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Old 30-11-2009, 09:35   #1
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Looking for Advice

Hi, I have been building a sailboat for several years; just finished with the shakedown cruises and am planning to head from Cape Cod towards the Caribbean. I'm not a well seasoned sailor but can handle the boat in testy conditions (so far) I am looking for someone who has taken this trip around this time of year who can give me some advice; is it all that tough to go down the Eastern seaboard this time of year? and what are the hazzards? I will be taking the ICW near the Carolinas but wondering what to expect betwen here & there. Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 30-11-2009, 10:00   #2
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Take it in 1-2 day jumps and WATCH THE WEATHER FORECASTS!

When you are out, use the 5 knot rule--if you are not sailing at least 5 knots in the direction you need to go, turn on the engine--don't wait for the weather to turn bad on you.

I'd probably go down Long Island Sound, jump from Sandy Hook to Cape May, and then go the Deleware/Chesapeake Bay route. It will take a little longer, but there are lots more places to hide from the weather.
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Old 30-11-2009, 12:49   #3
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There's numerous reasonable possibilities, but I generally favour donradcliff's advice.
Good luck, with your late-season transit.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 30-11-2009, 13:19   #4
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I was a seasoned sailor, but not being from the eastern seaboard I had a couple of surprises when leaving from Annapolis to Florida in Mid October. We went outside from Norfolk around Hatteras with a goal of Morehead City. We failed to figure how close the Gulf Stream would be to shore after rounding Hatteras. We had a lovely trip most the way, Hatteras was flat calm at daybreak. As the day carried on it was beautiful blue sky and the wind built to 25 off our port quarter. The water was running with maybe 6-8 foot waves but they werent too steep and the boat would plow down them reaching 8-9 knots at times. Unfortunately, once we finally discovered that we were in the gulf stream we realized we werent going anywhere very fast ! It just felt like we were going fast and we were hypnotized by the wonderful sail and the warm water occasionally splashing aboard. As the day wore on, we searched for where the stream wasnt as strong, but became uncomfortable with getting super close to shore in unknown territory. We could already see details on the beach! Shoals extend many miles out to shore... especially just before Morehead city. We had to head offshore for miles at that big shoal for comfort. Dark was approaching and by the time we turned the corner around the shoals the wind was blowing 35. We had to decide whether to try to find anchorage in the dark or just head out to sea. Being conservative I headed out. We spent a very uncomfortable night hove to with waves covering the entire boat until I decided "to hell with heaving to" and ran for it. I'm not sure what the lesson was, we were just unfamiliar with how close the stream was to shore in that area and under estimated how far out the shoals go. Locals probably know the way through the shoals. In retrospect I would have trusted my radar and went in... Anyway, the point is give yourself plenty of time in that passage... :>)
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Old 30-11-2009, 13:55   #5
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I would add if going offshore for hops only use the better inlets that last Noreaster shifted things around and local knowledge is required and not to be trusted lol I have seen too many with "local knowledge" on the shoals, play it safe and stick to the better ones and major shipping inlets. If inside watch for shoaling near inlets and plan for bridge openings. Take your time and most of all have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Fair Winds

Wayne Canning, AMS
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