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jburke7646 03-08-2010 03:20 PM

Barnegat Light to Block Island
I am planning on taking the trip from Barnegat Light to Block Island this summer - Probably late July. Am I better off following the coast up or sailing as the crow flies - which would take me 30-40 miles off shore - not far but out of radio contact. Am I safer being farther away from coastal traffic or staying 5 or so miles offshore? Also - what are the predominate winds that time of year. Thanks,

sailingdog 03-08-2010 03:53 PM

I'd say go offshore... but it really depends on what boat you're in and how it is equipped, etc...

I did this as part of delivering a boat from Annapolis to Marion, MA, last Memorial Day weekend. IMHO, I'd recommend going straight across instead of hugging the coast.

Staying off-shore lets you avoid a lot of the small powerboat traffic and reduces the number of big ships you'll encounter, since you're not in the NY Harbor approach area so much. It will also cut down the distance traveled quite a bit too.

The wind is generally out of the southwest, which makes this a pretty easy trip.

KindOfBlue 03-08-2010 03:57 PM

I agree with SD. I think the question is do you go outside (more risk) or inside (different risk) of long island.

jburke7646 03-08-2010 04:01 PM

It's a blue water center cockpit 36 ft sailboat. This echos my thoughts. Bigger boats to look out for but far less trafic. I had planned on making the trip up in the ocean and the trip back through Long Island Sound.

wwilson 03-08-2010 04:22 PM


I have made the trip both ways. The trip to Block Island will go much quicker for you off shore. You will not likely be out of range of the USCG VHF, or NOAA Wx radio for that matter. Their transmitters are taller and as you probably know their ERP is greater than the 25W marine restriction. I did a radio check on 09 last time and to my surprise got a L&C from the USCG without the need for their standing: "radio checks are done on channel 09" reminder!

As others have mentioned - do get the breeze behind you. No matter how much you may like sailing into the wind - punching through (or over) lumpy seas in boats our size gets tiring long before Block Island shows up on the horizon.

Bene505 03-08-2010 04:25 PM

I'm curious, since I'm contemplating something similar (a trip to the canyon and back). Do you have Radar? AIS?

Also, how many crew? (For night watches, looking out for the big boys).


wwilson 03-08-2010 04:46 PM


We do have radar and use it. We do not have AIS (and regret it).

Just my wife and me. We have an uncomplicated watch schedule... WATCH!

Seriously, if one or the other gets "heavy lidded", he or she may take an hour nap. Once the sun comes up, longer nap durations are in order.

We have not encountered much ship traffic out there. But is is out there.

You will cross three NY shipping channels that are well marked on the charts. It is not unreasonable to broadcast a Securite on channel 13 & 16 as you cross the channels.

tempest 03-08-2010 04:54 PM

From a distance don't save many miles taking the offshore route. So, I wouldn't hesitate to alter my plan if the wind and seas...took me toward Fire Island or Moriches...and then run the coast of LI....

If you did that, you could get across the all big ship lanes in daylight, if you left early am.

If you don't have radar or AIS..I'd want to time my arrival on Block for mid day or early it's often shrouded in fog in the mornings....

But if the wind and seas are all means take the offshore route...
You'd probably be crossing the Nantucket channel at nightfall.

Keep a fishing line out...!!

Bene505 03-08-2010 05:33 PM

Radar=Nice! (Don't have it yet.)

Beer in Montauk if you need to divert there. Wine for her. Very south end of lake Montauk. Stay wayyy right after (around) the Montauk Yacht club.

That is, if we are there. I'm planning Block Island, Martha's Vinyard and Nantucket this summer. One of the kids wants to do Mystic again, but maybe 2011 for that again.


chef2sail 03-08-2010 05:51 PM

Having done it I would echo all comments and add a few,

Having run Barnegat over 60 times make sure that you know what you are doing there. It can be trecherous when there is a E..NE component to the wind and 20 ft rollers through the inlet on a day when it is 3-4 outside are not uncommon. With the shoal smack in the middle of the jetties in the inlet and the proximetly of the channel to the north jetty, going through can be unnnerving for a first or evn fifth timer. That being said the anchorage behind the lighthouse is one of the nicest.

The crossing of the large shipping channels is not that bad in daylight, and I would suggest you stay out the 20-40 miles.

My experience in the summer is the wind is generally out of the S until 1 or so in the afternoon when the SE seabreeze kicks in (NJ).

We arevtaking this trip up to Marthas Vineyard from the XChesapeake at the end of July, but prefer to go up the East River and enjoy some of the beautiful small towns along the LI Sound like Northport, Greenwich, etc.

For more info on Barnegat feel free to PM me


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