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Old 24-08-2008, 20:06   #16
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On the counterclockwise trip, we caught the flood tide at Cape Henlopen and enjoyed it all the way up the Delaware Bay, through the C&D Canal, and down the Chesapeake past the Sassafras River. Great ride, it was! We had a 1 to 2 knot fair current all the way! Woohoo!
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Old 25-08-2008, 09:40   #17
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Gnelson:

I am impressed with your research on this project. Make sure the boat and its ownere are in good shape prior to taking off and then with all the research you are ingesting I imagine that you will have a good trip. Please keep us informed as to your progress. Also don't set a date for your departure. If you must tell friends set a nebulous date in the future. Then when the ides the boat, and the skipper are ready you can go.
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Old 25-08-2008, 09:58   #18
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My risk management plan is growing in leaps and bounds
This is a sign of good preparation. It starts with an enormous number of questions and in the process of seeking the answers more questions appear. Questions are clearly preferable to surprises. It should help you organize your thoughts greatly. This is what separates arrogance from confidence.

It is amazing how instincts alone are more often wrong when it matters the most. In moments of panic you can do just exactly the wrong thing. Planning allows you the luxury of having choices at a time when they do the most good. It affords the ability to be wrong before it's too late. It allows you to see opportunity and avoid situations that can only end badly.
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Old 25-08-2008, 10:54   #19
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I suggest an alternative...

Greg,
Given everything you've said about the boat and your experience level, I suggest you try a week or two long trip in the Chesapeake Bay and do the Delmarva next year. I've done the Delmarva clockwise and there are few safe havens for you on the ocean leg. The Bay has 5,000 miles of coastline to explore in an excellent gunkholer like your boat. A squall on the Bay can knock down an experienced sailor; what will it do to you in the ocean?
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Old 25-08-2008, 22:40   #20
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Wow, 90 miles of fair current is probably more than I can expect under even the best of circumstances in my underpowered tub!

My wife is aware of my intentions, and readers of this forum (from whom I need advice), but friends will hear of my departure date only after my return. As the original post mentioned, I am contemplating this trip, it is not set in stone. Departure will occur only when boat and skipper are ready along with cooperative tide, wind and waves. Primary efforts are going into essential boat structure and equipment, navigation education, single-hand seamanship skills, scenario reaction planning, and specific risk reduction. Everything I learn is collected and sorted onto a list so that nothing will be forgotten. That is not to say that everything will be accounted for, but the mistake of forgetting is near unforgiveable!

While it is certainly preferable to have more than my thin experience, I believe my previous 5 day trip helped some, intense planning will help some, informed advice will fill in a lot of gaps, practice will help, and keeping safety as THE top priority will significantly reduce the risks.

The option of doing the trip next year is certainly worth considering and if that makes the most sense to me, that is what I will do.

One thing has come up a number of times...the dearth of harboring options along the Atlantic. What am I missing? Satellite photos appear to show numerous options with inlets between barrier islands at reasonable intervals most of the way up to Henlopen. Restricted areas? Shallow draft under 2 feet? Fierce currents or wave action? Bridges with clearances less than 30 feet? I guess the nav charts will provide more answers once they are purchased.

Thanks for the advice given, it IS being considered seriously!

Greg
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Old 26-08-2008, 06:43   #21
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Greg,

Don't rely on sat photos to decide if an inlet is navigable. Use the latest charts. Even those can be wrong, because there can be a lot of shifting of sandbars around the Virginia inlets, caused by wave action and tidal currents.

One of the problems with counting on an inlet to duck into, is that by the time you really need it (storm conditions), the inlet could be untenable. Easterly winds blowing against ebbing tide set up some bad waves, especially for a small boat, with a 4 hp outboard engine.
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Old 26-08-2008, 08:27   #22
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Hi Greg:

A couple more thoughts on equipment that you shuld have for the boat 1) jacklines that will allow you to run the length of the boat and be clipped in, 2) a harness and tether, and 3) strong attachment points in critical areas such as the helm, the bow, and reefing points.
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Old 26-08-2008, 13:39   #23
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Originally Posted by gnelson View Post
My risk management plan is growing in leaps and bounds...I will definately have a Plan B ready in case I find myself overwhelmed and uncomfortable with the situations I find myself in ...

Life and limb first, dreams and goals second!
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Old 26-08-2008, 15:49   #24
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Glen,

Before you go do this thing, do the following:

First, sail out into small craft warning weather and find out what doesn't hold up while still close to home. Have a friend with a power boat stand by on VHF.

Next, I don't know where you're located in the Bay, but where ever it is, sail across the bay in rough weather. A good ol' Bay white squall should do fine. Make sure it's a 10 hour trip and practice your reefing, tiller rig and bailing systems. Discover how strong your sails are and test your seasick remedy. Try heaving to and test your rudder repair. A four horse outboard won't be worth spit. Find out where all your stowed gear ends up after a really nice storm. Make sure you travel a while with some heavy traffic and practice your bridge to bridge coms on channel 13, so they'll notice you're there. See how your dr turns out in poor visibility. Same friend, same VHF.

Do all this BEFORE trying for the Ocean.

And be sure to file a trip plan before stepping off the dock.

You're hearing some very good advise from many very experienced sailors. Get your experience one step at a time. It's hard to learn fast enough when drinking from a fire hose.

With luck your delmarva trip will be smooth and beautiful. But don't go until both you and your boat are really ready.

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Old 27-08-2008, 11:21   #25
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All good advice, and it will be an interesting exercise to seperate the "musts" from the "shoulds" as there is no way I can fully mitigate every risk from the likely to the 1 in a million occurrences. The overiding strategy is to simply not make the attempt if there is any reported chance of heavy or unstable weather. If I don't get a clear forecast, I am returning right back to port. To back that up, I will be offshore, but just barely. I don't need weeks of clear weather...just days. I am cautiously confident about the Chesapeake and Delaware bays, recognizing they can be wide and vicious at times. I am not overly concerned about the boat, it was bought for a song and should I lose it...oh well. I AM concerned however that it not become a navigational hazard in any case. In other words, I am not worried about my property, but I am concerned about yours!

Anyway, thanks for the great advice and fair winds to all.

Greg
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Old 14-11-2008, 19:46   #26
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Circumnavigating the Delmarva Peninsula - A Guide for the Shoal Draft Sailor

The above book, available at Alibris: Used Books, Used Textbooks, Rare & Out-of-Print Books, will have all of the route information you need.

The best posts here are those that point to the need for experience; a solid boat is more forgiving, but an experienced sailor will avoid trouble. There should never be a need to be more than 20 miles from shelter if you have a shoal draft boat, so if you chose good weather windows, summer squalls are what you need prepared for. Tides can be planned for, as opposing currents or crossing shallow entrance bars can be trouble. I did the trip 3 times in a Stiletto 27 with my 10-12 year old daughter for crew; it took concentration to keep the trips safe, but the result was some of the best father-daughter time imaginable.

Spend a few season on the Bay sailing in all sorts of weather, some of it single handed, until little surprises you and until you have a plan for everything... and then don't push the envelope off-shore. There is very little traffic on the lower Delmarva coast - you may not see a boat for days - but the Coast Guard does have stations every 25 miles (Cape Charles, Wachapreague, Chincoteague, OC, Indian River).

I don't know that I would recommend doing the trip alone; it is better to share and an extra pair of hands is nice.
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Old 15-11-2008, 22:20   #27
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Lots of great info here. If you can Wait till next may June there may be several boats doing this trip. Sorry to plug another site, but sailnet.com is in the planing stage of a flotilla of sorts to do this trip. Herd mentality and safety in numbers come to mind. Check it out.
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Old 28-11-2008, 13:23   #28
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The thing is, there are 2 ways to do a Delmarva circumnavigation; outside in a big boat, or in-and-out in a shoal draft boat, anything less than ~ 3.5 feet. Nearly everything in the popular guides and on the web is about going outside, as a trial passage. No one would purposely do the Chesapeake that way, unless they are a snow bird commuting under immutable time pressure. It is the in-and-out approach that Gnelson proposes, and it isn't the best way to do the Delmarva... un less deep draft precludes any other option.

There are three books that detail this approach: Circumnavigating the Delmarva - A Guide for the Shoal Draft Sailor is a story and a guide book, covering all of the required detail and providing internet citations for the rest; Eastern Shore, Western Wind is a well written story and picture book that gives an excellent feel for the experience, with wonderful photography; Between 2 Bays and a Sea is sort of an up-dated re-make of Eastern Shore, Western Wind and is a good read too. I believe all of these are available at Alibris: Used Books, Used Textbooks, Rare & Out-of-Print Books - that is where I found mine.

I have used all of the marked inlets on the shore side - Ocean City, Chincoteague, Watchapreague, Sand Shoal, Fishermans Island Bridge (and a few I would not generally recomend, for I went through them at high water on a calm day, but that is not always the case, and the Indian River Bridge is too low for me, though they are building a higher one at 45') - multiple times. All of them would skink if on-shore winds are over 20Kn sustained, I wouldn't do any at night, and high slack tide is best. Best to think of them as planned destinations in fairly good weather, not as refuges if the weather changes or your nerve fails.
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Old 05-09-2011, 21:28   #29
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Re: Delmarva Peninsula Circumnavigation - advice?

Greg,
Did you ever make the trip? Do you still have your 6.8? What did/do you think of the boat, and how is/was she in the ocean? Most importantly, how was the trip!?!?
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:16   #30
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Re: Delmarva Peninsula Circumnavigation - advice?

I know a pair of guys that did it in a Seawind (22 feet, swing keel) in moderate conditions this past summer without any real difficulty. They ducked in for the night-only at Sand Shoal Inlet and at Wachapreague Inlet, and then went inside from Chincoteague to OC to avoid a nasty headwind. Then back outside the rest of the way.
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