Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Swarthmore, PA
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Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck
Ulladh has suggested a very nice practice area. Lots of tacking space, as rivers go, and you can stay out of the channel and do careful crossings of the channel if you want to use the whole width of the river.
One critically important thing that may be so obvious that nobody has mentioned it: STAY WELL CLEAR OF THE UNDERWATER DIKE! It's well marked on the chart, and there are warning markers on the river, but do not try to cross it between the markers. Many lives have been lost to drunken powerboaters thanks to that dike. The ending marker for the dike is off Deemers Beach, where the huge boatel building is located. 1/2 mile north of there you'll see the moorings for the New Castle Sailing Club's fleet.
Also note that there is a shallow shoal between tower #2 and 3 (using Ulladh's numbering). You can squeeze through hugging the west side (near tower 2), but the best tacking space under the power lines is between #3 and 4. You need to decide early which way you will go, because the shoal will prevent you from changing your mind once you're committed. Make sure your route is lined up properly - I've found that optical illusions can be deceiving around that area.
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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)