Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Simple Question-How good is the sailing in the Chesapeake ?
I have sailed on the Chesapeake bay for the past 30 years and have sailed on much of the U.S. Atlantic coast at one time or another. While I am very partial to the Bay and think its one of the best cruising grounds that I have sailed in, it is in no way perfect. As others have noted, the winds tend towards the light side for much of the year. It can be miserably hot and humid during summer. I had a friend who worked charter boats in the Med and Caribbean and she would refer to sailing on the Chesapeake as sailing in a mudhole, the water brown and comparatively shallow. Just about the time that the winds get good, the temps drop below freezing and cruising stops (unless you have a boat with a heater). And so, if judged by those criteria, there are better places to sail.
But on the flip side, the Bay offers an amazing number of beautiful and diverse anchorages spread out over an ever changing shore line. They vary from good sized cities like Baltimore and Washington, to a slew of quaint little towns, to rural backwaters where there are almost no signs that man has been here before you. The currents here are relatively benign, the channels well marked, and the bottom usually soft. With a decent turn of speed there are often dozens of nice anchorages within a comfortable day of sailing. There are great service yards and you can sail almost year round in the worst years and all year long in the best. There is also very high caliber racing as well as scads of opportunities for casual trots around a race course.
So from my perspective as a glass is half full kind of guy, the Chesapeake is way more than half full even if much of the year its more than half full with mud colored water.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay