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Old 10-09-2001
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Long Island Sound - Ideal Draft

We just got back from Maine. Spent Sat-Mon. in gusts to 40 knots, 3-5''seas and rain and Mon am light snow showers. A little bit of everything. I wonder if I am getting too old for this. Prior to moving the boat to Maine, we use to spend the Columbus holiday weekend taking our fall trip from Stamford to Mystic Seaport were we would tie up right at the Seaport. I remember, on more than one occassion, awakening to snow or frost on the deck.
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Old 11-04-2001
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Long Island Sound - Ideal Draft

We sail in eastern LI Sound and are unfamilar with anchorages west of Branford. Since you are in Fairfield Co., this advise will be helpful for your 2-week cruise. Many anchorages are easy and safe to locate during dark evening arrivals for a boat with 6'' of draft. You may wish to avoid long, winding channels in the dark without local knowledge. Though they are well marked by bouys, many hazards and shoals are real threats--even in daylight. However, many safe anchorages exists without going up these longer rivers at night.

We draw 5'' 6" and have no difficulty getting to our destinations. We come and go as we please because the tide change is only 2''-3''.

At a few places we arrive and depart on a rising tide, for example, Coecles Harbor & West Harbor, Shetler Is., NY and also Watch Hill & Napatree, RI. We have bumped the soft bottoms at low tide and learned to watch the tide and moon phase. Also, local knowledge helps, knowing which side of the channel to favor. These places are best navigated during daylight.

Some people might say it is shallow entering Three Mile Harbor in E. Hampton, NY near the town dock. It has been dredged and is not a problem any more.

A boat in our marina at Mystic draws 9''. We have had transients with drafts as much as 13'' tie up at the dock. One sad day the boat drawing 9'' bricked a rock in the center of the Mystic R. channel. The rock is unmarked and is not on any chart. Most locals are unaware if it becasue it is about 8.5'' deep at low tide. The skipper did everything right, but lost about 6 weeks of cruising while the keel was repaired.

You can never be certain of any depth when gunkholing. We all do our best with the constraints of our vessels and, more importantly, our ability to make sound judgements as a captain. Many anchorages in eastern LI Sound offer you a large margin of error to make safe evening passages with 6'' of draft. There''s no need to be too bold.
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