Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 05-04-2018, 16:53   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Hampton Roads
Boat: Hunter 420
Posts: 6
Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

Mu husband and I will be headed up north for the 1st time this summer from the Virginia Beach area and are looking for tips from experienced sailors. One person told us to never sail the Delaware Bay because it's so full of junk it can foul your engine.

Anyone done this lately? We're trying to decide whether to go up the Bay or do the coastal route.
__________________

SVHeirborne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 17:46   #2
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Boat: Boatless Again
Posts: 4,659
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

Depends on whether you're in cruise mode or delivery mode. Its faster to go up the outside if you get a favorable wind, but you miss a lot of my favorite stops in the Chesapeake.

I've been up and down Delaware Bay and the C&D canal a dozen times and never encountered any junk.
__________________

donradcliffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 18:33   #3
Writing Full-Time Since 2014
 
thinwater's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
Boat: PDQ Altair, 32/34
Posts: 6,461
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

The upper Chesapeake and upper Delaware can be a problem after the spring thaw or a hurricane due to debris, but it is short-lived.

It just depends on whether you want to cruise the upper Chesapeake.
__________________
Gear Testing--Engineering--Sailing
http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/
thinwater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 19:27   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
hpeer's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Boat: Murray 33-Chouette & Pape Steelmaid-44-Safara-both steel cutters
Posts: 5,344
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
The upper Chesapeake and upper Delaware can be a problem after the spring thaw or a hurricane due to debris, but it is short-lived.

It just depends on whether you want to cruise the upper Chesapeake.
Ditto

We kept our boat at the Delaware City Marina for a few years. Always in the water. Yeah there can be junk, just as noted above, spot on comment. It does not happen ever year and you probably wonít be traveling directly after a hurricane anyway.

I would not sweat it. If a problem comes up you will know about it and then just adjust to an outside run if needed.

Where ďup NorthĒ? Past NJ? Do you have time limitations?
hpeer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 05:56   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Hampton Roads
Boat: Hunter 420
Posts: 6
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

We're in cruise mode, so no schedule and we are headed to Maine. We're a little leery of 24/7 sailing as there are only the two of us.
SVHeirborne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 06:15   #6
Registered User
 
Suijin's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Annapolis MD; currently in Luperon DR
Boat: Valiant 40
Posts: 4,490
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVHeirborne View Post
We're in cruise mode, so no schedule and we are headed to Maine. We're a little leery of 24/7 sailing as there are only the two of us.


You can do it in short hops, first going outside to Cape May, then outside again to Sandy Hook or out to Block Island. Basically overnight trips.

Iíve never worried about junk in the Delaware but you might want to keep you eyes on the flow gauges for the Susquehanna which feeds the hear of the Chesapeake. When itís running high after spring thaw or very heavy rain there is going to be crap in the water for a few days after.
__________________
"Having a yacht is reason for being more cheerful than most." -Kurt Vonnegut
Suijin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 06:31   #7
Registered User
 
Hartleyg's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Atlantic Ocean
Boat: Tayana 48DS 48'
Posts: 105
Images: 4
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

We've taken the C&D canal both ways the last two years, and we've never encountered any special problems with stuff in the water in the Chesapeake, and I doubt you would encounter anything in Delaware Bay unless something really unusual was going on. You do want to time your canal passage with the tides!
The Chesapeake is GREAT cruising - lots of neat places to go and history to view. Tends to be shallow (but well charted) and the bottom is soft mud & sand, so touching is not usually traumatic.
After a big rain, some of the rivers can have a lot of floating stuffe - logs & sticks mostly - but not out in the main bay so much. In October '16 we encountered a lot of logs and floating crap in the Potomac after a huge rainstorm, but it was all gone by a week later when we came back out.
Note that in Delaware Bay there isn't much between Delaware City (highly recommended!) and Cape May unless you are very shallow draft - it's one long day between those two spots unless you're faster than 10 knots. Cape May is well lit, so you can get in there after dark OK.
From Cape May it's another looong day to Sandy Hook or an overnight to Block Island, without much scenery other than maybe Atlantic City. My recommendation is to go "inside" - via Sandy Hook thru the East River & NY Harbor into Long Island Sound [be sure to time your passage thru the East River properly!] but the outside passage from NJ to Block Island or Buzzard's Bay is certainly faster if you're in a hurry.
Once you're in Long Island Sound, you're on some of the most cruised seacoast in the world, all the way to Maine! Guide books and advice are available everywhere, and everyone you meet will have favorite spots

We're hoping to have our T48 out of "yard purgatory" by May, and we'll be headed the same way - maybe we'll see you out there!

Hartley & Lesley
S/V Atsa
T48DS #063
Hartleyg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 06:43   #8
Registered User
 
Twidget's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Delaware City, DE
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 41
Posts: 20
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

Do your self a favor and come up through the Chesapeake and through the C&D. You will not regret it. And if you do decide to stop at Delaware City the first round is on me.
Twidget is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 07:18   #9
Registered User
 
Hartleyg's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Atlantic Ocean
Boat: Tayana 48DS 48'
Posts: 105
Images: 4
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

A couple more notes:

We've found this site useful for canal tidal current:
Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Maryland/Delaware Current Predictions
These guys have a very nice, clear guide to passage thru:
Chesapeake and Delaware Canal - Navigation Information

This one works well for the East River:
Hell Gate (East River), New York Current Predictions

Hartley
S/V Atsa
Hartleyg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 08:01   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 184
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

I have lots of experience on Delaware Bay. Agree with what others have said, there can be floating debris in Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake (especially northern Chesapeake) after a heavy rain or storm. I have never seen either so fouled to be concerned about the engine, but I have seen enough floating lumber to slow down and keep a sharp lookout. These events are usually in the early spring or after a major storm. The waters clear after a few days. As spring moves into summer the probability of this problem diminishes greatly. Delaware Bay can get an uncomfortable chop with wind against the tide, but no worse than any of dozens of other places along the coast.

If you time your trip north when summer is well settled in you may be able to catch the summer south westerlies, for a very pleasant ride off shore in the Gulf Stream all the way from Virginia Beach to Block Island or even straight into Maine.

We are planning the opposite voyage in May, bringing our boat home to the Chesapeake from Maine. Our plan is Cape Cod Canal, Long Island Sound, Offshore along New Jersey then up the Delaware Bay and down the Chesapeake, stopping frequently to enjoy the sights.


Brent
SV Second Star
Sparx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 09:06   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Annapolis, MD
Boat: Gozzard, 44CC, 50'
Posts: 260
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

Regardless of whether you go outside or up the Chesapeake I strongly recommend that you purchase a copy of the 2018 Eldridge Tide and Pilot book. This is the East Coast "Bible" for tides and currents. You can get it at any West Marine store. As it is just the two of you and you are not on a time limit per se I highly recommend that you cruise the Chesapeake both coming and going: eastern shore going / western shore return. Delaware Bay is boring and has no good anchorages, so go direct Canal to Cape May. Since you are leary of night sailing, be advised that the Atlantic coasts' of the DelMarVa peninsula and Long Island do not have favorable harbors. The inside run in New Jersey is very restrictive for both draft and bridge heights. The New Jersey coast is also limited so plan your weather windows. Once in the "Sound" you are go to go all the way to Maine with short to medium length day trips between anchorages and marinas. A prop shaft line cutter is preferred / recommended by the watermen to prevent pot line fowling / dragging. JMHO
Scrimshaw4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 09:21   #12
SuW
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Morrisburg, ON
Boat: 1976 Bayfield 32
Posts: 304
Images: 1
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

In my experience the Delaware Bay has less flotsam than many other places. The Hudson River at Spring runoff has a lot more garbage (and lost docks) floating around.
The major floating hazards in all of the East coast are crab pots, fish traps and gear. Staying out of shallow water usually gives you a better experience.
SuW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 09:37   #13
Registered User
 
mvmojo's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: www.mvmojo.com
Boat: Robt Beebe Passagemaker 49-10 in steel
Posts: 205
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

If in cruising mode, the Chesapeake Bay is a don't miss destination! Lots to see & do and easy cruising if you pay attention to weather (just like everywhere else!). The southern Bay can get some steep, short waves when wind is against current and be very uncomfortable, but it can also be mill pond smooth. Once you're in the middle & upper Bay, there are plenty of places to stop and explore or duck in to if a weather change makes things less than ideal. We've never had problems with debris in either the Chesapeake of the Delaware Bays. Yes, you can see floating stuff after heavy rains like others have said, but if concerned, wait a day or so and you'll be fine.

The C&D canal is a piece of cake - just as others have said, time it to ride the current. You can stop in Chesapeake City for a nice meal and overnight either at the marina or on the hook. This means a fairly long day to Cape May, but very doable. Or, you can go all the way through the C&D and anchor behind Reedy Island in the Delaware Bay, shortening your next days passage. Reedy Island, just south of the canal's eastern entrance, is somewhat of an open rode-stead, so best to anchor there in settled weather, but you shouldn't be in the Delaware Bay in unsettled weather anyway. If possible, plan your trips up and down the Delaware on favorable tides and to maximize your comfort, avoid wind against tide!

Cape May is an easy stop, just watch the channel markers carefully to avoid the shoals. Travelling between Cape May & Sandy Hook we go outside and make it a two day passage, anchoring in Barnegat Bay, the half way point. We find that better than a long overnight trip. Once at Sandy Hook, head down to Atlantic Highlands and anchor just inside the breakwater. This sets you up for your passage through the East River to Long Island Sound and avoids the ferry wakes inside Sandy Hook. Time the currents and you'll be anchored in Port Washington before you know it (also free moorings for 2 nites in Port Wash). From there, it's Bob's your Uncle. For us, it beats off-shore over-nighters every day of the week! We've done this trip numerous times without problems, and have friends who have been doing it for years.

Narragansett Bay cruising tip: If you want to visit Newport, RI (don't miss it!), we found it was much better to anchor or take a mooring in Bristol and grab the bus down to Newport for the day (40 min ride). Marinas & moorings in Newport can break the budget, whereas Bristol, not so much so, and it's a nice town in it's own right. We usually spend a week or so there! The bus stop is 1 block from the town dinghy dock and you can buy an all day bus pass for $5 each. On the bus ride back to Bristol, ask the bus driver to let you off at the big shopping center & grocery store on the bus route. You can do your shopping and catch the next bus (they run about every 1/2 hour or so). In Bristol, rent bikes (we loved the Pedego electric bikes!) and enjoy the fantastic paved bike path that runs along the water all the way to Providence.

If coming back south, once in the Chesapeake, plan a trip up the Potomac and spend a week or two in Washington DC seeing the sights. To avoid the fronts that start coming through every 3-4 days, you should plan to be "Back in the Bay by Labor Day". This gives you plenty of time to enjoy great fall cruising in the Chesapeake!
mvmojo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 09:37   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 33
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

Support the Chesapeake Bay route & thru the C&D canal. Been through it many times. First, study your ship light list as you'll see all types on the Delaware Bay, the Chesapeake 7 the ocean. Recommend you time your departure from the C&D about 1 hour before slack tide on the Delaware bay. The flood at 1 hour is pretty negligible followed by Slack tide, then enough ebb tide & another Slack tide to get you either into Cape May or far enough to stay outside and keep going. you can also enter Cape May from the Atlantic ocean side if your mast can't handle the bay side bridge into Cape May. If not in a hurry, you owe it to yourself and crew to go into NYC, except on a Saturday or Sunday unless it is raining.

The rain usually keeps the idiots off the water then. Time your NYC approach so when you reach it, the tide at Hell Gate will be going out into Long Island Sound. Stay away from the UN building (west side of River nb) unless you want an unexpected but, understandable visit. Once you're into the Long Island Sound, you have a locale that you can cruise for months before going further .......

If you go straight offshore to Block Island area, Newport or Mass, you'll be crossing 6 shipping lanes (3-in&out traffic zones). Study the light list carefully, be watchful for trawlers with nets and hail everyone if your unsure their intended route or where are the nets. It's helpful to hail ships, especially at night, give your position and ask if they can see you on radar.
Have a great trip.
winjamerk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2018, 09:48   #15
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Boat: Boatless Again
Posts: 4,659
Re: Through the Delaware Canal or outside?

All good advice. I would add that if you don't start your trip until summer, the outside route is 10-15 degrees cooler than up the Chesapeake.
__________________

donradcliffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
canal

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Measure speed through water without making hole through hull. Lars_L Construction, Maintenance & Refit 29 26-03-2015 11:58
Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Bridge Height ? estarzinger Atlantic & the Caribbean 15 08-06-2010 05:14
Motor Cruising from California Through Panama Canal to Florida susanp Other 2 07-08-2008 14:09
Chesapake and Delaware Canal phorvati Atlantic & the Caribbean 1 13-05-2006 15:33
Rally through Suez Canal dianaj Indian Ocean & Red Sea 1 30-07-2005 11:32



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:15.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.