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Old 04-05-2004, 13:04   #1
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Tangier Island as a Chesapeake Stopover?

Those who have read my posts know that I will be bringing my boat (<3' draft) down from Maryland to Florida in about three weeks. I have not been on the Chesapeake before. Weather permitting I hope to take about two days to get from Herrington Harbor North to Norfolk. It looks like Tangier Island might make a nice stopover about halfway down. The guides say the current is a little too swift for anchoring. I was hoping someone might have a little local knowledge on the harbor and dockage, and perhaps a little Island sightseeing tips thrown in for fun.

Thanks, Woody
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Old 05-05-2004, 05:26   #2
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I live on the lower bay on the York River. Tangier is clearly an interesting place.

You really don't want to anchor there as the current is swift in the channel. The island is only approachable from the channel. There is no place close to anchor at all. You really have to enter the channel and go to the harbor.

There are two marinas and if you go on the weekend without a reservation - don't.

If your mast is over 50 ft then the lower marina is the only one you can get into. Water is 7 - 8 ft.

As far as being half way I would think Reedville would be a geographically better stop.

Since you are in Herrington North. Look up Allan Field, he has a C320 there and has done Norfolk in two days. I don't think he would do it that way again. You won't have time to get into Tangier and do anything in two days<g>. Last year we spent 4 days going to Solomons and we are a day north of Norfolk. Ours were more like 8 hours per day. I guess it depnds how long a day is<g>.

Here are good web sites for what is there. I should think a full day will be well spent.

http://www.tangierisland-va.com

http://www.tangierisland.net/tour

I don't have my Chesapeake Bay Guide handy but it has contact info for marinas. Send me a private email and I'll send it along.

Buying a Chesapeake Bay Guide is not a bad investment. It's a lot of local knowledge updated every years and now in it's twenty something edition. It's loaded with everything and covers the whole bay. Has nautical and not so nautical info as well. It's great even for car touring.
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Old 10-05-2004, 09:45   #3
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I wish I had more time to explore the bay, but when the weather is good we want to make good time heading south.

Tangier was just a place that looked interesting and at about the half way point from Herring bay. Reedville on the West side does look a little closer to the rhumb line. What is the best anchorage there? A friend of mine went from Annapolis to Little Creek in 24 hours last year. But that was sailing overnight in a 52 foot cutter.

Watching the weather lately the winds have been near constant out of the south-southwest at 10-15+ knots. We may take longer than planned to get south if that continues. Is it possible to motorsail close hauled south, staying close to the west shore when the winds are southwest? Or do you just get beat up in a short rough chop?
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Old 10-05-2004, 14:52   #4
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Well Reedville is a nice place and a look at the charts will tell the tale for what looks good. My wife and I Like Mill Creek. I draw 5 - 3 and it is a nail biter as you weave around but I love the anchorage and it is close to the ext in the AM. Lots of other places near town too. Plan on 4 ofr 5 spots depending on how far you get. The middle Bay can be lonely for places to stop. even though it's not the real Ocean it can get real nasty.

When sailing the bay it's about one thing DEPTH! the Bay is shallow and a malfunctioning depth sounder means haul out time. Don't do anything without good charts and a depth sounder. You can run aground 2 miles out! Crab pots are any place the water isn't more than 40 ft deep. They lay them in lines so they can collect them. You need to see them. The blck bouys are a PITA to see. Things with tall orange flags are Gill nets your prop won't like. being alert is a requirement. The main channels have large ships and barges. A night passage is not easy without a 100% watch.

I would say winds depend very much on the time of year. July and Auguist suck as a rule for good wind. Mid summer is mostly southern but NOT always. If you pick and choose the days you sail it can be still fun. If you are in a hurry plan fuel. You should find enough places to re fuel as required, but watch the locations.

You can't explore the bay in one lifetime. There are just too many spots to see. Get some good charts and better yet also a Cheasapeake Bay Giuide. Its' one of the best crusing guides you can get. Nice 3D picture of the approaches and details on what is there.

If you can go past Reedville, Fishing Bay on the Piankatank is also a wonderfull spot. I was there this weekend.
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Old 11-05-2004, 09:18   #5
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Thanks. Thats just the kind of information I was looking for.

Another question...

We plan spending the night on the hook in Norfolk, and taking the kids to the "Nauticus" museum. What would be the best plan to anchor and use the dinghy to go see the museum? I see there is an anchorage near by in the river, but the books say it is noisy and rolly. Are there any better alternatives within dinghy distance?
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Old 11-05-2004, 11:08   #6
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We have never anchored in Norfolk.

Waterside Marina is a popular one for the folks I know around here when they do go to Norfolk. It put's you right downtown. It's close to the stadium too.

In this part of the world you have a minor issue of every possible branch of the armed forces including the US Navy Atlantic Fleet, a US Coast Guard center, and actually the Army with boats on the water. To say nothing of the rest of the services like the Marines and Air Force plus the Naval Air Station. Not to mention a commercial port that does some seroius large vessle traffic too. Then we add several of the largest ship yards in the US and you start to see that this is a very commercial / industrial waterfront and with increased security and lots of prohibited areas.

There is no shoreline without something big and ugly to look at. The James River has a lot of exceptionally shallow water that is very wide, open, and un protected. Geographically it's not much for any potential anchorages.

In general I would really not anchor within any close distance to Norfolk. The marinas downtown are pretty nice and I think where I would go and I don't like Marinas all that much. It sets you up better if you are heading down the ICW the next morning.

I would suggest you plan the days either side of Norfolk to see where you need to make for the next night if you plan on only doing daylight sailing. North of Norfolk you won't find much for anchorages south of the York River either. The York River to Norfolk is a day.
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Old 11-05-2004, 13:19   #7
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Thanks for the local knowledge. The only other time I've been in the area was sailing a boat into the bay, stopping at Little Creek, and catching a cab to the Norfolk airport.

Although, I did find a nice web cam of the river...

http://www.wvec.com/cams/norfolk.html

Woody
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Old 11-05-2004, 19:27   #8
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I just checked the WebCAM. It's just as dark there as here at 9:30PM<g>. I'll try in the morning. It's a neat thing to be able to peak at places any time of the day.
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