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Old 11-30-2009
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Chart Reading OR Sailors on the Delaware / Chesapeake

Hey all;

Let me start by saying I am still very much green and am looking for some wisdom from the sages here.

I am in the initial stages of setting up the trip from Annapolis to Canada. The first two days will be spent sailing up the Chesapeake to the C&D Canal, through the canal and down the Delaware. I have been using MapSource to plan out the trip by days and setting up way points. At this point I realize one thing, when I got my ASA certifications there was not enough time spent on map work... A couple questions if you will (I have tried Google with very limited success)

1)I understand that there are some restricted areas, there seem to be a lot of restricted areas in fact... The Aberdeen Proving Ground are obvious, I would like to stay well clear of them but there are things I don't understand. There are Oyster Grounds EVERYWHERE in the upper Delaware. Some come up with a note that says RESTRICTED when I mouse over them and some don't. In fact the main shipping channel seems the only option from the C&D Canal exit half way to Cape May. The other half is listed as Fishing Structures and RESTRICTED. In the attached picture the entire approach to Cape May Canal is Restricted???



Can you sail in Oyster Grounds as long as you keep you're eyes open? Should you just stay in the main shipping channel? It seems odd that a sailboat would have to run on it's engine and compete for space (and loose) with much larger ships.

2) Where can I get a map legend??? I think the same thing (a line of pink dashes) means quite a lot of things. So far it is the boundary for a restricted area, a submerged cable, the boundary for fishing grounds and oyster grounds as well as other things. Would a legend even help? In this photo two maps come together but the boundary of the anchorage area are a solid line on one map and a dotted line on the next map...



3) Has anyone used the General Anchorage areas on the upper Delaware? They seems pretty open and unprotected. I almost thing they are for large commercial vessels waiting to pass through the canal. Where do you anchor in the Delaware? My first day leaves Annapolis and sails through the canal to the first general anchorage area. This is a trip of 54 NM and I should be able to cover an extra 20 NM easy if there is a better place to Anchor farther south?

4) Speaking of where to anchor is there an online resource for anchorages in the Delaware? I have been able to get together info on marina's and such for emergencies and fuel if needed but I am just looking for a couple spots to drop the hook for a nights sleep before continuing. Would it just be easier to tie up at a marina as a transient for a night? Would the easy thing to do be too purchase a cursing guide? I don't plan to spend time cursing these areas other than 2 days and don't want to purchase a guide for such limited use. I have been reading the Coast Pilot 3 guide / Google for my info so far.

I am having a blast planning the trip and enjoying the experience so far. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Robert
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