United States of America

 

Active Captain

Norfolk, Virginia
Washington DC
Block Island, RI
Newport, Rhode Island
Cape Cod/Provincetown, MA
Boston, MA
Portland, Maine
Rockland, Maine
Camden, Maine
Belfast, Maine
New York
Baltimore, Maryland
Annapolis, Maryland

Active Captain:

Before going into any details of our great experiences so far, we really need to stress the importance of joining Active Captain www.activecaptain.com .

This is a brilliant organisation which allows members to post their own reviews of everything and everywhere which is then moderated to make sure it is sensible! But the information and charts which is all free is superb and just so much more use than the various pilot books that are sketchy at best and mostly out of date before they reach the printers. Active Captain also have an outstanding app for the Ipad which means that you have access to EVERYTHING off line. Add in $30 of Navionics App and you have the most complete system. (You do need the Ipad with GPS and phone card) I can explain all this to anyone interested, but will not spend time here now. Contact us

 

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Norfolk, Virginia:

Well, we were spoilt here as we are members of the Ocean Cruising Club (which we thoroughly recommend to all post transatlantic sailors) and so the local OCC Port officers, Gary and Greta kindly let us use their slip (marina mooring) right on the edge of the city. They also provided transport etc. but we can at least outline some of the features here, but you might do as well to simply visit the blog (mid May 2012).

Customs here was not all that straightforward for us, but we understand that other had no trouble at all. the issue here (and elsewhere in the USA) is that they have liitle experience of foreign boats arriving and checking in, so they get a bit confused! But the real issue is about forward planning your entire trip to the USA and bearing in mind the 12 month rule: British flagged yachts have to leave the USA after 12 months and so it is important to think about where you plan to lay up, or when you plan to leave the country. The options if you plan to stay are fairly limited as you can either sail to Canada or Bermuda and this will be affected by the time of year. For example if you check in in May like us, you have to bear in mind that you are not going to want to sail to Canada the following May! So you might want to plan round where you check into the USA and when!

I have not explained this properly here and indeed we are still finding out about the different interpretations of this Federal law, so hopefully we can elaborate on this further later.

 

Washington DC

If you are prepared to make the long trip (motor) up the Potomac River then you can anchor in the Washington Channel, just outside the Capital Yacht Club and its marina, and in close to the Jefferson Memorial.

Capital Yacht Club were the perfect hosts and for around $15 a day (2012) they give you use of their secure dinghy dock, showers, toilets, coffee and the members are all unbelievably helpful in every way imaginable.

 

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Annapolis, MD:

Herrington Harbor North Marina and Boat Yard

We left Serafina here for the winter 2012/13 and were delighted by the service we got overall.

It is a shallow bay and marina and so our 7ft draft is about the deepest possible here. The haul and re-launch is very efficient, carefull and considerate, but be warned that they mostly do all of this without the owners present and so if like us you are living on the boat and it matters (Flights booked etc.) they do not bother much with fixed dates (or times) for this unless you tie them right down.

Nearest grocery store etc. is not very close, but the office will usually provide a car and driver for free if you ask nicely. Good West Marine onsite and there are also a number of very good companies based here. MTS deal with electronics and are Raymarine agents. Osprey dealt brilliantly with the blister in our rudder and I fully recommend their work, but try not to wince when you see the bill. Aric Eulor  202-607-4232  calls his business Chesapeake Marine Engineering and he too is based at the boatyard but is actually very mobile. Aric is your man for welding, fabricating and most engine and mechanical issues. In big demand so you will need to stress the urgency to get his full undivided attention - but it is well worth it!

Showers and facilities are very good indeed and there is free wifi. Security is good to, and although they say that you are not allowed to live on board ashore, they recognise the difficulties of overseas transients and turn a blind eye.

The city of Annapolis is sadly a good 30 mins away by car and so once here, you are relient on the goodwill of neighbours for any transport requirements - but they are all so hospitable and helpful that you will not want for offers of help!

I can say a good deal more, but suggest that you contact us (click here) for more detailed information (2013).

Bacon's Sails and Marine Supplies - 410 263 4880 - 116 Legion Av, Annapolis, 21401 MD

Great second-hand shop for sailors. Loads of good second hand boat parts, sails and even spars and make sure you do not miss out on the huge warehouse out the back! Not the cheapest of places, but full of useful stuff and this is where we found our used Cobb BBQ and the almost brand new Walder Boom Brake both at great prices.

 

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Boston, MA:

Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina, Pat Gately, Manager
256 Marginal Street, East Boston MA 02128
tel: 617 561 1400
www.bhsmarina.com email pgately@bhsmarina.com

About a quarter the rate of other marinas in Boston. Electric & water at each floating berth.  Clean (but elderly) showers & loos.  Good laundry/dryer $1.50/$1.00 a load. Pat can order chandlery items from Kellogs (Trade marine supplier to all chandleries) catalogue and all are delivered am the following day.  She also very kindly operated (secretly) as a post box for all Rob's 60th birthday cards.  G'Day cafe/bar open on site 1100- 2200 good food (speciality Aussie pies).  All round the site are wacky art installations, spotting them is half the fun.

T (underground) is 7 mins walk away,  Boston is then just 5 mins away.  A unlimited weekly pass was $18 in 2012 (each trip is a standard $2 charge otherwise).  Shaws supermarket 15 mins walk away, taxis park outside for the return trip if laden ($6).  Santarpio's Pizza, in Chelsea Street,  is a Boston institution - very rough and ready (and rude basically, it was described to us!) be warned one pizza between two IS enough!  Also recommended but not been, Rino's, local, all fresh made Italian restaurant, in Saratoga Street.

Sightseeing musts (see blog July 2012):  Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Museum of Fine Art, Aquarium (visit after 1500 hrs when it is less busy), USS Constitution.  Shopping:  national stores in Prudential Mall, a few in amongst the ridiculously expensive ones in Copley Plaza and old-fashioned walk along a street shops in Newbury Street.  Supposedly a farmers' market (and in summer, arts and craft fair) on Wed at City Hall Plaza, Cambridge Street. 

 

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New York City

Obviously this is a must do place and the big question is where to stay to best access the city for the least cost/hassle.

There is 79th street basin which is used by a good many boats, but this is very rolly and not a pleasant experience from what we have heard from too many cruisers. (Others put a gloss on it and say it is fine, but it was not for us!)

Our solution was to follow the wisdom of others and head for Port Washington on Long Island.

Camden, Maine

Not an obvious choice for an entry here, but we had work done by Wayfarer Marine and they come with a reputation for being expensive that is well earned! But the question you have to ask yourself is 'what is good value?' getting a job done cheaply but badly is not actually very good value.

Wayfarer were very good to us from the outset (this might have been because they were prodded by a good customer of theirs who is an OCC member) but they were prompt, incredibly polite and helpful and the was not question but that they did a first rate job for us. (Anchor windlass rebuild and Raymarine issues).

If you are an OCC member, then Camden Yacht Club will look after you and they give foreign flagged OCC members a 50% discount on their mooring buoys.

 

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Belfast City, Maine

Yes, well not quite on a par with the 'real' Belfast, this is a lovely, sleepy small town at the top of Penobscott Bay, Maine and is notable for very litte in truth except for a shallow river mouth.

But there you will find Front street Shipyard who are a first class, but very new operation. We needed to be hauled and hve new thru-hulls fitted and they accommodated us at once and were nothing but very helpful and totally professional. We had Mike as our project manager as such and he made it his job to ensure that we got everything we needed and that the work was done at once. He greeted us as we arrived and was there to say goodbye and was available pretty much every step of the way inbetween.

The standard of the work was excellent and they have managed to poach most of the star staff away from local rivals Wayfarer Marine and Lyman Morse.

They have two new travle lifts, 150 metric tons and 450 Metric tons

So if you are reading this blog, the chances are that they can manage your boat!

Great little town and the hardware shop is a must visit place if only to meet the lovely elderly lady that owns it.

The shipyard manager lent us his Volvo which made a visit to the big Hannafords, Sears and other outlets a breeze.

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Bailey Island, Maine

If you are keen to take advantage of the excellent lobsters and the low prices, you can hardly beat a visit to Morse's Cribstone Grill.

Sheldon & Kathy Morse serve superb lobster at rock bottom prices in their wonderful little restaurant at Bailey island. Phone 207 833 7775 for any info, but we anchored across the way in Harpswell Sound and dinghied across, leaving the dinghy at Orrs-Bailey Yacht Club and walked across the wonderful idiosyncratic and unique cribstone bridge to Bailey Island. Morse's is on your left.

Outstanding fare and value.

 

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Newport, Rhode Island

A real yachting mecca and home to the New York Yacht Club. There are countless mooring buoys in the harbour, but there is usually room to moor for free as well as long as you do not pick a time when there is any kind of event happening. You do need to avoid the big power cables and do not be fooled into thinking that there is only the one.... The main one is marked by buoys but there are others lying nearby and we know, because we caught one thanks to a yacht that dragged up our anchor and let us drag onto the cable.

Ashore there is a wonderful brand new facility for 'transient' cruisers (that's us..) and it is at St Anne's Wharf. It has brand new showers ($1.75) a go and a huge laundrette as well as free wifi and dinghy dock.

Newport itself is well worth the visit and in addition to all the obvious marine companies there, it is a fun place to visit and explore.

Moy Works: www.moyworks.com 401-849-4673 cmoy@moyworks.com These guys were incredibly helpful and they specialise in pipework - mostly hydraulic but handy for gas plumbing as well, especially if you are on a European built boat as metric is not a concept they understand much out here.

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