We ended up waiting a week in Port Washington. The remnants of Ian combined with another system leaving us hiding in the boat for several days. The wind blew over 25 knots and the rain poured, but we were on an excellent mooring with good protection so we spent the days reading, surfing the Internet, baking brownies, etc. Before and after the weather we were able to restock our groceries and the booze cabinet, grab some pizza from Carlo’s Pizza (our favorite), do laundry, and Jeff even was able to go metal detecting for an afternoon.
It was clear from the various Facebook groups that the weather had caused a log jam of cruisers in western Long Island, all waiting to continue south. Normally our next stop would be Atlantic Highlands, but it sounded like EVERYONE was going there. It’s a good spot, but the anchorage isn’t huge and if we couldn’t get in behind the break wall we were going to be exposed with a wind shift the following night. So we decided to switch things up a bit and reserve a mooring ball at the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club in Brooklyn.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip down the East River:
Our two-night stay at Sheepshead Bay was excellent. It was a true working man’s yacht club with very friendly members, and it was a no-brainer to decide that from now on it will be our stop to stage for the New Jersey coast. It always takes a good 45 minutes to get from Atlantic Highlands into the ocean, and rounding the point at Sandy Hook is always a sloppy pain in the tail when there’s any wind. From Sheepshead Bay we were out in the ocean within minutes – a much nicer experience.
Before we left Sheepshead Bay we wandered down to Brighton Beach/Little Odessa, and picked up some tasty treats at the large Eastern European grocery store there. We wanted to explore some more, but Jeff’s foot wasn’t 100% yet, so we decided to save it for next time. Despite countless visits to New York City, it was an area we had never been to, and we enjoyed it a lot.
After two nights at Sheepshead Bay it was time to make the trip to Cape May. We had a great forecast with 10-16 knots predicted from the west and northwest, and a full moon rising before the sunset and falling after the sunrise. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.
We actually sailed for 2/3 of the trip, which was the most we’ve ever been able to do. The west wind gave us virtually no fetch until it picked up and clocked a bit shortly past Atlantic City. At that point the Jersey Coast demanded her pound of flesh and things were VERY sloppy with a steady 20 knots of wind. The fact that it was only 41 degrees out didn’t help, but we powered through – not like there was any choice!
We’ve noticed that every time we go along the Jersey Coast, the sea state gets lousy in the same area. It’s around where the coastline bends farther away from the rhumb line, just past Atlantic City. So we decided that for future trips we’re going to continue to hug the coast south of Atlantic City, even though it will add some mileage. The motion comfort will more than make up for the added distance.
The flotilla that began on the East River continued, and we sailed with at least 25 other boats that day and night – most heading to Cape May. Cape May isn’t the largest anchorage but we squeezed in, and after a four hour nap we felt very refreshed.
An additional ten hours of sleep that night had us bouncing up with the sunrise to move up the Delaware Bay. With two days of virtually no wind, we couldn’t have asked for better conditions to move up that unholy body of water. While we certainly prefer sailing over motoring, if we’re motoring because there’s no wind on the Delaware Bay, that’s definitely a win in our book!
After anchoring at Cohansey Creek the first night (we still stay FAR away from that damn Reedy Island), we landed at Bohemia Bay and put Pegu Club in a slip so we could enjoy a few nights of living on land while we visited with our good friends Kurt and Vanessa, and Jay and Tanya from S/V Minx.
After saying our goodbyes, it was another wind-free motor down to Annapolis where we anchored in Weems Creek and enjoyed the last day of the boat show.
Originally we thought we’d be well south by the time the boat show came around, but the weather delays worked to our benefit. We picked up a few goodies, unexpectedly and delightfully ran into our cruising friend Larry who we last saw in Eleuthera (and will see in the Exumas this winter), and then it was time to continue down the Chesapeake Bay.