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  #1  
Old 02-19-2009
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New Jersey Inlets .. Day tripper to NY

Ok,, I will be going Chesapeake to Delaware river, down the river
to Cape May canal.. stop..

Then? I want to do day trips .. to NY.

Give me the day one;
Day two;
Day three'.. and 4,5, 6.. whatever.

Sailing alone.. so will try to get up early ,, and end the day early

These darn inlets scare the crap out of me ..

Inlets ??

Probably leave May.
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Old 02-19-2009
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Hi Jasper,

What kind of boat are you sailing? Are you comfortable with the condition of your engine? You're prudent to be concerned about the inlets, but the larger ones that you will likely be using shouldn't be to bad if you pick your weather windows correctly. Just don't try to make it up the coast on a set schedule - let the the weather and sea conditions dictate when and where you go and be prepared to lay over if necessary. I'd consider breaking the trip up as follows: Leg 1-Cape May to Absecon Inlet (Atlantic City) (~36 miles), Leg 2-Atlantic City to Manasquan (~54 miles) and Manasquan to NY Harbor (~40 miles).

I've done the NJ coast several times, singlehanding and with crew. My most recent trip was last October heading north. I much prefer to do the trip with crew. In October, I did the Cape May to Atlantic City leg with crew (uneventful trip) and then, feeling emboldened by the "easy" first leg, I attempted to do the A.C. to Manasquan leg singlehanded. Bad idea - had engine problems which slowed my speed of advance to the point that a weather front came through when I was off of Barnegat with 25+ kt winds out of the NNW and there was no way I could make Manasquan before sunrise the next morning, let alone making it before nightfall. I ended up turning around and "surfing" all the way back to Atlantic City for what amounted to a 20 hour "daysail". Anyway, the point is that bad stuff can happen quickly off of NJ and it's nice to have company when it does. Ultimately I did the A.C to NY harbor leg (skipping Manasquan) as an overnight trip with crew a week later.

On the plus side, by leaving in May, you will have plenty of other boats making the same trip with you, so even if you do singlehand it, you can probably arrange to cruise in company with another boat. Have fun!
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Old 02-19-2009
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Just make sure you watch the weather. Ultimately, it's not a tough trip if your boat is up to it and you have a good engine, but Spring can be rough of of the Jersey coast. When we left Manasquan, two of the boats behind us took one look at the inlet and turned around. Day 1 - Cape May to Atlantic City. Day 2 - Atlantic City to Manasquan, NJ. Day 3 - Manasquan to Jersey City. Don't expect to anchor in Manasquan, and anchorages are limited in Atlantic City too. Instead of Jersey City (Liberty Landing Marina, for example, where you can take the water taxi to NYC) you can go around Sandy Hook and anchor there. The 79th street basin (I believe that's what it's called?) has moorings, but the wake in the Hudson can be pretty ridiculous, so going to a protected marina like Liberty Landing, while expensive, is much more comfortable.
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Old 02-19-2009
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Deep draft sailboat dockage is also scarce in Manasquan.With our Tartan 27 with 3ft draft we anchored in Glimmer Glass
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PS dont go into the Manasquan Inlet on the weekend!!!! Horrors!!!!
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Red face NJ coast last summer

I only did it once going the other way, with crew. We were headed from CT to MD. We made it thru NYC Harbor, from LI sound the first day and moored at Sandy Hook. It was fine there except you have to go up around the hook and then back south to the marina if you are headed north.

We went from Sandy Hook to Barnegat the next day. It was a slow day, foggy and not much wind so we motored most of the way. It cleared up by evening, we had minor trouble finding a spot to drop the anchor, but eventually did right over by the lighthouse area. It is about 3 miles across the bay and we did not want to make that trek if we did not need to.

The next day we made it from Barnegat to Cape May, but it was a glorious day and we sailed all the way with a stiff breeze and a reef in the sail.

As others mentioned I had planned on Manasquan and Little Egg Harbor or Atlantic City as other possible stopping sites. I have a swing keel 35' boat and we have no trouble with shallow water. But I did not want to try narrow inlets if I did not have to.

Hope this helps. Spring is short in Jersey, it moves quickly to summer.

cheers,
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Old 02-19-2009
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Jasper,

We are doing the same trip on the the way to Mystic sthis summer. Last summer we went from the Patapsco to NYC and stayed at Liberty landing for 3 days.

I also lived in Ocean City NJ for 18 years and sailed up and down the coast.. Labatt is correct. the only three inlets truly safe are Cape May, Atlantic City (Absecon) and Manesquan.

Stay at Utsches in Cape may for a great jump off place. You can anchor in Atlantic city, but not in the basin where the casinos are. You have to go across the waterway from there in a small cove. Manesquan is the most challenging anchorage with a lot of soals...a railroad bridge , and a swift current, but we have anchored there 12 times or so and it is really a safe haven after 9 PM when the boats stop running. The inlets have safe entrences and no shoaling.

We have used Barnegat many times and I know the local waters well, but it an extremely trecherous inlet with an outgoing tide and incomming breeze which is typical of the onshore afternoon NJ breeze. The swell can be 3 ft on the ocean and the waves across the inlet can be 12 ft washing right into ther north rock jetty. The bonus with Manesquan is the shoal in the middle of the jetties which forces you close to the north one. With any kind of weather Barnegat is to be avoided. However you can get to it with the narrow inland waterway from Atlantic City or Manesquan, but this is also a nerve racking motor. Barnegat has one of the best anchorages past the light house and is one of my favorites. If you make the extra 3 mile trip from the inlet to Barnegat bay (where I kept my old Islander for 5 years) Tices Shoal anchorage behind Island State Beach Park is great. You can dingy ashore and do a bonfire on the beach there.

For the single handed adventure I would break it up into manageable legs of the 3 safe inlets. Feel free to PM me for more info,. We are starting our trip on July 11 from Rock Creek on the Patapsco if you wanted to wait and wanted company you could certainly join us and three other boats on the trip to NYC at least.

Dave
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Old 02-19-2009
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Good advice by all who posted above.
I will only add that the tide does play a part in how these inlets are running. I recommend downloading the CG coastal pilot #3 and reading up on what they have to say about the area and inlets you may want to duck into. It is available here (for free): United States Coast Pilot®

While I am not familiar with any of the NJ inlets on the Atlantic I got to meet Fire Island Inlet coming out of Great South Bay to the Atlantic on the south shore of Long Island in a friend's MacGregor 26S. We were delivering the boat to Yonkers and our first leg was to NYC some 50 nm away.
We hit the inlet in light winds heading into the ocean at mid ebb tide and found that the flow of the ebb tide had kicked up the 3 - 4 ocean swells into breaking 10+' waves (a mini Race) which was visible as a ring of white from the breaking waves. This was in very tame and moderate conditions in June with no storms and barely wind worth sailing with. I thought I was prepared for this delivery but I had not read the Coastal Pilot #2 from which I later learned:
Currents
(18) Tidal currents through the inlet can be dangerous; caution is advised.
Evidently we survived getting through the big, dangerous waves and out on to the much calmer Atlantic that the MacGregor had no problem with all the way to NYC. I have heard people say that they get a thrill out of surfing these waves into the inlet and I'll bet it can be done once you are familiar with the tidal current patterns.
I had based my assumptions of the tidal currents on my experiences going through the East River (where you always go with the current - as with the C&D canal). The inlets work a bit differently apparently.
I am not trying to 'scare the crap' out of you but you should have an idea of what you might expect.
In Fire Island Inlet the ebb current probably reaches about 3+ knots which helps kick up the swells that roll into it. I can only assume that in the flood current there would be some waves as well but it should be easier to get in with the current with you. Of course there is the idea of going in and out at 'slack tide' but if you and your boat are up to it you should be fine as others have said.
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Last edited by CalebD; 02-19-2009 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 02-19-2009
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Usually its tide and opposing wind which get you the large rollers in an inlet coupled with shoals. Barnegat for instance has shoals outside the inlet as well as in it so the waves break and roll across the inlet from North to south while you are trying to transit the inlet east to west. You fight a three knot current which speeds up in the narrow opening with these rollers comming at you in sets sideways can put you on the rock jettys.
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Old 02-20-2009
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Manasquan has two deep draft marinas - one before and one after the railroad bridge, and you'll stay at the gas docks for either. They will also kick you off the gas docks first thing since they want the space for fueling fishers. The one after is cheaper, but a bit more difficult to get to. I know Dave said you can anchor there, but there are A LOT of fishers that zoom through the channels and don't care what's around. I have seen some real words thrown between boats when people are waiting to get through the railroad bridge - God forbid you get ahead of a waiting fisher in order to safely navigate the currents. They will also zoom around you, on plane, as you make your way out. The shoal at the inlet entrance has never posed a problem for us, even is large waves, and we draw 6'. The others are correct - just watch for opposing wind and tide when entering the inlets - they can get a bit dicey, but are very manageable. I haven't used Barnegat - everyone tells me it's pretty much impossible unless you have local knowledge. Cape May to Atlantic City to Manasquan to NYC is completely doable as day hops.
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