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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-21-2009 02:34 PM
Hurricanes and dogs

I agree with PDQ. While I wouldn't plan to cruise in the Caribbean during hurricane season, a trip north would make plenty of sense. At some point we all have to take some risks to get the most out of life. For those of us who live north of the Mason/Dixon line, we would miss most of our sailing season if we didn't sail during hurricane season.

If you plan your trip right, with plenty of places to duck into, you should be able to find a reasonably safe spot (at least relative to Savannah) and ride it out in some shelter on land. PDQ is also correct that you usually have reasonably good notice of a risk of a storm. Use caution, but live life.

As for the dog, I wouldn't bring it. I love dogs, and have sailed with our 5.5 lb. Yorkie. The difference is our dog likes to stay inside and is paper trained. It is also very easy to keep her on a leash for her safety, and she would often sit on my wife's lap while we were actually sailing. I really think you are already taking on more responsibility than you are used to, and don't need the added distraction of the dog. Maybe after you have this trip under your belt, you could reconsider whether you want to take your dog on other trips.

If you are absolutely committed to taking the dog, I would start taking weekend (preferably long weekend) trips with the dog to get it adapted to cruising the way you want. Also, look for stories in sailing magazines/websites about people who have traveled with pets. I have read many good ones with good advice. Also, check and see if some pet books have advice on cruising with pets. Cruising books may also be a place to check out. I still think this trip should be about your having fun and having less distraction, but that's just me.

If you want to discuss in more detail, either respond to this or you can PM me. Have a great trip!
03-21-2009 12:52 PM
The trouble is that huricane season is basically all summer.

Originally Posted by Selkirk View Post
I wouldn't go out there at the end of August. I rode out a hurricane some years back in Florida, and I won't be doing that again!
Hurricanes are unpredictable. You won't be able to move out of the way; they're too fast, too big, and they're knuckleballs.
As soon as you get a few days north the frequency goes WAY down. North Carolina is not Florida, and the Chesapeake itself sees few hurricanes; generally they are tropical storms by then, if they do not simply skip off-shore. To be honest, while you are in the Bay you may avoid a boomer back home in Georgia! The Bay gets few strong storms, and really none that cannot be ridden out at a sheltered marina (one that DOES NOT open straight to the Bay, like Herrington Harbor North) or good hurricane hole.

Selkirk is right about avoiding hurricanes in Florida; they often get 2 at a time and the tracks are confounding. However, by the time they get further north they move much more predictably and you are only tracking one storm. No, you can never plot a land fall, because they tend to skip along the coast, but you can generally plot the arrival time well. On a coastal trip, that is enough to get tied up and into a motel. One one of my trips we did adjust and hurry back in front of a tropical storm, but it only made for fast sailing. We could just as easily have waited 2 days, but the Bay is so full of hidey holes, we figured we would chose one if things got too testy.

Simply be conservative with the weather; never wait too long to seek shelter.
03-21-2009 11:30 AM
jeffls Hmm yes I had wondered about the dangers of leaving savannah in aug only to think I was planning the weather right and then get caught in a hurricane or strong tropical storm.

Another question, given the info so far is it a bad idea to think about bringing my dog? She has been on my jetboat but she prefered, if close to the shore, jumping off the boat and swimming to shore to watch me lol.

Is a dog just a plain bad idea when u wont be around shore for a few days at a time? She is a siberian husky and likes exercise and hates waves. I an answering my own question as I type but maybe there is some anecdotes that make me question my reason.
03-20-2009 09:27 PM
Originally Posted by jeffls View Post
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?
I wouldn't go out there at the end of August. I rode out a hurricane some years back in Florida, and I won't be doing that again!
Hurricanes are unpredictable. You won't be able to move out of the way; they're too fast, too big, and they're knuckleballs.
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!
03-19-2009 03:17 PM
jeffls 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.
03-15-2009 09:05 PM
mccary 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.
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!!!!
03-15-2009 01:29 PM
4'6" draft will limit ocean side inlets a bit on the Delmarva run...

Originally Posted by jeffls View Post
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.
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.
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