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Old 18-09-2007, 18:05   #1
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Washington, DC cruise

Although we've lived and sailed on the Chesapeake Bay for 30 years, and live just off the Potomac River on the Yeocomico, near Kinsale, VA, we've never cruised to DC. We are thinking about doing just that this fall. Anyone have any good info on anchorages in the DC area, height of the 'New' Wilson Bridge, etc. Comments welcome and thanks. Tom and Kaye in Kinsale
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Old 19-09-2007, 04:21   #2
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The Washington Channel anchorage is a safe anchorage, fairly protected from all directions, no current to speak of with a water depth of between 15 to 25 feet.
Almost in the heart of Washington; The Capitol, White House and the Smithsonian museums are within walking distance from the anchorage.
Dinghies can be left at the marina, or the pontoons at the nearby floating fish market. On one side of the anchorage is Haines Park, an extensive public park with sport grounds including a golf course, and on the other side is the Gang Plank marina and a whole row of restaurants, as well as several tour boat operations and a police station.

There are three marinas one can use in downtown Washington; all of them accepting transients and full-time liveaboards.

“NEW” Woodrow Wilson Bridge:
With the bridge in the closed position, the Federal Channel has a vertical clearance of 75 feet at the Federal channel edges and 83 feet at center channel from the bottom of the steel girders. The navigation light posts hang down an additional 5 feet from the bottom of the girders.
Mariner’s Alert Page: WWB :: Keeping You Moving

The “old” Woodrow Wilson bridge (has been removed) had a vertical clearance of 50 feet, and opened only at around midnight, normally requiring a cruiser to anchor below the bridge between arrival and bridge opening time.
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Old 19-09-2007, 08:42   #3
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As this is where I had my 25' swing keel "several" years ago here is my two cents. You must stay in or very near to the center of the channel. My oppinion is that they are not real close on the depths they give Gordy above. (No offense Gord) The only thing that saved me several times from needing a tow was being able to crank the keel up. Watch out for several LARGE barges that are towed/pushed up river. They stay in the center of the channel and will not move. The first marina past the Wilson bridge (to port) should be the alexandria marina, its right in old town alex and you can walk to everything (shops, bars ect) in old town. But not sure if or how many slips they have. (It is not large). The next one I believe is the Washington Sailing marina (703-548-9027) it is very big and has lots of slips, but unsure of guest slips (no haul out there). BUT BUT BUT it is right next to the Regan National airport and gets very noisey. From here up river it can be load as the landing jets flight path comes down the potomac river.

If you need anything else I will try to check for you.
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Old 28-10-2007, 22:52   #4
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There are three marinas one can use in downtown Washington; all of them accepting transients and full-time liveaboards.
Who are you thinking of?

I know of Gangplank which has a multi year waiting list for LA.

Capitol Yacht Club may allow LA, but would require club membership I am sure if it does. Don't know about available space.

Other?
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Old 29-10-2007, 04:22   #5
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I was thinking of Gangplank, Capital, & James Creek, who all advertise Transient slips.
Tom and Kaye are considering a cruise to DC, and were seeking anchorages. I don’t think they require Live-Aboard accommodations, and may not even choose to utilize Transient dockage.

I’ll stand corrected by reliable & current local knowledge.

Gangplank Marina: The Gangplank Marina | Washington, D.C.
Capital Yacht Club: Capital Yacht Club
James Creek Marina: James Creek Marina
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Old 29-10-2007, 06:45   #6
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As was suggested, the anchorage near the Gang Plank marina is secure, protected and has little current to speak of… I had a slip a Gang Plank some years back and have lived in the area for some years -- transient sailors came and went regularly… it probably is the best area, all things considered… The Marina in Alexandria is good too, but not as well protected and I can’t imagine anchoring there with fall north winds… Old Town Alexandria is worth a visit in its own tight, but you’ll need public transportation with a transfer or two to get to Washington, DC from Old Town; where the Gang Plank area is within walking distance to the Mall, Smithsonian and most of the federal area of Washington… Washington Sailing marina (near Reagan National) is protected enough if they have slips; however, has some pretty slim water getting in and out, and really isn’t close to much of anything except the bicycle path – not aware of any general anchorage over there…
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Old 29-10-2007, 06:52   #7
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Gord is essentially correct, as usual!

Keep my boat at Capital Yacht Club. Been a member since 1983. We don't have "live aboards"; rather, we have "member-attended vessels" :-)) So does Gangplank and, I believe, James Creek Marina around the point in the Anacostia River.

Navigation is simple. The Potomac is deep right up to the 14th St bridges, which is where sailboats will have to stop. It's deep way beyond that, too, but you need a 17' clearance.

The charts are pretty accurate. Use them. Only note is some shoaling on the Maryland side off the Anacostia Naval Air Station (where the Presidential helos are based), just below the mouth of the Anacostia. Aside from that, you can't go wrong if you can read a chart.

Capital Yacht Club welcomes guests, either at dockside or in the anchorage. Small charge for anchored vessels to use Club facilities (laundry, showers, toilets, clubhouse, bar, etc.).

Short walk to Metro, museums, shopping, etc.

Y'all come! You'll enjoy it.

Bill
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Old 29-10-2007, 11:07   #8
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What I am commenting on is the post of marina's accepting live aboards. Gangplank has a multi-year waiting list, 3-5 depending on who you talk to. James Creek has a very strict policy against live aboards, and will consider you such if you spend 3 nights a week on your boat.
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Old 29-10-2007, 18:08   #9
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We stayed at Gangplank for a week last spring. It is definitely an OLD marina, but well run by a friendly and knowledgable staff. A large liveaboard community. Good showers. Near everything. Excellent security. Early reservations are probably a good idea.
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Old 30-10-2007, 00:14   #10
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We stayed at Gangplank for a week last spring. It is definitely an OLD marina...
That makes me feel old. I lived at the Gangplank when it was new.
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Old 31-10-2007, 01:39   #11
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Keep my boat at Capital Yacht Club.
Bill
Bill, what is that green (think it's a) ketch anchored of the CYC? Know anything about it? Just had a quick glimpse passing over the bridge at rush hour. Looked like an interesting boat.

Steve
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