Cruising Long Island Sound?
Hello All -
We're considering moving our boat from Lake Champlain to the New London , CT area of the Long Island Sound next season. I only know the sound from racing there as a teenager. Other than Block Island, is it reasonable to go there each weekend to explore? Generally speaking, we arrive on a Friday night, leave to go someplace on Saturday morning and then return on early Sunday afternoon to go home. We also do 2-3 weeklong trips each summer. Our preference is to sail to a populated area with a good waterfront and go exploring (not a secluded anchorage). Thoughts?
Part of the reason for the move is to gain access to offshore sailing during those weeklong trips to learn more before our 1-2 year cruise in 2009, but we want to make sure that weekend trips are reasonable too.
Plenty to see in the Sound although dockage and meals will be pricey. One option is to dock at a Brewers' yard and use their 'exchange' plan to their other yards, or to join a YC that has reciprocal privileges.
You need to bear in mind that LI Sound has reversing currents, and they are strong enough to be a major planning factor. Get a copy of "Eldridge" or the NOAA current charts for the sound to see how they will affect EVERY trip, because some weekends you will need to go east and others you will need to go west 'period' unless you are motoring all the way.
Also check out the marine bouy historical wind data, it can be exasperating in July and August to see 2 knots for long periods and 5 only at around sunrise/set.
There is lots to see--you just have to be flexible about where you will go depending on the wx and currents on any given weekend, and if you plan to return "early" on Sunday...that may mean the Iron Genny. Or, a big asymetrical.
Most of the harbors are on the CT side of the Sound. But LI has Mattituck, Port Jeff, Northport, Huntington, Oyster Bay Cold Springs, Manhasset Bay all of which are good anchorages and pretty easy to navigate into.
The CT side has more channels, rocky ledges, shoaling and bigger cities like New London, Bridgeport, New Haven, Norwalk. But there are some lovely smaller spots like the Thimbles, Guilford, Branford, Milford, Saybrook, Essex, Mystic, Stonnigton. The west end is narrow and has lots of traffic going every which way
If you pass thru Plum Gut you have Gardiner's Bay which has Sag Harbor, Greenport and several anchorages on Shelter Island.
You definitely can do several summers of weekends and hit some lovely stops, but New London is not central to these destinations. Pick up a Cruising Guide and figure out a good central location to moor the yacht. Depending on slips and moorings is not only expensive, but can be difficult. Count on anchoring and you have more flexibility and more cash on hand!
Your trips also will depend on your range. How much time do you want to sail each say and how far can you go?
And never forget that you are sailing in the land of "NO!"
Labatt... go for it...more than a years worth of good weekends awaits you!! Great cruising grounds...spots that haven't been mentioned include Sag Harbor, Northport, Newport, Cuttyhunk etc. Lots more interesting than a skinny lake!! (G)
I dock in Groton, right across the river from the State Pier. I don't go to Block for the weekend unless it's a ling weekend. Even if you leave early, it can take 6 or 8 hours to get to Block, and so leaving Saturday morning to arrive Saturday afternoon and then leving Block on Sunday morning leaves you really no time to explore the island. We have done Block during 4th of July week, Labor Day weekend, etc. when there's enough vacation time to actually spend some time on the island. New London is a great place to sail out of, with many locations within just a couple of hours, like Mystic and Fishers Island, but even a trip from here to the Connecticut river and back takes pretty much a whole day of sailing - we've left in the m orning, had lunch in Essex, and made it back before dark, but that was with a fantastic south wind that let us reach both ways.
Let's see, we have Fishers Island with West Harbor, Mystic, including the Seaport, Stonington and going into Watch Hill and Napatree. negotiating the river into Westerly, going up the Thames to Norwich, the Dumplings, Flat Hammock, and we have barelt gotten into Rhode Island yet. Honeymooned at Block in 2005, didn't even have to raft at Payne's Dock, did the scooter thing. Lots of light houses.Going West, there's Niantic Bay, anchor out and dinghy in and enjoy the new boardwalk, Orient Point, etc. Anyway, in 5 years of serious sailing,we have barely scratched the surface and New London has marinas, yacht clubs and dockominiums, racing available if that's what you want, so welcome!
Bill Coxe, O40 Kukulcán, New London/New Bern
I am in the western end of the sound and have cruised the sound, the Rhode Island coast, Block Island, etc for years. I'd say there are more than enough weekend destinations from the New London region to keep you busy for a few seasons. Personally though, I would not sail out of New London. The only reason is that there is a lot of commercial traffic and almost constant ferry activity in and out of the channel which can get quite bouncy. At least on our little 30 footer it does. Otherwise it is a fine harbor.
I have cruised out of Peconic Bay for years and there is great weekend cruising. Shelter Island has three great harbors, Greenport, Sag harbor, ect.
But from New London it may be a long trip as there usually isn't any wind
Us Peconic Bay folk always called Long Island Sound, The Dead Sea.
We could always count on the ocean breeze to kick in around 2 oclock anyway. But get out beyond and there is nothing, so turn on the engine!
In 15 years I have sailed to Block Island twice.
what I call sail boats in the Summer is, Stick Boats. But it is fun no matter how you get there, and no matter where your going!!!!
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