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Hi fellow sailors,

I'm thinking about plans for 2017 and have been thinking about heading up north to Maine and back. And looking for info from those who might have done something like this before?

I have a 36' Pearson cutter. I will be the primary sailor, but plan to have crew along the way. No open water experience (yet) but years of sailing on the Bay and other places, including overnight runs here and there. Year ago experience sailing from Hong Kong to Japan.

I have owned the boat for 5 years now and a comfortable with knowing her systems

Some of my questions are:
- When to start heading north and when to head back south again?
- How to avoid this becoming an unpleasant cold-weather sailing trip?
- I want to day-trip as much as I can - exploring, basically.
- I will probably want to take a couple of breaks during the summer - docking the boat for a week or so and go off on some side-trips (like maybe back south for some warm beach time!). Where might be places to leave the boat for those kinds of side-trips?

Any advice and help would be great!

And if anyone has an old used copy of Chart 13003 (Cape Sable to Cape Hatteras) that they would be willing to part with (and would be willing to send me - I'll cover costs plus maybe $10...)?

Thanks!

Jballou
 

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We know a couple who were attempting to make it from Mystic to the St. Lawrence in May, a number of years ago. They were on their way to the Great Lakes and found the weather so cold and wet that they holed up in Marblehead for a couple of weeks before turning around.

You need to understand that the water temperature north of the Cape Cod Canal is noticeable cooler than in southern New England. Even here in southern New England, we don't launch our boat until June.

We did, however, bring our boat from Annapolis to Mystic during the latter part of May, many years ago, at the end of a delivery trip from FL. The weather was OK, but the winds were not cooperative and we motored the whole way, including an overnight passage from Cape May past Montauk.

So, IMHO, you don't want to head up this way before June--preferably late June. You'll enjoy the lower humidity and more reliable winds for a couple of months And return in September, when the sailing is delightful.
 

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Or if anyone knows of any blogs of similar trips taken?
You might find the Log's of Bob and Ann Sherer of (click on) Fleetwind worth reading through. They go back several years and there is a good deal of very useful information on the site.
 
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With a full cockpit enclosure, we are very comfortably sailing in RI waters in May (we launch Apr 1). Nights can be crisp, but tolerable. The water temps, however, are in the 50s. While they warm here to about 70, they stay in the 50s in Maine. That's the attention getter. You must have a liferaft, or you will die of exposure before rescue ever arrives.

On one of our trips to Maine, we were there in late June. It was cold at night, but gorgeous during the day. Our next trip, we went in July.

I can throw out all sorts of random anchorage and town ideas, but a bit more on how much time you have, whether you feel comfortable with an occasional overnight leg, etc, would be helpful. That's a lot of distance, so to coastal hop will take a lot of time. On trips like that, I prefer to knock out the distance at the front end and comfortably hop my way back.
 
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Plan your time to be sailing the coast of Maine to fall within the months of July, August and Mid-September.

You can have a good Maine coastal cruise in a few weeks. Longer is better. A good plan is to sail overnight from Cape Cod (on prevailing summer winds) to Penobscot Bay. In the bay, your options are great for any weather and many routes, east (mostly) and west.

Go downeast with the plan that it will take you twice as long to make up the miles to return west. Don't make the mistake of trying to cover too much of the coast of Maine with your time. Enjoy the sailing and the coast when you're here. You're more likely to be held up by weather on your return trip to Southern New England.

We've often gone from Mid Coast Maine to Cape Cod and the Islands - as far south as Newport - and back home to Maine in two weeks. That's a minimum of time but we've enjoyed it.

The trick with weather here is the spring is slow to start, often cold before July. But the fall is the opposite, lingering well into October. But October is tight for getting back South because tougher weather can be a problem.
 

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Plan your time to be sailing the coast of Maine to fall within the months of July, August and Mid-September.

You can have a good Maine coastal cruise in a few weeks. Longer is better. A good plan is to sail overnight from Cape Cod (on prevailing summer winds) to Penobscot Bay. In the bay, your options are great for any weather and many routes, east (mostly) and west.

Go downeast with the plan that it will take you twice as long to make up the miles to return west. Don't make the mistake of trying to cover too much of the coast of Maine with your time. Enjoy the sailing and the coast when you're here. You're more likely to be held up by weather on your return trip to Southern New England.

We've often gone from Mid Coast Maine to Cape Cod and the Islands - as far south as Newport - and back home to Maine in two weeks. That's a minimum of time but we've enjoyed it.

The trick with weather here is the spring is slow to start, often cold before July. But the fall is the opposite, lingering well into October. But October is tight for getting back South because tougher weather can be a problem.
This is right on from my southern New England perspective. Our longest trip to Maine from Mystic was 600 mi (round trip), which took us as far as Damariscove, by Boothbay. If it is still available, you might get a copy of "Maine Coast" by the Tafts.

We've been fortunate that the wind gods were on our side and the southbound legs were not slogs into the predominant SW breeze, but you need to heed Tom's advice and expect to make slower progress When homeward bound--and that would apply virtually all the way to the Chesapeake.

FWIW, we have a canvas cockpit enclosure that we zip in place once at anchor. It is open in the back. It makes a huge difference in keeping the evening dew out of the cockpit and making that space liveable at anchor, as long as you are pointing into the wind. So, if you have a similar arrangement, Just beware of strong tides that could point you downwind.

You need to think about staying warm, in any case. We don't have a cabin heater, but wish we had one Maine waters and for the shoulder seasons in southern New England. Strongly agree with the July - mid September recommendation for this trip-- especially based on air and water temps.
 

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Tom's got it right, except that even in early July it can be cold and foggy in Maine. Tom lives there and is hardier than us southerners:). IMHO for the best chance at great weather, get to Maine near the end of July, and hang until early September, then run for the hills before it starts snowing! Water temps are the issue if you go too soon. Even if it's 90 inland, wind over water in the 50's and even low 60's makes a big difference.

Also, IMHO for about 3, and if your lucky 6 weeks every year, Maine is the finest place to sail on the planet.


Down in the "deep south" (or probably I should say west) in my neighborhood, we put the sailboat in the water in early May. To be honest, we get a few beautiful sailing days in May, but on the cape the weather really gets consistent about mid June (don't tell the chamber of commerce I leaked this data). On the other end, life is great for sailing here till about Nov 1, as the water temp usually holds up, and the tourist disappear (the chamber would like you to know this; however, and hang around and spend money).

Have a great trip, let us know when in neighborhood.
 

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You will be traveling from "marina country" to "anchor or mooring buoy country" and back, so your "where can I leave her for a while Up East" question will depend more on finding a nice mooring buoy, with pennant, to borrow or rent. You don't really want to leave her on just an anchor if you're leaving for a few days to be an inland tourist or wherever.

Ask around to find one. Radioing a harbormaster might work. Do you have a home yacht club? The "old school" way is to get visiting privileges at another club who might help you with a guest mooring, or a member's mooring who is off somewhere else.
 

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ActiveCaptain.com is another source for trip information
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You did pick up on one of my concerns - cold water! So late June makes sense. That also gives me a few weeks down in the Bay to prep and do a bit of local cruising.

Thanks
 

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We too have full cockpit enclosure - which sounds like it will be very useful!

Ah - life raft. Right. Good idea.

We are comfortable with overnight legs.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Old charts are also good for basic planning - tape to the study wall and start marking up options.
 

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You did pick up on one of my concerns - cold water! So late June makes sense. That also gives me a few weeks down in the Bay to prep and do a bit of local cruising.

Thanks
One of the primary reasons we'd head for Cape Cod in August, was to swim. I've never been much for swimming off the boat since moving to Maine nearly 20 years.

Things have changed a bit. For the last several years, the water in Penobscot Bay has been warmer(I know if anything, my tolerance for cold water swimming, has decreased.

In my area (Western Penobscot Bay), mid summer has water temps in the 60's. I keep a thermometer onboard. I'll consider going in when it reaches the high 60's.

Fact is, we've been finding low 70's occasionally in coves and anchorages not far from open water(up estuaries, even warmer).

The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest warming sea bodies on Earth.

When the air get's into the 80's (and it does get into the 80's on the water in August-90's not unheard of), we've been swimming off the boat. I can hardly believe this myself. :)

But we still have the cool nights on the water.
 

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We did it a few years ago and I think we left Chessie Bay in May and worked our way up and back. A few questions:
1. do you have an ssb? there will be a lot of folks headed that way and there is a ssb net each day for the east coast and a lot of folks headed north. and of course you get Chris Parker weather.
2. we did all our planning with and still do all our planning with OpenCPN putting in potential stops and then review it as we headed north.
3. As above Tafts cruising guide of Maine is great but get cruising guides of the route from the bay up and it has a lot of insights such as the tide factors at NYC, the Race, when to run the canal, ect
4. stop along the way and enjoy but what we have learned is we do a bit of sight seeing on the way north but only a little and then do a lot while in the northern area we reach and then as we head south we do a lot of sight seeing as we colder weather chases us south.
5. Hope you have radar as the fog can set in and quite heavy in Maine. It was nothing to leave on a clear morning and get hit with heavy fog. It was so heavy that a buddy boat left and headed south as they did not have radar but then again boats we knew who came up a week after we did had no fog at all. luck of the draw
6. just get use to trying to avoid lobster pots and it is nothing like the crab pots - it is carb pots on steroids and energy drinks

have fun
 
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