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Old 12-21-2017, 08:22 PM   #1
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Cape May to Sandy Hook

What are the recommended stop-over inlets between Cape May and Sandy Hook for someone without local knowledge? My boat has a 4' draft and I normally cruise at around 7 knots. Thanks.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:34 PM   #2
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Atlantic City and Manasquan.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:37 PM   #3
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What are the recommended stop-over inlets between Cape May and Sandy Hook for someone without local knowledge? My boat has a 4' draft and I normally cruise at around 7 knots. Thanks.
Atlantic City is about the best opportunity to stop. A decent inlet except in the worst conditions. Barnegat inlet is bad, but doable with local knowlege. In 2017 you had to circle around and enter from the north side. Manasquan is ok in settled weather. Most of us just suck it up and run straight along the coast overnight, to Sandy Hook.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:41 PM   #4
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Atlantic City is fine.
Barnegat is ok.
Manasquan is fine.

Wouldn't do any of them first time in the dark or fog. Was in Barnegat this spring and would say that depth needs to be watched more closely and local knowledge either from Active Captain or the local tow boat companies is recommended.

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Old 12-22-2017, 08:52 AM   #5
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If you can time inlet travel to slack high water you will have a much easier time. Wind against tide and a very nice inlet looks pretty intimidating.
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Old 12-22-2017, 09:41 AM   #6
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When are you making this passage? Frankly I wouldn't do it for the next three months. I would go up the NJ ICW. The NJ ICW will take you up as far as Manasquan, then you can watch for a window for the quick 32 NM trip outside and up to Atlantic Highlands behind Sandy Hook.

If you must go outside look for a window of about 18 hours and go straight through- about 120 NM, even leaving at midnight if necessary. Otherwise you will likely sit for a while, waiting for another window.

You want light winds, 10 kts or less from the south or west, a little more if from the west. Anything out of the east is likely to be untenable not only for waves but for the good possibility of wind against tide if you have to bail out to one of the inlets discussed above.

Windyty.com is a good resource to watch for a window. Windy is showing the next window for a straight through passage is leaving late Monday night before midnight with light west and south winds forecast. But that is likely to change.

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Old 12-22-2017, 10:17 AM   #7
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I'm sorta with David on this. I had to plan the same route from north to south last month.

All those inlets are ok if there is not a significant swell and you hit them at high slack water. But that's true of every where we go isn't it? One of the complicating issues with all these inlets is the swell conditions. If you have a switch to a west wind, it may still take a day for the swells to diminish. NOAA weather gives swell conditions.( some folks like tides4fishing.com)

The problem is that you travel at 7 kts (so do I). That means if you get to an inlet and you don't like the way it looks, you have several hours to the next entrance. It will not be a good option as the days are short and you are losing light, and the tide will be wrong at the next spot. You can plan several days out, but it means nothing as conditions change a little and it goes from a good trawler day to uncomfortable - or worse. You want a forecast and starting conditions to coincide to give you confidence to go out on the ocean with limited options to get off to protected waters. (You know that when you are almost there, it means another hour at seven knots)

Coming from the north, if the conditions are right to make the run to Manasquan, why not just keep going? ( as a friend told me - you only need a few things for the outside run this time of year: AIS, radar, autopilot, watches, and coffee)

From the south, you have better options. From Cape May you can just look at the outside weather - if it's bad you can then look at the tides. Even if it's blowing outside, waiting a few hours for a higher tide will give you some progress north on the inside.

Btw, which area of Seattle?

John
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:28 AM   #8
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I agree with others. The best stops between Cape May and Sandy Hook are Cape May and Sandy Hook. But I also confess to not really caring for NJ, having grown up there and having made a conscience decision to leave over 30 years ago.
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:33 AM   #9
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If you want to get to New York or further north from the south or get to Florida from New York or further north, you're pretty much stuck with travelling through or past New Jersey.

So if your boat can handle the shallow water, why not take the ICW?
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:46 AM   #10
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Townsends Inlet is a duck in also before the wreather gets too bad....It is 15NM or so north of Cape May.

it is one of those inlets where the buoys arent charted, but it isnt as bad as many would say.

Heck hondreds or thousands of first time biaters use it all season long.

Like most East Coast inlets, swells more tban 4 feet or so can be uncomfortable, especially on the ebb as well as when you have a strong easterly wind pick up against an ebb.

The inlet is rocks marking the south side, red nuns on the north keeping you off the sandbar.

As usual, you can always ask Sea Tow or BOATUS for actual escort and they may or may not....or just info.

if your draft is 4 foot or less, doi g NJ on the inside isnt to bad if you travel on the top 3 hrs of each high tide.
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Old 12-22-2017, 12:22 PM   #11
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When are you making this passage? Frankly I wouldn't do it for the next three months.
This is strictly for long range planning next summer. The only place I go this time of year is between the marina and the grocery store. Thanks very much for the feedback.
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Old 12-22-2017, 12:29 PM   #12
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Btw, which area of Seattle?
John
Hi John. My boat has never been to Seattle, but I lived in Renton for a few years and hope to move back maybe to Bellingham after a little East Coast cruising, now that I am retired. I suspect the boat will get to Puget Sound via I-90 when the time comes.
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Old 12-22-2017, 01:22 PM   #13
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We did the NJICW in June. 3'6 draft. It's really quite scenic.

Negatives include the shifting channels and the up-to-date-ed-ness of your electronic charts. The paper charts are hopeless. Interesting for us was that the electronic information on the chartplotter was evidently newer than the from-paper information the electronic image presented to you. I, rather stupidly, hedged my bet on one place favoring the paper image. Nailed ourselves but good!
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Old 12-22-2017, 02:01 PM   #14
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Unless you are traveling on a crappy weather day each of the inlets will have lots of small boat traffic during the summer. You can’t go too far wrong with CM, AC, and Manasquan. They regularly handle deeper draft boats than yours. That said all can get nasty on outgoing tide and long period swells.
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Old 12-22-2017, 04:32 PM   #15
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We did AC and Manasquan on our way up from Cape May. We cruise about 9 knots. We wanted a short day from Manasquan through NYC so we could get a ways up the Hudson before stopping.
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Old 12-22-2017, 06:22 PM   #16
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Summer would be very different. I was stuck behind Sandy Hook for 8 days last November waiting for good weather. Can't imagine that happening in the summer. Also in the summer there is always someone ahead of you that you can radio for info on breakers, etc. During a hot spell, you may want to be offshore just because it's cooler.

Going abound at seven knots into the mud isn't a deal breaker, you are just stuck till the next high tide (unlike the coast of Maine were you can hit a rock and slide off into deep cold water)

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Old 12-22-2017, 06:27 PM   #17
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if you have assistance towing, going aground may or may not stop you till the next higher tide.

Plus, if it is about the journey, there are many great stops to visit inside along the Jersey shore....as good as any along the Atlantic ICW.
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Old 12-22-2017, 07:52 PM   #18
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We did the NJICW in June. 3'6 draft. It's really quite scenic.
Did you need to limit your traveling to a couple hours either side of high tide?
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Old 12-22-2017, 08:00 PM   #19
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You dont have to, but some captains are better at reading water than others.

others rather relax than worry....

Alll about risk tolerance....but at 4 feet you might make the entire NJ ICW without grounding even at dead low....but there are sime questionable dpits even for assistance towers.
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Old 12-23-2017, 11:15 AM   #20
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Is the New Jersey ICW bottom soft or rocks?

I won't lie, we've hit bottom several times, mostly when my wife is driving but I've been able to back off each time (so far). It's a matter of slowing down when the depth sounder alarm sounds, not waiting for the boat to make a sudden stop.
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