Back to Cape May

Trip Start Jun 22, 2007
Trip End Sep 25, 2007

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Flag of United States  , New Jersey
Monday, September 17, 2007

After a day of really heavy winds getting over to Atlantic Highlands we had a less than good night sleep.  We had a good anchorage and lots of chain but the wind howled overnight.  We were not looking forward to the trip down the NJ coast.  One of our boating friends said it was a twice a year (while relocating your boat) deal like going to the dentist.  No one likes it, but you do it every six months.   Its a long day of doing nothing and with little to see.  Moreover, there are only two safe inlets so its a good idea to do it when the weather is on your side.

We decided that "on our side" meant wind aft or at least aft of the beam.  The forecast looked "OK"....north wind up to 20kts.  As we tossed and turned that night, we heard the wind howel and the chain creek.  Sue and I had agreed that if there were small craft warnings or winds would hit 25kts we would stay put.  As I laid there, I was assessing our chances as <50%.

But by 0400, I could hear winds slacken.  When we got up at 0530, they were down to 12kts and the howling had stopped.  We agreed it was a go.

So at daybreak we haul anchor and proceed out the breakwater.  We round the bend at Sandy Hook with the NYC skyline in the distance.  On the beach is a 25-30' sailboat that had washed ashore yesterday in the heavy winds.  I cant tell how it got one tending to it.  I ponder that it might have broken off a mooring upwind.

We make the turn and setting down... tame conditions.  It was hard to imagine that this could follow the day before.   The sun shined brightly and it was a great day on the water as we stayed 3-5 miles offshore.

We even had a favorable current and by 530, we entered the inlet near Atlantic City.  This time, our current timing was dead center....slack water and an easy entry into the inlet.  We took our anchorage in the same place as in July.  I call it the puddle.  Its a small 1/4 mile pond, perhaps a thousand feet off the inlet.  The first time I shuddered as I watched the sounder, but this time I was more confident.  We anchored in 8 feet and settled down for the night. 

The next day was another early start at daybreak.  We wanted to beat another forecast of big winds due in after lunch and also time the inlet.  During our trip we meet another cruiser on the radio that we see paralleling our course.  This was a 55' sailing vessel called "Libre".  They were also heading to Florida.  As they have a 7' draft it would  be outside most of the way.  We meet a lot of interesting folks doing this.  These folks had build their boat custom and had been living aboard here since the late 70s!  Sue and I agree that this would be beyond us.  Still its nice to meet folks like this.

We took a marina this night as we had not been off the boat since NYC.  We spent the afternoon, doing a few things on the boat and walking around town. 

I had suspected a problem with the aft bilge pump as it was running too much.  It turned out I was right as the output hose fitting had cracked and came off in my hands as I laid upside down in the damp lazzerette (back locker in the boat).  As Sue says, this is "captain's duty".  I spent an hour trying to source a suitable pump go.  I ordered one over the Internet and had it delivered to Atlantic Yacht Basin our destination to leave the boat during the off season.   We would be without a primary pump for the balance of the trip.  Not good practice, but no choices either. 

We capped they day off with a nice albeit overpriced dinner at a Cajun restaurant in Cape May.  We hoped we had completed the hard part of "gett'n her home".   Still the trip up Delaware Bay can be rough.  Our friend Jim F, was a few days ahead of us in this trip and reported 5' seas.   We hoped for better conditions the next day.
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