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Old 21-06-2014, 09:32   #1
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Delmarva Circumnavigation

I would like to circumnavigate the Delmarva Peninsula in late July and into August. I'm looking for some cruising advice for that area. More in the line of destination, anchorages, etc.
If you have local knowledge, I would be very interested in hearing what you have to say in this regard.

I have sailed for over 40 years and crossed oceans. So, please do not tell me to watch the tides, tidal currents, and shipping channels unless it is in context of the aforementioned topics.

I have moved my boat to Annapolis and will use that for a starting point. I'll let weather dictate whether I go clockwise or anti-clockwise. I was in solomon's and was told you could send four boats out onto the Chesapeake at the same time; on four different points of the compass... and each would report the wind on their nose.

So far this season, I have done more motorsailing in the Chesapeake than any other 5 seasons. If there is a long stretch that lends itself to a reliable sea breeze or land breeze, I'd be interested in that too.
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Old 21-06-2014, 10:36   #2
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

Hi, Kevin.

There's a lot of info in the archives on the 'Round Delmarva trip--you might want to check out these links from a custom Google search: Delmarva Circumnavigation. Our resident expert on the topic is CF member Thinwater.

I did it once in July and ended up doing a lot of motoring. The strongest winds were 5-6 knots! Couldn't even keep the cruising spinnaker filled for long. The tides in the Delaware Bay will have a huge impact. We went counterclockwise and were lucky to enter the Delaware Bay at Cape Henlopen just as the ebb tide was slacking. We got a nice ride on the flood tide all the way up the Bay, through the C&D Canal, and down to Tolchester Beach before we lost the fair current.

July and August in the Chesapeake aren't the best months for sailing, as the breezes tends to be light, especially in August. They're usually southerly, so my choice was to tack down the Bay, hoping the southerly winds would help us on the offshore leg. Alas, it didn't happen. After ghosting along in 4-5 knots all night from sunset at Cape Charles, it went completely flat off Chincoteague, and we cranked up the engine.

It's a fun sail--hope you have better winds than I did.
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Old 21-06-2014, 17:00   #3
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

Try to find a copy of Western Wind, Eastern Shore by Robert de Gast.

He did this back in the 80's I think. On the east side of Delmarva, he used the Va Inside passage, which I believe the CG has largely abandoned and it has filled in at least at one spot. But some of his stop-overs would still be achievable. He didn't just go around, but tried to go inland as far as possible, where ever possible. Good book. Think I'll read it again.
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Old 22-06-2014, 07:13   #4
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

Although our newest anchorage book covers the entire Chesapeake Bay, it will give you lots of choices for your circumnavigation. It doesn't cover the outside run between the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay. There aren't a lot of options outside and weather is a big concern, even in July. Afternoon thunderstorms can be fierce. The only outside inlet we would use is Ocean City. There are others but many are not useable for us. You may better spend your time exploring the more protected inside. You can cruise the Chesapeake for years and never visit the same spot and sailing can be excellent on the Bay with many places to duck in. Chucl
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Old 22-06-2014, 07:44   #5
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

Draft?

On the Chesapeake run, there are many guides and little to add. I love Tangier.

Chincoteague town dock. That is us, the only visitor.


On the Ocean side, depending on tide and draft, Chincoteague is actually one of the safe harbors. I've entered it with a 10' swell running--it never breaks, though Ocean City does. Chincoteage is home to a number of big trawlers drawing up to 10', but they do have to watch the tide. At low tide I have never seen less than 6', and there is more the rest of the time. I would not enter Chincoteague at night as the channel is long and winding, and the markers are moved with the drift. The CG has a station with buoy tenders, so they keep it right.

Paramore Beach Life Saving Station


The rest of the Ocean entrances are for the more adventurous. Watchapreague is very well marked and straight, with about 6.6' at low tide, but it will break if things are on shore. Strong current, perhaps overall about like Ocean City. There is a nice anchorage just inside to the south (old coast guard station), but the town is hard to get to and not much there. Sand Shoal is deep (north channel is best), but the anchorage situation more difficult and the near-by sand bars can be scary; best leave this to locals.

Cobb Island Lifesaving Station


Search my blog and you'll find some trip reports.

Sail Delmarva: Search results for delmarva
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Old 22-06-2014, 09:57   #6
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

GGray, thanks... I ordered the book.
ThinWater. I draft 5'6", full keel... so currents must be considered, but never an issue at slack. Nice pictures and excellent input

Thank you to all.
Keep posting, I'll keep checking back.
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Old 22-06-2014, 11:14   #7
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainKevinM View Post
GGray, thanks... I ordered the book.
ThinWater. I draft 5'6", full keel... so currents must be considered, but never an issue at slack. Nice pictures and excellent input

Thank you to all.
Keep posting, I'll keep checking back.
Both Ocean City and Watchapreague have some swirly currents at peak, but nothing you can't manage if you keep the speed up; there is room. Ocean City is worse, and though not generally dangerous, wind against tide at OC can be wild. You really need to be able to motor at 7 knots, or wait for slack. The Cape May canal can also be trouble against the tide (there is this one pinch under a rail bridge that runs at ~ 4 knots--I've seen a guy get a little side ways and smack the pilings, but I think he was wool gathering).

Everything else is pretty ordinary.
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Old 26-06-2014, 09:06   #8
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainKevinM View Post
GGray, thanks... I ordered the book.
ThinWater. I draft 5'6", full keel... so currents must be considered, but never an issue at slack. Nice pictures and excellent input

Thank you to all.
Keep posting, I'll keep checking back.
Rbt de Gast is an interesting man.

We bumped into a guy in an anchorage on the lower James River as he was sailing his Dovekie up the last of the rivers on the western shore. He said he was going to write a book about his journey, to which I asked if he had read the book about a fellow who had done the same about Delmarva. He said "I am that fellow!". We had an interesting evening.
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