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Old 09-19-2020, 07:43 PM   #1
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Will it be too late to leave Maine?

Running into delays that will have us unable to depart DownEast Maine (heading to FL) until mid November. Is that simply too late in the season for our first voyage south? Have the option to indoor store till spring but.....
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Old 09-19-2020, 08:06 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Bring a parka and LOTS of warm blankets or....


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Old 09-20-2020, 05:49 AM   #3
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You will have fewer weather windows, and will need to carefully plan ahead. Fuel shouldn't be hard to find because plenty of commercial boats run year-round. The bigger issue will be that marinas will be closing, dock water will be getting turned off, and dock power will be getting turned off. So you may find yourself anchoring when you might prefer a marina, and you will need to plan water carefully. If you have heat on your boat, and a watermaker, then none if this will be an issue.
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Old 09-20-2020, 06:00 AM   #4
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Its a good distance , but once you make it to Norfolk VA the hassles are over.

As long as you are prepared for a weather lay day or two, and have some heat on board , should be no big deal.If you get some snow a broom not a shovel is best.
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Old 09-20-2020, 06:26 AM   #5
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Biggest safety issue is ice. Spray will freeze on your house, deck and rails. Will ruin your AVS and make it unsafe to move around. Friend bought a Al cruiser and neede to do your exact trip. Retired navy and a prior professional mega yacht captain. Said it was one of the worse trips ever. Chipping ice daily. Sometimes for hours after the days run. He went near coastal. No reason to look for the Gulf Stream countercurrent.
We have commonly cruised New England late fall. Then left. For us the big dividing line is the Gulf Stream. Once you get east of it weather/wind/water are warm. Like the shoulder seasons the best. Especially when school is still in session. Empty, quiet and beautiful. As long as you’re self sufficient, watch out for winter sticks and have good ground tackle it’s a great time to be boating. We carry oil worker immersion suits or the $500 mustangs. Full synthetic winter(skiing/hunting) clothes and duBarry seaboats. Cold is a non issue.
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Old 09-20-2020, 06:34 AM   #6
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Following on Hippocampus' post, I would worry about freeze-ups in portions of the plumbing system, where hoses/pipes pass through unheated or poorly heated areas. Deck shower, if you have one, for example. Windshield washer. Sink supplies, if passing close to above water portions of the hull in an unheated area. Perhaps you can add some insulation in critical areas and drain/shut off things like deck showers, etc. to completely workaround this concern. Just stating it here to make sure you think about it.
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Old 09-20-2020, 06:38 AM   #7
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Its doable but as other point out you will need to look for weather windows and you should try hop between larger ports up in New England as many of the smaller ones will be closed. I did it once from Boston to Palm Beach. Not sure how far north you are or what you can cruise at but I think if you made it to Portland then day hopped Portland to Boston, Boston thru canal to New Bedford. (Watch tides and wind in Buzzards Bay), then New Bedford to.... Niantic CT etc., you should be okay. If you dont need fuel or water then there are other harbors that could be options. Keep in mind the days are shorter and if youre not familiar with these ports you want to get in while you have some day light. The longest run outside would be NY to Cape May NJ. Thats a long run and you will have to leave NY or arrive Cape May in dark. Might have to duck into AC. Once you get to Cape May you can stay inside and run up Delaware, thru C&D, down Chesapeake etc.. Just take your time and dont push a questionable weather window. If your tanks havent been cleaned bring lots of fuel filters and know how to change them in a hurry (dont ask how I know that).
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Old 09-20-2020, 06:46 AM   #8
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Are the delays boat related or people?

If you could get the boat as far south as Cape May, NJ by sometime in Nov, then the trip is certainly doable.

I made 5 trips leaving NJ to FL in early Dec from 2012 to 2017 with only the occasionally frigid day and few weather days. FF is correct that once to Norfolk, everything is easier.

It still requires decent thinking ahead as some marinas are limited or closed for certain services.

Unless its a bad and early winter,, ice .....either freezing spray or surface water shouldn't be a problem from NYC south as the water is still warm enough.
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Old 09-20-2020, 08:27 AM   #9
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We’ve done this run as well and very good advice in the above posts. The jump across NJ is the real killer with any kind of weather. Don’t do it with any kind of East in the wind or waves. Entering any of the NJ harbors except cape May can then be scary and problematic. You can lose steerage at the entrances. We plan the run starting at Atlantic Highlands before dawn and entering Cape May at dusk. Exiting the Highlands in the dark isn’t hard. It so well buoyed. Don’t expect heat from reverse AC if you start too high In Maine. Follow water temperatures before leaving to decide if you want to do this transit. We go down Long Island sound not outside and through hells gate to the east river. There’s many protected places to anchor waiting for the gate and East River current to shift before the gate. Very worthwhile to use that as your check point aiming to cross it in early AM so you’re snug at the highlands well before dusk and get good sleep before crossing NJ. We used that checkpoint to plan backwards from it when planning the trip. It’s the only tide/current you need worry about.
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Old 09-20-2020, 08:53 AM   #10
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How much to worry about timing Hell Gate depends on what speed your boat can make. I haven't run all the way down the East River (which can be a significant current), but Hell Gate to the Harlem River last year against the current was pretty uneventful (not at peak, probably a bit more than half). Mind you, I was doing 16 kts going into it, but pretty much the only effect going through was that we lost a bit of speed for a minute or 2. No strange water movement or anything to make it challenging, at least not with the moderate current I pushed against. A slower boat will make it more significant, but as long as you can still make reasonable progress against the current, you should be fine to go whenever (especially if it's not at peak opposing current).
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Old 09-20-2020, 08:58 AM   #11
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Make your first voyage south a pleasant one. Wait until spring. Why make a trip of that length so stressful? It’s supposed to be fun.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:04 AM   #12
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Heat? Buy a couple ceramic heaters and move them where needed.
You could also run with the ER hatch open to get even more heat. Just get some 'shooter' ear muffs..... Dont fall into the ER
A couple of fans to distribute the heat.
My AT comes with the standard built in resistance heaters. One in the stateroom, the second in the saloon area. Obviously I need to run the generator. The 2 resistance heaters totally loads up the generator. They are not that great..... they will keep the frost off the pumpkin.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:04 AM   #13
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Tide on the Delaware and Cjesapeake/Delaware Canal can be an issue if running at less than 8 knots and have short days. There are 2 anchorages shy of the canal, but a lot of folks don't like usng them. (behind Reedy Breakwater and the Cohansey River (NJ).


I found leaving Cape May mid tide was best and you can ride the tide all the way to the Chesapeake sometimes as long as you can maintain 6 knots or better. If the wind starts picking up to 20 or more....where the incoming current gets stronger, the waves pick up from opposing wind/tide and your speed may drop.


I do agree with Howard that waiting until spring may be the ticket if things don't line up well... but I do admit cruising south in December had it's charm with many small towns decorated for the holidays.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:20 AM   #14
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Make your first voyage south a pleasant one. Wait until spring. Why make a trip of that length so stressful? It’s supposed to be fun.
If you get a chance, circle the Statue of Liberty and take pictures. It will be a real treat and you will have something to brag about. SMILE
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:10 AM   #15
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With a delay into November can you consider a couple short hops in between whatever is holding you in ME? Like a cruise to Portland or Portsmouth then a jump to Providence or Newport or Stonington (CT). This could get you headed south in fits & starts but would get you below the worst of the late fall weather and then mid-Nov departure would feel pretty good to me. Just some ideas.
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:27 AM   #16
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We did Thomaston Maine to Newport in 3 days at 7.5 knots. You will need 4 with shorter days. 2-3 more days will get you to Sandy Hook. You won’t be chipping any ice in November anywhere nor will you have to worry about things freezing. Once below Cape Cod (2 -3 days) You will find warmer water. Just wait for the weather windows and you will probably see some mid sixties with calm winds. November is not the month to try and keep a schedule.
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Old 09-20-2020, 12:26 PM   #17
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OK. You are going to be in Maine, and want to be in Florida. Right?

Get a couple of capable volunteers, or hire a captain and mate, and wait for a good weather window, and then GO.

24/7, about 11 days at 7.5 knots gets you to the middle of Florida -- I don't think you said where in Florida you wanted to go.

If you have a Defever passagemaker, I don't think you provided details, you should be able to make it without refueling. Plan provisions and enjoy.

A lot of cruisers don't enjoy 24/7 cruising. I do enjoy it. But it doesn't really matter in your case. If you are in Maine and want to be in Florida, which seems to me to be a wonderful idea for the winter season, then just make it a delivery, whether it's you and a couple of capable friends, or you and a paid captain and mate.

I don't know your level of comfort with your boat and your own skills, but if both are "up there" then all you need would be a couple of "volunteers" who were themselves capable of taking watches, and go forth and have fun.
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Old 09-20-2020, 01:04 PM   #18
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It partly depends on your vessel and your willingness to go offshore. We left for the Bahamas from Fall River, MA the last week of October. A bit stormy on the overnight from Block to Cape May but did not get cold till we were in N. Carolina a couple of weeks later and we did get snow in Charleston. Even then it was just sweaters and reverse AC heating - no ice. So, I would say that if you have the flexibility to wait for a weather window and you run offshore bee lines with overnights, you should be able to make it down. On the other hand, if you ar need a track that enables anchoring every night, that can easily add several days before you get far enough south.
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Old 09-20-2020, 01:17 PM   #19
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Committing to offshore seems to guarantee shorter cruising times...but not necessarily.

Waiting for weather windows can be longer than moving everyday with other limitations.

As all good plans go...right out the window...but planning gives you an idea of what alternatives are available each day and the next few that allows you for a reasonable trip.

Amazingly enough...if you do the math....some offshore legs are really not that much shorter than ACIW legs, depending on when and where you depart from and stop.

If south of Norfolk by 1 Dec an south of Jacksonvilke by 1 Jan.....warm days in sunshine and cool nights are likely...cold days and frigid nights are possible but rare. Plan accordingly.

A big factor is any major stoppage and things get interesting for every day that passes.

Thus my and other recommendations to head south, even in small increments if possible ahead of the date you mentioned.

Often there are alternatives...just need the right incentive.
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Old 09-20-2020, 05:32 PM   #20
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Make your first voyage south a pleasant one. Wait until spring. Why make a trip of that length so stressful? It’s supposed to be fun.
First trip south? I agree with hmason. You want this to be a good voyage. When family tells stories of first trip, they need to be funny stories from when dad did < something>. Not about when they were all chipping ice and couldn't get into a marina and ran out of water.
Just wait..
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