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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Where is the best cruising in the USA?

The Chesapeake Bay is heaven in spring, hot as Hades in July and August (but night sailing is a remedy), and pure magic in fall with good wind, cool but not cold temperatures and a riot of color on the trees. There are literally thousands of miles of creeks and coves, restaurants, quaint towns, and 3 major cities on the Bay's 200 miles. The Bay is home to world class racing, countless marine outfitters, and the U.S. Navy. For many, it's a 12 month season, for us it's 7-8 months.

The Bay has 3 distinct regions. The Northern Bay from the Susquehanna River to a bit south of Annapolis is cosmopolitan, faster paced, narrower, and plagued with power boaters. Mid Bay goes down to about the Potomac and is more relaxed with more open water, smaller towns but with great sailing towns like Solomons and the St. Michaels area. The Southern Bay reaches to Atlantic and except for Norfolk is very rural with very open water (25 - 30 nm wide). Slip rentals are more expensive in the Northern Bay, diminishing as you go south to around $145/mo for a 40' slip. Transient fees are about $1.50 - $2/ft throughout the Bay, but one can certainly pay more in Annapolis and Baltimore.

Weather is very predictable, with generally Southerly breezes. Northerly or NE is for storms and fronts. Since we're on the right side of the continent, storms hardly ever sneak up unannounced, and are usually gifts from our midwestern neighbors. Summer thunderstorms are common and can pack a punch with 50kt winds not uncommon but very short lived. The rule of thumb is to leave early and get where you're going by 3PM because that's when the t'storms wake up. The Bay is generally shallow with a 30' average depth although there are 120+' trenches in places. Because of this, any sustained wind of more than a few hours can heap up short, steep seas. I'll take an 8' ocean swell over 4' on the Bay any day.

In 25 years, of sailing the length and breadth of the Bay, we've only scratched the surface. It's home.
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Last edited by Sabreman; 02-20-2013 at 12:35 PM.
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