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  #1  
Old 01-20-2014
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Route from Maine to North Carolina

Later this year, thinking September, I am looking at bringing my new (36 foot) boat from Maine to the Neuse River in North Carolina. I am starting to think about the route to take and looking for input. I am looking to primarily coastal cruise with stops overnight and 1 or 2 sail through the night days where appropriate. I am thinking 2 weeks to complete the trip?

My rough thoughts were to leave from Saco Maine area and sail through the night down to Cape Cod and spend the night. Transit the canal. Sail down through Long Island Sound and take the river through NYC if only because I think it would be interesting. Here am I better off going outside Long Island down to New Jersey?

From there down the New Jersey coast appears I could either go largely inside or outside to Delaware Bay. Once at Delaware Bay options seem to be up Delaware bay to Wilmington and then around and down through the Chesapeake which again would be interesting or just down the coast to Virginia Beach. The coast here seems to have many places to tuck in for the night or bad weather.

Once in Virginia Beach it seems a few hours sail down to Pamlico Sound and then from there down to the Neuse River and her new home.

Anyone done this type of trip? What is the best route to complete this trip? Problem areas to look out for? I know there are boat prep considerations but will post another thread regarding that. Looking for input on route, this would be my first time doing a trip of this length.
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Old 01-20-2014
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Re: Route from Maine to North Carolina

I would avoid the Cap Cod Canal and go around the horn. I did it once east to west and will never do that again. Going West to east is fine, then I always return around the horn and outside the Cape. Here is my reason why:

First of all you need to wait for the correct tide. (no sailing or fishing in the canal is allowed) With a normal south wind sailing down Buzzards Bay can be a challenge, having to tack back and forth and when the tide changes it will run 4 knots against you. With the normal south winds coming up Buzzards Bay, pushing the waves straight into the Canal and the water coming out of the Canal has it's own ripe waves colliding with the waves coming from the Buzzards Bay, making for tall waves very close together. My bow was launching 8', what seamed like straight up, then down and under water. The brake wall is on the wrong side for protection and you have no choice but to continue on the over mile long exposure. With the waves crashing and almost stalling my boat, it took forever, under power. With headwind and narrow channel, I could not sail out of it.
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Old 01-20-2014
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Re: Route from Maine to North Carolina

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Originally Posted by Delta-T View Post
I would avoid the Cap Cod Canal and go around the horn. I did it once east to west and will never do that again. Going West to east is fine, then I always return around the horn and outside the Cape. Here is my reason why:

First of all you need to wait for the correct tide. (no sailing or fishing in the canal is allowed) With a normal south wind sailing down Buzzards Bay can be a challenge, having to tack back and forth and when the tide changes it will run 4 knots against you. With the normal south winds coming up Buzzards Bay, pushing the waves straight into the Canal and the water coming out of the Canal has it's own ripe waves colliding with the waves coming from the Buzzards Bay, making for tall waves very close together. My bow was launching 8', what seamed like straight up, then down and under water. The brake wall is on the wrong side for protection and you have no choice but to continue on the over mile long exposure. With the waves crashing and almost stalling my boat, it took forever, under power. With headwind and narrow channel, I could not sail out of it.
The Cape Cod Canal does have it own issues, but there are a few tricks I've learned.

Most of the problems are at the south end in the Hog Island channel(as you mention) where the prevailing southerlies on Buzzards Bay meet the tremendous power ebbing westward in the Canal.

One option is to peel off into Onset Harbor, and wait for the current to start to go slack. That alone will take the bite out of the short steep waves in the Hog Island Channel.

Be aware there's a strong pull toward the rocks on the west side of the inlet when you first turn into Onset.

The other trick is to peel off to port into the old channel(just beyond Onset). You can escape nearly all the current driven waves then. It's a little longer but you'll find it much calmer as you follow around Wings Neck and into Buzzards Bay. Pay attention to the currents, again, but it's not a difficult channel.

This helps but you can even run into those short steep waves inside the canal, anywhere wind can work against the current.

There is some leeway in how you time your passage with a favorable current(you have no choice in a sailboat to motor with the current). The fastest ride will be the middle of the ebb or flow. If you time more toward the end, you can have a slower but more comfortable ride and entrance into Buzzards Bay.

I'm a big fan of the Cape Cod Canal having used it many times over some years. 2014 is the Canals Centennial having first opened in 1914.
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Old 01-20-2014
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Re: Route from Maine to North Carolina

Quote:
Originally Posted by maccauley123 View Post
Later this year, thinking September, I am looking at bringing my new (36 foot) boat from Maine to the Neuse River in North Carolina. I am starting to think about the route to take and looking for input. I am looking to primarily coastal cruise with stops overnight and 1 or 2 sail through the night days where appropriate. I am thinking 2 weeks to complete the trip?

My rough thoughts were to leave from Saco Maine area and sail through the night down to Cape Cod and spend the night. Transit the canal. Sail down through Long Island Sound and take the river through NYC if only because I think it would be interesting. Here am I better off going outside Long Island down to New Jersey?

From there down the New Jersey coast appears I could either go largely inside or outside to Delaware Bay. Once at Delaware Bay options seem to be up Delaware bay to Wilmington and then around and down through the Chesapeake which again would be interesting or just down the coast to Virginia Beach. The coast here seems to have many places to tuck in for the night or bad weather.

Once in Virginia Beach it seems a few hours sail down to Pamlico Sound and then from there down to the Neuse River and her new home.

Anyone done this type of trip? What is the best route to complete this trip? Problem areas to look out for? I know there are boat prep considerations but will post another thread regarding that. Looking for input on route, this would be my first time doing a trip of this length.
I've done that trip at least once and took the route you pretty much have laid out here. Overnight across the Gulf of Maine in the right weather is the best. We like Onset to anchor overnight, it's just over an hour (favorable current) once you're in the canal.

There's great sailing from there through Buzzards Bay and Nar. Bay, lot's of stops you shouldn't miss along the way(but you can't do them all).

I think the trip through Long Island Sound and NYC is a great urban passage, I've done it several times and never get tired of it.

You'll likely be going mostly if not entirely off the coast of New Jersey. But there are a few great spots, like Cape May at the end. Same with going up the Deleware B., not always pretty but planned correctly, its fun. The upper reaches of the Cheasapeake are beautiful.

Two weeks is pushing it in that weather could hold you up in several areas, but I suppose it is doable. Good luck, it's a great trip.
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Re: Route from Maine to North Carolina

I strongly suggest that two weeks is far too short a time period. I have made the trip a number of times. Since my two page long post was just deleted by losing the Internet for a moment I will give you the option of just calling me on the phone for my thoughts. My phone number is on my web site - the link is below.
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Old 01-20-2014
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Re: Route from Maine to North Carolina

I've made all the parts of this trip. Some of them 20 times or more. Here's my suggestion for routing. How many stops you make will depend on wind, weather, tide and time, and number of crew.

Here are some options:

Saco to Cape Ann (good anchorage at Rockport outside the harbor by the beach), or
Saco direct to Provincetown (good anchorage just inside Long Point).

Provincetown to the CC Canal (20 nm) can be timed to get the beginning of the fair current through the canal, or even better, time it so you get the last three hours or so of the fair current so when you come out the other side you won't have to worry about the wind vs current that can cause problems. There's a "harbor of refuge" at the east end of the Canal where you can wait for the fair current if your timing is off.

Once in Buzzard's Bay there are several good places to stop -- Onset (as mentioned before), Pocasset, Hadley Harbor on Naushon Is., Cuttyhunk are all places I've stopped for the night. There are many more.

From the south end of Buzzard's Bay you can sail direct to Block Island easily in a day. If you have a headwind, make for Point Judith or Newport. From any of these places you then head into Long Island Sound and, once again, you will have an easier time if you time the current correctly. Buy a copy of Eldridge for good info on currents in this area.

Fisher's Island is another stop just beyond Block Island on the other side of the race off Montauk. There are many places to stop in LI Sound, but it's important as you get toward the west end to pick a stop that lets you get the fair current through Hell's Gate and into the East River, down the harbor and to the anchorage at Sandy Hook in one shot.

As for sailing outside LI, I'd recommend the inside route not just because it's easier, but because motorsailing through NYC is a hoot.

Sandy Hook, below the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, is a good overnight stop. Next, go direct to Cape May or stop in Atlantic City depending on timing. Take the canal through Cape May to avoid the bars at the entrance of the Del Bay. Time departure from Cape May to ride the current up the Del River and into the C&D. Time it perfectly and you can ride a fair current all the way arriving at the entrance of the C&D Canal at slack water, just as the current turns to let you carry a fair current through the Canal as well. There are several places to stop on each side (and in the middle) of the C&D canal if need be. Then cruise down Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk, enter the ICW there and a two days later your home.

If all this will take too long, an overnight Saco to CC canal will save time -- as will a long sail down Buzz. Bay and into LI sound. LI Sound itself can be one in one shot by sailing overnight. Sandy Hook to the Chesapeake via Del River can also be done non-stop if you watch the timing -- one critical part here is getting the current running up the Del. River. Chesapeake Bay can also be done without stopping.

September is a nice time to sail throughout the route, but keep an eye on the tropics and map out the hurricane holes before you go. There are several along this route and they should be well researched before leaving.

If the weather is settled and you have fair winds the easiest way to cut several days off is to go from Block Island to Cape May (200 nm), but you'll give up the trip through NYC.

As for places to stop on the outside from Cape May to Norfolk -- others would know better than I, but I don't think there are many with easy all weather entrances. The trip up to the C&D Canal and down the Chesapeake is longer, but stops are easier to find and in September it should be a nice time to cruise in this area, especially later in the month when it begins to cool off a bit.

As for going outside around Cape Cod....it's longer and the only possible tough spot (west end of the CC Canal) can be avoided if you watch the current and wind carefully. It is true that Buzzard's Bay can be a tough slog in SW25, but there are plenty of places to stop to avoid foul winds and currents should they arise.

Another factor in route selection is that if this is a new boat (new-new, or new-to-you?), you'll be breaking it (or you) in and/or learning its character/moods. That's a good reason not to strike out on the offshore route, but to plan your track so you can easily stop along the way to fix anything that might need fixing. Another reason for taking an inside route is that you'll get a feel for the cruising grounds to your north and you'll most likely want to come back.

It's a nice trip...enjoy it.
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Old 01-20-2014
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Re: Route from Maine to North Carolina

I don't have any cruising advice, but I've gone up and down the East River a few times. If you go through NYC via the East River, the currents can be quite strong. You'll want to time your trip with the tides. (Navigating the East River - Planning Your Passage seems as good a reference as any.) Billyruffn mentioned motor-sailing, I agree. The winds and water of the East River are quite confused, all the way down to the Battery. Also, stay to the western side of Roosevelt Island, there's a low bridge on the east side.
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Old 01-20-2014
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Re: Route from Maine to North Carolina

billyruffins 'itinerary' is very good.

Here's some other additions that should make the trip easier.
If you stay at Cape May be AT Cape May Pt. 1 hours before the turn of the tide ... travel along the Epf Shoal (quite close to the beach at Cape May pt., 'spit on it' if you wish). If you hit this 'right' you will ride the crest of the tide (current) all the way up the Del. Bay and will enter the C&D canal exactly at the 'turn of tide/current' through the C&D canal (@ Chesapeake City) and then 'down' the Ches. on the falling tide. Dont travel the Del. Bay on an adverse tide and especially on a NW 'blow' from the NW if going 'up' the Del. Bay. Use Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service: Philadelphia/Mount Holly: Delaware River at Riegelsville to ascertain 'how much' water is coming down the Del. R./Bay, as the river flow varies considerably with how much rain is falling on 'the Pocono Mountains', etc. Use 'Eldridge' for the C&D as the tide/current there is 'special hydraulic' and doesnt necessarily depend on the tide differences between the Del. R. and the N. Chesapeake (its got a mind of its own).
Ditto check your currents (Eldridge, etc.) when 'rounding' Sandy Hook.

I prefer Great Kills harbor (NE side) instead of anchoring at Sandy Hook, just an extra hour± to 'the hook'. Best for anchoring in a N/NW'er.
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Old 01-20-2014
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Route from Maine to North Carolina

If all goes as planned I will have the boat and have been sailing it all through the summer so any issues will have been addressed. It is new to me and is 12 years old.
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Re: Route from Maine to North Carolina

Tim,

What are you up to? You movin'?

Don
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