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jeffls 03-15-2009 10:02 AM

I want to take a trip but where to
Here is the scenario. I am quitting my job and my cousin is graduating from grad school, me in aug, him in june. Our plan is to go sailing for a month or two along the coastline. I live in savannah and we want to leave out end of Aug. Since it will be hurricane season we will have to plan carefully. We will probably head north since south is not so smart. Given aabout 2 months of cruising, your experiences, what would be a good itinerary or places to go?

pdqaltair 03-15-2009 10:23 AM

Seems to me that up the ICW and around the Delmarva penisula would be a good fit.
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Specifically, I mean up the ICW to the Chesapeake Bay, up the Bay to its head where a canal connects it to the Delaware Bay, and then down the Atlantic to complete the loop.

You didn't say anything about the size of your boat, so that makes details impossible. Get sailing guides to the areas and read. The Chesapeake is loaded with crowded sailing centers and tiny fishing harbors - what ever is your taste, but by all means taste all of these. Visit the islands (Tangier/Smith). Visit Annapolis. Visit the Virgina Coast Reserve (Chincoteague and the islands to the south).

IMHO, unless you want to sail VERY hard, going north of Cape May on your time line will take the fun out of it. From Cape May to the Long Island Sound is just a grind.

Google "circumnavigate delmarva" and you will find some stuff on the net. There is some stuff on my blog as well.

WanderingStar 03-15-2009 10:26 AM

Get some guidebooks, not the kind full of marina ads. Find one written by sailors, about places they've visited. Follow the wind and your whims. Do not set a schedule, it will spoil the cruise. Take time to walk around the towns you visit, as well as parks and beaches. Talk to local people.
September and October are glorious sailing months. Fair winds.

jeffls 03-15-2009 10:38 AM

The boat is a 31' grampian classic with a full keel that has had extensive refit. I could probably push it to 3 months but I doubt my cousin will last that long.

Brucerobs2 03-15-2009 10:50 AM

I'd head to Pimlico Sound area, Oriental NC, etc, then up to the Chesapeake. As an earlier post noted, lots of unique places to see, and sailing in the fall on the bay is fantastic. You could easily zig zag across the bay, heading north to Annapolis in time for the sailboat show.
I like the Delmarva circumnavigation idea too if you get a good weather window and are comfortable with your boat off shore-- few places to hide if the weather gets bad along that stretch. Just educate yourself as there are strong currents, lots of commercial traffic, etc along the canal and the Delaware river. Sounds like a great time.

pdqaltair 03-15-2009 01:29 PM

4'6" draft will limit ocean side inlets a bit on the Delmarva run...

Originally Posted by jeffls (Post 462299)
The boat is a 31' Grampian Classic with a full keel that has had extensive refit. I could probably push it to 3 months but I doubt my cousin will last that long.

But Ocean City and Chincoteague are fine. Do not consider them places to duck-in if it gets too bad out side. Many ocean inlets are challenging in on-shore conditions, and OC is one of them. Chincoteague doesn't generally break, but don't try it at night.

Those 2 inlets are enough to avoid night sailing, if that is your wish.

twinsdad 03-15-2009 08:50 PM

The sail to Long Island Sound is not so bad
While I agree with the posts talking about spending time in the Delmarva/Chesapeake areas, I would disagree with the first respondent on one point. I sailed my boat from Cape May to Sag Harbor and it was a little over 1 1/2 days sailing time. It wasn't that bad, and on a cruise of that length having a couple of 24 hour+ sails is not a big deal. If you go to Montauk or Block Island directly, you will be set up for amazing cruising grounds.

I used to keep my boat in Sag Harbor, and am familiar with many of the cruising choices. Within one day's sail you have the following (only a partial list): Montauk, Sag Harbor, Greenport, Dering Harbor and Cochles Harbor of Shelter Island, Old Saybrook, Mystic, Stonington, Branford, Port Jefferson, Block Island, Fishers Island, and of course Newport. From Newport, you open up the chain of the Elizabeth Islands (especially Cuttyhunk) off Woods Hole, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. I have left out more places than I have included. The only negative is that some of these places start to get a bit cool in September and October (depends on how adaptable you are to that).

Alternatively, you can go up the coast of NJ, in to the port of NY and work your way to the Western side of LIS and head east. The western ports are not quite as interesting as the eastern ones, but you still have a few nice stops such as City Island, Port Washington, Mamaroneck, Glen Cove, and maybe Huntington before you reach some of the spots I mentioned above. Not all of the western ports are as well configured for transients as the western part of LIS

It's possible that you would have a great trip just exploring the Chesapeake, because there are a lot of great sights there. , I'm not aware of many great spots in the Delaware until you reach Cape May. If you feel you want to extend to LIS and/or Southern New England - don't fret the trip north of Cape May. Just keep on top of the weather forecasts, because we do get hurricanes and other storms in the northeast too!

Either way you do it, have a great trip. I'm jealous already!!!!

mccary 03-15-2009 09:05 PM

Without knowing your sailing expertise or what type of boat you have, I would suggest, as others have, a cruise up to the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay offers over 4,000 miles of shoreline with hundreds of creeks and rivers to anchor (for free). There are many friendly people you will meet along the way and new places to experience. One word of caution, bring some bug juice, the summers on The Bay have some vicious "No Seeums" and flies and mosquitoes.

jeffls 03-19-2009 03:17 PM

I have very little sailing experience. I am am buying my first sailboat, a 31' grampian classic 31 that did well in her survey and had a refit just a few years back. I grew up on the lakes but not the ocean, different ball game I realize. I am taking a sailing course first and spending about three months cruising the local waters of savannah learning the boat and then want to go north for a few months of straight cruising with a inexperienced cousin! Ambitious but won't push dates or plans if I feel unease about my preparedness as the time comes.

pdqaltair 03-20-2009 04:54 PM

As Dirty Harry said, " A man's got to know his limitations."
Or rather the limitations of boat and crew, and you will have a spring and summer to learn. Get her on the water and sail often and early, and in progressively more challenging conditions. Include a few over-nights on the hook, to practice anchoring and to understand the rhythm and your needs. Sail a few hours at night, even if you do not intend to - it is a skill you should have.

Clearly you need charts and a simple GPS - you only need a chart plotter if you fell like it.

Limitations include pushing limits only as far as the entire crew agrees, though it is important to have a crew that will sail with focus when the weather turns unexpectedly, rather than complain and second guess.

I took our 27' Stiletto catamaran, only 1300 pounds and not a real cruising boat, around the Delmarva in 9 sailing days (the trip took about 2 weeks each time, including some time spent visiting her grandparents each time) with my 8-year old daughter for crew. We had a great time and repeated the trip 2 more times in following years. However, we holed-up a few bad days and I often chose our route and departure times with respect to the weather.

I expect you may spend a lot of time on the inner passage, and that is OK. Remember, you can stay in when it is too rough outside, but you can't always run for cover when it get's bad. Many of the entrances are a bit tricky in on-shore conditions.

Good luck!

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