Quote of the Day: “Serenity, this is Penelope. You have a fender having off your starboard side. Have a great trip!”

We are rookies. Leaving a fender (or bumper as we call them) when you are three miles out in the Atlantic Ocean is a rookie mistake.

Start: Cape May, NJ
End: Atlantic City?
Moving Time: 11:26*
Distance: 68.0 NM*
Average: 5.9 knots

Milestones: First sail in the Atlantic Ocean!
First 60+ mile day!
First moving day without water in either bilge!
Excessive use of exclamation points in the Milestones section!

Tuesday morning and it is gorgeous. I’m up at 0430 because we are leaving and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done prior to releasing the dock lines. I take Lucky for a walk and when we get back to the boat he stays under my feet until I feed him. He remembered the last time we had a long sail day and the fact he didn’t get any kibble until dinner and he wasn’t going to let that crap happen again!

Dog fed, coffee made and we check everything one more time before we go and we are puttering out at 0600. Slow through Cape May as the sun comes over the horizon. Which turns out to be cool and suck at almost the same time! It was really cool when I was leaving our marina and turning into the channel and watching the day light up. Then it sucked big time when we turned directly into the east and the sun scorched my eyeballs and we had trouble seeing the markers to keep us in the channel.

There were six boats leaving at the same time–looks like quite a few people were waiting on the good weather to head north. Penelope was a couple minutes behind us and Don and Peg (true to form) were 45 minutes ahead of us. We went into the Atlantic, took a left and put the autopilot on a 45 degree (ish) heading and got ready for a long day. The weather: 5-10 knot winds from the south, so we put up our mainsail and use it to help out our motors. The plan: Atlantic City is the stop . It is ~45 NM away from Cape May. If we make good time (like arrive before noon) AND the conditions are good, then we have a secondary stop at Baranagat Bay, about 65NM from Cape May. If we can make it all the way to BB, then we have a shot of getting to Sandy Hook the following day (Wed) and up into NY City on Thursday. But Barnegat Bay, according to websites and publications, can be a pain to get into and out of if weather is bad. So there is risk. Since I’m writing this BEFORE we actually know where we are going, I’m as interested as everyone else on how this turns out!

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Turned out it turned out OK! The trip the Atlantic City was extremely uneventful. Not much breeze the entire way and we puttered along in flat water. Arrived at 11:30, under the noon cutoff time so off to the Barnegat Bay. And as soon as we pass Atlantic City and it becomes a pain to turn around, the wind picks up and so do the waves. Nothing to major; 1-2 foot swells behind us. And the wind behind us as well. Annoyingly it is just below the speed to stop engines, so we motor sail. Don called us over the radio and we agreed to link up prior to entering the inlet. Penelope, by this time, was an hour ahead of us and probably made it to New York City by night fall.

IMG_4044So we bobbed up and down to Barnegat inlet. AJ did his homework and managed to stretch it out over six whole hours. So after sleeping in until 0930, and given 90 minutes for eating and screwing off, was occupied most of the day. I sent a text to a friend from Atlantic City and asked him about the inlet. His reply was “I’ve gone in an out of the Barnegat inlet several times. The only problem I ever had was when I came out of the inlet with a three knot current and 4 foot rollers coming in. The combination produced 8-10 foot waves and made the short run out dicey.” Dicey? Not a word I would use to describe 8-10 foot rollers but he is a sailing stud. I called the BoatUS towing service at BB and asked them if there was anything we needed to worry about. No problem, they said. Winds good, come on in. Just hug the north of the inlet and you’ll be fine. And give her some gas just in case.

Endeavor and Serenity got to the Inlet from hell. Tide coming against us, some chop but nothing major. We took up anchorage just outside the inlet amongst the fishing boats. Just us, Endeavor and one other boat that arrived late. First we pulled out the blow up raft to take the dog in for his evening constitutional and would’t you know it? Something broke. The automatic pump gave a weak puff of air and crapped the bed. Foot pump it was. Seems every day something has to be worked. Jan and I went to Endeavor for some ‘docktails’ and got some wisdom on what to do and not to do on the loop. AJ got some electronics time. A relaxing end to a long day.

Endeavor (front) and Serenity Entering Barnegat.  Endeavor is our ‘mine-sweeper’ looking for shallows!  Thanks Don!!