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Old 14-08-2012, 07:13   #1
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Phila, PA to Norfolk, VA

I'm hoping to take my 24 ft. Flicka from Philly to Morehead City, NC this Fall. I'll be singlehanding so am bothered at the thought of going thru the C&D and on down the bay. I'll have to anchor every night and it could take forever. I'm leaning towards the Cape May to Cape Charles route. Anyone have experience of going in to Norfolk from Cape Charles? If I left Cape May at first light I could maybe make it to Norfolk the following day with some daylight still left? I'd appreciate any input, thanks.

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Old 14-08-2012, 10:09   #2
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Re: Phila, PA to Norfolk, VA

From Philly, you can skip the often harsh parts of Delaware Bay by taking the canal, and then it's an easy shot to Norfolk on the bay with many more harbors to anchor. It's about the same distance either way, and either route would work. Cape May to Cape Charles is over 100're not going to make that in daylight on a 24-footer (not to mention the 40 miles on the Delaware Bay). I would hope that you'd anchor every night either route, being singlehanded. Hope this helps, and hope you have a good, and safe, voyage.
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Old 14-08-2012, 10:15   #3
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Re: Phila, PA to Norfolk, VA

The C&D is nice and wide, some ship traffic but not that much. Lots of room, just stick to the side. Enjoy Chesapeake Bay, lots of good anchorages. Much easier than going all the way down Delaware Bay, especially on the flood.
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Old 14-08-2012, 11:10   #4
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Re: Phila, PA to Norfolk, VA

In your size boat you are better off coming through the C&D and down the Chesapeake. Deleware Bay can be a bad scene with the wind against the tide. You would also have to wait for an an outgoing tide as it really rips in both directions. The C&D is easy with less traffic than Delaware Bay and plenty of room to manouver. Once in the Bay there are numerous anchorages and it is easy to stay out of shipping traffic. Tides and wind are also a major factor for a craft your size so pay attention! My vote would be to continue on down the Intracoastal to Morehead City. But give thought to Beaufort, right across the waterway but much more fun and yacht friendly!!!
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Old 14-08-2012, 12:32   #5
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Re: Phila, PA to Norfolk, VA

All of this is good advice. Leave Philly on an early morning tide going out and you might make the engineers basin in the C&D where you can anchor before it is too dark. then just pick a couple of anchorages going down the Chesapeake, the tide isn't as devastating as in the Delaware. The Chesapeake is god's apology for giving us the Delaware river/bay. Four days at most to Norfolk, then three or four to Morehead City depending on the time of year and the hours of daylight you have to travel in. In the Chesapeake, you can sail easily almost anywhere, so can keep going until midnight or so, sleep til 6 am, rinse and repeat.
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Old 27-06-2013, 04:37   #6
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Re: Phila, PA to Norfolk, VA

Single-handed this trip the opposite direction.

Recommendations: Skipper Bob's guide and/or Active Captain, autopilot, Delaware City Marina (honest mechanics), Cheapeake and Dismal Swamp. Oriental is worth a visit but you'll hear about that on the way down.

Skipper Bob's guide probably saved my boat (was in better anchorage than I needed when unexpected storm hit).

Careful on the Albemarle.
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Old 27-06-2013, 05:55   #7
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Re: Phila, PA to Norfolk, VA

I'm not sure what is your concern here? If speed were an issue, you'd be driving a car, going on a powerboat or perhaps a faster and larger sailboat than a 24' Flicka. If narrow canals are the issue, why should 10 miles of the wide and very deep C and D be an issue when you are going many more miles down ditches? What is your concern? What is your desire? What do you wish to get out of this trip? Delaware Bay is the worst body of water on the east coast--from almost any perspective. Would you really want to do an overnight singlehandling within a few miles of the Maryland Coast? The inlets are not so great--Ocean City and Indian River...??? You're going to have some very long and boring spells at the wheel (tiller???) on long stretches of the ICW. As another commenter said, beware of the Albemarle. The wide stretches of shallow bays and rivers can be tough in a blow. You are also likely to encounter southerlies in summer....but you said Fall, so you are likely to get nice weather unless a hurricane moves up of course. You may get some really nice early fall Northwesterlies..take your time and enjoy the Chesapeake's many anchorages...
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Old 28-06-2013, 04:11   #8
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Re: Phila, PA to Norfolk, VA

Hi Nial, I've singlehanded this both directions, also agree that the Chesapeake is about as good as it gets for this situation. You can get down the bay in 4-5 days taking it a little bit easy. In the event of a weather shift and a fresh N wind, you can hop on that and ride. I had a killer trip back down the bay last summer running overnight in 25-30 knot winds. Took me a day to cover what took 3 days of hard motoring coming N.

Definitely slow down and enjoy the ride, the Chesapeake is a great sailing destination and you can tack back and forth across the bay to your anchorage. For me it is way more fun if each nights anchorage is my destination and I can enjoy the adventure without feeling like every day is a sacrifice to get where I really want.

Of course NC is home, and boy do I love it down here. Once you have cleared the Dismal (it's just a better route for singlehanders in small boats imho) you can sail down the PAsquotank in prevailing SW (which has been blowing 20 steady with gusts to 25 here lately) to the Albemarle. Little River is a good anchorage just west of where you spill out to Albemarle. At that point you can sail the Pamlico Sound down to the Neuse, either via Manteo and Ocracoke, or down western PAmlico via Croatan Sound. There is a bridge there with 45' clearance, so that's a great route if you want to make tracks south.

The crab pots can get thick in the Albemarle - beware. I crossed Albemarle in 20-25 knots last summer motor sailing, could not point high enough. I wrapped a pot and then watched my stern rise and fall about 5' -very lively- and dreaded getting it cleared. I restarted engine and bumped it in reverse a couple of times and got lucky, but contingency was to limp back down wind under sail to sheltered waters and clear it. I think it should be mandated that they use bright colors, the black colored floats are a joke as far as visibility.

Have a great trip on your sweet boat-

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