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post #2 of Old 11-15-2011
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J have "run" the Bay 75-100 times. I never stay in the main shipping channel except for a small stetch near "Cross Ledge". I actually stay very far away from the channel ( the big ships are honking full speed and catch up to you quickly) and play the angles down the river as usually I am motoring/ motorsailing this strech from or to the C&D Canal. We close in on the shore next to the nuke plant making sure not to go into the exclusion zone. We usually cut across the flats about the Mih Mahl light to go to Cape May.

The reason for the motor sailing is the tide changes. Cape May canal to the C&D is about 47-52 miles. Going aay from the canal you will only ride the tide for 4.85 hours or so, 7 hours in the direction going toward the canal fromj Cape May. The current runs 2-3 knots easily and if you ride against it, you will only make 4 knots or less SOG. I have had the nuke plant in front of my face for 10 hous on one trip when we couldnt "play the tides". We usually hole up behind Reedy island when heading down to came May and strart out 1.5 hours before slack. Coming the other way we have made it from Cape May to the Sassafras in less then 10 hours.

The other thing about the Delaware Bay is the infamous "square waves" Its the Chessie times 10. Afternoon prevailing winds in the summer is an onshore breeze which honks up to 15-20. Since your observation is correct it is shallow, the waves come up quickly with quick intervals between them. This will also affect your traveling speed greatly, especially when wind opposes the tide. The Delaware bay is some of the roughest water I have ever sailied in.

Lastly, bring some Avon Skin So Soft and mutiple fly swatters. The NJ State bird aka Green Headed Fly will swarm your boat and you and will not let go from their blkood sucking sport until they are killed dead. Many times we have arrived in Cape may or the Sassafrass with over 100 "kills: and fly guts covering the cockpit and canvas. My wife and I malke a game of it.

If you want to know more, places to anchor, emergency places, feel free to PM me.


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S/V Haleakala (Hawaiian for" House of the Sun")
C&C 35 MKIII Hull # 76
Parkville, Maryland
(photos by Joe McCary)
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