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  #1  
Old 10-22-2009
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Where to moor/sail near Philly?

Hi everyone. I just registered here and would like your advice. After sailing a little Phantom for 10 years, I am considering purchasing a Catalina 250 for casual daysailing and occasional overnights with my wife. Before getting into the details of why that particular boat, and what other boats I should consider instead, I'd like to discuss where to moor and sail. (I have no interest in trailering a boat in this size range.)

Here are some options that I would like your comments on:

Essington, PA (Delaware River) - 10 minutes away from my house. Might be good for the first year, since I might do a lot of back-and-forth working on the boat. Also like to do quick "impulse trips" after work. How annoying is the jet noise? How strong are the currents in the Delaware? Do they ever exceed hull speed, and how do you deal with that? Any suggestions of which marina? (Fox's Grove, Anchorage, etc. or the boat clubs?)

Palmyra area (Delaware River) - I hear they have a large racing community up there? How about casual sailors? Same questions about the Delaware.

Penns Landing marinas - How expensive? How is the ambience there? Sounds like it could be interesting sailing in the middle of a city.

Lake Wallenpaupack - We vacation there 2 weeks every summer, and have a fantastic time with our Phantom. Water is fantastic for swimming. Only problem is it is almost 3 hours away. Also, they do not allow you to sleep overnight on the boat. How strictly is this enforced? Could we get away with overnights on Saturdays? Does anyone anchor in coves for overnight sleeping, or is that a red flag that gets you picked up? Given the distance, I can't imagine not staying overnight if we keep our boat there.

Upper Chesapeake tributaries (Elk, Northeast, Sassafras, maybe Bohemia) - A little over an hour away. We've taken our Phantom down there a couple times, and it's OK. Water not as clean as the lake, which is a big issue on the Phantom - less so on a larger boat unless we want to go swimming. What marinas do you recommend?

Rock Hall - Lots of friends tell me this is like "mecca" for sailboats but I really know nothing about it. Is it worth the extra distance?

Lake Nockamixon - We've also taken our Phantom there. I think it's too small/boring for the type of boat I want.

Barnegat Bay - Never sailed there, just passed over the Toms River Bridge on the way to Island Beach State Park. Comments?

In case you wonder why I put this in the boat purchase forum, it's because I believe where I sail should have a large impact on what size/design boat I pick. After I get a few comments on this, I'll add some more info on my family situation and other factors that go into which boat I should select.

Thanks,

Rick

Last edited by TakeFive; 10-22-2009 at 07:33 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2009
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I am at Fox's Grove Marina in Essington, very friendly marina including helpful power boat folks who will tow you off the shoals, and help you dock in the strong current, or secure you dock lines and hatches if a nasty storm whips through.

Fox's Grove pulls all boats at the end of October and permits work in the yard, a mechanic and shop is on site.

Anchorage has no haul out or storage, but does permit in water over winter. I have over wintered at Anchorage and could sail into early December and out on the river again in mid March.

Essington does not freeze but may get ice chunks and debris propelled by the current at 5 or 6 knots in January and February.

Many other choices at Essington including Anchorage Marina which has pump out and a gas dock (no diesel), liveaboard OK.

West End Marina and Corinthian require membership.

Laggon Nightclub Marina has seen better days but has a travel lift and the largest on land storage area and work is OK in the yard.

Little Tinicum Island provides wave protection, and the water between Little Tinicum and Tinicum (where most of the aircraft noise is) is good for a one or two hour easy sail without barges, tugs and freighters.

The noise from the airport can be unpleasent, and while on the river more noise from the Boeing plant and Eddystone power station.

Within one season at Essington you will have mastered tides and tidal current, chart reading and rules of the road, just as a matter of survival.

My afternoon sails are usualy in the waters between Walt Whitman and Commodore Barry Bridges, but a long day sail will be to Delaware City or a short day sail to Penns Landing.

I live about 30 mins from Essington when the traffic is in my favor, but if I was only 10 mins there would be many more afternoon sails.

The industrial Delaware is not the most atractive sailing area, for that I charter on the Chesapeake and BVI, but it is nearby and "love the one your with".
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  #3  
Old 10-22-2009
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Palmyra Area - G. Winters and Riverside are the sailing marinas. Facilities are servicable, not fancy. Nice floating docks at Winters. Strong currents on the Delaware and an eight foot tidal swing. Sailing can be good when the river is quiet. But by noon on summer weekends you're getting bounced around by a LOT of wakes from clueless power boaters. You also need to watch for commercial traffic on the river. Tugs pushing barges come up fast and you need to stay out of their way. The folks on our old dock at Winters are friendly.

Barnegat Bay - Just moved our boat up the back bays from Beach Haven to Barnegat. It's a much better place to sail IMHO than the Delaware River. Good wind, lots of places to visit/anchor/overnight. But if you're going to be an hour+ from your boat you might want to think about a boat that would be comfortable to sleep aboard. We stay down on our boat for a couple of days at a time, so it does double duty as a shore house.

Jim
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2009
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Rick,
I'm in Bristol about 40 mins north of south Phlly. I'd suggest you join one of the 29 or so yacht clubs on the river. if you join one you belong to the whole network of clubs all the way to the Chesapeake. it's the DRYL (delaware river yachtsmens legue) There is a YC in Essington also. I belong to Anchor YC in Bristol. D R Y L Member Organizations
you must trust me on this; you DO want to belong to the YCs on the River. it's way cheaper then even the cheapist marina you will ever find. Also you will have a huge safety net!

A 25ft boat on the river will be ok The ships are not so much the problem as the big stink potters are a dangerous lot with wakes and rude navigation techniques. (them weapon, you target) Jet noise is loud but not a big problem. On the river we all take the current flow into consideration when moving up or down river. the current does run 3-7 knots. A boat with a 6knot hull speed can head into the flow and make maybe 3-4 knots. you will want a GPS too when you start using the river because you want to see the depth out of the channel. There are lots of races all up and down the river, there is East Enders YC, (racing only club) and many of the clubs have races all through the season. Ours just had one on the 10th of oct. Philly has a racing club also. Anchor Yacht Club - Home Page
Overnighting is great, again if you belong to the YCs. The river itself doesn't provide many places to anchor but there are a few. You can get to the Chessy by going down river to the C&D canal. it's not so far from philly and you can motor (with the tide) and be there in about 8hrs. Barnegat bay, shallow! need 3ft or less draft! One of the guys in my club winters his boat at Phila marine center and love it. It is $$$.

Lastly, I'd say if you can.. go bigger! the river is the place for it! and you can cruise to the Bays, or the Ocean via cape may.
PM me if you would like to vist my YC sometime.
good luck!
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2009
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Thanks for your useful suggestions. I visited West End Boat Club this afternoon, and also Golden Point Marina. I had visited Fox's Grove the other day. I've been impressed with the friendliness of all boat people. I grew up around power boats, and it brought back great memories of how people love talking about their boats as much as sailing them. In the case of power boats, they probably enjoy talking more than sailing with fuel prices so high. It does not hurt that it was a gorgeous, sunny afternoon, the jets seemed to be using a different flight path so it was quiet, and it was right at high tide so there was no current and no mud visible. This gave a perhaps distorted view of how nice it is in Essington.

A few things about my family: My kids are 23, 20, and 13. Although they like tubing and waterskiing from our little power boat (1991 15' Trophy w/ 50 hp outboatd), none have ever been interested in sailing. When on vacation at Lake Wallenpaupack, the highlight of the whole week is the 2-4 hours/day my wife and I spend sailing the Phantom while the kids occupy themselves doing other things. I would like to duplicate that experience closer to home with a boat suited to the local inland waters.

I've seen a lot of advice to go larger than 25', and I am not sure what to do at this point. I am budget conscious, and the jump from 25' to 27' seems to entail 2x higher displacement and 2x higher price. (I guess they sell boats by the pound. :wink ) With the 13-year-old staying home, I expect to do day sailing the vast majority of the time. Although when he goes to Boy Scout camp or on a church trip, we might venture out for a couple of overnights. As Jim pointed out, the importance of live-aboard accommodations goes up the further away the boat is moored. So if we keep it in Essington, very little need for large cabin. If we are further, then larger might be important.

I've been really impressed with the "little" Catalina 250. The open-cabin concept with no partitions for the v-berth or aft cabin gives it a very roomy feel, and without the kids staying overnight we don't need to privacy of those partitions. The pop-top seems to help head room in the galley. I'm not bothered by the Porta-Potty - we have an almost identical one for our power boat. I actually like the removable ice chest better than a built-in one. I love the cutaway transom with swim ladder (nice if we could find some swimmable water somewhere), and one of the boats we are looking at has a steering wheel helm which seems to open up the cockpit quite a bit. There is very little teak on the interior or exterior of the Cat 250, but the sterile look did not bother me.

I have not gotten to see a Cat 27 or 28 yet, but did get to see an O'Day 302 and another boat by Hunter. And the 250 just seemed to have a lot of the "big boat" features in a smaller, less expensive package.

One thing that I admit I am not sure of is the headroom issue. It did not bother me having to duck a few inches in the cabin - I would expect to be sitting down in the cabin if I am there anyway. But I need to spend some more time and see how it would affect me.

I am open to any suggestions from you around why I should go bigger. I do not want to end up trading up every year, but my history with the Phantom and my little power boat suggest that I'll stick with what I get for a long time. So I might as well get something I will stick with.

Thanks,

Rick

Last edited by TakeFive; 10-22-2009 at 10:52 PM.
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2009
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Go for the Catalina 25 !~!~! Great boat

I sailed a number in this range and INHM... go for the Catalina 25.
Don't go bigger if you're hesitate.. we've sailed happily with 4 and had 5 on the Catalina 25. It outsails the others at the price point.
You'll be spending lots and lots of money after the initial purchase. LOTS.
Fairwinds,
Mum
A few things about my family: My kids are 23, 20, and 13. Although they like tubing and waterskiing from our little power boat (1991 15' Trophy w/ 50 hp outboatd), none have ever been interested in sailing. When on vacation at Lake Wallenpaupack, the highlight of the whole week is the 2-4 hours/day my wife and I spend sailing the Phantom while the kids occupy themselves doing other things. I would like to duplicate that experience closer to home with a boat suited to the local inland waters.

I've seen a lot of advice to go larger than 25', and I am not sure what to do at this point. I am budget conscious, and the jump from 25' to 27' seems to entail 2x higher displacement and 2x higher price. (I guess they sell boats by the pound. :wink ) With the 13-year-old staying home, I expect to do day sailing the vast majority of the time. Although when he goes to Boy Scout camp or on a church trip, we might venture out for a couple of overnights. As Jim pointed out, the importance of live-aboard accommodations goes up the further away the boat is moored. So if we keep it in Essington, very little need for large cabin. If we are further, then larger might be important.

I've been really impressed with the "little" Catalina 250. The open-cabin concept with no partitions for the v-berth or aft cabin gives it a very roomy feel, and without the kids staying overnight we don't need to privacy of those partitions. The pop-top seems to help head room in the galley. I'm not bothered by the Porta-Potty - we have an almost identical one for our power boat. I actually like the removable ice chest better than a built-in one. I love the cutaway transom with swim ladder (nice if we could find some swimmable water somewhere), and one of the boats we are looking at has a steering wheel helm which seems to open up the cockpit quite a bit. There is very little teak on the interior or exterior of the Cat 250, but the sterile look did not bother me.

I have not gotten to see a Cat 27 or 28 yet, but did get to see an O'Day 302 and another boat by Hunter. And the 250 just seemed to have a lot of the "big boat" features in a smaller, less expensive package.

One thing that I admit I am not sure of is the headroom issue. It did not bother me having to duck a few inches in the cabin - I would expect to be sitting down in the cabin if I am there anyway. But I need to spend some more time and see how it would affect me.

I am open to any suggestions from you around why I should go bigger. I do not want to end up trading up every year, but my history with the Phantom and my little power boat suggest that I'll stick with what I get for a long time. So I might as well get something I will stick with.

Thanks,

Rick[/QUOTE]
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  #7  
Old 10-23-2009
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Thanks again for all the advice. Here are my thoughts of the day:

My workplace buddy Paul is a real boat guy who lives in Chesapeake City and owns a big Morgan (that's unfortunately been in his yard for ~10 years). He really wants me to go larger (and more upscale vs. the Catalina/Hunter "price-point" boats), and makes a strong argument about how heavy weather can come up quickly, and your life depends on the boat, and a larger boat will fare better in heavy weather. However, he also really wants me to keep it on the Chesapeake. For all the complaints I've read about the Chesapeake, I suspect it's much better sailing than the Delaware River. But I really believe that the Delaware River being 10 minutes away will lead to us using the boat much more than the 1-2 hour hike to the Chesapeake tributaries. Also, the slip fees I have seen in Essington are much less.

Tomorrow my wife and I are planning to head down to Havre de Grace (Tidewater Marina) and then to Georgetown (Sailing Associates) to look at some used boats. Any other dealers on our route that we should stop off and see?

I think we definitely need to crawl around in a lot more boats to see what catches our fancy. I am a bit concerned because Tidewater is a big Hunter dealer with some attractively priced boats on inventory. Is Hunter as bad as I've been told? I sense a number of Catalina fans here, though some of my friends stick their noses up at those also. I've been encouraged to look at Pearson, Cal, Sabre, Tartan, and Erikson. I hope my obsession with "value" does not lead me to buy something that I regret.

I really value your comments from more experienced sailors, so fire away. Meanwhile, I'll continue to read as many pre-existing posts as time allows. Feel free to post links to prior postings to help guide me.

Thanks,

Rick

Last edited by TakeFive; 10-24-2009 at 12:16 AM.
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  #8  
Old 10-24-2009
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Rick,
You would not go wrong getting a larger boat and having it on the river. I had a hunter 23 and sold in less then a year and then I bought it a 30 ft Oday. only bridge needs to be opened for boats with masts higher then 46ft.
Rick, From Philly to the C&D and either bay is not all that far for a weekend. I don't love the river for sailing all that much either but my YC in Bristol where I live is less then 10mins from my boat. There are lots of sailing activities on the river if you seek them out.
You may pay more for a boat that is being offered by a broker. I'd suggest boats for sale by owners.
Your buddies boat in his yard?? that's a shame!
good luck boat hunting!
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  #9  
Old 10-24-2009
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Thanks, Denise. I have no objection to private sale. I'm keeping my eyes on ebay, Craigslist, and SpinSheet for private listings. Do you have other suggestions?

The brokerage route offers the ability to see several boats in one place, so I think that's a good way to start. I think we're still at the stage where we should go inside all the boats we can. I have been told that sometimes they have trade-ins that they're looking to unload quickly for a low price. If true, a broker would not be out of the question either.
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Old 10-24-2009
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Try Winters Sailing Center in Riverside NJ, just up river from the Tacony Palmyra Bridge, lots of new and used sail boats for sail. You can also take ASA courses at Riverside.
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