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Old 29-01-2019, 09:56   #1
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Sailing Potomac vs. Chesapeake

Hello all. My wife and I are looking to buy our first ever sailboat and liveaboard her while learning to sail. We will be starting from SQUARE ONE...we have never sailed before.

We are currently looking into marinas in the DMV area that we can live in year-round. I will continue to commute to work in Luray, Virginia and would like to find a place within 2 hours (I telework some days, as well).

My main question: how does sailing the Potomac compare to the Chesapeake? I've heard some people mention that the Potomac is mostly motoring...which obviously wouldn't be good for us learning how to actually sail. The marinas along the Potomac would be closer to work for me, but it may be worth the extra drive in order to have a marina on the Chesapeake to actually learn the ropes. I should also mention, that Colonial Beach is another area that we're looking's on the Potomac, but much closer to the Bay than, say Occoquan Bay (which is very close to us).

Just curious to hear thoughts from those who have sailed both of these areas. Thanks!
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Old 29-01-2019, 10:12   #2
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Re: Sailing Potomac vs. Chesapeake

There’s better sailing in the Bay, no doubt, but downriver of Morgantown is viable.

That said, I would start by putting together a list of marinas that allow liveaboards as many if not most do not. That will frame your options.
"Having a yacht is reason for being more cheerful than most." -Kurt Vonnegut
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Old 29-01-2019, 10:45   #3
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Re: Sailing Potomac vs. Chesapeake

Lived in Gangplank (DC) for several years on my 40' sailboat and purchased a 15' Albacore to sail on the upper Potomac. That was about the right size to sail in that area above the WW bridge. From DC to the bay its almost 90nm.

Colonial Beach is where the Potomac starts to open up for some decent sailing. Very quiet little town and the back bay behind CB is very shallow. There are also some better places to anchor overnight in this area and as well as lower down the Potomac.

There is always the Maryland side on the lower Potomac to keep your boat. Keeping it in Md. can avoid property tax your boat vs. if you keep your boat in Va.

Bill O.
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