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I sailed a Catalina 22 on Barnegat for several years. It's a perfect boat for that bay. depending upon where you are in Princeton, and when you leave you can be there in an hour or less. Just Shoot down Rt. 571 and the back roads. Tides and currents are minimal. The most wide open sailing is between the Rt 37 bridge and the Forked River. The Metedeconk river area, near Point pleasant isn't bad especially on a weekday.
Point pleasant beach and the boardwalk are close (via car) and one of the more popular spots at the shore.

Raritan bay is very manageable in good weather, there are ample ramps for launching. I'd guess that the majority of sailboats are on moorings and the marinas are more pricey, but there are slips available. Tides typically run around 4' to 5'.

I would explore Barnegat. I think you'll like it there.
 
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