind window in that direction is low. We did a similar trip last summer, putting in at Block and hopping our way up to Acadia then coastal hopping back. Thoughts, ideas, and advice are welcome!
We left Brunswick GA on June 1, 2019, and sailed 7 days exactly to Halifax. We avoided the shallowest areas off the Cape/Nantucket, but saw no fishing gear or boats. We then did a 75 day/2,500 mile round trip from Halifax to PEI, Madeleines, Bras D'Or Lakes (Northern entrance, we're too tall for South), Clockwise around Newfoundland, back to Halifax. Most of that was daysailing, a few single overnights, and one double overnight. We planned to passage directly back to the Cape, but Dorian had us daysailing South out of Halifax, and then a jump West to Boothbay to dodge her. Then mostly daysailing to Beaufort, NC via C&D, Chesapeake and around Hatteras before making the trip to the Caribbean.

I think the basic strategy of passage fast NE, daysail slow SW is the right one. On the NS coast East of Halifax is less visited, and more challenging cruising. Close to your route we loved PEI and the Madeleines. Newfoundland was amazing, we spent weeks on the North coast. We had very little fog on our trip overall, but what we had was very thick and low vis. Bras D'Or is the fog escape - it was warm and sunny there, and very relaxing without open ocean - you can use the Southern entrance, so it's easy. Winter does come on fast, so don't delay too long heading South!! We used our heaters all summer long. Maine is close, but our 28' beam made it very difficult with the lobster pots - too hard. It was nice getting to the Cape and Islands after Labor Day, pretty relaxed.

We provisioned heavily in GA before leaving, and did very little shopping enroute, just fresh fruit and veg. That worked well. We preferred staying up the Armsdale end of the arm while in Halifax, good protection, close to shops and downtown. Fort Louisbourg was an amazing visit if you're a history buff at all. Same for the Bell house in Baddeck.

We saw very few other cruising boats East of Halifax. The people everywhere were really friendly.

Have a great cruise!!
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:01   #32
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

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Fog
Fog
Fog

And more fog

Consider this when scheduling and choosing ports, and Anchorage’s

Also remember lobster pots, Millions of lobster pots

I general the weather is settled that time of year

Days are long , Sailing is easy , the coast is beautiful , not too many boats

I tend to make Halifax my base port for a cruise

Many times north of Halifax is less foggy

===



Fog is an issue, lobster pots are not, at least not in the summer. As I understand it, the Nova Scotia lobstering season is in the winter. We were there in August four years ago and saw no lobster pots at all. The coast is beautiful and there are many good anchorages, too many to list here. Active Captain can be helpful. One of the high points of our trip was Baddeck harbor on the Bras d'Or lakes. Lunenburg is also a must see port with their great museum and rich boat building history. In Halifax we found the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron to be very hospitable. For navigation we used a combination of CMAP and the Canadian BSB charts and found both to be accurate. If not already comfortable with using RADAR it would be good to brush up on your skills since you will definitely need it at times.
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:34   #33
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

We used to live in Newfoundland but moved to Lunenburg when we retired 5 years ago.

Lunenburg is a lively seaport town with lots of services (but only one Tim Hortons!) where you can get all the food fuel, services etc.. on the way up you would find lots of interesting towns, beaches, islands and anchorages - and i suppose lobster pots when the season is open.

Sable Island is unique for sure but you need to jump through hoops to go ashore there if at all.

I hope I don’t sell Nova Scotia short but Newfoundland offers a completely different cruising experience - the coastline is now quite sparsely populated and you can anchor in once thriving communities that are now “resettled”. There are sand beaches but you’d need to search hard for them but cliffs and fjords and wonderful scenery abound. If cruising in Newfoundland you need to prepare better as fuel, food and Tim Hortons are fewer and farther between.

Whether in Nova Scotia or Newfoundland our shared North American history is everywhere and I cannot imagine such a trip would disappoint anyone.
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:50   #34
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Quote:
Originally Posted by bicyclewriter View Post
We're a liveaboard couple planning to sail from the Chesapeake area up to Nova Scotia this summer (2020). I'd love to hear from others who have made the trip with any advice (route, best experiences there, etc). We're assuming we'd aim for Lunenburg with bailout options along the way should the weather forecast change. Probably late June or early July. Also, regarding the return trip, we're assuming that would likely be a coastal hopping trip since the likelihood of the right weather/wind window in that direction is low. We did a similar trip last summer, putting in at Block and hopping our way up to Acadia then coastal hopping back. Thoughts, ideas, and advice are welcome!


Salty Dawgs has an occasional summer rally up the NE coast. Check their site on line regarding joining a cruise. See them at the boat show">Annapolis boat show. They can put you in touch with members and port captains to inform you. There are probably postings about the previous trips. We sailed to the Caribbean with the Dawgs in 2016 and haven’t gone back to the US. Roxy, currently in Dominica with the Dawgs for Yachtie Appreciation Week.

Travel only in daylight. Mind the lobster traps. Take advantage of local fresh caught opportunities especially in Canada. Make sure your radar and AIS are working. Hint! Canadian fishing boats rarely use AIS.


https://www.saltydawgsailing.org/
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:13   #35
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

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Originally Posted by bicyclewriter View Post
We're a liveaboard couple planning to sail from the Chesapeake area up to Nova Scotia this summer (2020). I'd love to hear from others who have made the trip with any advice (route, best experiences there, etc). We're assuming we'd aim for Lunenburg with bailout options along the way should the weather forecast change. Probably late June or early July. Also, regarding the return trip, we're assuming that would likely be a coastal hopping trip since the likelihood of the right weather/wind window in that direction is low. We did a similar trip last summer, putting in at Block and hopping our way up to Acadia then coastal hopping back. Thoughts, ideas, and advice are welcome!
=================================================
for what its worth as each person has different views and expectations.
Left Oriental NC last year, as single hand prefer to go outside overnights do not bother me ( can stay awake, for one night, AIS and Radar)
Morehead City to Norfolk outside, Norfolk to Cape May, Cape May to Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook to Lake Montauk, Lake Montauk to Point Judith, Point Judith to about 20 miles south of the CC canal to anchor and be ready for next morning tide to transit canal, to Plymouth, Plymouth to Shelbourne with 2 crew (three of us) 3 days 2 nights, Shelbourne to Halifax same crew, stay at Armdale YC, wonderful.
Observation, left NY late July and it was TOO LATE, shortened my cruising time and then overstay late October and was very very cold.
Plan to do it again this year but will plan to be much earlier.
The stretch Cape Cod to Shelbourne is doable for the two of you BUT if you can pick up an extra hand will change from doable to more relaxed.
Of course, this is from the point of view of a geriatric sailor, just turned 79.
The fact I plan to return tells how much I enjoyed Nova Scotia and the people including Customs.
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:15   #36
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

We live on a tiny island in Mahone bay, and I've sailed from Caribbean to Halifax. You'll have no problem with pots. When heading West, we leave early or motor overnight, and always look for a safe anchorage from the S-westerlies before noon. You'll find many, great anchorages. I think this is a great cruising destination, so long as you can deal with the chill - even mid august!
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:21   #37
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Get official free Sailing Directions books from: Welcome Page | Page d'accueil
instructionsnautiques-eng.html
They are well written.

That link was not copied properly.

It should read: http://www.charts.gc.ca/publications/sailingdirections-
instructionsnautiques-eng.html
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:22   #38
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Greetings... I too will be back in NS this summer. Home based in Maine. Tidbits to consider: As others have posted, lobster gear is no problem during the summer. Last summer we were blessed with but 3 days of fog in 4 weeks!

If you are planning on staying offshore until you get well east of Cape Sable Island the Fundy currents ought not to be a problem, but beware in closer. The combination of 4kt currents over shoal ground and ocean swells can make for a vigorous ride... And the fishing fleet is pretty active in that region.

We found Shelburne to be both a great initial stop, and a good jumping off point for our return. They have diesel at the small yacht club (which is hard to find along the coast). We found it available in Halifax, and St.Peters, but it was NOT available in most of the other small harbors as most of the locals either get it from an occasional truck delivery, when they all seem to coordinate, or they carry it in jerry cans.

In Halifax, we dropped the hook at the very top of the Northern Arm. We had 2.2 meters at low, which was just enough... did feel the tap of a mooring stone when we swung one night at dead low... but the holding was good, and I never did find the boulder with a lead line. There is a small public dock right there at Horseshoe Island (with easy access to the bus line into town). The only downside was an osprey that seemed to think our mast head was the perfect perch, antennas be damned... she especially liked riding on the wind sensor!

With settled weather, we snuck inside the ledge line on the north side of Tuffin Island (So of Ecum Secum) and had a spectacular night with 4 eagles and a pair of ospreys giving us areal displays for hours, not a light in sight. The bottom was hard, took a couple of shots to get the anchor well set. Water was clear.

The basin inside Whitehead Harbour is a treat. Lots of activity with aquaculture operations.


The Stan Rogers Folk Fesitval (Stanfest)https://www.stanfest.com happens in Canso from July 23-26. If you're a fan of Canadian folk music, it is a great event. Anchoring was easy and the harbor secure. Not much in the way of services beyond groceries even though Canso was once a major fishing port.

The folks at St. Peter's Yacht Club were great. Very helpful.

Not a lot else useful comes to mind at present. We'll be up there again this summer from early July to September. Plan on starting to work west and not cross back to Maine until after the northers start in mid September, then cross Fundy to Grand Mannan and poke our way back along the Maine coast, arriving back in Freeport towards the end of September. West bound is MUCH easier in late Sept and Oct. as the southerly flow gives way to westerlies and northers.
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:28   #39
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

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Thanks for the info Zippy. And slug, I had also thought that getting directly to the most northerly point and then inching south would be better, so thanks for confirming that. I'm pretty sure we'd make the lake the furthest north this season, giving us time to enjoy the Maine coast again as we hop our way south.

A question about routing: Are there any specific areas in the fishing grounds between Nantucket and Nova Scotia that you try to avoid? I have to say by biggest nervousness during overnights is dark fishing vessels trailing nets.
Turn your radar on and stay awake. That always works.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:21   #40
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

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Originally Posted by bicyclewriter View Post
We're a liveaboard couple planning to sail from the Chesapeake area up to Nova Scotia this summer (2020). I'd love to hear from others who have made the trip with any advice (route, best experiences there, etc). We're assuming we'd aim for Lunenburg with bailout options along the way should the weather forecast change. Probably late June or early July. Also, regarding the return trip, we're assuming that would likely be a coastal hopping trip since the likelihood of the right weather/wind window in that direction is low. We did a similar trip last summer, putting in at Block and hopping our way up to Acadia then coastal hopping back. Thoughts, ideas, and advice are welcome!
I live in Maine and Cruise Nov Scotia regularly. There are a lot of questions I would ask you about your intent before giving advice. Do you have the option to delay a bit? Fog in June is quite bad in Nova Scotia--gets better through September, month by month. If you want to make time and your focus in Nova Scotia I agree with shooting direct for Shelburne--it is a port of entry and they sell diesel (which is difficult to find in Nova Scotia) and have a yacht club that caters to cruisers in transit. Halifax may be quicker if you are going to focus on the wilder (as in No Services) end of Nova Scotia further east. You are really on your own after Halifax until you get to the Bras D'or Lakes area. I would suggest that if you like gunkholing and quiet harbors you give downeast Maine a try. Yes there are a lot of lobster pots but the way the guys are setting them has changed and you can pass very close and mostly right over them without as much trouble in the past. You need a cutter on your shaft no matter, IMHO, because there is floating line in lots of places and on a long trip where you may be motoring it is a safety matter, not a convenience, even in Nova Scotia waters. I think Penobscot Bay and Frenchman Bay is much nicer than the southern coast of Nova Scotia for cruising. The coast of Nova Scotia from Shelburne to Halifax is the nicest part of Southern Nova Scotia. The Bras D'Or Lakes are great if you like seclusion and if you self sufficient. The rest of Nova Scotia is a bit of a gravel pit of barren coast line. You will need to figure on the prevailing wind (SW) and current (Floods East). Both will figure heavily in all your travel until you reach Halifax. I am not sure I would automatically start on the East and work back if you are a sailboat. You will end up doing a lot of motoring. The sailing is better on the Eastern route. I am sure others will disagree.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:27   #41
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Try joining the Salty Dawgs and go with their rally. Very supportive organization and you will be with other cruisers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bicyclewriter View Post
We're a liveaboard couple planning to sail from the Chesapeake area up to Nova Scotia this summer (2020). I'd love to hear from others who have made the trip with any advice (route, best experiences there, etc). We're assuming we'd aim for Lunenburg with bailout options along the way should the weather forecast change. Probably late June or early July. Also, regarding the return trip, we're assuming that would likely be a coastal hopping trip since the likelihood of the right weather/wind window in that direction is low. We did a similar trip last summer, putting in at Block and hopping our way up to Acadia then coastal hopping back. Thoughts, ideas, and advice are welcome!
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:39   #42
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

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We left Brunswick GA on June 1, 2019, and sailed 7 days exactly to Halifax. We avoided the shallowest areas off the Cape/Nantucket, but saw no fishing gear or boats. We then did a 75 day/2,500 mile round trip from Halifax to PEI, Madeleines, Bras D'Or Lakes (Northern entrance, we're too tall for South), Clockwise around Newfoundland, back to Halifax. Most of that was daysailing, a few single overnights, and one double overnight. We planned to passage directly back to the Cape, but Dorian had us daysailing South out of Halifax, and then a jump West to Boothbay to dodge her. Then mostly daysailing to Beaufort, NC via C&D, Chesapeake and around Hatteras before making the trip to the Caribbean.

I think the basic strategy of passage fast NE, daysail slow SW is the right one. On the NS coast East of Halifax is less visited, and more challenging cruising. Close to your route we loved PEI and the Madeleines. Newfoundland was amazing, we spent weeks on the North coast. We had very little fog on our trip overall, but what we had was very thick and low vis. Bras D'Or is the fog escape - it was warm and sunny there, and very relaxing without open ocean - you can use the Southern entrance, so it's easy. Winter does come on fast, so don't delay too long heading South!! We used our heaters all summer long. Maine is close, but our 28' beam made it very difficult with the lobster pots - too hard. It was nice getting to the Cape and Islands after Labor Day, pretty relaxed.

We provisioned heavily in GA before leaving, and did very little shopping enroute, just fresh fruit and veg. That worked well. We preferred staying up the Armsdale end of the arm while in Halifax, good protection, close to shops and downtown. Fort Louisbourg was an amazing visit if you're a history buff at all. Same for the Bell house in Baddeck.

We saw very few other cruising boats East of Halifax. The people everywhere were really friendly.

Have a great cruise!!
Thanks much - Very helpful info!
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Old 09-03-2020, 11:25   #43
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

Summer 2019 we joined the Salty Dawgs rally from Hampton, VA just after July 4th to Rockland, Maine then another rally from Rockland, Maine to the Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Couldn’t recommend this trip enough! Being from Texas, We learned a lot about how to deal with and got help while sailing through any fog and around pots in NE USA. No pots in Canada! Now as we sail around US and Caribbean we meet and catchup with friends from those rallies. The Salty Dawgs gave us weather routing with Christ Parker, social events along the way and a guide for things to do & site seeing all for less than $250. We are now on our way south in Caribbean to Salty Dawg rendezvous. MARCH 15 – 22, 2020
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Old 09-03-2020, 11:32   #44
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

I made a trip similar to yours in 2009 from Annapolis on the Down East Circle Route (Cheryl Barr has a cruising guide for the trip) going Annapolis, New York, Up the Hudson, through the Barge Canal to Oswego, down the St Lawrence to PEI, then to Canso, and down the Nova Scotia Coast to Halifax, Lunenbourg, Shelborne, Yarmouth, and across to Maine, Cape Cod, LI Sound and down the Jersey Shore. I sailed mostly solo and during daylight. It took 4 months--June 1 to October 1.

Loved it. There are a ton of things to see and do. Cleared Canadian Customs in Kingston, Ontario and reentered US at Northeast Harbor, ME. Canadiaan highlights: Kingston, Montreal, Quebec City, Tadoussac, Rimouski, Charlottetown, PEI, Halifax, Lunenbourg, more.

Going from Annapolis, I go through the C&D canal to Cape May (better than Lewes, anchor off the Coast Guard station), up to Atlantic City, Then Shark River, Sandy Hook, then up the Hudson (try to go above the GW Bridge before you anchor--it's noisy!).

Get as many cruising guides as you can, and the Canadian sailing directions. The Binnacle in Halifax is a good source. They're on line.
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:10   #45
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Re: Sailing 2020 From Chesapeake to Nova Scotia

We're also in Mahone Bay, Little Tancook. PLanning on heading South in July, and holing up maybe in Savannah for H. Season.
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