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Old 29-05-2019, 15:05   #1
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Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Hi all,

we are from the Harrisburg area in PA and we are getting closer to buying a sailboat. At least close enough to spend some thoughts on a potential location/marina. For us, the upper Chesapeake Bay (Havre de Grace) looks appealing because we can get there in about 90 minutes and even around holidays the traffic should not be too bad.
I have been on the Chesapeake Bay with our current (20 feet open Caledonia Yawl) boat in the area around St. Michaels but that's about it.
We are beginners, not totally sailing beginners but certainly in regard to bigger boats in the 35 to 40 feet range and their specifics.
Any downsides with choosing the upper Chesapeake Bay as a starting point?

Thanks
Christoph
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Old 29-05-2019, 15:29   #2
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

We've visited the area a couple times. The town seemed pleasant. We stayed at Tidewater Marina both times, and that was pretty good.

-Chris
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Old 29-05-2019, 16:49   #3
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

HdG is a nice little town, not a bad area to sail and more fresh/brackish water. This is ne of the more convenient places for people driving down from Harrisburg to be on the bay. Tidewater may be pricey and if you are on a budget, could try to get a slip at Penn's Beach (S. of Tide Water) or there is a city/municipal marina, but there may be a waiting list,


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Old 29-05-2019, 17:43   #4
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

I kept my previous sailboat on the Chesapeake for 15 years and lived further west then you (Pittsburgh). I opted to keep the boat just off Middle River (Bowleys Quarters Marina). It made everything from Annapolis to Havre de Grace available for weekend sailing. I spent about 70% of my time on the eastern shore destinations. Bohemia, Sassafras, and Chester rivers, Rock Hall and swan creek were favorite weekend places. In the late summer and fall I head to St. Michael's, Oxford, and Annapolis for the boat show. The other advantages of Middle River was that if the weather didn't cooperate the inner harbor and fells point were short trips in the car, this was especially important when guests were expecting a weekend sailing.


It looks like heading to Middle River would add about 10 miles to your trip from Harrisburg
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Old 29-05-2019, 18:45   #5
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Hi all,

Thanks, everybody for their input.
I think I see the advantage of being somewhat further south, a sailboat is not a race boat and being further south would give us many more destinations for a weekend trip.
The marina mentioned is indeed a little pricey, at least compared to the city marina so here is way more research necessary than I thought.

Christoph
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Old 29-05-2019, 20:03   #6
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

We have our first sailboat in Castle Harbor Marina On North East Kent Island.
This is where the boat was when we bought it. We also live in PA...more Easterly than you, and looked into moving the boat further North to reduce the trip time to the boat.
What we discovered is twofold...1st..there are little savings to be had moving North. As a Caribbean sailor let me tell you..the Entire Chesapeake is over priced.Whether that be boats, Marinas, parts, etc..
That said, we found that leaving our boat at Kent may have cost us 15-20 mins more driving time...yes, that was all for us, and saved us an entire day of sailing to get to more Middle Chessie destinations.

We are Not moving North. They have a very good Intro rate,if interested

Patrick
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Old 30-05-2019, 07:05   #7
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Hi all,

@Patrick
thanks for the info, the Castle Harbor Marina seems to be a nice place but since we will be boating newbies with our first USED boat we also may need some technical support and the ability to get the boat out of the water. I looked at the marina description and on google map but couldn't find any information about that.


I think I started this a little too naive, more like trying to find a parking lot for my car. The more I think about it the more I realize that this will be much more complex and way more things need to be considered.
Since we are looking to buy a used boat between 10 and 15 years old a lot of time is probably spent on cleaning, upgrading, and repairing. While that can be done almost everywhere I have to take into consideration that the rest of the crew has to be kept happy while the boat is in the "dock". Hence certain types of amenities are almost mandatory, like a pool and a playground.
If I think about this a little bit longer

technical support
haul out
pool and playground

are on the very top of my list of requirements, at least for the first season.
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Old 30-05-2019, 09:14   #8
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Suggest you consider Whitehall Marina, where we keep our sailboat. Small, famli-ish marina, as reasonable as we’ve found & west of the Kent Island Bridge which gets terribly clogged on weekends. Nicely sheltered, close enough to easily get to Baltimore. Annapolis, eastern shore. Good management, service facility on premesis. Nice community.

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Old 30-05-2019, 09:25   #9
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

I'd look at Georgetown Yacht Basin on the Sassafrass River.
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Old 30-05-2019, 10:18   #10
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Have a close look at the charts before you commit to a location or a boat. The water up there can be SHALLOW. You may need to follow dredged transit lanes to and from the lower bay. Also your day sails may be in very tight waters around HdG. Good searching!
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Old 30-05-2019, 10:25   #11
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Middle River gets very busy on the weekends. If I were you I would look at the Eastern Shore. Yes a further drive but much nicer. Most of the water by Harvre de Grace is shallow check out a chart.
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Old 30-05-2019, 10:25   #12
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Hi Christoph -

I'm in Damascus MD, so not terribly far from you, and my boat is just north of the Bay Bridge. Don't underestimate how much the drive will grind you down. If all the stars align, I can be there or drive home in 70 minutes and even that is an obstruction to progress on my refit. It's not worth even trying at rush hours or on a Friday or Sunday afternoon because the traffic will add so much time, especially on Route 50.

While the upper Cheaspeake is shallow, I'd stay north of the Baltimore beltway till at least when the boat is ready to just get on and go.

Cost-wise, the further you get from Annapolis the better but there will be less resources.
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Old 30-05-2019, 10:56   #13
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Was in HdG for years and was a very nice place. In a smaller boat there was plenty of water immediately when you left HdG and could sail in the evening. It was mostly fresh water, swimming was excellent in the bay at some of the sand dredge islands or up the Susquehanna River and no nettles (stinging jellyfish) to contend with either.
There is a channel if you want to go south but it wasn't bad and most times we could sail it.
As with any place you go, there is no real "commitment" as you can move to another marina later after you get to know the area better. Driving in the car will get you down the bay fast than sailing, but nothing wrong w/the northern bay.


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Old 30-05-2019, 11:13   #14
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Quote:
Originally Posted by chasmains View Post
Have a close look at the charts before you commit to a location or a boat. The water up there can be SHALLOW. You may need to follow dredged transit lanes to and from the lower bay. Also your day sails may be in very tight waters around HdG. Good searching!

That was my first thought about HdG... the water is very thin around those parts except for a dredged channel that takes you from HdG into deeper waters. I would definitely go further south and if it were me, I'd probably prefer the eastern shore. There have been a lot of good suggestions made here. Georgetown and Rock Hall seem to be favorite locations for PA sailors.
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Old 30-05-2019, 11:55   #15
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Re: Upper Chesapeake Bay - Havre de Grace - sailing and marinas

Similar question and replies:


Chesapeake
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