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Old 31-03-2012, 19:35   #1
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Help with Annapolis Visit ?

Hi there, I'm thinking of heading north this summer, perhaps northern Chesapeake. I've got several weeks off from the farm, and in the past, I've sailed the boat offshore to a destination, and the family joins me there for a week or more. Annapolis seems like a good place to spend some time. I'd like to spend some time in a sailing town and also the eastern shore. My kids, 13 and 17, and wife, have never been to DC. So they are lukewarm to another summer cruise in the southeast, but are eager to join me for some sightseeing in DC, maybe visit some lawmakers (staffers) and perhaps some cruising *lite*. I guess we could get lucky with some cooler temps in late June, but judging by the weather here in western NC, the water in Chesapeake is getting warm already. What can we expect? Pleasant on a mooring or hook? I could care less, no cab tractors on my farm, but the crew are freckled mountain people, spoiled by our temperate rainforests.

So, I'm considering leaving boat in the northern Chesapeake until after storm season, as bringing it home to NC is a haul, and I have more time off in November. This would allow me to spend more time in Chesapeake and then take some time sailing south in Nov, which to me seems like an appealing time to cruise the bay. $$ is the limitation; I'm on a free mooring down here and $300+ a month for dockage means credit card. My kids would not approve so looking for something affordable so everyone can relax and have a good time.

I'll be singlehanding north around mid June, either Ocracoke - Cape May, or up the bay from Norfolk...depending on weather. If anyone has suggestions on affordable dockage, something to sublet while you're away, whatever, I'd appreciate it. I'm flexible on location. Family will bring car from home, and as long as we're in near proximity to DC or Annapolis I think I can make it work. I'd be grateful for info on where we can park to pickup public transportation, and avoid high parking cost of D.C..

Thanks, and any suggestions on logistics/places to visit for that area is much appreciated.

Chase
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Old 31-03-2012, 20:01   #2
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Re: Help with Annapolis visit?

Chase,
You can pick up the family in Annapolis at Ego Alley where you can slip in for a few minutes for free or stay a while and pay. It is right in the center of town and a great time for all ages.
If you just want to anchor, Eastport has a few spots to anchor but you must get there early. From east port you can walk to town. There are plenty of places on that part of the Chesapeak to anchor, you may have a long dingy ride to the more popular places.
If you go to Baltimore, there are very few places to anchor but worth a slip. From there you can take a train to DC very easily. I wouldn't go all the way up the Potomac to DC unless you have a lot of time. It is about 96 miles up to DC.
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Old 31-03-2012, 21:39   #3
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Re: Help with Annapolis visit?

We sailed from New Bern to Annoplois and found it to be a great trip. Also sailed up to DC and stayed there for 10 days. The whole thing wasn't expensive. Went to the Big boat show and found it to be toxic! But, we are Californian's, after all. Wouldn't miss motoring up Dismal Swamp Canal, unusual exeperince. You can anchor most any place on the East Coast if you know how to anchor.
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Old 31-03-2012, 22:36   #4
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Re: Help with Annapolis visit?

Last year I anchored out for half the year in the upper Potomac on the opposite side from the National Horror..err...harbor, outside a marina called Belle Haven. Chip the dock master is as nice and helpful a guy as you'll ever meet. (tell him Eric " s/v Clementine" sent you)

I had free dinghy dock and free water, it's within walking distance (15 minutes) to grocery, a 10 minute bus ride to the subway, walking distance to Old Town Alexandria, and it cost me zero dollars. The marina also rents canoes, sailboats, paddle boards, etc. Lots of happy, laughing kids in the evenings and weekends exploring the marsh on their canoes. National Harbor all lit up at night is an impressive sight plus they put on a fireworks show every Friday night.

If you want a break from the routine, motor (or sail) 45 minutes north to the Washington Channel where you can anchor for free but will have to pay either $10 to the Gangplank Marina or $15 to Capitol Yacht club in order to access the shore and facilities. We use Capitol Yacht Club for the wonderful showers, laundry, and air-conditioned club room. Of course at that point you are smack dab next to the 14th street bridge and within spitting distance of the monuments and museums.

If you look at Active Captain website, the Belle Haven anchorage is marked. Please be aware that the spot closest to the marina has been claimed. (by me )

It gets a little buggy at night and being where it is..hot and muggy with little breeze most of the time, but I like it so much I'm going to go back this year too.

The cheapest slip you'll find on the Potomac near DC, is Tantallon Marina but it's about ten miles away. I think it would serve your purpose for temporary storage though.
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Old 31-03-2012, 23:06   #5
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Re: Help with Annapolis visit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheoah View Post
[snip]
So, I'm considering leaving boat in the northern Chesapeake until after storm season, as bringing it home to NC is a haul, and I have more time off in November. This would allow me to spend more time in Chesapeake and then take some time sailing south in Nov, which to me seems like an appealing time to cruise the bay.
[snip]
September and October cruising on the Bay is great. November return is okay if you take the ICW, but it's late to be taking the outside route. There's a reason Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks are called "The Graveyard of the Atlantic." The gales of November are a big part of that. Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum - America's Maritime History

The ICW is largely benign, albeit a bit on the slow side for some, but a wonderful cruise in itself for others (any time of year). You can anchor out or marina hop as you wish. Allow time; don't plan on more than about 50 miles a day.

Get yourself a Waterway Guide and a Waterway Chart Kit and you're all set.

And watch out for all those damn yankee power boats and Canadian snow birds heading for Florida - although most try to be farther south by November.

Fair winds and following seas, Cap'n.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:08   #6
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Re: Help with Annapolis Visit ?

If you're going to cruise the Chesapeake for any length of time, get the Cruising the Chesapeake: A Gunkholers Guide by Shellenberger.

There are several places in the creeks of Annapolis (Back, Spa and Weems) to either anchor or take a mooring. Mooring is about $300 a month.


Some places on the creeks also are a short walk to bus service to DC. You can get a schedule by Googling "MTA commuter bus." The 950 and 922 routes go to DC.


Annapolis and DC are fun places for families and teenagers.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:20   #7
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Re: Help with Annapolis Visit ?

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.... Mooring is about $300 a month.
....
What do you get for this $300 a month? Dinghy dock? Showers? Wifi?
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:34   #8
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Re: Help with Annapolis Visit ?

In Baltimore you can anchor in the cove between Anchorage Marina and the gas dock. There is a little park with a dock, you can go across the street to the supermarket, plus West Marine is nearby and several pizza/sub shops and restaurants. The inner harbor is a tourist mecca but is a hike.

Pick up a mooring in Annapolis for a few days to see that picturesque town. The Schellenberger cruising guide will give lots of anchorages for gunkholing. There are almost too many places, you could spend years visiting just half of them. In the fall is the schooner race from Balt. to Annapolis, and then down the bay to Norfolk. The Caribbean rally also gathers in Norfolk in the fall.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:35   #9
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Re: Help with Annapolis Visit ?

If you are moored near the city dock (ego alley), there is a dinghy dock and showers. There's also wifi downtown, but I don't recall whether it reaches out to the mooring field.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:01   #10
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Re: Help with Annapolis Visit ?

Great info, thanks all.

Looks like affordable long-term mooring in/near Annapolis is a stretch.

So, any thoughts on somewhere in Chesapeake to keep the boat for a few months July-Nov for a budget minded cruiser? Thanks for the anchoring ideas, will definitely keep that in mind while actively cruising, but not for storing the boat for a few months. I guess it is truly the way to do it if I want to save money, but I have never anchored the boat and left her for extended period.

Sounds like with proper planning this could be a great trip for my teenagers. I really do appreciate the help. I have the Schellenberger book from my last cruise to Chesapeake, but spent my time in southern bay and went home after. Lots of traveling to spend a week or two there, but had a nice sail around Hatteras and back through Dismal.

Am I right that getting ashore in the Chesapeake can be tough? Seems like most places are private property and they tire of cruiser types coming ashore. I certainly get that, but I'll be trying to plan my itinerary (besides Annapolis) around rural areas I can get off the boat and walk every day.

Chase
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:27   #11
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Re: Help with Annapolis Visit ?

I used to keep my boat at Selby Bay Yacht Basin. Was pretty cheap but don't know now. They don't have haul out service but you can leave your boat in the water all winter as the Bay doesn't usually freeze. You can anchor outside there in Selby Bay but it is busy in summer. Just south of Annapolis in the South River. There are plenty of places to go ashore if you know the area, but once there it is hard to get around without a car. Plenty of places to gunk hole outside of Annapolis (Severn River, Magothy River, etc.) and you can dinghy into Annapolis.
I lived in the area and sailed there for 20 years. Let me know if you need any more help.
CJ
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:39   #12
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Re: Help with Annapolis Visit ?

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Am I right that getting ashore in the Chesapeake can be tough? Seems like most places are private property and they tire of cruiser types coming ashore.
Not in my experience. The Chesapeake area is very boater friendly. In Annapolis any street that ends on the water is a public right of way with free dinghy dockage right there--some have actual docks, but most are just bulkheads you can tie up to. Elsewhere in the Chesapeake I have had people numerous times offer for me to use their dock when I happened to be anchored nearby. If not I just ask around and there is almost always someplace to tie up a dink for no charge.

Annapolis and the northern Chessy will be hot, humid, and have lots of thunderstorms in the summer. If you're not used to the heat and humidity it can be tough. I don't believe I've ever rented a mooring in the Chesapeake as there are not that many places with rental moorings. However, there are tons of marinas, and some of them quite reasonable especially in certain more rural areas like the norther Virginia section. I would think you might very well be able to find a dock space for $300 per month. You can anchor just about anywhere, and the holding tends to be nice mud. However, that isn't ideal for leaving your boat for long.

Having taken a family to Washington a few times I found the easiest method was to rent a car and then park just outside of the city to take the train in the rest of the way. Then use the car to really stock up with groceries, propane, boat supplies, etc. A two-day rental can be pretty cheap and worth it if you need to do a big stock up. On the other hand, if you were in a marina I wouldn't be surprised if someone would offer to drive you to the train station--just ask around.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:46   #13
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Re: Help with Annapolis Visit ?

You'll have ice on the docks in mid /late October... at least we did. And I'll second the comment on not taking the outside around Hatteras that late.... (dont ask why...!)
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:56   #14
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Re: Help with Annapolis Visit ?

Second that--September and October are nice in the Chesapeake, but after Halloween it can be too cold for comfort many years. I've had heavy frost on the decks in Annapolis by the end of the boat show some years.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:17   #15
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For a short term mooring try hartges yacht harbor south of Annapolis. I understand you will have a car so to get to dc is about an hour. Park at the metro lot on 10 th street NE. Easy subway ride to the monuments and all. For cruising the bay is excellent and many options. Baltimore Harbor during the week you can anchor right by the aquarium. Sassafrass river is refreshing in the summer. Annapolis is good I think you can pick up a mooring for transient use about 25 bucks a night and you get a pass to the showers. Worton creek is a nice hang out in the summer. I'm suggesting placed northward as I would expect sea nettles will be bad this year. The sassafras is near fresh water and no nettles.so its great water time if you make the trip send me a pm glad to help out. Live in dc and sail out of galesville. Currently anchored on rhode river enjoying some down time
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