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leon764 04-22-2011 12:42 AM

Help with picking a marina
Hi All!
I'm new to this forum and to sailing as well. Past fall we purchased a 27' Hunter. It seems like it's a nice boat, time will tell. Right now it's in Philadelphia, Penn's landing. But in the next week or so, we would like to sail it to Cape May. We found 2 marinas in Cape May that can accommodate our boat. The
Utsch's Marina, and the Two Mile marina. In Utsch's they told us that we will have problems during the low tide. Our draft is 3.3 ft. Did any one had any problems with their draft? Can you recommend one over the other? Pros and cons?
Thank you in advance.

Ulladh 04-22-2011 09:01 AM

There is some shoaling close to all the marinas in Cape May, but that just means be careful at low tide and plan your entry and exit.

Also look at South Jersey Marina or Canyon Club.

Two Mile Marina is on the ICW near Wildwood, you need to go through a bascule bridge to get there, further from the Bay or Ocean.

Make sure your motor is reliable and plan for entry into Cape May Canal with the tide or at slack, and outside a holiday weekend when there is less power boat traffic.

KindOfBlue 04-23-2011 08:56 AM

We have been to Utsch's before to refuel, but I don't recall what the tide was. They are nice people and, as mentioned, they have a fuel dock. We draw 4'6" and there are much deeper draft sailboats in slips there. There is a West Marine and a marine surplus store just over the bridge and a few restaurants within walking distance. I haven't been to the other marinas there, I just know that I'll give Utsch's a plug because they let me tie my dinghy to the fuel dock while I was anchored out near the coast guard facility. They are nice folks.

Mainguy 04-23-2011 04:39 PM

Cape May Marinas
We took our Catalina 350 into Utsch's marina in Cape May last summer.. we draw 4'6". We had enough water but I would recommend going in on the high tide... why try the fates? One word of caution, you need just a bit of local knowledge to get into the marina as the apparent entrance, the one marked with the green and red day marks, is not the one to use... too little water. You want to cut over from the cape may canal directly in front of the marina seawall and come in that way.. have fun!

CaptainForce 04-23-2011 08:44 PM

We've had no problem at any tide in or out of Utsch's with our 4'3" draft when staying about 15 yards off the docks on a line directly at 90 degrees off the Cap May Canal just as Mainguy describes. Take care and joy, Aythya crew

chef2sail 04-24-2011 08:16 PM

HIighly doubtful you will sail to Cape May from Philly, you will motor. You will have to play the tides and there are very few places to pull over and anchor after the C&D canal. May take 2 days from Penns Landing. We make this trip from the canal to cape May every year on our way to New ngland from the Chesapeake and the two places to pull in are Reedy Island about 5 miles south of the canal on the starboard and the Cohannnessay River about 30 miles south of the canal. The Cohanessey is deep and has a tidal flow also. Again play the tides right or you will go nowhere fast.

We always stay at Utsches. They are personal friends of over 30 years ( I lived in Ocean City New Jersey for 20 years) and they are a great family run Marina. Charley and Wayne are great guys. Their shower facilities are top of the line, close to restaurants as well as walking distance town, and the trolley stops in front of the marina.

Canyon Club caters to large fishing powerboats ( Vivkings, Posts etc) and is always overrun with fishing tounements and is not sailboat friendly at all. (we have a few stories about them). SJ Marina is not as unfriendly to sailors but Utsches is far and away the best and more economical choice here.

How tall is your H27 mast (add for VHF antennae). I am sure you could fit under the Cape May Canal bridge and save yourself 2 hours not going around the Cape. The bridge heigt is 55 ft.

I draw 4'8 and have never had a problem there. Many larger sailboats are kept in their marina and large transients frequent there. There is ONLY ONE WAY IN. East opf the Parkway Bridge you hit the Red channel marker you fooow a straight path along the bulkhead about 15-25 yards to the opening of Utches. I suggest you call them when you are at the daymarker and let them guide you in. Once you have done it it is a piece of cake, but the first time is scary.

Are you keeping there there full time. Where do you live? Bucks County? as thats a bitch of a ride from Philly on weekends and your days sailing will be limited by the weather on the ocean or bay?

I would conside Rock Hall on the Chesapeake as an alternative. Longer sailing season too.

I lived in the South Jersey area for 20 years and can help you.Feel free to PM me pnce you reach 10 posts,


leon764 04-24-2011 11:18 PM

Thank you All for your inputs. They are very helpful.

I know that we wont be sailing much, but I'm still hoping we can do a little sailing down the Delaware. We decided to keep our boat in Cape May for this season. Next year we will see. Either we'll take it to Rock Hall, or Atlantic Highlights, or we might keep it in Cape May, if we'll like it so much. I know, the drive from Bucks County is a bitch, but so as the other places. Originally we were thinking taking her to Belmar, but discovered that the inlet is not suitable for our sailboat. That is why we are taking her to Cape May. You all know how nice of the town Cape May is. Sailing might not be as good, but...
Thank you for your offer to help. I'm sure we'll keep in touch.
Best regards, Len

Ulladh 04-25-2011 08:33 AM


I would suggest a series of easy steps to get to know and trouble shoot your new boat.

Penns Landing to Essington, an easy day sail with the tide, anchor or take a slip at Anchorage Marina the last fuel dock until Delaware City.

Essington to Delaware City, slip only no anchoring, another easy day sail with the tide.

Delaware City to the Cohansey River, anchor or take a slip at Hancock Harbor. A day sail with a taste of the upper Delaware Bay, will get you more comfortable with the chop on the bay.

Watch the weather, tide and current, wait and plan a long day sail to Cape May Canal. If your plan does not have an arrival at the Canal entrance at or close to slack add another day to your trip with a stop at the Maurice River or Bidwell Creek.

The State Marina at Fortescue, mostly power boats and fishing charters is scheduled for dredge some time this year, but is probably not a good option if the bay has a lot of swell. A 2 to 3 foot crest to trough may have you touching bottom.

I will be spending this summer sailing in the bay off the West Coast of Jersey.

QuickMick 04-25-2011 01:06 PM

while not material to the discussion of the suitability of the slip, you may also want to consider what amenities they offer that you may or may not be interested in and what kind of yard they have. do they have a travel-lift? they may all have the full Monty, just thought it might be something worth considering.
this is an ok link, more of a link to links but it might be helpful.

Cape May marinas - New Jersey, NJ, United States

oh, i thought Chef made a good point too... id hate to be somewhere dominated by stinkpotters... lol
this is a neat site too which may give you some more guidance.

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