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Old 22-02-2010, 08:21   #1
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DelMarVa - Late June

Planning a Delmarva circumnavigation in late June. It looks like the prevailing wind offshore suggests a counterclockwise trip (starting from Annapolis), but wondering if the current in the Delaware River and the C&D would militate otherwise.

Any advice from Delmarva veterans much appreciated.
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Old 24-02-2010, 05:26   #2
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bump this up.
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Old 24-02-2010, 05:44   #3
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I don't have the answer but it may be available on this site:

Sail Delmarva

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Old 24-02-2010, 06:07   #4
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Thanks Mike. I have perused all the blogs and web sites and they seem to be ambivalent. Just looking for new input.
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Old 24-02-2010, 06:08   #5
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It's normal to do Delmarva counter clockwise but it could be done the other way too. You do want to be mindful of the tides on the Delaware as they flow quite strong compared to anything else you can encounter in this part of the world.

Timing the arrival at the Delaware no matter the direction to ride the tide would make for a pleasant speedy trip. There is also current on the C & D canal as well but the situation has far less negative implications. Wind counter to the tides could stand the waves up a bit as well. You could have the tide against you no matter what direction you choose. Sometimes it's better to slow down than to fight the tide when you arrive too early. Know the tide table as you plan and be mindful of it as you approach the Delaware River.
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Old 24-02-2010, 06:19   #6
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I did the 'Round Delmarva in mid-July, 2004. We did it counter-clockwise for just the reason you noted--prevailing winds (such as they are in July) are from the southern quadrant. Tidal currents in the Delaware Bay need to be reckoned with. We really lucked out with the tide. It began to flood just after we entered the mouth of the Bay. Here's an excerpt from an article I wrote for our yacht club's newsletter...

Quote:
We turned northwest into the Delaware Bay at 2030 on Tuesday, and watched the sun set over the Harbor of Refuge jetties at Cape Henlopen. Our strategy was to motor just outside the red markers of the ship channel. We doubled our watches-two on for four hours-in order to make the navigational and ship-spotting challenges manageable.

The trip up the Bay was quite an experience! The fair tide pushed us along at 8.5 knots over ground. We used the radar/chartplotter extensively to pick our next mark out of the clutter of lights and to pinpoint the many ships and barges that bore down on us. The murky, misty conditions didn't help. Unlit marks were seen on radar before they appeared visually at about 3 boat lengths. Six hours and six minutes later, we entered the C&D Canal. The fair current stayed with us through the Canal and down the Chesapeake to Tolchester Beach-about 100 NM, all told.
We had light air or no breeze for most of the trip, but it was fun anyway. Catching that flood tide was pure luck. There was no way to accurately predict when we'd reach the mouth of Delaware Bay. If you arrive on the ebb, you might consider relaxing in the anchorage at Lewes until it turns.
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Old 24-02-2010, 06:22   #7
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Well, the prevailing winds as you mention are SW. So one way or the other you could be beating into it. The current in the delaware canal can be timed and predicted. The delaware river is a long day either way..you'll see both a fair current and an unfavorable one, but I wouldn't base my choice on that.

Depending on how much time you have. You can pick your weather window window in either direction heading to Cape May, or Norfolk/Portsmith. Then pick the best window for the offshore leg from there. If you're doing it non-stop..then I think odds of a favorable SW wind for the offshore leg would tend to favor the counterclockwise trip.

It always seems that whenever I sail the chesapeake in either direction I have the wind in my face, hopefully you'll have better luck.
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Old 24-02-2010, 07:01   #8
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This is good information and confirms my suspicion that counterclockwise is the "logical route." Catching and keeping the favorable tide does seem a bit tricky. I doubt if we'll do it non-stop, but I also expect we will limit our stops to only a few.
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