I just purchased a Beneteau First 38 down in Annapolis. The boat is heading to Norfolk for a light refit and then I will need to get it up to Boston. I've never done this length of trip and was looking for some answers and tips.
1. How long is the trip?
2. Should I go up the Chessapeak or go outside? Mid May is the timeline.
3. Suggested stopping points to fuel up maybe take a break maybe not?
4. Anything else????
Can we assume that if it only needs a light refit it is in good shape? Or are you saving heavy work for Boston?
Do you have an EPIRB? Has the registration been changed? Life raft? What kind of crew? What are you doing for weather updates underway? If all you have is NOAA VHF weather radio get some good weather counsel before heading offshore. It's only a day out of VHF range.
Annapolis to Norfolk is usually about 18-20 hours under power on that boat. I'd leave Annapolis between noon and mid afternoon so you arrive in Norfolk in daylight. If you haven't picked a place yet I'm fond of Vinings Landing Marina. Good services, walking to restaurants, grocery, and West Marine. Easy access to Norfolk airport. Also easy access to the Atlantic when you leave.
Norfolk to Boston should be around 3 days (all "days" are 24-hour days, not daylight hours) straight through in most conditions. Winds permitting and boat condition allowing I'd sail the rhumb line to a point off Cape Cod.
If you want to hop your way up (small 30 gallon fuel tank, no jugs) you're likely to be five-ish days WITHOUT nights at anchor. You'll chew up a lot of time just getting in and out of port.
Regardless back off on engine speed. You should be able to get down to around 0.6 gph which will stretch your range substantially. If your boat has a JH Yanmar around 1800 rpm is good. You can go almost two days on a tank. Two or three five gallon fuel jugs wouldn't hurt.
If you can make Norfolk to Cape May you should be able to make Cape May to Manasquan, NJ (watch for wind over tide -- currents are strong also). Atlantic City is an easy inlet but a pretty short day. AC to Sandy Hook. Manasquan or Sandy Hook through the East River to LI.
Manasquan is a tricky inlet and does deteriorate quickly when the weather is bad.
Don't let people confuse you with discussion of tide. You don't care about tide. You care about current
. There are much better sources of information today than the old "so many hours before high tide" approach to current prediction. See Tidal Current Tables
I usually time my NE-bound transits to go through Hellgate between slack before flood and full flood. If you time it right you'll have a favorable current from Sandy Hook, through NY Harbor, up the East River, and well past City Island. It's another day from CI to Newport. At that point you might as well do the Cape Cod canal - more current issues.