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Old 17-04-2011, 09:12   #1
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Chesapeake Destinations

Would love to hear from folks on the "must not miss" destinations in the Chesapeake, marinas and gunk holes----we love both. Will arrive mid August and depart by mid October, but have to go home and work for awhile to work thus must make choices. Also boat will be alone for a couple weeks, so good place to leave it will also be appreciated. Thanks, Tom
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Old 17-04-2011, 09:13   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twellsjd
Would love to hear from folks on the "must not miss" destinations in the Chesapeake, marinas and gunk holes----we love both. Will arrive mid August and depart by mid October, but have to go home and work for awhile to work thus must make choices. Also boat will be alone for a couple weeks, so good place to leave it will also be appreciated. Thanks, Tom
Forgot to say, we will be sailing a Hunter 36 that draws 5'.
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Old 17-04-2011, 14:23   #3
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

Please contact me offline about the two week hiatus. I may be able to help you.

From my Annapolis base, the places we go for a bit and really enjoy include: Whitehall Bay, Rock Hall (including Swan Creek), St Michaels, Solomons Back Creek, Herring Bay, Oxford, Dobbins Island on the Magothy River, most of the creeks on the South, West, and Rhode Rivers, and Worton Creek.

Your best bet is to buy a copy of Bill Shellenberger's book "Cruising the Chesapeake, A GunkHoler's Guide." There is nothing better for exploring the Chesapeake. I have three copies. *grin* Hook up with me when you get here and you can borrow my loaner copy, first-come, first-served.
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Old 17-04-2011, 14:30   #4
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

The "trip report" tab of my blog has a bunch of favorites.

Sail Delmarva: Trip Reports

The guides and spots others mentioned are good. Add:
* Tangier Island. Unique expereince, not to be missed.
* Wye River, anywhere
* Deltaville
* Cape Charles and Kiptopeake

Have fun!
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Old 17-04-2011, 14:51   #5
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

Although, we do not have nearly as much experience as both Thinwater and Auspicious, I agree with their choices.

We sail out of Herrington Harbor north (North side of Herring Bay).

We would recommend:
Herring Bay
Tilghman Island
St. Michaels
and of course (just for the history)
Annapolis and the United States Naval Academy - Home Page

Honestly, my humble opinion, you cannot go wrong on the Chesapeake Bay. Hundreds of great spots to visit.

Have a great visit.
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Old 17-04-2011, 15:16   #6
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

With 3000 miles of navigable shoreline there are too many names to mention. The Shellenberger book and Chesapeake Bay Magazines Guide to the Chesapeake Bay are good references. In addition to the previous mentioned stops some favorites of mine are: Baltimore Inner Harbor, Tred Avon creeks, Oxford, Cambridge, Fell's Point, Little Choptank River, Smith Creek on the Potomack, Piankatank river, Reedville in the Great Wicomoco, Norfolk, Sarah Creek on the York River.... I could go on and on. Your 5 ' draft is not a limiting factor and as you will see the cruising on the Bay is considerably less crowded than your current area. Anchoring out and not picking up a mooring is much more common than has been my experience with your home waters, however it can be very hot and humid in midsummer as compared to your area.
I'll be up your way in July and early August, then I return to the Bay for our delightfully warm Septembers.
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Old 17-04-2011, 15:48   #7
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

I would invest in a Chesapeake Bay Cruising Guide put out by Chesapeake Bay Magazine. It will provide a ton of information about more places than you can visit. As a cruising guide I think it is one of the best prepared guides you can buy for any place. Get one now and start looking. It covers the water and the land. It's thick and has nice birds eye sketches for getting into the places you really want to be in. That adds a little more comfort as you sneak into shallower waters. You just need to deal with the idea that 6 ft of water is more than enough. Not much for rocks to hit. Most of the bay is less than 6 ft deep.

Getting back into places takes some help from a guide and it's what you really want to do the most. You'll find a sail straight down the Bay affords little to see as you stay offshore quite far. 5 Ft draft gets you into nearly all the important places. You need to plan on going to them as they don't jump out at you. A lot of locations have significant historical features on land and so study where you can get ashore to see some of the many. Once you get south of the Potomac the density of boats drops a great deal. Most of the area is more wild and you'll find fewer boats in the anchorages.

Sept / October is the tail end of hurricane season and while getting one would be rare, the left over tropical storms are more common and still something to watch out for. The mouth of the Potomac can make it's own weather and in severe weather caution is urged. The southern bay in a blow can stand up 6 to 8 feet and I've seen 10ft. Steep chop is common once winds get over 25 to 30 knots.

I take a flexible approach and being opportunistic about where it is easy and have alternates if things change. Plot as many potential spots and you can before you leave. You might do only some of them but keeping options open takes best advantage of weather and places worth seeing. You can do a few north / south treks with proper winds and still see things when it suits your fancy. If you study charts close you'll see places where you can get back in quite far. Those would be worth exploring.

We sail out of the York River on the fat end of the Bay. The Mobjack is a favorite since on the 4th of July you can get a quiet anchorage with few other boats. I like a lot of the northern points too. I also like the side creeks at the lower Potomac in MD and VA and some selected spots on the eastern shore.

Personally, I would avoid north of the Potomac til after Labor Day. Until labor Day you can expect poor winds and high heat / Humidity. Sept to early November is what I consider prime time. Most of the boats are not out as much and you'll find easier access to prime spots in the northern bay. You have enough time to see a lot of places but I doubt you can see them all. My approach to sailing here is take off from a spot and see where you can get to. Plan up all the possible places you might want to go and go to the ones that sail the best. Zig zag across the bay and pay attention to the large void in the middle. Many of the eastern rivers afford a long way into the the interior and and in the fall can be a nice pleasant trip.
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Old 21-04-2011, 17:33   #8
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

I already purchased both guides suggested. I buy pretty much everything I can get my hands on before I visit. I am starting to work my way through both. There is just so much there. These first hand recommendations from fellow cruisers are a great supplement and give me places to look first. Our origional plan was to use the Cheasapeake as a Fall stop and then head south down the ICW. However, we are now rethinking and may come to the Cheasapeake in late August and sail all Fall (we do need to interupt for periods to come North to work). Keep the boat on dry dock during the winter and sail the Cheasapeake again in 2012, heading down the ICW in say Novemeber 2012. With this revised plan how long is the reasonably comnfortable sailing season ( we sail in Lake Champlain now where it is pretty short) and any suggestions for the perfect marina for home port and then dry dock will be appreciated.
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Old 21-04-2011, 17:44   #9
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

We usually start putting the boat away during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Of course, the best sailing days are scarcer in November.
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Old 21-04-2011, 17:55   #10
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

''...across the bay and pay attention to the large void in the middle. ''

Paul, what does this mean?

Marc
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Old 21-04-2011, 17:59   #11
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

I'm in Rock Hall and although it is in the northern Bay, I usually have the boat hauled the week after Thanksgiving. Inevitably that next weekend when I go to cover the boat it is nice enough to go sailing. However it has snowed as early as Halloween, so November is a so-so month.
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Old 21-04-2011, 18:55   #12
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Re: Chesapeake Destinations

Quote:
With this revised plan how long is the reasonably comnfortable sailing season ( we sail in Lake Champlain now where it is pretty short) and any suggestions for the perfect marina for home port and then dry dock will be appreciated.
For a place to park go to the southern Bay. The farther north you are the more it costs. We don't haul this far south, but they do if you are at the north end of the bay. At this end you cruise til Thanksgiving unless you get a Nor'easter. It can howl for a few weeks when that happens. The water is still warm even if the air is cold. By Thanksgiving they both get to a point you won't like except in an exceptional year. NC gets good late September too without the exodus heading south. Eastern NC is quite nice in the fall as well. You just need to stay clear for Hurricanes. In NC the later storms pack a serious punch. They tend to take a sharp right turn at Cape Hatteras It's why NC gets 40 times the number of hurricanes as VA. You just need to mind the tropical storms. They still can rock you world or at least soak it to death.
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