SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have been 10 years away from sailing. We are in the process of buying a 40' sailboat. Last summer we had a Formula 27 PC and it opened up LI sound for us. Our home port was in East Haddam on the CT river. We spent every weekend in either Block Island, Greenport or Montauk. Block Island was under 3 hours dock to dock, we didn't need to deal with traffic or tides. We didn't like the pounding, noise and lifestyle of powerboating though and have decided to go back to sailing. But, we don't want to give up our favorite ports so we are looking at Spicers in Noank, Crockers in New London and Between the Bridges in Old Saybrook for our summer slip.

We've been told Noank is about 21 miles from Block Island, that seems a reasonable 3-4 sail with Greenport about the same. I wonder how much the race and Plum Gut will factor into our trips, though.

Old Saybrook is only 30 minutes from our home. We'd be out on the water quickly, although the railroad bridge may be keep us in the harbor longer than we'd like. I heard it can be a 20 minute wait (any confirmation of this). Block Island is 40 miles away. Maybe to far for a weekend when weather can be so unpredictable.

New London is 50 and Noank 70 minutes without traffic. So with these ports less spur of the moment or last minute trips will be possible as rush hour needs to be avoided, but we are less hampered by bad weather. New London is not a very pretty harbor though and the town doesn't offer much.

My previous sailing was done out of Milford and Bridgeport so the eastern end of CT is new to me.

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on sailing out of any of these ports and what advice you might have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
I have my sailboat at Between the Bridges for the winter and I'll probably keep it there this coming season. 20 minutes is a long wait for an opening at Old Lyme Draw - usually its shorter. All the destinations you cited (BI, Greenport, etc.) are great, but if you end up at BTB, don't forget to head upriver once and awhile too. I enjoy Essex, Hamburg Cove, Selden Creek and other sights along the river just as much as trips across or down the sound.

I had the boat on the Chesapeake for the past few years, so I'm looking forward to having the boat near home again (I live in Saybrook). After that experience, I'm definitely in favor of cutting down the commute to the boat given the choice. You can't go wrong with any of the ports you're considering though - good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
512 Posts
There are couple of marinas below the bridges at Saybrook Point -- a little less sheltered and maybe more expensive (the one I stayed at last Summer seemed to be superyacht oriented), but there is no need to wait for bridges. While you are exploring the area, which I love, don't forget to come down to Sag Harbor and Three Mile Harbor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Bill, thanks for the info. 20 minutes is a long time. We live in Cromwell so the drive down to Old Saybrook is only 25 mintues. If we keep the boat in Noank we're 70 minutes, but closer to Block, Mystic, Stonington etc.

Since you seem familiar with these have you ever been to Noank, Spicers Marina? We are seriously considering a slip there although they only have day markers and I read a MLT of 5'. We draw 5'3". I wondered how quick you'd get on the sound, too, and if the best route from there is on the inside of Fishers to Block?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Hi Nikka,

I have had a town mooring in Mystic Harbor (Noank) for many years. I’ve sailed Fishers Island Sound, Block Island sound on a Cape Dory 25, Pearson 26, Catalina 25 and this year have just completed the purchase of a Catalina 30. I have an extreme prejudice in favor of Noank.

Spicers is right around Morgan Point, west of my spot. I know you wont have trouble with your draft as there are a ton of boats there that draw more than 5’ (Spicers is where my new old Catalina is right now). My impression of Spicers is that it is a very good yard. There is a great restaurant/bar right there called the Sea Horse.

To go to Block Island from Spicers you would most likely head easterly down Fishers Island Sound. Currents in Fishers Island Sound can run pretty swift, you can check your current charts, and plan accordingly. I always choose to head out through Wicopessett Passage which is at the eastern tip of Fishers Island. You’ll want to do this the first few times in ideal conditions in order to get the feel. You’ll want to keep Seal Rocks (C “15”) well to your starboard on your approach. You can then line up the C “1” which marks the middle of the pass with the RW “W” bell for a straight line through. The current here can be as much as 3 or maybe 4 knots. From there, you’re only about 14 miles to the B “2” for Great Salt Pond.

Alternatively, you could head out by Watch Hill which is much wider and more prominently marked. The current can be impressive here to. Neither one matches what I’ve seen at the Race however.

In any event, just remember there is a series of reefs along the line from Wicopesset to Watch Hill and you will be fine.

Now, a little bit about my extreme prejudice. I LOVE my harbor. It is quite, picturesque, and within walking distance of Noank Village. Its also is a scenic dinghy ride to downtown Mystic. Have you checked out the Noank Shipyard or Noank Village Boatyard? They both have slips and moorings available. I frankly prefer this side of Noank (between Noank Village and Masons Island) over Spicers. But then again, I prefer a mooring over a slip so that may tell you something too.

Good luck…maybe we’ll see each other in Noank or BI this summer.

~matt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
Hi Nika,

I couldn't describe the Noank area any better that Matt has. I too like the scene either at the dock or on a mooring on the east side of Noank (at the mouth of the Mystic river). The only caveat I would add that it is more exposed in a northeast blow over there, so you have to be ready to do the commute to the boat to get it ready for storms a little more often. Spicers is more protected from all points of the compass except south and they have a breakwater for that. Spicer's has plenty of water in the channel and at the dock for a 5'3" draft and if you have a yanmar diesel, my friends with them have said that they have the best service and parts for yanmar in the area.

Noank is a great jumping off point for Block and points east or to Gardiner's bay (plum gut would be about 15 mi to the SW). Now you've got me thinking about how nice it would be to have a boat there - maybe I should keep my little Bristol on a mooring in Noank? That would be decadent to have two boats on the coast within 20 miles of each other (not to mention being grounds for divorce when my wife finds out!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Noank sounds great and I had not even considered having the Yanmar Dealer right there. We stopped by the marina last weekend, it was near sunset and the marina was pretty quiet, but the setting was fabulous and the docks really nice, too. Between that and all the great comments on this thread, I've made my mind up. It's our new home for the summer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
A few thoughts on this, but I'll note that any of the options you are considering are perfectly fine.

If you choose the Ct. River option, I would consider something south of the bridges, like Saybrook Point Marina. It will make getting in and out of the river much easier, and Saybrook Point actually is a very nice place, if a bit power boaty. Note, however, that the railroad bridge in season remains open, and closes only for an oncoming train. So, if the bridge is closed you need to hang out and wait, but most of the time it's open.

By the way, I agree with the poster who reminded you not to ignore those places further up the river for visiting (Essex, Hamburg Cove). Those are beautiful places.

On Noank, Spicer's is a great place in many respects, and they do have a great service department. But that town is sort of eh (no offense to anyone). If I were considering Noank as my home port, I think I would be more inclined to go with one of the marinas up the Mystic River a bit, but below the bridges. There are a few, including a Brewer's. Note also that getting to BI and places east from Noank does not require you to go through the Race -- use Fisher's Island Sound. There certainly is FIS, but nothing like the Race.

I'm not a huge fan of New London, only because it's mostly industrial. Though it is home to a fair number of pleasure boats, and it is that much closer to BI (and farther from the Gardiner's Bay/Shelter Island area).

Have you considered Westbrook? There is a great Brewer's marina there (Pilot's Point), it is a very well protected harbor, and there's some decent stuff going on in the town. It's only 6 miles west of the Conn. River, and BI is a somewhat longish but very doable trip for a weekend from Westbrook, and Greenport is a no-brainer for weekends if that's where you want to go.

And even another thought, if you are prepared to drive an hour plus or minus, consider Stonington (Dodson's). It will make BI and short hop, and it's a need little town. Just a few additional ideas to make your decision that much more complicated. :)

Hey, are you working with Jim Villone at all re: the possibility of a 40? Just curious as to how that's playing out, as Jim called to let me know you had reached out to him.
 

·
S/V Antares
Joined
·
48 Posts
I-95 Sunday afternoon traffic

One thing to keep in mind when considering your home port choice is the I-95 traffic on Sunday afternoons. We've spent summers in both the CT River and Groton area and found that the 'southbound' trip down I-95 from Groton on Sunday afternoon/evening was highly unpredictable - sometimes even running into hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic (we head north at Route 9 where it's normally not too bad from there). If you've got the flexibility to avoid the peak traffic periods, though, and don't mind the longer ride, the eastern end of Long Island Sound is an attractive alternative - especially if Block Island is a desired weekend destination. Take care, Bill Antares O'day 302
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Bill, The traffic is what scared us about a port further east. We live up in Cromwell and kept our power boat on the river in Haddam at Andrews, what a great place. We are fortunate that we can probably just hang out in Mystic and have dinner before we head home on Sunday nights so we should be able to miss the parking lot on 1-95. Being close to Block, our favorite destination next to Greenport, is a big priority.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
379 Posts
A few thoughts on this, but I'll note that any of the options you are considering are perfectly fine.

If you choose the Ct. River option, I would consider something south of the bridges, like Saybrook Point Marina. It will make getting in and out of the river much easier, and Saybrook Point actually is a very nice place, if a bit power boaty. Note, however, that the railroad bridge in season remains open, and closes only for an oncoming train. So, if the bridge is closed you need to hang out and wait, but most of the time it's open.

By the way, I agree with the poster who reminded you not to ignore those places further up the river for visiting (Essex, Hamburg Cove). Those are beautiful places.

On Noank, Spicer's is a great place in many respects, and they do have a great service department. But that town is sort of eh (no offense to anyone). If I were considering Noank as my home port, I think I would be more inclined to go with one of the marinas up the Mystic River a bit, but below the bridges. There are a few, including a Brewer's. Note also that getting to BI and places east from Noank does not require you to go through the Race -- use Fisher's Island Sound. There certainly is FIS, but nothing like the Race.

I'm not a huge fan of New London, only because it's mostly industrial. Though it is home to a fair number of pleasure boats, and it is that much closer to BI (and farther from the Gardiner's Bay/Shelter Island area).

Have you considered Westbrook? There is a great Brewer's marina there (Pilot's Point), it is a very well protected harbor, and there's some decent stuff going on in the town. It's only 6 miles west of the Conn. River, and BI is a somewhat longish but very doable trip for a weekend from Westbrook, and Greenport is a no-brainer for weekends if that's where you want to go.

And even another thought, if you are prepared to drive an hour plus or minus, consider Stonington (Dodson's). It will make BI and short hop, and it's a need little town. Just a few additional ideas to make your decision that much more complicated. :)

Hey, are you working with Jim Villone at all re: the possibility of a 40? Just curious as to how that's playing out, as Jim called to let me know you had reached out to him.
Reading this is like reading a history of where I've kept my boats. Started in Essex for two years - Left because of the river traffic and went to spicers in Noank. Was there for about 4 years. Then I bought a new boat and went to Pilots Point for 18 years. Left PP after buying a trawler. I am now in Brewers Mystic and back to sail.

Problem with PP and the river is consistent wind. Mid LIS in August was dead I used to call it shake and bake form the waves and the sun. I stayed there because I had young kids and they liked the pool and drive from my then home in Middletown also attractive. It was about 50 minutes. Now from my current home in Bristol, it takes around 70 minutes to Mystic.Regarding the Sunday traffic. It sucks and we usually hang around to around 8pm when it starts to clear up.

I always liked Noank and Mystic because the wind is better and access to points such as Watch Hill, BI and other destinations are much better. One of the worst parts about the CT River and Mid LIS is access to places just to drop the hook eat lunch and go swimming. There are none. Out of Mystic there are several within a 90 min sail. Beautiful for day trips.
If you have any questions ask away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
One vote for Noank

I live and currently boat out of Western CT. Used to keep my boat in Sag Harbor and sailed that area quite a bit. Obviously this is all about personal preferences, but I would pick Noank over Saybrook in a heartbeat. Too many powerboats and logs on the CT river, though I like the town and facilities in Saybrook. I really like the Mystic area, and it was always an easy sail from Sag - meaning Greenport would be even closer. Eventually, you may want to journey farther to Newport, Elizabeth Islands, Martha's Vineyard, etc. Noank would be a better launching point for all of these.

I would agree with an earlier thread that you should consider Sag and Three Mile Harbor, and I would add Montauk, Cochles Harbor (Shelter Island) and Dering Harbor (also Shelter Island) for future itineraries. Branford and Port Jefferson may also be worth considering for future visits. Also agree that you won't go wrong with any of the locations you picked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,813 Posts
If you're getting a 40' sailboat, I'd be concerned about water depth at BTB on the CT River, and in Noank. We put in to a marina on the West side of the CT river (don't remember the name) and were stuck in the mud at low tide (6'9" draft). In Noank, (Noank Shipyard?) where we visited, the slips may have deeper water than the mooring field. We were given a mooring 'way over on the east side of the harbor because it was too shallow elsewhere. The Noank Shipyard(?) itself was great; newer facility, friendly people and boatyard dogs. If you're thinking of that area, another neat place is 'way up the channel in Westbrook, past Brewers. Stopped in there last summer to change crew, and they could not have been nicer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
747 Posts
I used to be in the western Sound, but have recently been on a mooring in Noank, and wintered in Saybrook.
It takes a long time to get out of the CT River with a sailboat, plus you need to drive everywhere. I enjoy it for a few weeks in the fall, but I wouldn't want to be there all summer. I highly recommend Noank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Soundbounder,
I'm glad to hear your experience is positive. We just signed the contract yesterday for the slip at Spicers so it confirms our thoughts. We checked out Brewers in Mystic but worried that the summer traffic would be a problem.

We made Block Island our most frequent destination last year with our power boat and it was just too far from Saybrook. It seems like Noank is an easy in and out port, too, and the trip in back of Fisher's Island has to be better than the race for the most part. Will you be moored in Spicer's field? What other destinations are good weekend trips from there? Our boat only draws 5'3" so I think we are fine with the depths around there. The name of our boat is PilotFish 2.0, by the way, a Beneteau 40.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
747 Posts
Soundbounder,
I'm glad to hear your experience is positive. We just signed the contract yesterday for the slip at Spicers so it confirms our thoughts. We checked out Brewers in Mystic but worried that the summer traffic would be a problem.

We made Block Island our most frequent destination last year with our power boat and it was just too far from Saybrook. It seems like Noank is an easy in and out port, too, and the trip in back of Fisher's Island has to be better than the race for the most part. Will you be moored in Spicer's field? What other destinations are good weekend trips from there? Our boat only draws 5'3" so I think we are fine with the depths around there. The name of our boat is PilotFish 2.0, by the way, a Beneteau 40.
I am on the east side of Noank, but I will look for you.
Here are some places other than Block Island or Greenport/Shelter Island.
Stonington: nice town, Dodsons has moorings. Very nice!
Watch Hill: takes some time getting in there, but the Watch Hill YC has moorings, or you can anchor along Napatree Pt. Great place!!!
East Harbor,Fishers Island: not great holding ground, but a nice place to anchor for a swim or lunch.
West Harbor, Fishers Island: You can anchor or grab a mooring from the YC.
The town is nothing special, but the harbor is very attractive. I always end up in West Harbor a lot.
New London: there is free dockage for about 4 hours at the town pier near the train station. You can walk to restaurants/bars nearby. I always lock the boat here, but in all fairness, I have never had any problems. Also, Thames YC has inexpensive moorings with a restaurant nearby. I haven't been in to Shennocosset on the east side of the mouth.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top