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Old 05-04-2011, 05:24   #1
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First Trip South

Planning to bring our boat South from Lake Champlain this summer. Will do the trip down Hudson and NJ coast in August then stay in Chesapeake for September and October. Never been South of NY harbor. Any advice for NJ coast or Delaware? How about good places to stay on Chesapeake? Will head down ICW and ultimately to Bahamas in November. Will save questions on second leg to later posts.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:45   #2
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Re: First trip South

Welcome to CF.

You've picked two great months for sailing on the Chesapeake. I'm sure you'll get a lot of recommendations, but I suggest that you also get yourself a copy of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's "Guide to Cruising the Chesapeake Bay". Shellenberger's "Cruising the Chesapeake, a Gunkholer's Guide" is a good one, too. Two months is too short to "see it all". A good guide will allow you to set priorities on where you want to spend your time. The ADC chartbook is a good collection of charts.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:49   #3
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Re: First trip South

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, twellsjd.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:01   #4
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Re: First Trip South

Welcome aboard. Sounds like a lot of fun
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:15   #5
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Re: First Trip South

The Delaware can be a bit nasty. Shallow and lots of traffic. Best to transit during the day. Cape May NJ is a very nice town. The northern Chesapeke has a bunch of great towns and anchorages. Sasafrass etc. If you like the "Big City" stopping into Baltimore is an option. Lots of dockage. Our favorite cruising area is Eastern Bay, Choptank River (Big and Little) Solomons Island and the Patuxtant. Remember that the Sailboat and Power Boat show are around the second week in October in Annapolis which can be very crowded but lots to see. The southern bay is beautiful. Reedville is a great place withe lots of history, If you are deep draft Smith and Tangiers might prove difficult but you can take a ferry from Chrisfield. Deltaville and Urbana are full of like minded folks. Have fun and check back in to let us know how your trip is going!
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:01   #6
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Re: First Trip South

When you leave Cape May, time your trip so the tide is with you going up the Delaware Bay. It makes a big difference. You can anchor overnight in the engineer's basin in the C&D Canal and then head into the Chesapeake. Enjoy, the Bay is a a little bit fo heaven with nettles.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:14   #7
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Re: First Trip South

The best advice although the hardest to hear is....wait for good weather. Both the coast of NJ and the Delaware Bay can be hellacious places with the wrong weather. Don't have a schedule. Enjoy the places you are and don't feel any rush to move.

There is too much in the Chesapeake to name. You can't possibly do much more than scratch the surface of cruising there in one season. Just explore with the idea that you'll need to come back many times.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:25   #8
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Re: First Trip South

Twell, tell us something about your boat and we can be more specific with advice. A sail boat? What do you draw? What is your air draft? Many of your options will depend on the answers.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:58   #9
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Re: First Trip South

Like previous poster said: say a little more about you and your vessel. # people aboard? Kids? Prefer small towns, big towns? Anchorages or marinas? Crowds or alone?

Some of our favorite towns in the mid-bay area include St Michaels (go to 208 Talbot for dinner. Tell the chef we sent you!), Oxford, Annapolis (home). Some family favorites for anchoring include Cacaway, La Trappe, Rhode River, Queenstown. Definitely visit the islands off Crisfield: Smith, Tangier...

2 months way too short. But fall is a beautiful time of year on the Chesapeake. Enjoy!
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:31   #10
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Re: First Trip South

Assuming a mid to large size sailboat, the NJ coast affords little or no safe harbors so it is usually done in one shot from Atlantic Highlands all the way down and around the corner to the west side of Cape May.
- - As stated by others, weather (winds/waves) are very important for this leg. Also there is a shoal area off the southern tip of Cape May that needs to be either rounded outside of or carefully threaded closer to shore.
- - I normally anchor up north on the 'backside" just above where the Cape May canal exits. From there I time my northbound up the Delaware to the tides and run on the eastern side of the main ship channel. There is plenty of water and when I get abeam the giant power plant switch over to the western side and anchor behind Reedy Island by the little village of Augustine Beach.
- - If I am making great time up the Delaware River than I will continue on the eastern side all the way to the entrance of the C&D canal but bypass it and anchor behind Pea Patch Island abeam Delaware City.
- - Delaware City has the remnant of the old original canal and a very quaint marina that is reasonably priced. Also Delaware City is a really cute little restored colonial village with some good places to eat.
- - Pea Patch Island has the restored Fort Delaware which is quite interesting and fun to visit. So there is a lot to do in the Delaware River area.
- - If time allows, you can continue north all the way to Philadelphia where there are 3 or more marinas right downtown and you can do the whole Liberty Bell and Philly thing.
- - Then it is through the C&D canal to the upper Chesapeake. There isn't much of anyplace to stop in the C&D canal except a new marina about halfway through on the north side - Summit North Marina. Then at the western end are 2 marinas, Chesapeake Inn marina on the south side. And another restaurant wharf on the north side. I like the Chesapeake Inn one as it is in a little side bay sheltered from the wakes of the freighters plying the canal.
- - Once you pass Sandy Pt you are in the upper Chesapeake area with too many wonderful and interesting places to gunkhole and visit than can be described in less than a thick book. Just watch your depth meter and chart, there is a lot of shallow mud banks everywhere. And - crab pots.
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:55   #11
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Re: First Trip South

Good luck on your voyage. I am planning a crossing to the Bahamas in November 2011 as well. I will be watching for your posts when that comes around. Take care and all the best
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Old 06-04-2011, 21:27   #12
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Thanks for all the helpful comments. We sail Chapter III. Yes there was a one and a two. Next and last boat will be Epilog. Chapter III is Hunter 36. My wife and I sail it. We will be joined for some of this sail by as many of our three daughters as we can muster.
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