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Old 01-10-2020, 04:17   #1
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Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

We are leaving in the next few days from Rhode Island heading to Cape May or Cape Henelopen, up the Delaware River to the canal. Any suggestions where we can anchor (probably overnight) on the east side of the canal to time the current to go west through the canal? We draw 5'7" with a 72' mast.
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Old 01-10-2020, 05:01   #2
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

There are designated anchorages immediately north (upriver) and south (downriver) of the eastern entrance to the canal. I suggest the northern one to be slightly more protected. Further up river a short distance is a marina and a fun seafood house.

HOWEVER, my recommendation is to anchor at Cape Henlopen or Cape May to await the tide. Ride the flood tide up Delaware Bay timing arrival at the canal close to the start of the ebb tide in the canal. With the current behind the total transit time is quick. There is an abundance of restful anchorages near the Chesapeake end of the canal.

Running the canal in the dark is no problem. Monitor channel 13 and 16 to coordinate with large commercial traffic. We chat with canal control on channel 13 before entering the canal as a courtesy.
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Old 01-10-2020, 05:12   #3
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

We have anchored inside Reedy island a couple of times, it is not too bad if you just want to overnight, not great but just OK, current and wind dependent.
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Old 01-10-2020, 06:13   #4
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

I don't understand why one would need to wait for the currents to enter the C&D Canal. The current is not extreme, much less than you'll find yourselves fighting once you get to the ICW in many spots.

We always leave Cape May with the tide and run with it all the way into the C&D to Chesapeake City and anchor there in the bathtub next to the Corps of Engineers Museum with daylight to spare. The next travel day easily makes Baltimore, Rock Hall, or even Annapolis.

What am I missing here?
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Old 01-10-2020, 06:49   #5
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

You may be missing how big their boat is. The bathtub is pretty small for bigger boats. We are 70’ loa and with two others anchored there it was too tight for us to swing. With a 5’7” draft and 72’ mast they may have the same issue.......
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:06   #6
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackHeron View Post
I don't understand why one would need to wait for the currents to enter the C&D Canal. The current is not extreme, much less than you'll find yourselves fighting once you get to the ICW in many spots.

We always leave Cape May with the tide and run with it all the way into the C&D to Chesapeake City and anchor there in the bathtub next to the Corps of Engineers Museum with daylight to spare. The next travel day easily makes Baltimore, Rock Hall, or even Annapolis.

What am I missing here?
The 2 knot current in the C&D can either significantly aid or detract from your passage timing. With the current I transit in two hours under power cruising at nominal 5 knots, with that additional 2 tidal, SOG approx 7, with a nominal length of 15 ... transit in two hours. Against the tide, SOG 3, transit five hours... if my calculation is close enough...

Im 47, draft 58, full keel
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:33   #7
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

I agree with Sparx. If you time it right, making at least 8 knots with an early morning start, you can ride the flood to the C&D, catch the ebb in the northern Chesapeake Bay, and ride it all the way to Annapolis in one very long day. Short of that, the Bohemia River is an excellent anchorage. Watch your navigation in Delaware Bay! Fastest current is right in the ship channel, but there may be commercial traffic to deal with. Talk to them on VHF, especially if visibility is poor. There are places where you can run just outside the channel buoys, a good idea if commercial traffic is heavy. They will appreciate it. Good luck!
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:49   #8
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

Agree that you should leave Cape May ~ 2 hrs before low tide and then you will get a very fast ride up the DB. Usually this also gives you the current flow going with you thru the C&D.

You could anchor in the basin on the C&D or continue thru the canal and anchor along Elk Neck, in the Bohemia or Sassafras Rivers (many places to anchor once in the Chesapeake).
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:09   #9
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

I have transited the C&D twice in the dark and would not do it again.
The bigger ship's lights are not so visible from head-on and close up (many are riding empty and so their stern wheelhouse cannot see dead ahead)
Plus the street lights on the Northern banks create an illusion, making it hard to keep right at times.
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:20   #10
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

behind the underwater dam at Reedy island is a good place to anchor - but everyone else is right - anchor in front of the USCG at CApe May and catch the early flood tide - that will run you up the river and through the D&C canal - Sassafras river is good anchoring, but the mouth is filled with crab pots. Depending on the time of the year, lots of mosquitos in the Sassafras
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:30   #11
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

Great thanks for all the info. We are trying to keep the current with us for both the bay and the current. Even if it is only a knot or two, it affects the speed and the length of the day. Not knowing the area we would prefer to travel during daylight hours.
We did go into the little anchorage at Chesapeake city on our way up in May and went aground as entering. We were in the middle of that cut in and were able to get off but then would be dependent on leaving at high tide.
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:48   #12
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

What out for crab pots if you leave the channel near the canal.
Don't ask how I know.
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Old 01-10-2020, 13:37   #13
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

Going into the Chesapeake City basin we favor the Army Corps of Engineering docks, portside going in. It is usually deeper closer to their docks, not so much in the middle of the entrance.
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Old 01-10-2020, 13:55   #14
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

Did this run the other direction a couple months ago. Like you, I was unfamiliar with the area and wanted to do all travel during daylight, plus I was singlehanding so appreciated short days anyway.

I found the anchorage behind Reedy Island to be absolutely lovely. Just watch your approaches carefully. There is a long underwater dam as mentioned in another comment, but the markings to warn you of this major hazard are really not great. I'd recommend not using the Southernmost entrance to the area behind Reedy your first time, as it's surprisingly easy to misread where the dam is and hit it... Lots of Active Captain reviews of the area go into good detail about where to watch out if you use that.

Otherwise, Reedy is a great stop. I pulled into Chesapeake City for a look around, drawing 5.5' and found it uncomfortably shallow, but didn't touch. On the Chesapeake side, I stayed in Hopkins Creek, just North of Baltimore for several days waiting on weather. Not much there on shore, but great holding and protection. Reedy Island to Hopkins Creek is a nice easy day, and then you're set up for another super easy day to the Annapolis area.

Of course as others have mentioned, if you just commit to a long day you can make Cape May to Baltimore or Annapolis in a big push with the current.
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Old 01-10-2020, 14:47   #15
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Re: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

Definitely plan to make the run with current. We were newbies and got headed making Delaware to Chesapeake. We anchored in the large cul de sac on the right as you approach the nuke plant. Very peaceful. Hope Creek Generating Station. It is out of the main tidal flow.

Also, tie up at the restaurant at Back Creek East of the bridge for lunch.

Once around to Fredericktown the marina is nice and offered a courtesy car. Very nice.

We are 6-8 draft. 80 mast
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