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Old 16-05-2015, 20:24   #1
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Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

This summer will be our first full season sailing Pendragon, an Alberg 35 we bought last summer. We are berthed at Anchorage Marina, Baltimore, MD. I'm planning a week sailing singlehanded week to start. Any recommendations on where to go? I like to plan on 15-20 NM days, sailing 2 days out, a day to explore/layover, 2 days back. Any ideas welcome. Thanks1
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Old 17-05-2015, 07:39   #2
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

Likely destinations those distances (sorta) from Bal'mer could include Rock Hall, St. Michaels, Annapolis. Have a look at the charts, see if those float your boat... and if necessary, there are more good options further out...


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Old 17-05-2015, 15:34   #3
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

If you like peace and quiet, there are lots of good secluded anchorages straight across the Bay off the Chester River: Grey's Inn Creek, Langford Creek, and the Corsica River, to name a few.

A cruise up to Chestertown and back -- hitting some of these spots along the way, and maybe adding Swan Creek near Rock Hall -- would make a nice 5 - 7 day cruise.
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Old 17-05-2015, 15:44   #4
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

Wye River
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Old 18-05-2015, 08:53   #5
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

You've gotten some good ideas so far: if you want "quiet", then Wye, Chester Rivers areas are great. If you want "activity", St Michael's, Rock Hall and Annapolis are the ticket. I would also consider Oxford (a cross between quiet and activity) and Mill and Meredith Creeks off White Hall Bay. Up the Severn, consider Round Bay.
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Old 18-05-2015, 10:21   #6
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

This itinerary would give you the highlights of the upper-central bay and a mixture of different types of surroundings:
  • Day 1: Baltimore to Annapolis
  • Day 2: Annapolis to Wye River
  • Day 3: Wye River or St. Michaels – you could stay in the Wye and go ashore to explore Wye Island State Park or you could take the 6 NM jaunt down to St. Mikes in the morning and spend the rest of your day exploring the town and maritime museum.
  • Day 4: Wye/St. Mikes to Swan Creek/Rock Hall via Kent Narrows – with the caveat that I would avoid Kent Narrows at almost any cost on a weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day. As an alternative, you could take the “long way” around Bloody Pt. and stop in the Rhode River.
  • Day 5: Rock Hall to Baltimore
For anything longer than a weekend we’ve found that we end up doing more sailing and less motoring if we plan a rough itinerary and then shift things around based on where the wind takes us. Sometimes it's better to be in an uninteresting anchorage having gotten there by sail than in a neat place reached by motor. Other times burning the diesel is worth it.

A few of the recommendations here I wouldn’t advise with the parameters you’ve given. First, Oxford and the Choptank are great but you’d either need an extra day or two or to up your daily average mileage to around 30 NM to get down there and back without feeling rushed.

The Chester is beautiful and one of the most unspoiled places in the mid-bay and definitely worth checking out at some point, but once you get above Cacaway Island it’s either a tricky sail or a boring motor in the narrow, twisty part of the river. That part of the river also carries more current than Chesapeake Bay sailors are used to. For a first timer going singlehanded it could be challenging on one hand and/or a miserable slog on a hot, windless day. I’d save it fall instead of making it your first time out. The Chester is absolutely stunning during fall leaf / migratory bird season.

I wouldn’t go up the Severn either. There aren’t really any true destinations in its upper reaches. Mainly it’s just a bunch of big houses. You won’t do much if any sailing once you get above the US 50 bridge due to the river being narrow with high cliff walls – which also tend to kill the cooling breezes you want in the summer. It’s an interesting place to go every once in a while but I try to save it for the fall and it’s definitely not on my top 10 list.
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Old 18-05-2015, 10:30   #7
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

You have some good advice so far. I agree that going up the Chester past the Corsica River is not a good idea.
We enjoy Bodkin Creek, Magothy River, and the Rhode River.
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Old 18-05-2015, 11:07   #8
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

I'm based in Annapolis and all the prior suggestions are excellent except Meridith Creek off Whitehall Bay. DO NOT attempt to enter Meridith. The entrance is narrow, shallow and unmarked. Only those with very good local knowledge can get thru the entrance. A better choice is Mill Creek where you can stop at Cantler's Resturant for excellent crab dishes. Where ever you go on the bay be mindfull of late afternoon thunder squalls. Be prepared for a lot of motoring during July and August as the Bay typically gets hot and humid with very little breeze during the summer. Depending on the salinity the nettles will be prevalent in the saltier water starting late June / early July. Anyone who has sailed the "Bay" and says they have not run aground is either a liar or hasn't sailed the "Bay". Not to worry it's all mud except inside Thomas Point Light! Have fun.
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Old 18-05-2015, 12:13   #9
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

Jim, I can't think of bad place to cruise up there. My two personal favorites are Georgetown up North and when you have more time Cape Charles at the south. We spent 15 summers cruising New England and the Chesapeake and enjoyed it but there are so many harbors, we didn't see them all.
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Old 18-05-2015, 14:09   #10
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4arch View Post
This itinerary would give you the highlights of the upper-central bay and a mixture of different types of surroundings:
***[*] Day 4: Wye/St. Mikes to Swan Creek/Rock Hall via Kent Narrows with the caveat that I would avoid Kent Narrows at almost any cost on a weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
***
However--if you can reserve a slip, Kent Narrows has the greatest concentration of great restaurants and dock bars on the Bay
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Old 19-05-2015, 12:05   #11
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

Good marina choice Pendragon, I expect to be there in a few weeks. Georgetown is nice except it is an hour of motoring up the Sassafras river.
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Old 19-05-2015, 14:12   #12
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Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

Good memories. Wye is nice, I tucked way up there for a gale. Visited an historic Angus cattle operation run by Maryland extension. I was the first cattleman to show up in a dinghy

St michaels is a good destination. But with water taxi and restaurants and shops - bring your money. I had a soft crab sandwich at one of the crab joints on the water, and table next to me of older folks left 7 blue crabs! I heard them say they weren't gonna take them home, so I boldly asked them if I could have them. They were most happy to share and I took them back out to the boat and enjoyed some of the very best crabs I've ever had, due to circumstance and location. Felt like a coon and had my way with these crabs. Nice maritime museum there. Great sailing too, I'm pretty sure we sailed right to anchor on the Miles.


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Old 19-05-2015, 18:20   #13
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Wink Re: Recommend a First Chesapeake Cruise

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Originally Posted by Scrimshaw4 View Post
I'm based in Annapolis and all the prior suggestions are excellent except Meridith Creek off Whitehall Bay. DO NOT attempt to enter Meridith. The entrance is narrow, shallow and unmarked. Only those with very good local knowledge can get thru the entrance. A better choice is Mill Creek where you can stop at Cantler's Resturant for excellent crab dishes.
Heh! Yep, let's keep all the boats out of beautiful Meredith Creek to preserve its serenity.

When I anchor there, I'm usually the only sailboat in there because of the difficulty of the entrance which is indeed tortuous and unmarked. The channel -- if you know where it is -- is fairly deep, though, and very narrow. It may have silted in a bit in recent years, but I used to carry the 6.5' draft of my old blue-water 46' cutter into there back in the '80s. Local knowledge is definitely required, though, to carry more than 2' into this gorgeous anchorage.

I live on Mill Creek, just across the water from Cantler's on the Martin's Cove side. If you decide to anchor in Martin's Cove, be aware that there is very little air in there because of the high, wooded banks and that the holding is lousy thanks to a thick bed of rotting leaves on the bottom.
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