Jersey Shore living and sailing - SailNet Community
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Jersey Shore living and sailing

Philly resident looking to buy near Tom's River plus or minus 50 miles north south for coastal living and Barnegat Bay type day sailing with occasional overnights. Appreciate any present residents or experienced sailors in this area for suggestions on good areas to sail and live. Currently have a Precision 18 but looking to move up with a Catalina 28 or so with shoal or wing keel for the possible shallow area sailing. Is a more shallow type -4 ft draw a wise decision for this area or is the standard 5-6 ft standard keel ok?
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Re: Jersey Shore living and sailing

Barnegat is a pretty shallow bay. I sailed there for many years. I preferred to keep my draft to 4 ft or less.
My old Bristol 29 was a centerboard boat. I think it drew 3' 2" board up. My current Sabre 34 draws 3'11" board up.

Can you get by with a deeper draft, yes. But it will limit your access to many spots IMO.

The deeper end of the bay is south of the Rt. 37 Bridge. From Toms River down to Forked River. There are several marinas on both rivers. Bayville, Ocean Gate, Forked River, Toms River, would be a couple of area towns to explore. Good Luck!

BTW, it's usually not a matter of "if" you will run aground in Barnegat Bay, but when and where. Wing Keels don't lend themselves to heeling to get unstuck. Personally, I wouldn't want a wing there. But that's just one mans opinion FWIW. I had many a soft ( muck) groundings there and usually got free easily enough. ( mainland shore) The ocean side of the bay has more hard sand, Kedging off works.
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Re: Jersey Shore living and sailing

I sailed in Barnegat for 10 years. Islander 28 with 4 ft draft. Barely cleared many spots.
Try and buy as shallow as possible
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Re: Jersey Shore living and sailing

We (Dad and I) struggled many years ago to sail his 5 foot draft (fin keel) US Yacht 27. Had one boat yard recommend he cut his keel off (after all you don't need that much keel right?)...

Yeah shallow it is. We used to joke... no worries, if we run aground we'll walk back. Your P18 would be awesome for it though.

Freedom, a 1983 C&C 32 sailing Smith Mountain Lake, VA
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Re: Jersey Shore living and sailing

The positive about Barnegat Bay for sailing is:

it runs general North south . From Good luck Point on the Toms River to Double Creek at the southernmost point of sailing depth is 12.9 miles.

The prevailing winds are SE to SW with an afternoon onshore cool ocean breeze in the afternoon like clockwork. Makes for a 3 hour sail in each direction.

There is a winding shallow very very narrow to the area behind Barnegat Inlet. Behind the lighthouse at the end of the thoroughfare to Barnegat Bay is one of my all time favorite anchorages at Meyers Hole. It is one of our stop overs when we transit the Jersey Shore tp Long Island or down to Cape May.

The rest of the inter coastal to Atlantic City is not for a sailboat. Depth and Greenhead flies abound. Unmarked shoals which shift. Most maps are still not updated from Sandy.

I learned how to sail a keelboat there, but quickly got bored after a couple of years. I lived in Ocean City, No for 18 and that’s where we sailed for 4 years. Then moved to the Chessie.

If I had to fight the traffic to the Jersey shore to get to a sailboat.....I’d rather go to the Chesapeake. For a few years however, a good place to learn.
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Re: Jersey Shore living and sailing

I've got a MacGregor 26 with 2 foot of draft with the center board up and still have to be very careful where in the bay I go. I primarily spend my time in and around Great Bay cruising down to Atlantic City and occasionally head up north. Maps are useless. You learn where the shoals are from experience.
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Re: Jersey Shore living and sailing

We sailed a Catalina 30 MKIII on Barnegat Bay for 11 years, first sailing out of LBI then out of Forked River. We lived aboard weekends from April till the end of October.

Our wing drew 3'10", we grounded occasionally but never had trouble getting off. I think some of the wing criticism may be from folks who haven't owned one (this was our second wing keel). A friend had a 5' draft fin and found bottom more often. I wouldn't go over 4' draft. YMMV.

I agree with what Chef said about reliable winds, about Myers Hole, Tices Shoal and that after a while it feels like you've done it all before (because you have). The flip side is it was an hour drive for us from the Cherry Hill area vs. an hour 45 to two hours to get down to the Chesapeake with Friday afternoon traffic.

We moved up to Forked River from LBI pretty quickly (sailing is much better above the 72 bridge). We had slips at Southwinds & Ted & Sons. Southwinds had serious problems after Irma (new owners so things may have improved). Ted & Sons is family owned. Silver Cloud also has a lot of sailors and I had good experiences with them (winter storage). Nightlife on Forked River revolves around the Captains Inn because everyone can walk there. Latitudes has had a parade of owners, most of them bad.

The boaters on Forked River are a good group, and many have known each other for years. It's a safe comfortable place to boat and to hang out off the boat. Ultimately the boating community is a big part of why we stayed there.

One thing to keep in mind if you're in an outside slip on the river as we were. If you're downstream of the Captain's Inn you'll get late night power boaters leaving the bar throwing wakes. Upstream at Ted & Sons or Silver Cloud it's definitely quieter.

Finally if you're going outside talk with some of the local sailors about running Barnegat Inlet. It can be tricky...

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Re: Jersey Shore living and sailing

In case being further north appeals for some reason (e.g. NYC): I grew up in the Red Bank area sailing the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers and cruised <30' boats in this area. ~30 miles N of Toms River. Very nice area, pricey, more Wall St. suburbia and less summertime shore feel than Barnegat would give you. Both rivers are small and Shrewsbury is especially shallow, basically catboats and dinghies only. The Navesink is a nice big bathtub rimmed by mansions and good for an afternoon sail for up to 6' draft. Our local mooring field routinely got 35-40' snowbirds hiding from weather before making the overnight to Cape May. For a longer day sail, Raritan Bay and the ocean are one opening bridge and a few miles away.
Pros:
* Drop a hook anywhere on the Nav or Shrewsbury for an easy overnight.
* Plenty of dock-n-dine spots and walkable downtowns, particularly Red Bank and Atlantic Highlands
* No scary inlets to get to the ocean (though definitely some motoring). If weather gets nasty you can run for the Atlantic Highlands harbor breakwater or tuck into Spermicetti cove.
* NYC, e.g. Sheepshead Bay or Jersey City, are a daytrip away. I've motorsailed a 28' from Red Bank to Port Washington on LIS in an easy day. We also did weekend harbor-hops up the CT shore to Block Island by leaving the boat and taking Amtrak back and forth, which was fun (and doable from Philly).

Cons:
* Some decent beaches in the area, but not as good as LBI and south.
* Boating has really died off in this area. Lots of sailing history and activity last century, but recently it's been a ghost town on the water. Even power boats and waverunners have virtually disappeared. Barnegat Bay should offer more in the way of sailing community.
* You'll need to add miles on the turnpike, GSP, Rte 9, etc. to get up there. It will be reverse traffic, but still a hassle when you just want to get to the shore.

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Re: Jersey Shore living and sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixpak View Post
I've got a MacGregor 26 with 2 foot of draft with the center board up and still have to be very careful where in the bay I go. I primarily spend my time in and around Great Bay cruising down to Atlantic City and occasionally head up north. Maps are useless. You learn where the shoals are from experience.
My Clearwater 35 also has a 2’ draft with the keel and rudder raised (6’ draft with keel fully down). That’s good for negotiating skinny spots but you still need enough keel down to go to weather under sail—otherwise you motor. Often enough in our area we use the shoal draft feature to negotiate a short cut, keeping the motoring to a minimum. One example is the “Cut” into the Napatree anchorage by Watch Hill which saves us about 3.5nm round trip.
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Re: Jersey Shore living and sailing

I second the Navesink and Atlantic Highlands area. The river is really beautiful, and the Bay is a dream after being in the river. In the Bay, few worries about draft, steady wind and great scenery.

A longish drive from PHL, but I worked in Philly for seven years and did that drive twice a day, so I have limited compassion. Moorings in the AH municipal marina are reasonably priced, at least for around here, and there are several towns with restaurants and entertainment.
I'd be happy to show you around.
Lou
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