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Discussion Starter #1
Being new to the region (but fairly experienced) I have asked a number of people for their advice - but get widely differing opinions regarding ideal draft for Long Island Sound.
I have a family of 4 (two boys) who have other sporting commitments on weekends and will be using the 35 - 37ft boat as follows:
day-sailing - probably 1 day each weekend plus 1 evening per week;
beer-can club racing - 1 evening each week;
weekend cruise - 2 - 3 per season;
extended (two week cruise) - once per season (Nantucket / RI etc);
Newport-Bermuda Race - dream!

Most marina''s in my location are dredged in excess of 8ft MLW so I generally won''t have a problem with the day sailing / evening racing etc if the boat I eventually choose has a draft of 6ft plus. However, not being very familiar with the cruising waters, I don''t know if I am likely to be very restricted re. overnight anchorages, gunk holes etc with that type of draft. Some I speak with think I will be severely restricted, others do not. I would appreciate any advice from anyone who has extensively sailed Long Island Sound and its environ in a pattern similar to my intended use.
 

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Spent 12 years day sailing and cruising in Long Island Sound and can count on one hand the number of times my 7'' draft might have been a problem-and I am probably exagerating by 4!
 

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Thanks. That''s very encouraging. Once I get my boat, I''d love to get further advice from you re best anchorages etc.
Jonathan
 

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kimberlite--currently we are in Maine at Robinhood Marina, Georgetown Island(just east of Bath and offof the Sheepscote River).
Use to keep the boat inStamford, Ct. Maine is an incredible experience if you are into cruising. Where are you located??
 

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Discussion Starter #8
we are in huntington ny in the summer and red hook (st thomas) in the winter.
i sail back and forth.
eric
 

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Discussion Starter #10
i have a completely restored and orc1 ready tartan 37.
we were out today. great sail winds from the ne 30-35.
beautiful.
eric
 

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We just got back from Maine. Spent Sat-Mon. in gusts to 40 knots, 3-5''seas and rain and Mon am light snow showers. A little bit of everything. I wonder if I am getting too old for this. Prior to moving the boat to Maine, we use to spend the Columbus holiday weekend taking our fall trip from Stamford to Mystic Seaport were we would tie up right at the Seaport. I remember, on more than one occassion, awakening to snow or frost on the deck.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We sail in eastern LI Sound and are unfamilar with anchorages west of Branford. Since you are in Fairfield Co., this advise will be helpful for your 2-week cruise. Many anchorages are easy and safe to locate during dark evening arrivals for a boat with 6'' of draft. You may wish to avoid long, winding channels in the dark without local knowledge. Though they are well marked by bouys, many hazards and shoals are real threats--even in daylight. However, many safe anchorages exists without going up these longer rivers at night.

We draw 5'' 6" and have no difficulty getting to our destinations. We come and go as we please because the tide change is only 2''-3''.

At a few places we arrive and depart on a rising tide, for example, Coecles Harbor & West Harbor, Shetler Is., NY and also Watch Hill & Napatree, RI. We have bumped the soft bottoms at low tide and learned to watch the tide and moon phase. Also, local knowledge helps, knowing which side of the channel to favor. These places are best navigated during daylight.

Some people might say it is shallow entering Three Mile Harbor in E. Hampton, NY near the town dock. It has been dredged and is not a problem any more.

A boat in our marina at Mystic draws 9''. We have had transients with drafts as much as 13'' tie up at the dock. One sad day the boat drawing 9'' bricked a rock in the center of the Mystic R. channel. The rock is unmarked and is not on any chart. Most locals are unaware if it becasue it is about 8.5'' deep at low tide. The skipper did everything right, but lost about 6 weeks of cruising while the keel was repaired.

You can never be certain of any depth when gunkholing. We all do our best with the constraints of our vessels and, more importantly, our ability to make sound judgements as a captain. Many anchorages in eastern LI Sound offer you a large margin of error to make safe evening passages with 6'' of draft. There''s no need to be too bold.
 
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