Check that box

Selkie headed up the coast from another Looper’s vantage point

We’ve had a busy few days since leaving Cape May. I’m finishing this post a few days behind schedule, but there is a lot to report on our trip up here. This will be the first of 2 posts to catch us all up.

We left Cape May for Atlantic City, about 43 miles and 6 hours along the coast.

Our 43 mile trip from Cape May to Atlantic City

We wanted to test out the boat on the ocean, but wasn’t going to be a very strenuous test (after all, this is supposed to be PLEASURE boating).

It was forecast to be similar to a light day on the Pacific Coast, a weather forecast that we would have not hesitated to go in While I Can, our 36’ sailboat. We wanted to check out how she handled, particularly with the newly overhauled Stabilizer System.

I’ve mentioned this before, but here’s a refresher: This system consists of a hydraulic system tied to two fins that control the roll rate of Selkie.

Selkie has a very fair hull, which helps a lot with her efficiency.

But that same hull will cause her to roll like a drunken sailor, making the ride very uncomfortable without Stabilizers.

The seas were forecasted at 5 feet high 5 seconds apart, lowering to a 3.5 foot sea at 5.5 seconds apart before the end of the day.

The trip up proved to be sporty, but Selkie handled it well. The stabilizer performance was awesome. We rolled a little, but nothing fell over.

We cruised the coast. The water was a teal blue, and we saw dolphins working baitfish for a meal.

The waves were as predicted, except they got a little more aggressive as we turned towards the inlet to Atlantic City. They gradually grew to 6-7 footers as we got to shallow water, but Selkie surfed her way in without too much difficulty. The stabilizers performed beautifully.

Check that box.

As we entered Atlantic City, we considered several anchorages. There was a squall line forecast to come through that afternoon, so we anchored off the main channel close to a marina. We set anchor and settled in for an overnight stay.

Our anchorage at sunset in Atlantic City

We saw the storms approaching, and prepared Selkie. The wind picked up.

One of the biggest concerns I’ve had with our trip is getting a good anchor that would hold us in adverse conditions without dragging. I had purchased a Rocna Vulcan 55 pound anchor based on ratings and reviews. This was going to be the first big test.

We watched the wind speed climb and climb. 15 knots. 23 knots. 30 knots. 37 knots.

Our track at anchor in Atlantic City. The two groups are our track at either flood (top) or ebb (bottom). The scribbles say 15’ depth, 150’ rode (anchor line)

We did not budge.

Check that box.

The next day we headed north to Atlantic Highlands where we planned on anchoring out.

Suffice it to say that an 81 mile, 11.5 hour sail is about as long as we want to go. (Remember the pleasure cruise part)

Our trip up to Atlantic Highlands

The oceans were much calmer. We saw dolphins, fish jumping, other Loopers passing us, osprey catching fish, crab pots, fish trap pots…

For being on the ocean, it can be pretty busy.

However, we had not seen any whales. We wanted to see a whale.

We came up around Sandy Hook and started to turn west when suddenly, right in front of the boat less than 10 yards a Humpback Whale suddenly surfaced.

The whale dove, and Libbie went out on the bow to look for it.

It suddenly surfaced about 50 yards from the boat, with its head out of the water.

Libbie ran back into the pilot house.

We had seen our first whale (and probably last for 2022).

Check that box.

We continued on to the anchorage by Atlantic Highland, dropped anchor and high-fived each other. We were bushed, but Selkie and we had made it after a very long day.

At anchor
Sunset at Atlantic Highlands

More boxes will be checked on this trip, but the past few days have been a great challenge, and we had fun to boot. More to come.

By Tad Sheldon

I'm a retired Silicon Valley Technologist and Director. I teach skiing as a 4th (5th? 6th?) career for fun, and am passionate about Boating. I'm even more passionate about my family and friends. I volunteer occasionally for non-profit Boards, and currently serve as the Secretary of the Board for Western Division of the Professional Ski Instructors of America / American Association of Snowboard Instructors.

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