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Old 06-02-2008, 15:55   #1
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Chesapeake Cat Charter Companies??

Anyone have any recomendations on a good catamaran charter company operating within the Chesapeake bay area? We'd be looking to charter a 38-44 ft cat, possibly with a captain that would also provide some cat-specific teaching/guidance (we've owned mono's but never had a cat to ourselves yet).

Thanks for the help- Matt
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Old 06-02-2008, 16:19   #2
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Hi Matt - I know there are outfits that charter cats on the Bay. Try googling cats + charter + chesapeake or similar you you'll probably find something. They are not cheap.


If you've owned monos and, thus, probably know what you're doing, you might not need any cat specific instruction. Don't assume you need to fork over $$ for a Capt. I'll bet any specific instruction you need will be similar to chartering a mono - just a checkout on the specific boat.

I grew up near the Bay but never chartered a boat on it. It was a better value to go to the islands, considering the better sailing, weather, etc.

Good luck!

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Old 06-02-2008, 17:06   #3
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Thanks for the info. I did the google thing and came up with a number of places, but as I know from the islands, not all small chartering companies are created equal.

I'm with you: I'd rather do the islands, but a couple of factors are making the Chesapeake desireable. It's close to some friends that might go with us and it gives us the ability to drive (with 2 kids under 2 it's actually easier to drive than fly- even from Chicago).

As far as boat handling, I probably could manage on my own, but I'd like captain for two reasons: all of the sailing we do in Chicago is pretty much racing or day sailing in and out or marinas - the only anchoring I've done is to watch the airshow for a couple of hours. Also, this is the first of a number of charterings that we'll probably do in advance of buying our own cat- so the ability to "suck up" some direct cat knowledge- hopefully on topics beyond what's needed for the bay- would be a huge plus.

Thanks- Matt
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:25   #4
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Hi again, Matt - if you can cruise with 2 kids under 2, you're a better sailor than I am.

The Bay is a terrific sailing ground but IMHO is more difficult than the usual location of first time Caribbean charterers, the BVI. This is not a reflection of Bay sailing difficulty - it isn't difficult - but rather a reflection of how easy the BVI is.

There are many books available about Bay cruising. I'll try to answer specific questions and I'm sure there are plenty of others here with better knowledge than I have.

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Old 07-02-2008, 06:43   #5
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Sorry, there used to be sunsail charters that operated out of Annapolis Landing Marina, which then switched to moorings I believe, but they went out of business because too few people came to the bay to maintain operations. The problem with Chesapeake sailing is four fold, it's very busy with other boats in the commercial channel and all of the one design races they have, it has ubiquitous crab pots in the entrance of every river, during the summer it can be extremely hot without wind and last it really has no public beaches that you can anchor off and go ashore (and you really wouldn't want to swim most places). It is nice for finding an anchorage, surrounded by houses typically and going into a small quaint town for dinner via dingy. Free dingy docks at most towns and lot's of little places to gunk hole. I lived here for 15 years, maybe I'm jaded. The catamaran company here in annapolis had a bunch of used multihulls that owners would rent out, but it wasn't the nice fleet of moorings.
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:35   #6
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September and October are the best times of the year. Early July through August tend to be bad just as Schoonerdog notes. This year was actually a lot better than normal so you can be lucky. Spring through June is good too but the water is a lot colder. I don't know of any cat charter outfits here on the lower bay but the traffic issues are never really a problem here.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:04   #7
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Chesapeake Cat Charter Companies

There are several charter cats in Annapolis, google catamaran charters in annapolis and you'll see. Most offer bareboat and instruction as well.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:56   #8
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I can personally recommend:

full disclosure: they are personal friends, but a great couple and a lovely boat! the captain (dave) has lots of experience and the first mate (christine) is a wonderful host!
Voyage of Symbiosis:
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:48   #9
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What time of year are you planning your trip? I currently live in DC and keep my boat in Annapolis, MD, on Back Creek (the Eastport side of Annapolis) -- extensively familiar with both the Chesapeake and Delaware bays and with the Potomac River. I recommend sailing out of the Annapolis area because that gives you far more choices for great bay excursions. I don't know felixcharter but I anchored near their boat on the Magothy river when a severe thunder storm was about to roll through, and besides us they were the only other boat in the achorage that seemed to know it was coming and battened down properly in advance. I think that speaks volumes!
I have a couple of captain friends who know most local captains.
A friend of mine who used to own a catarmaran company in Havre de Grace has sold it to Bay Yacht Charters, but I've heard mixed reviews about them. Otherwise I recommend:

Annapolis Catamaran Center
309 Third Street

Annapolis, MD 21403

Phone: (410) 280-8690 ext. 3389
Fax: (954) 727-0024
Cell: (410) 279-6426

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Old 06-04-2009, 13:18   #10
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You won't need a Captain for long, and probably only to show you all the neat tricks a cat can do maneuvering. Anchoring is actually easier because you've got enough room on the bow to do what you need to do. You should still practice hand signals, two engines make more noise! Bring the kids, shoot for May or October first, then June or September. Pick up a Chesapeake cruising guide, but keep your destinations within 20 miles each day.
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