A rough but successful passage in the Atlantic

Cape May, NJ
Position:38 57.1N, 74 54.3W
Utsch’s Marina
Posted by Bill

Crazy day yesterday and today. We had a 20 hour +/- passage in the Atlantic Ocean around New Jersey staring us in the face, so we checked the weather one last time and set out around 11 AM from Sandy Hook. This would allow a passage of 20 hours at 6.5 knots of speed and extra time before dark if we don’t get to make the normal cruising speed. The weather forecast was for light winds 5-10 knots out of the SE, switching to SW late morning. The ocean started out flat as a pancake at NY Harbor. About half way there we got an east swell and SW winds 12-16 knots…winds not that bad for our boat. But…SW winds against an east swell does not make a comfortable passage when you are traveling SW. The wind works against the swell and drums up a steep and wicked sea state, and then we were beating into the wind. The boat was smashing in to the waves and spray was going all over the boat for the entire passage. It was miserable. I hoisted some sails to get the motion of the boat to come under control and I tacked back and forth on angles instead of in a straight line. We left Sandy Hook at 11 AM and came into Cape May at 9:20 AM. Neither of us slept and I hand steered most of the way to control the motion of the boat. It was not a fun passage. Good thing is…the boat can take that beating…it is a strong, stable boat. We however, are wasted.

So, after getting the boat picked up and washed, we went about Cape May exploring. It is a very cool place and the oldest seaside resort area in the country. We found the oldest tavern in Cape May (a bar…I know you are all surprised) and made new friends with several regulars. We walked across the parking lot of our marina and picked up fresh lobster, shrimp and scallops, and brought them back to the boat…that didn’t suck! That is one of the things I have been waiting for being on the east coast. Happy eating (and of course drinking). I love fresh seafood!!!

Tomorrow we try to catch the tide early in the morning to take us up Delaware Bay. Then the next day we will use the C&D canal to get into the Chesapeake Bay….one of my milestones!!! Looks like the weather will cooperate, but then again, so was the forecast for last night!

Pics for today:

Unbelievable sunrise on the ocean today!!!
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The Utsch marina in Cape May.
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This place is very nice and the people were very hospitable. Highly recommended.
The town is very easy to explore on foot or by bike. There is a West Marine store in walking distance and a liquor store that will deliver…very high on the list of important stuff.

The Cape May Canal to the Delaware Bay.
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Cape May area photos.
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Our newest bestest (is that a word??!) bar, and the oldest bar in Cape May
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Our awesome seafood dinner. Been waiting for this for a long time!!!!
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Kudos again to my wife. We had a rough passage going across Lake Erie in the middle of the night, but this was a new low…it was really rough. Tricia was a trouper. Not many wives would put up this lifestyle. She is a good catch. Our exploration of Cape May was a reward for a tough passage. It is a cool place.

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