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post #1 of 13 Old 09-23-2015 Thread Starter
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Taking the boat north next spring

I am looking for advice on making the trip from Oriental, NC to Buzzards Bay next spring. I have a 35' Clearwater (swing Keel) sailboat which I bought in Milford, CT and we sailed it down to NC about 5 years ago. I have family in MA, on Buzzards Bay, and I would like to sail the boat back up north to spend some time with them next year. It will be a guys trip (my brother-in-law and another sailing friend), but we are in our retirement years so I don't want to make this too tough. I am looking for suggestions for best time (March-April-May?) for making the trip and suggestions for possible routes. We came down the inter-coastal as it was just my wife and I. Going back up we could try some offshore legs (besides going outside for NJ). On the boat time is not a big issue, but I don't want to stretch it out too long. We are just in the planning stages so just looking for experienced thoughts to get us thinking.

thanks,
Ron
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-24-2015
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Re: Taking the boat north next spring

With climate change what it is today, and El Nino/El Nina going strong or not, I'm not sure that any references to habitual weather patterns are going to hold true.
Since you have the time to wait any bad stuff out and pick you weather windows and sail accordingly. You can move up the ICW in almost anything and pick your offshore passages with care. As the reliability of the weather forecasters is rather iffy, make sure you have an inlet you can use within range, should you see an approaching evil t-storm.
I absolutely loved XM-weather when it was available, but it may be a bit expensive for a one trip deal.
Good luck.

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post #3 of 13 Old 09-24-2015
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Re: Taking the boat north next spring

Not much is open up here until May. The weather can be okay in April, but most marinas start dropping boats in 1st of May. We have seasonal boat insurance up here May to Nov 1st. There won't be many on the water, that's real nice. I would call around to see what your options are for facilities to stay in. Block Island and Cuttyhunk are two great places for shelter and good anchorage. Newport being one of the bigger ports should have places to stay, they have a Marine Maritime Center at the town dock, showers and laundry.

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post #4 of 13 Old 09-25-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Taking the boat north next spring

Thanks for that. I had not considered they might not be open! Down here in NC we sail year round (well almost).

regards,
Ron
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Re: Taking the boat north next spring

I think you have two choices:

1) Go outside at Morehead City direct to MA when you have a weather window of several days of south winds. Pick up the Gulf Stream and ride it all the way up (that means outside of Hatteras and Long island. Quick, efficient, the only concern is a wind shift to the North, then you duck in coastwise.

2) Take the ICW up (I prefer the Dismal Swamp Route) into the Chesapeake Bay and hang out for a while. Then go North. Be aware, if you go all the way up to the C&D canal you will backtrack about 100 NM to get out of Delaware Bay and up the coast of New Jersey. At this point you still have to decide if you want to take the East River or go around the end of Long Island. My preference is the East River, I love looking at the skyscrapers - its an easy passage if you time the current correctly.

I would not leave until June. It will be a cold trip in May. In addition, you will still have a small risk of gales in May - particularly if you take the offshore route.

Fair winds and following seas

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post #6 of 13 Old 09-25-2015
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Re: Taking the boat north next spring

Agree with captain roger. Would note the ride through Delaware which is obligate with the c&d has to be the most boring piece of water there is. Would further note with big ship traffic in it and shoals on either side it is not a fun place to be when it gets sporty. Finally have had occasion to dodge some pretty big pieces of wood and some trees in it. So try to miss it. Should be a great trip. If you never gone up the east river it's truly an experience. Problem is L.I. Sound may be light air. But harbor towns especially on Conn side are a delight.

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-26-2015
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Re: Taking the boat north next spring

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Originally Posted by svzephyr44 View Post
I think you have two choices:

1) Go outside at Morehead City direct to MA when you have a weather window of several days of south winds. Pick up the Gulf Stream and ride it all the way up (that means outside of Hatteras and Long island. Quick, efficient, the only concern is a wind shift to the North, then you duck in coastwise.
Ride the GS to Buzzards Bay???

Hmmm, is there some OTHER Gulf Stream I don't know about?

;-)


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post #8 of 13 Old 09-26-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Taking the boat north next spring

All,
thanks for all your inputs. We have already discussed that late May to early June is a better window. I did the NYC trip on the way down, but I am not sure the other crew members, for this trip, have. I agree that the C&D is out of the way and boring (at least it was going south), but the Chesapeake has so many interesting visiting opportunities. So if we go outside DelMar where do you duck in? Hmm, Jon thanks, looks like we could follow the gulf stream to maybe Norway!

We are still early in the planning stages, so please feel free to chime in with any other thoughts.

thanks all,
Ron
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-26-2015
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Re: Taking the boat north next spring

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So if we go outside DelMar where do you duck in?
As always, It Depends...

;-)

The beauty of your boat, is that you could consider going into a number of the lower Delmarva inlets, IN SETTLED CONDITIONS...

I've been into Great Machipongo, Wachapreague, and Chincoteague over the years, the latter especially is a pretty interesting place to explore, though it's a long way in and out... Down around Hog Island and Machipongo, that's a beautiful remote area rarely visited by yachts, just make sure you've got plenty of insect repellent... ;-) With your draft, you might even consider trying to make part of that run on the Inside route behind the barrier islands, that's a trip I'd love to do some day, but of course requires an extremely shoal draft, and perhaps some patience with playing the tides... pdqaltar is the one who would probably know best about that...

As far as a place to hide from worsening weather, however, Ocean City and Lewes/Harbor of Refuge are your only viable options... You really want to think twice before making that run outside without a high confidence you'll have a decent window to make it up to the Delaware Entrance/Cape May... Shouldn't be much of a problem that time of the year, however...

Are you planning on returning home at the end of the summer or fall? If so, I'd save the Chesapeake for then...
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-27-2015
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Re: Taking the boat north next spring

With a strong El Niño there will be the possibility that 'spring' will be late and blustery; so there may be the probability of strong and quick moving equinoctal (change of season) gales well into May. For that possibility, Id be going up the Ches. with plenty of places to duck in, and then position myself for a quick dash down the Delaware Bay to Cape May to await a weather window for passage to either LIS or to round Montauk, etc.

Of course all this depends on the intensity and how long this developing current El Niño remains in effect, etc. and how it will effect the usual 'weather fight' (gales) at the change of seasons this coming spring along the Atlantic coast.

FWIW - Chris Parker, Caribbean Weather Center (weather router) has added forecast staff, and supposedly will now soon be actively forecasting/routing north of Hatteras.. https://www.mwxc.com/ a subscription Wx service on SSB, etc.
NOAA forecasts have become so 'lawyerly' and 'risk adverse' in the past few years, that its becoming ever harder to get an accurate (sailing) forecast from them, as its either no winds or their constant and incessant howling of "small craft advisories of 18-33kts", when its actually blowing 10-15kts.

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/us/...seasons/56531/

Last edited by RichH; 09-27-2015 at 09:37 AM.
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