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Old 06-13-2014, 04:59 AM   #1
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Inside or outside?

If you have been reading our blog, www.denandken.wordpress.com you know we are now sitting in Norfolk waiting to do our next leg of the journey to Cape Cod. In the interest of time we have discussed my heading down in a week or two and going outside from Norfolk to just south of New York Harbor where Denise will again join me for the final stretch to the Cape. The vessel, Periwinkle, is a 36 ft trawler with average cruise of 6.5 knots. This is a full displacement round hull vessel and tends to roll significantly in a beam sea. (I am adding a steady sail and told it will make a difference). Regardless any suggestions regarding this section would be appreciated. Best wind direction, recommended sea conditions, should I even consider going outside in this area, how far out,( I read about shoaling and suggestions to stay well out and yet the charts show plenty of depth for my 3.5 draft when about 1 mile out). And again at my speed this as a 2 day trip. Looking at where to anchor , moor, or dock for a night as well as possible emergency refuge. Any thought would be helpful.

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Old 06-13-2014, 06:55 AM   #2
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Sounds like you have not been in a seaway? You will have to wait for weather; not knowing your boat and your personal tolerances, what weather exactly I can't tell you.
The most dangerous thing you can have on a boat is a schedule!


It is not so much a matter of depth being enough to accommodate your boat, but the effect it has on sea conditions; as it shallows up chop and steepness will increase. And depths change from the charts all the time in these shoally areas. Talk to locals there in Norfolk make the trip regularly and recently, my experience is several years old now.

You have two places to duck in on the first leg, Chincoteague (ask for current local knowledge from marina, your towing company and/or CG on entrance condition and directions) and Ocean City MD. Then Indian River DE (also get local knowledge, can be tricky), then essentially Cape May, Atlantic City, Barnegat, Mannasquan; there are other inlets along NJ and general NJ advice that Billy III and Psneeld on this forum are more expert on. The ones mentioned were those I felt comfortable with in my larger, deeper boat.

Personally, since you are asking the questions, I would say don't do it, take your time, cruise the delights of Chesapeake Bay, which can offer you some open water challenges of its own, as can Delaware Bay. Then you can cruise up the Jersey Coast and experience the ocean.
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Old 06-13-2014, 06:56 AM   #3
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I don't know the area at all, but I do know what its like in a rounded FD hull in lumpy seas.
Generally speaking, you are better off choosing a day when the wind is coming off land. An offshore breeze will cause a messy, confused sea where the swells hit the in the shallows close to shore. Out deeper, the swell may be bigger, but it is normally cleaner with longer interval between waves. And a more comfortable ride.

With the wind coming off the land, stay closer to shore as long as you have enough depth. In these conditions the inshore water is protected, and wave height will build the further out you go.
lso - try to avoid travelling with the swell fully on the beam. A straight line to your destination is sometimes not the best course to take. Experiment what suits you boat/conditions best.

Disclaimer: Local currents may affect things also - so always talk to others in the area, rather than mugs like me on the other side of the world.

Regarding a steadying sail- If its big enough, it will do wonders to minimise the rolling. For a boat your size, I would recommend about 500 square feet of sail area if possible. I'm not sure standard Gulfstar mast is big enough to carry this much sail. Also ensure your standing rigging is adequate for the job. Get an experienced rigger to check it out for you.

Have fun!
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:35 AM   #4
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I would make your first move to inside of Cape Charles (the point, not the town) for the night. Then go to Ocean City MD (much easier inlet than Chincoteague). Forget Indian River DE and go inside Cape Henelopen to Lewes DE if you don't want to shoot for Cape May NJ in one shot.

Came up yesterday from Hatteras NC through Pamlico Sound, out Oregon Inlet to Ocean City MD (154 miles), with a total distance of 196 miles. It was cloudy on and off light rain and 2 to 3' swells the whole way. Glad my charter boat cruises at 14 knots.

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Old 06-13-2014, 07:58 AM   #5
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If you are willing to run late into the night...that's one thing...if not...inlets dictate time travelled rather than light of day.

At 6 knot speeds, you are looking at 3 days in my book, not 2.

Weather windows and your comfort zone can quickly change your intentions. The lower Chesapeake and Delaware bays can be as bad or worse than the ocean under the same weather conditions.

The easiest inlets (easily done at night/bad weather) along that stretch would be Ocean City, Md then Cape May, NJ followed by Atlantic City which is Absecon Inlet, NJ. Followed by daylight easily done inlets of Chincoteague, Va and Townsends Inlet, NJ and Barnegat Inlet. Manasquan Inlet, NJ to me is pretty easy too but heavy traffic in the summer and waiting for the bridges just inside can be strenuous for some...especially with less than greatly maneuverable boats.

Be less fearful of strong Northwesterly winds when transiting northward on the outside....once past Chincoteague...you can really hug the coast except for a few inlets where shoaling takes you out a bit to their sea buoys. As the days get clear and hot, the sea breeze will kick up by noon and blow till after dark. They can set up a strong southeasterly swell near the coast. 2 choices...sometimes altering course seaward will get you outside of it (maybe 5-10 miles) or duck in and call it a day when you are tired of it and if on a rising tide...the NJ Intracoastal for 3.5 draft isn't the end of the world.

I haven't done it in years and a phone call or two would be worth it...but the inside run from Chincoteague to Ocean City may be possible on a high tide and your draft.

When you pin down more of an itinerary...ask about specific marinas or anchorages....double check the literature/Active Captain for updated info.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:17 AM   #6
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I agree with everything psneed said and add Little Egg (LEI) inlet (the north side) has some serious shoaling almost all the way out to 3 miles. It's gotten worse since Sandy and plenty of boats and dreams have been destroyed there. I would suggest Cape May and or Atlantic City for protection if the Ocean gets nasty. The lower Delaware can be every bit as nasty as the open sea. Further north Barnegat's south side has a jetty that's not visible at high tide this has wrecked many boats cutting it too close, suggest Manasquan Inlet is a good inlet but the outgoing tide runs fast.
I just want you to be careful that running 1 mile offshore near LEI will have you grounded in ankle deep water. This is north of Atlantic City.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:33 AM   #7
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psneed thanks, good info. It is what I was looking for. I do see this as a two to three 1/2 day trip. I have found that 40 miles is easy, 50 is very doable and 60 to 80 can be a push. We were able to do 88 one day in the ICW. The vessel is new to me and handling various sea condition is a process of gradually stretching your comfort zone. I would expect that an offshore breeze would afford the least chop and yet I have gotten the impression from other posts that the opposite is the best wind conditions. I assume current also plays a part in the equation and that changes throughout the day. reports of 1 to 2 feet with 5 to 10 knot winds for a few days would be simple. 3 or four foot chop with 15 or 20 knots would now be stretching the present comfort zone but I suspect doable. I am also a commercial pilot and understand completely the negative part schedules play in safety. Look at the Kennedy incident. The Gulfstar is a 36 ft MS hull, but in no way can it carry 500 sq feet of sail. Still, I believe the typical steady sail of 30 or less sq feet will do some good. Time will tell. and seconds between swell peaks in conjunction with vessel speed and swell height can be used to calculate either the now acceleration or rise angle. That will be interesting. What is the bow vertical acceleration in a 3 ft 7 second sea in a 6 knot vessel? Of course the math is interesting but experience is most useful. Is that a comfortable condition or not? Those are the present conditions just off shore the area in question.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:33 AM   #8
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My comfort range in rounding all the shoaling inlets of the east coast is to run from sea buoy to sea buoy or follow the 30 foot depth contour around the inlet.

Usually I use 15 feet when running assistance towing vessels but that's a different game as I'm trying to locate the deepest points as I have to enter and exit even the unmarked inlets.

Even though the charts don't show it...Townsends Inlet, NJ is easy and safe to run (in all but Nor'easters). A straight shot in following the southern jetty...keeping the reds to starboard. If you are less than 20 feet the bridge is easily cleared without opening...usually up to 23 you can make it under too....when in doubt it opens on demand and takes a call or two on the radio as the tender is also a toll taker.

3 feet and seven seconds is not dangerous and barely uncomfortable as it is almost a swell. Is it comfortable???? That only you can answer as it's personal more than technical. I can only guess buy you boat would roll pretty well if on the beam or broad quarter...and might pitch a bit if almost on the bow and you are pushing (but a 6 I don't think it would be too bad.

Half days??? Again the inlets will decide and at 40-50 miles a day from Norfolk to NY harbor...that's easily over 250 miles....way more than 2-3 days unless running all night in a few cases.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:08 AM   #9
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On another note, do not waste your money on a steadying sail. You cannot put on one large enough to make a difference. They are simply "cute". Look into flopped stoppers instead, or cheaper yet, do not run in beam seas.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:23 AM   #10
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On another note, do not waste your money on a steadying sail. You cannot put on one large enough to make a difference. They are simply "cute".
If you already have the sail, put it up. It will make some difference, although not a lot. If you do not already have one, then I agree with the above quote.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:19 PM   #11
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3-4 will be choppy in 15-20, no fun at all. Miserable. Off shore conditions along the Delmarva coast look good this Sunday and Monday, maybe Tuesday as well.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:55 PM   #12
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Steadying sail makes a nice billboard, if you want to sell something, otherwise I agree with Tingum.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:08 PM   #13
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3-4 will be choppy in 15-20, no fun at all. Miserable. Off shore conditions along the Delmarva coast look good this Sunday and Monday, maybe Tuesday as well.
I wouldn't even try and move from the marina or the hook to transit my 36 Gulfstar in 3 to 4' waves.
It looks like your Gulfstar has a lot of windage with the enclosure for the upper helm. I'm only going to use a Bimini when up there and I'll do most of my cruising from the lower station if the weather stinks. If it were practical I wouldn't even have an upper station.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:13 AM   #14
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Hi Ken,
I am on the way to Cape Cod also, went up the Chesapeake and today cruised the C and D canal, it look so much like our Cape Cod canal, without the Wing Neck seas.

The plan "written in jello" is spend some time in Cape May and pick up my crew in Atlantic City pull out Friday and try to make some time back to Onset.
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:58 AM   #15
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Ken,

Having just done this trip a few weeks ago and three times in the last 12 months in an unstablized boat, here are my thoughts:

The dust key are the winds. Your course will be nne, you can tolerate southwesterly thru southerly. Period. Winds from any other direction will not be pleasant.

Strength matters less then direction.

Should wind direction change during your trip, you should have an alternate destination. The problem with this route is that there are not many options in direction.

That's why I wouldn't even set off, unless wind direction of prefect.

You will not like any winds on the beam, even one to two feet waves on the beam will cause uncomfortable rolling.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:08 AM   #16
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2. I liked Atlantic City me then cape May.

Gardiner basin in ac is great.

I have never seen a significant difference in waves being close to shore, therefore get away from shore.

While it may be uncomfortable, nothing on the open ocean can kill you. Being too close to shore and hitting something can.

Have a number of sea sick remedies.

Use them at the first sign of unease. It won't get better at that point unless you do.

Everything I said about winds and waves applies to the Chesapeake. In fact, having done it once, I would never do it again.

Under the same winds, the waves can be far worse, with even less options, since you have no sea room.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:30 AM   #17
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I have to disagree with size of waves near t shore when there's westerly or northwesterly winds.

Even with gale force winds, you can tuck into the shore when running along the Delmarva Peninsula or NJ and have 1' waves out to 1 mile , 2 foot waves out to 2 miles and 3' waves by 3 miles offshore. The "out to 20NM" marine weather forecasts will be calling 5-6 footers with short period...but along the coast...no sweat. You do have to wait just long enough for the westerlies to knock down any easterly swell.

Yes.... the mouth of the DelBay will be uncomfortable for 2 hours or any wide inlet mouth (usually only Hereford, Great Egg and Little Egg inlets) for a few minutes...but that's always a judgement call if you feel comfortable and want to keep moving.

Bottom line is the forecast usually calling for bad sea conditions out to 20NM can be scrutinized if a westerly component is there....beach cams will give you a better indication if you have internet access and can find one.
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Old 06-14-2014, 01:59 PM   #18
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I have to disagree with size of waves near t shore when there's westerly or northwesterly winds.

Even with gale force winds, you can tuck into the shore when running along the Delmarva Peninsula or NJ and have 1' waves out to 1 mile , 2 foot waves out to 2 miles and 3' waves by 3 miles offshore. The "out to 20NM" marine weather forecasts will be calling 5-6 footers with short period...but along the coast...no sweat. You do have to wait just long enough for the westerlies to knock down any easterly swell.

Yes.... the mouth of the DelBay will be uncomfortable for 2 hours or any wide inlet mouth (usually only Hereford, Great Egg and Little Egg inlets) for a few minutes...but that's always a judgement call if you feel comfortable and want to keep moving.

Bottom line is the forecast usually calling for bad sea conditions out to 20NM can be scrutinized if a westerly component is there....beach cams will give you a better indication if you have internet access and can find one.
He shouldn't be going with westerly or nw winds. So, I wasn't addressing that.
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Old 06-14-2014, 04:14 PM   #19
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Not sure what the driver to go outside is. It could be the adventure or for the time savings of round the clock cruising. A lot of the advice points out fall back plans for safe exits off the ocean. If you stay inside you always have safe harbor that is always close.
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Old 06-14-2014, 04:41 PM   #20
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He shouldn't be going with westerly or nw winds. So, I wasn't addressing that.
Why not?

I think the run from Norfolk to NY or reverse is BEST done in westerly or northwesterly winds?????

I'm confused why wouldn't you as it's a great beach hugging run....especially once north of Chincoteague.
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