Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: S/V Restless
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Here are some additions to comments from others. We generally do not take the outside route from New England states, preferring the Long Island Sound (Duck Island Roads a favorite anchorage even if somewhat exposed) to a staging area like Manhasset Bay to wait for a favorable east river current. Manhasset Bay has free town moorings near G'3', ask the harbormaster or Port Washington launch. In late season you can almost always grab one (if not, holding is very good on the fringes of the mooring fields there). Then on to Atlantic Highlands where provisioning, spare parts if needed, fuel, water, pumpout, laundromat, etc, etc, are very convenient to the waterfront. The anchorage has excellent holding, town is convenient to the dinghy dock; the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club rents moorings and provides launch service through late October. Thence Atlantic City and Cape May.
The Cohansey River provides a stopover prior to the canal if you need it (not many services but diesel is available), I would not use the Cohansey in limited visibility, you'll need to keep your eyes open, it's twisty but deep, and there are small anchorages in the switchbacks in 20 feet with excellent holding. From there you can press through to the Sassafras River (worth a stop if you have time, we always see eagles there), holding is excellent and a little further up fuel and water are available. Or, the Summit North Marina in the canal if you need to stop. We like Solomons prior to Norfolk; don't miss the Dismal Swamp if it's open. You may want to check out 'Active Captain', online maps with marinas, anchorages, etc, we have found the info there (especially the cruiser supplied rating and comments) very useful. Skipper Bob (two spiral bound booklets) publications, one for anchorages, the other for marinas, are essential, used by almost every cruiser we meet. Feel free to check out our blog at svrestless.blogspot.com for tidbits and photos of our 2007 trip to Charleston and return trip to Maine in 2008. It's updated whenever we can.
Our MO is to go slowly, stay put in bad weather, and layover if we like a spot. You are leaving the rat race, so don't create your own.
Best wishes for loads of fun,