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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > US Northeast
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US Northeast New York City to Maine


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  #1  
Old 03-29-2011
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Need Advice for 2011 New England Cruise

Fellow Sailors,

I sail out of NC and I am planning a New England cruise with my family during June and July of this summer. We plan to sail direct to NYC from NC, and to begin coastal hopping from NYC to Maine. After the cruise, we will sail directly back to NC with a stop or two as required. We want to experience most of NE, but we are most excited about Maine.

My question is this: am I biting off too much for two months? My current sail plan has us day sailing from port to port, sometimes just overnight and other times staying a few days. With my current plan from NYC to Bar Harbor Maine, I only have about 11 days of margin for bad weather or changes in plans. My gut is telling me that I may be trying to bite off too much in two months and that I should have a less pressured sail plan. So, I am humbly asking those of you with New England experience for your advice.

As an alternative, we could opt to explore a smaller slice of the coast, such as from Cape Cod to Maine, or just sail directly to Maine and spend our time there.

Suggestions anyone?

Lucky Jack
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Old 03-29-2011
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It's doable, but ambitious, assuming you are taking the outside route between NC and the northeast.

Note that it is a windward slog on your way home from Maine. On your return, you may want to start out early in the day and motor in calmer waters until the winds come up.

To give yourself a little more breathing room, you might skip NYC and save several days by taking a right turn at Cape May, NJ, and doing an overnight to Block Island on your way up (if the weather cooperates). If you haven't been in these waters, you might enjoy Block Island and then go on to Cuttyhunk. Provincetown could be your next stop after transiting the Cape Cod Canal. Then you might stop at the Isles of Shoals. Your next port would be in Maine, proper. Plan on 10 days to get this far if you are slowing down to smell the roses. Allow more sailing time to retrace this stage on the way home.

If the weather gods are with you, you could have a month in Maine to poke around.

BTW, have considered that the water is much colder than in NC, particularly north of Cape Cod? If you end up in the water, hypothermia is a concern. Also, you'll want to consult tide/current tables to plan a lot of your itinerary.
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Old 03-30-2011
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go fast to maine and then take your time .on the way back wait for the nw breeze component and use it or even a ne front can send u south in a hurry.the maine coast is huge cruising ground with friendly natives,bring your knife and goggles for the lobster buoys and get your retailation at the lobster festivals up an down the coast
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Old 03-30-2011
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Two months is a lot of cruising time. I think a through round trip of the NorthEast is reasonable. I'd go straight to Newport, then start the cruise, then depart South from Newport, so you don't spend a lot of time in transit to the Northeast.

I would include several weeks in Newport/Cape Cod/Islands, perhaps visiting that area on the way up Maine and back. Here's some threads on Cape Cod and the Islands:

Tentative NJ to MA Cruise - Suggestions Wanted
Salem to Nantucket with a 3 year old....

Noank to BI to Newport to Martha's Vineyard
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Old 03-30-2011
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You could easily spend the entire time zig zagging LI sound, Connecticut River Shelter Island, Fishers Island Sound, Mystic River, Block Island, Point Judith, Newport/Jamestown, the upper Narragansett Bay, The Vinyard, etc. and still miss a lot!

The extent of the cruising in this area is simply amazing.

I'm not downplaying Maine, it's just that you are gonna miss a lot trying to get there and back in two months.

If you know this area, then I'm sorry I made the assumption that you didn't.
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Old 03-30-2011
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As for Maine... the weather is generally better in August. July is better than June. By that I mean fog, rain, mist, and drizzle. Maine is great, but there is plenty of good cruising from Massachusetts Bay south. If you move your schedule to August you might be more satisfied with a Maine cruise.
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Old 03-30-2011
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Thanks guys for the great feedback. I am not experienced in these waters, although I did assist on a delivery from Maine back to NC a few years ago. I agree that the schedule is ambitious. I managed to add another week to the time frame to take some pressure off. I understand that we will not be able to thoroughly enjoy all the regions at a true cruisers pace, but we'll be happy if we get to sample some good ports and anchorages in Long Island Sound, Cape Cod, Massachusetts Bay, and Maine. If we run out of time, then we'll just be happy with what we did accomplish. It's not like we could really complain considering how lucky we are to be able to do this at all.

Roger that on the cold water - we take particular caution to avoid any chance of MOB even in our warmer home waters. Once the boat is in NYC and my family is aboard, we will sail in reasonable weather and lay up for the bad.

As for lobster pots - you're not kidding. I was blown away at the sheer number of lobster pots in Maine when I last sailed from there. It makes me wonder how many miles of line must be hanging vertically in those waters. I have equipped the Song with a hooked knife that comes with an extension handle - it can cut pushing or pulling. I have snorkle gear aboard as well. I certainly don't relish the task of clearing away the running gear but I'll do it if I have to. I bet it's a really cold and miserable job. I'll do my best to "dodge the pots".

Thanks again for the suggestions.

Lucky Jack
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Old 03-31-2011
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If your Maine is your goal, the suggestion to head right for Block Island rahter than NYC is a good one. If your schedule permits on the way back, you can explore the many delights of Long Island Sound.
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Old 05-04-2011
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Boothbay Harbor

I have never sailed up to Maine, but drive there every summer to visit. If you stop in Boothbay Harbor, make sure to grab a Dark and Stormy at the boat bar behind the Chowder House. One of my favorite spots!
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Old 05-04-2011
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Try to keep in mind that the lobster pots are part of someone's livelihood. It's best if you can try to free yourself without cutting lines. Also, if you get tangled in a lobster trawl---where the pots are "daisy chained"--you might need to call for professional help, as your cutting gear might not be up to the challenge.

Regarding snorkel gear, you might want to be wearing a wet suit--maybe 7mm.
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