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Newbie question on anchorage and live aboards

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Northwind, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. Northwind

    Northwind Member

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    How practical is it to spend the majority of your time at anchorage on the east coast of the US? Assume a self sufficient 110ft expedition type trawler (8.5 ft draft) with enough storage for several weeks of supplies. So, drop anchor and go to the marina/town in a tender. Get a slip every now and then to get supplies.

    Can you reliably find good anchorage? Will the laws allow for longer stays (several days maybe a few weeks) in a good anchorage?

    Issues and problems?
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    In that size range it will be very difficult in many normal places/anchorages just due to the sheer size of the vessel. Some places it should not be a problem. Usually the laws are not an issue for temporary anchorage. Can be practical in those places with large enough anchorages, but then freshwater can be an issue depending on how many people are staying on board. You always could run the watermaker, but it's not advisable in inland waters, perhaps if you were anchored very close to the inlet and did it on an incoming tide. Getting rid of your black water (sewage) will be the other issue, but in that size vessel you should have large tanks for both freshwater and blackwater. It's do-able in some places on the east coast, but the size of the vessel and draft are going to limit you to about 15% of the normal anchorages.
  3. bobhorn

    bobhorn Member

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    We ran our watermaker at anchor from FL up to Maine and back. As long as you can adjust backpressure to match salinity and have sufficient pre filters it's not an issue.
  4. Northwind

    Northwind Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Firstly, I think I have the mechanical factors covered. I expect to be able to make fresh water and I have large fresh water tanks. I have ample grey and black water tanks with treatment plants. I have ample storage for supplies, parts, and fuel. The boat is configured for circumnavigation. I should have at least 2 weeks supplies (food, water, fuel) with the number of people on board.

    My question is more related to the practical availability of space and the distance between anchorages. Is a plan to cruise 90 days from Boston to the Caribbean with only 5 days in marinas a silly idea? With smart planning can I make it work or will I find myself stuck such that I have to cruise all night to get to the next place? I am willing and able to deal with challenges but I still want this to be fun. I don't want to spend 30% of my trip looking for a place to stop.
  5. Northwind

    Northwind Member

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    An amendment.

    Can I anchor somewhere for a few days and during that period make plans for the next leg and have some confidence that my next anchorage will be available before I set sail?
  6. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    90 days from Boston to the Caribbean is more than plenty.

    If it was me I'd work it this way:

    Anchoring on the Atlantic is not a good idea.

    There's quite a few nice spots on the Long Island Sound, but then you'll have to deal with the East River. (Hells Kitchen). Off New Jersey there is not much, and the inside waters are 90% shallow, so from The Long Island Sound around Cape May would be a one leg run. You can find a spot once you're up the Delaware bay. Through the C&D Canal into the Chesapeake. Plan on spending time there. Tons of cute little towns and plenty of room to anchor and dinghy in. Make sure you visit St Michaels. Not sure you would fit through the Dismal Swamp, in which case you'll be negotiating Cape Hatteras. The next inlet your size would be Beaufort NC.

    After that, there are limited numbers of inlets big enough to get you to the Intercoastal Waterway. Once inside, there are quite a few miles of the Ditch that will be restrictive for maneuvering space and depth. Then, the number of marinas that can handle you is limited. So first off you need to find the required number of properly spaced marinas, with access from outside. Then you need to puzzle the inside and outside part of your route together.

    Lastly, for the inside parts of your route you just look at the charts and find something that's out of the channel and big and deep enough. Formal anchorages not so much. Most of them City or Town operated. Call up the harbor master and ask if he's got room for you. Other than that, you're going to be making your own anchorages. But again, out of the channel in enough water to swing around (remember there's tidal currents in the Intercoastal and 360's around the hook happen) and enough depth you can do mostly whatever you want.

    Fort Lauderdale would be my jumping off point for the Southern part of your trip. Big inlet, plenty of marinas that handle things much larger than you are.

    Start loading up on charts, coastal pilots, Intercoastal Waterway Cruising Guides and start planning. It could be a lot of fun, but it will be a lot of planning.

    Lastly, "running an Atlantic inlet" is not a beginner's sport. Lauderdale is OK, so is Miami. West Palm, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charlston and a few others ok too. These are commercial ports. Many of the smaller inlets have sand banks, standing waves, especially when wind and tide oppose, and when it says on the chart "Local Knowledge Required" they are NOT kidding. When in doubt, stay out. And even in the bigger inlets, the pucker factor is a LOT less during daylight hours.



    All that said, it could be a fun journey.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  7. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    The vast majority of anchorages will not accommodate you, especially if in season and others there. Often you'd have to locate outside what is normally considered an anchorage by smaller boats. I'd say anchoring would be an issue in at least 2/3 of the areas you'd enter.

    Clearly you can't do the Dismal Swamp but there are large areas of the ICW that you'll have to see only by tender. There are a lot of areas that 8.5' draft just doesn't fit. In most areas there is at least one marina that can handle you, but not in all areas. Still one would normally build such a trip around the marinas that could accommodate them. However, you're wanting anchorages all the way. What is more the norm is for smaller boats to anchor regularly and larger to use marinas. Then those even larger have to anchor further out or nearer a major inlet and have a large tender to go explore.

    As to being restricted by anchorage laws, you won't have many issues if the boat is in good condition and you're not dumping into the water or otherwise causing problems. It's just finding a place for a boat your size.

    Why anchoring? Do you enjoy it more? Such a large trawler. Is this a boat you own or are considering? I'm assuming you also intend to do some long range cruising, such as crossing oceans and that's why that boat? How large a crew?
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    You can't have confidence that any anchorage will ever be available regardless of size boat. You're talking a major area of boating and many others with ideas of anchoring as well and you're twice the size of most of them and in an anchorage need 2 1/2 to 3 times the space.

    Now the one advantage you have is that they need a true anchorage with good protection from the wind and typically not very deep. You can anchor in areas they wouldn't.
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Why would you want to only stay in a marina 5 days? Everyone said most of the good area's to anchor in, not anchor in, ports to use and not use. 90 days is a good number. On that size boat it is normal to cruise overnight on voyages. It does sound to me that you're a little out of your league on this one though......

    Places you can get into and find a place to anchor (from memory), LI Sound, Anywhere along the Chesapeake, Charleston S.C., Hilton Head, S.C., Georgia if you go in St. Mary's (between Jekyll and Golden Isles), Fernandina Beach, Possibly in Palm Beach, etc.
  10. Northwind

    Northwind Member

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    I ask because I am formulating a travel plan. I would like to start in the US but I do hope to circumnavigate at some point (think years -- several years). Because of the nature of the boat, I really don't have a regular need for the amenities at a marina. Instead of the headache and time associated with getting in and out of a marina, I'd rather save the money and dingy in on most occasions.

    I guess it just seems like a waste to have a boat capable of independence then spend all your time hooked up to shore power and washing clothes in the marina facility. To the extent that I need marina amenities, I suspect I can accomplish this by heading in with a tender. Obviously, every few weeks, I will need to come in, fill (or empty) the tanks, and get supplies.
  11. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    What would be your starting date? Certain times of the year this route is heavily traveled..... South October, North April/May. Other times of the year, like right now, it would be all yours. I suspect you have a nice heater on there. :)
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Putting out the anchor, washing the anchor chain when you bring it in and Launching, retrieving, and cleaning the dinghy just to go to dinner one night isn't exactly a picnic either. Now, are you planning on running this 110' beast with no full time crew? Are you the owner or Captain, do you own the boat yet? You are saving NO money anchoring when you figure the cost of maintaining generators and watermakers, rebuilding generators more often, replacing watermaker membranes more often, fuel, wear and tear......I work for an owner that owns a partnership in a 2006 100' MY that mostly anchors like this and in 2013 they had to replace/rebuild both generators because they were worn out at the tune of $75,000.

    I just brought boat down from Baltimore, South Florida. It was 49F when I left a week and a half ago, the water was shut off on the dock and it's only bound to get colder. Who would WANT to be on the water in that? It's darn cold on the water. It's like Little Ceasers giving away free pizza, yeah it's free, but most people don't want it even for free!

    South by October would be my plan......
  13. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    LI Sound to the Caribbean is a bucket list item for me. But we have successfully gunk holed from Oyster Bay to Mass. on a 50 Post - even with a little doggie, and at times children (now grown). In all of the anchorages we stayed, we saw your sized boat and it fit very comfortably.
    To name a few prospects for you: Oyster Bay, Cold Spring Harbor: several harbors in Shelter island, Sag Harbor, 3 mile harbor, Fishers island, block island, Newport, the Vineyard. Nantucket, Boston Harbor - and plenty of other spots in between.

    We have stayed in these places for 5 or so days at a time. Would love to have stayed longer, but my office schedule doesn't yet permit that.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your travels.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  14. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    As Beau pointed out, New England is generally not a problem in terms of anchoring the size boat you have. You're talking large harbors, sounds, and bays, not facing the issues you do on the ICW. Chesapeake Bay is another area that shouldn't be a problem.
  15. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I have done the trip from Miami to nantucket and back 4 or 5 years in a row anchoring most of the time with w 70' and 6 1/4 draft.

    110' and 8.5 draft will restrict your anchoring options in some areas.

    New England and Long Island sound is no problem, plenty of anchorages. Not sure why someon e mentioned the east river, it is a very enjoyable scenic cruise! Hells gate is only an issue if you're in an under powered sailboat :)

    I ve spent a couple of nights anchored in NY harbor not far from Lady Liberty . A little rolly with the wakes but you can beat the view. Sandy hook has room to anchor a boat that size too.

    Not much in jersey or lower Delaware but the cheasapeake is worth a week with many many anchorages.

    The ICW will be a little tight with your draft, doable playing the tides if you want to enjoy this incredible stretch of water way. With a little homework the re are many anchorages that coudld accommodate a boat that size.

    Personally I prefer anchoring out. Better view, more privacy, peace, quiet, better breezes, less hassles. It's a lot easy to press a switch and drop the hook than setting up lines, fenders, checking in, checking out, etc

    Typically the only marina stops I d always do would be tidewater in Portsmouth Norfolk and Osprey in myrtle beach, for fuel.

    Most people tend to follow others and stop at the same marinas or anchorages. I have great memories of evenings or mornings on the hook safely anchored somewhere with nobody around. It's nice to think out of the box sometimes although there are cities and towns which are worth the marina stop and a full day. For instance... Savannah, charleston, southport, Jekyll, Fernandina.

    As to cooking, I prefer it after a long day I d rather stay on board than having to deal with a restaurant and eat what is often average food.

    But again it all comes down to personal preference.

    Sure you can run a water waker but pre filters don't last long. Plankton is a problem in ope waters up north and inland water is very silty.
  16. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I see Beau mentioned newport RI... It s probably my favorite town on the east coast but one a mooring not at the dock. Marinas are packed, busy, crowded and over priced. Anchored or tied to a mooring gets you a much better view althought last time I was there they only had a handful of big boat moorings.

    There is nothing like a peaceful sunset in newport harbor with dozens of classic boats sailing by. Or a nice morning coffee... Beats th crowds walkng the dock
  17. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Our boat spent nearly a month in Newport this year. We were only with it though for 10 days.
  18. Northwind

    Northwind Member

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    Older boater, just to clarify, you were anchored or moored for a month?
  19. Northwind

    Northwind Member

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    To clarify a few questions raised. Firstly, I am here to think about a plan and getting ideas from more experienced boaters that have done this. So, please excuse some dumb questions.

    My thought is not to cruise every day and anchor at night. Instead, I am thinking about anchoring in a given place for several days -- maybe 10 days before cruising to the next place which will include some over night cruising.

    The boat carries more than 10,000 gallons of fresh water. So, I am planning to fill up at marinas along the way so I will not be running the water maker all the time and will only use it in blue water. The boat has a small harbor genset that takes care of most things (not AC), a wind generator and a high capacity battery system.

    I intend to invite friends and family to join me on various legs of the trip. These are the only times I anticipate requiring the main genset and water maker.

    I will have a captain. But, I'd like to keep other crew to a minimum. My hope is to hire temporary deck hands when I am in more congested waters to assist with boat handling and maintenance.

    And, thanks to all that have posted -- very helpful information.
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    You're going to need a full time crew of 3, just to keep up with a boat of that size, maybe even 4 for everything you're doing. Captain, Mate/deckhand, stewardess, and possibly engineer. It's a LOT of boat to maintain, keep clean, and a lot of systems.