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Getting Ready for the Final Leg

Cutwater 28

The Cutwater 28 Down East Loop trip continues. After a short hop from Constitution Marina in Boston, the boat is resting snugly at Newport’s Goat Island Marina. The 28 has moved almost every day since August 20. Indeed, this trip is one heck of a shakedown for a new boat.

I’ve signed on for the last leg from Newport, Rhode Island to Annapolis, Maryland. Power & Motoryacht publisher Arnie Hammer—also a Cutwater 26 owner—will join me for an early morning leg to Old Saybrook, Connecticut on Wednesday. He’ll hop off in Old Saybrook, and Group Publisher Gary De Sanctis will join me for the final run to Annapolis.  

We’ll head west though the Long Island Sound, down the East River and past Manhattan to Liberty Landing Marina. Once we pass the Statue of Liberty, the Cutwater will close her Down East Loop. Our plan is to then head down the New Jersey coast, fuel up in Cape May, New Jersey, before heading up the Delaware Bay. I mean no disrespect, but I loathe the Delaware Bay. After 30 years of cruising through this grayish yellowish body of water, I still shutter every time I plot those waypoints. I’m fairly certain I have never seen the sun shine down on this bay. Instead a thick haze tends to follow me through until I break out at either end. I feel every droplet of water that touches my skin will embed a permanent discoloration. Yet the goal is to test the 28’s versatility, so we’re ready to go.

I really like cruising down the New Jersey coast at night, so I may work out our navigation so we fuel up at Liberty Landing Marina in the late afternoon and clear the busiest part of the shipping traffic in Ambrose Channel during the fading daylight. Maybe its because I’m nostalgic and still have fond memories of cruising this coast with my father on his wooden Grand Banks 42 as a kid. The lights of Atlantic City off in the distance gave me my course, while I imagined I was making landfall in a more exotic location than Southern Jersey. And like clock work, my dad’s big bear paw hand would appear from the side door below the upper helm passing up a plate of eggs and bacon at first light. Well, on this trip that breakfast will be a gluten-free and taste free granola bar followed by a carrot. A night run will also ensure we have plenty of time at the end of the trip to clean up the boat and return her in good working order to the Pocket Yacht Company in Grasonville, Maryland.

If we make good time, we may layover in Chesapeake City, Maryland on the C&D canal. For years I blazed past this charming little hamlet not even realizing there was a wonderful destination on the south side of the canal. I like to tie up at the Chesapeake Inn and Marina. Or I’ve also taken a slip at the Town Dock if the Inn is booked. I also have a ritual of walking to the Bohemia Cafe for an early breakfast. Good Lord, I seem to be fixated on breakfast.

What about the boat? After nearly 900 miles she’s in fine shape. Peter Janssen and my father George Sass Sr., were taxed with a lot of commissioning type details on the way from New Jersey to Quebec City. I admit I feel a little guilty that the boat is in now tip-top shape for the final leg.

Arnie and I gave her a bath in Newport and cleaned out some freshwater that leaked from connections that were not secure. We need to troubleshoot an issue with the trim tabs before we leave on Wednesday. I’m guessing it’s a fluid issue, and then we’re off. This 28 will be on display with the Pocket Yacht Company at TrawlerFest in Baltimore, Maryland September 25-28. Stay tuned for more sea stories.

Map of the Down East Loop

The Down East Loop


  • Builder: Cutwater