Barnegat Light, NJ to City Island, NY
Florida to Rhode Island - Day 25
After our day yesterday of being beat up by the seas offshore and a horrible inlet… we opted to not set any alarms and sleep in. Of course we were both wide awake early…so much for sleeping in. We did not rush to leave though… the forecast was for the winds to lay down to 5-10 knots from the north and switch to SE 5-10 by late afternoon… of course there would still be the ocean swells… looking at the sea buoy reports the waves were 3-4 feet with an 11 second period… with little to no wind this would be a comfortable ride so we decided to give it a shot… at 0900 we weighed anchor and headed for the inlet… we had seen a lot of the fishing boats and several small craft head out ahead of us but we still felt a little uneasy about the inlet.
As we approached the inlet from inside we could see the ocean swells breaking across the channel pretty much the same as they were when we entered yesterday… however, they were not as big and we were also going to be at a totally different attitude… they would be hitting us on our port bow and we had the current running with us pushing us out at close to 10 knots. We got to the breaking swells and they were big and a few things were thrown around as be came up and over each swell’s peak… even at close to 10 knots we had to go over several of these breaking swells before we were back into deep water and it calmed down… well not really calm… we still had the large swells coming out of the NE and they were as big or bigger than the day before… from the our pilot house which your eye level is about 15 feet above the surface… as we were in the trough between swells you could look out and see the top of the next swell at eye level… BIG BIG SWELLS but luckily they were not continuous like this… only one like this every 4th or 5th swell… the ones in between were much smaller… but these rogue swells were really big… we did not have any wind ro speak of… less than 10 knots and it was having no effect on the seas. We were also getting a good boost of speed from current making 7.5 knots plus…. GPS has at 5.5 hours to Sandy Hook.
Things did not change much as we continued north other than we were picking up speed… miles away from New York you still get the effect of the tidal current of the harbor and looking ahead we would carry this flood current all the way through Hell Gates in the East River to Long Island Sound. As we entered the Ambrose ship channel taking us into New York from the Atlantic we were cruising at 10 knots… it’s great when you get a boost like this.
New York Harbor is a very busy place from commercial traffic… as we entered we were passed by several large ships both exiting and entering the harbor… it’s amazing how these large ship scan move so fast… passing us as if were were standing still. No matter how many times we go through New York it’s an amazing experience.
We did carry our boost of speed all the way through the East River and into Long Island Sound… arriving at our planned destination for the day at 1915 hours… City Island, NY… N40°50.648’, W073°46.806’.
Today we traveled for 10 hours and 15 minutes covering 79 nautical miles averaging 7.7 knots.
Posted at 8:08 PM
Atlantic City to Barnegat Light
Florida to Rhode Island - Day 24
Weather forecast was not the greatest for today but was suppose to improve so we departed from Atlantic city at 0610 hours and continued north on our outside route in the Atlantic… The inlet was a little rough and we bounced around a bit but soon we were past it and sea conditions were much better… they were acceptable knowing that the forecast was for improvement.
Well we should of expected it… things got progressively worse rather than improve and soon conditions were beyond what we wanted to ride in for eight plus hours to get to New York… so we decided to go in the next inlet which was Barnegat Light… We had used this inlet on our trip north last year and we knew there was a nice place to anchor there but we still had about an hour to go and it was really nasty seas… large NE ocean swells and the wind was now blowing steady out of the north at 25 knots with gusts to 30 knots.
We arrived at the inlet at about 1130 and turned to enter it… I could see the inlet channel ahead and the ocean swells were breaking in the inlet channel… it did not look good… we also were experiencing a strong current coming out of the inlet and turning to the south at it exited… we could barely make 5 knots as we approached… then things real nasty as the water depth dropped from near 40 feet to 15 feet… waves were breaking on our starboard stern and causing us to surf forward and heal over to port… it was NASTY… VERY VERY NASTY… we made it through and learned a lot about the capabilities of SAILS… she could handle far more than we ever want to experience again.
Once inside we proceeded to the south past the Coast Guard Station and anchored in a small cove adjacent to Barnegat Light Yacht Basin which appears to be totally commercial boats… secure at anchor at 1150 hours at approximately 39°43.290’, W074°.08.599’.
Today we traveled for 5 hours and 40 minutes and covered 34 nautical miles averaging 5.9 knots.
Posted at 1:28 PM
Smithfield,VA to Atlantic City,NJ
Florida to Rhode Island - Day 22-23
Our couple days of relaxation in Smithfield turned into almost a week... spent several days with Wayne and Judy McPhail. We departed from Smithfield at 0700 on May 9, 2011. We had an outgoing tide so we had a good boost of speed from the current and we zipped out of Pagan River and James River hitting 9 knots a few times... love when this happens... :) But it is usually short lived and we hit current on our nose as we passed the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel exiting Chesapeake Bay in to the Atlantic Ocean... our speed slowed to 5.5 - 6 knots... but as we got farther away from the mouth of the Chesapeake and moving north in the Atlantic our speed slowly increased till we reached our typical 7 knot cruising speed.
We had decided earlier to take the Atlantic route rather than go up the Chesapeake Bay... this route saves a lot of miles and time compared to up the Chesapeake Bay, across the C&D Canal and down the Delaware Bay to Cape May, NJ... Depending on sea conditions we planned to go to either Chincoteague Inlet or Ocean City... we would make Chincoteague Inlet by 1730-1800 and Ocean City would be around 2300-2330.
After getting our speed back up and having only a 2-4 ocean swell we decided to go for Ocean City. MD... it would be a long day but you do not get calm seas in the Atlantic that often so we decided to go for it. After getting the course set in the autopilot I left the helm in Susan's control and went to bed to get some sleep so I would be fresh and alert to man the helm that evening after dark. I managed to get in a 4 hour "nap" and awoke to even calmer seas and a slight boost of current taking us to almost 8 knots... I was wide awake and full of energy and decided we need to take advantage of these conditions while we had them... so we moved the destination from Ocean City, MD to Atlantic City, NJ... if for some reason it got bad we could always duck into Cape May, NJ. This time Susan went to bed to get some sleep to relieve me from the helm during the night and we were now bound for Atlantic City.
The night was pretty uneventful... saw a couple of ships on the radar way ahead of us but never really got that close to them... 6 miles at the closest point. It was a half full moon most of the night and it illuminated the water ahead of us making visibility very good... of course we had radar running as well. I could see the lights from Ocean City illuminating the horizon from 25-30 miles south of it... they only got brighter and brighter as we approached... but soon they were behind us and the horizon was filled with darkens... could see nothing but an occasion blip of light from nav aids as we crossed the mouth of Delaware Bay.
At about 0300 the ocean swells just disappeared totally and the wind that was blowing around 10 knots stopped... it was totally flat calm seas... I was hoping this is the way it would stay as we still had about 7 hours to go... we got maybe 2 hours of this and the wind started to pick up out of the NNW and at 0500 we had steady 20 knot winds with gusts to 25 knots... seas were still fairly calm even with this wind... it took about an hour and a half and then we had a good 4-6 sea on our port bow and the ocean swells were back as well but this time they were pretty good size... 6 foot rollers with a much closer period between each wave peak and they were coming at us from the NE.... so this made for a very confused sea state and not the most comfortable ride... but it was not unbearable... just really rotten compared to what we had experienced up to this point. At 0530 the new seas conditions and the sky lighting up a bright orange from the pending sunrise awoke Susan and she joined me in the pilothouse.
We were already past Cape May at this point so it was either endure the conditions or back track to Cape May... we still had our speed up so I opted to continue on to Atlantic City... shortly after than we started to loose our speed and dropped from 7-7.5 knots to 6 knots... our arrival time to Atlantic City was now showing to be 1100-1130...5 to 5.5 hours to go in this washing machine sea conditions... YUCK!
But we endured it... I change my course from direct from to Atlantic City and moved in closer to shore to get more into the lee of the land... this helped with the 4-6 NW seas but we still had the large ocean swells... but they by themselves made for a much more comfortable ride and as we approached we did get a little more speed... there was a flood current at the inlet to Atlantic City.
We arrived to Atlantic City and proceeded to where we normally go... a dine and dock restaurant adjacent to the marine aquarium... as I made the turn to the dock I could see two sailboats docked there... there is room for three boats if they stay close together but it looked like there was no room left... maybe a small spot in front of the one sailboat... there was maybe 30 feet of dock... enough to squeeze in and get secured to the docks at 1100 hours... approximate location N39º22.575', W074º25.279'. The restaurant was full of activity but not people eating... it was workers busy getting the restaurant ready to open for the season... the restaurant was closed! :(
Stats... after leaving Smithfield we traveled for 28 hours covering 195 nautical miles averaging 6.96 knots.
Posted at 8:30 PM