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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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Can You Tell Us About the Chesapeake and Annapolis?

Hi,
We are new sailors, looking to move someplace a bit warmer than way upstate NY in a few years when I retire. We took our ASA 101 course on lake Champlain last summer and are going to take the ASA 103 class this summer.

We are looking for warmer, a very active sailing community, fun races where it's not life or death (for me, my husband doesn't like racing, he just loves sailing!) an artsy/progressive community, and houses in the 250K range. I looked at Annapolis, but it does seem to be at the higher end of our budget for a house. We are contemplating two boats we saw from last summer, a Tartan and an Ericson, but are looking still.

Any info you can share would be great!!! Almost every day from December to last week was below zero here, it is way too rural for us, and we are done. Thanks much!!
nancy
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Re: Can You Tell Us About the Chesapeake and Annapolis?

Yes, living IN Annapolis will be expensive. There are many smaller, nearby communities that are just as beautiful, that provide water access, that are less expensive.

I hate to break this to you, but the last two winters here, were similar to yours. Most of the Chesapeake was frozen over. You may need to look as far south as the Carolinas for warm, cheap housing near the water.
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Re: Can You Tell Us About the Chesapeake and Annapolis?

Suggest take a week 'test the waters' of the Bay, so-to-speak, to get feel for the area. The Eastern shore is night and day different from the Western Shore. Read Mitchner's 'Chesapeake' to appreciate the rich history and heritage. One could spend a lifetime and will not see the entirety of what the Bay has to offer...

Just my humble 1 and 1/2 cents worthless opinion..
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Re: Can You Tell Us About the Chesapeake and Annapolis?

As stated above, winters can get pretty nasty here as well. As to the sailing aspects, through most of the warmer months, the bay offers a myriad of very slow sailing opportunities. Winds vary from 5 to 10 MPH, mainly from the southwest during most of the summer. Temperatures during summer can be quite warm, ranging well into the 90s and the relative humidity ranges about the same as the temperature, often hitting above 90 percent.

Better sailing can be found in the bay's lower reaches, mainly locations south of the Potomac River. Winds there tend to come up every afternoon, ranging 15 to 20 MPH from mid afternoon till sundown. Makes for some really nice day sails. Additionally, the water quality there is much, much better than it is near Baltimore and Annapolis.

One of the drawbacks with southern Maryland and northern Virginia sailing is the black flies, which bite so hard they draw blood. Some repellents work, Skin So Soft, etc..., tend to keep them at bay. With more than 10,000 miles of shoreline, the Chesapeake has a huge number of great, secluded anchorages where you will be sheltered from winds in nearly all directions.

For me, I prefer the Florida Keys, preferably Marathon Key. No hotter during mid summer than Maryland's portion of Chesapeake Bay, temperatures average in the upper 70s and low 80s during the dead of winter, and there's always a breeze for sailing. Additionally, the very clear waters offer great snorkeling, fantastic fishing, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States.

Get the Hell out of NY before you freeze to death,

Gary
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Re: Can You Tell Us About the Chesapeake and Annapolis?

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
Get the Hell out of NY before you freeze to death,

Gary
hheyy, Hey... HEYY!!!! I represent that remark!

When we were first married, my wife and lived in Saranac Lake for two years (frequently the coldest spot in the nation). We loved it, but decided to relocate so.. we moved just NORTH of Potsdam, about 4 miles from the St. Lawrence between Ogdensburg and Massena. Almost as cold, and the mosquitos and black flies were HIDEOUS. Sooo.. being extremely intelligent individuals, we bugged out (pun intended) for... Syracuse. Sigh. OK, so we don't see QUITE as many days significantly below zero as we used to (but still quite a few), but we traded those few degrees of additional warmth (if you're even allowed to USE the word "warmth" and "winter" in the same paragraph here) for a couple extra feet of snow and enough salt on the roads to eat cars faster than most folks can digest Dinosaur ribs. MANY couples of extra feet this winter.

And you know what? I LOVE it. I just LOVE winter. Can't explain it. I love to shovel snow. I love the way winter looks. I love the sound... the "crrrrRRRunch" under your feet when it's really, REALLY cold. The smell.. so pure. And, best of all, the SOUND. Everything is so peaceful and at rest. Winter is absolutely, stunningly beautiful.

On the other hand, I love to be on the water sailing, too. There's LOTS to love.

Now, ask me about our state government, taxes, and legislation and I'll paint a MUCH less rosy picture .. .. but, at least as the four seasons go, upstate NY can be a wonderful place to live.

Nancy, whereabouts are you folks? PMs are fine, if you'd rather not post. We sail out of Chaumont just outside of Watertown, and we're really green too... except we own a boat that required WAY more work and money than we thought it did.. and still love it! Love to talk to you about your ASA course experience on Champlain. My wife and I are pretty much self-taught, except for one brief outing with a very experienced friend of mine.

Best to ya,

Barry
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Re: Can You Tell Us About the Chesapeake and Annapolis?

Hi Barry,
We are from near Gore Mountain, about 1/2 hour west of Lake George. Cold. Brutally cold. I have been here with my family for about 11 years. Now that 2 out of my 3 kids have fled to where I grew up, NYC, there isn't much reason to stay here in the tundra.

When my mother in NYC says it is going to be cold, she means below 20 degrees. When I say it's cold, I mean it is ten below zero. Continually. It has been below zero every day from December to last week. Last week I went to work it was 14 below zero. In March. In NYC in April, I could plant tomatoes and eggplant. Here, spring never comes, safe planting is Memorial Day, with no guarantees. Endless cold. So darn depressing.

I do love summers and fall here, though. Best weather in the country until Nov 1st. Which is why I was thinking Maryland, because it's not as brutal and we can drive to NYC in 3 1/2 hours.

So much to think about here. Thanks!!!!
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Re: Can You Tell Us About the Chesapeake and Annapolis?

If you like cold you can sail from mid-March to mid-December, and sometimes more than that. Right now the water near Annapolis is 38 degrees, so 50 degree air feels cold (I was out in it yesterday). While winds are generally light in the summer, there are lots of days with a stiff breeze. South of Annapolis the Bay widens, and property and slip prices fall.
Lots of options, lots of variation in weather from north to south.
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Can You Tell Us About the Chesapeake and Annapolis?

Ummmm, don't believe anyone who tells you the Bay is as cold as NY! No way. Yeah it froze during a cold snap but we generally have comparatively short, relatively mild winters. For most people, the season is March/April-ish to November-ish. The Bay is extremely well marked. IMO, if you get lost in the Bay, you're just not paying attention.

In general, the further south, the more rural until you get to the Hampton/Norfolk area. Annapolis is the state capital and very busy, expensive but very fun with every marine trade represented. A world class venue (except City Dock, which is terrible as marinas go). The Potomac River area may be too rural for you but the sailing is excellent. Many people who sail here live in the DC, Richmond, or Fredericksburg areas.

If you don't want too rural an area and a very active sailing scene, definitely look into the Solomons Island/ Patuxent River area. The bay is wide, not too many power boats, and a killer racing scene. Solomons is relatively close to DC.

Yeah, the Bay can be hot and windless in July/ August. That's why night sailing was invented. Check out the Governor's Cup overnight race, it's a blast.
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Re: Can You Tell Us About the Chesapeake and Annapolis?

Freezing. This depends greatly on salinity, and varies from one creek to the next. In general, from Deale MD south harbors don't freeze for more than a few weeks, most winters, and too thin to do any harm. But it varies A LOT with the specific creek. Ask around.

Property cost. $250K is not going to get you very near Annapolis. But if racing really matters, it is the place.

Cruising. Better lower in the BAY, IMHO, and I've gone all over. But that is just taste. I like wide open spaces, others like to visit busy little towns. A home base in the middle can be the very best call.

Slips. Can be very pricy, but you can do WAY better in small places and renting from individuals with 2-10 slips out back. Depends on whether the club scene matters. If money is tight, it can't. Draft makes a big difference--a foot of draft can cut the price 50%, since much of the Bay is shallow, and so are the creeks.


Yes, the sailing here is terrible and you should go somewhere else. I've sailed warm, blue waters and like this better. Lots to explore, very user friendly.
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And as someone mentioned, don't forget the Eastern Shore

We moved here (Rock Hall, Md) from Philadelphia and found it 5 - 10 degrees warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than the area around the city. As others have said the Bay has endless possibilities for sailing. We sail a small boat and have found it mostly forgiving though it has certainly sharpened our weather watching skills.

Small towns like Chestertown (a college town with a colonial history) are worth investigating as well as larger towns like Easton (also a colonial history but more built up) but be aware that most of the Eastern Shore is rural. Note that if shopping is a hobby, it may not be for you. We delight in the fact that it is 40 minutes to the nearest big box store and a little over an hour to any one of 3 malls - 2 in Delaware with no sales tax.

Both Chestertown and Easton are somewhat artsy and while they aren't as progressive as some places on the western shore they are not as conservative as other areas on the Eastern Shore. There are a lot of retirees who have moved to the area from Philadelphia, DC and the western shore and that has contributed to the changing faces of towns like Chestertown and Easton. Even Rock Hall has its artsy/progressive side on a very small scale.

We also like that fact that access to places like Annapolis (1hr 20min.), Baltimore (1hr, 40min), Wilmington, DE (1hr, 20 min.) and Philadelphia (2hrs) is pretty easy. They are great places to visit but I'd rather live here.

I agree with the others who said come on down and check out the area, the housing, the boating. It (both sides of the Bay) has a lot to offer.

BTW, water temp at Tolchester (near us) is 40.5, snow drops and winter aconite are blooming and the daffodils are up and budded. Trees will be fully leafed out by the end of April. Most years, rosemary overwinters in my garden though not last winter or this one. This was an exceptionally cold winter for us. Minimum temperature from a local weather station in January and February was 3.5 degrees this year. Average temperature was 31.9 in January and 26 in February.
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