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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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  #1  
Old 06-19-2007
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Cruising the Capitol

We're thinking of sailing to Washington DC to do some sightseeing. Any good anchorages within a reasonable distance to the usual tourist spots? Where can you leave your dinghy? Any bad neighborhoods to contend with? Or am I better off renting a car from Annapolis?
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Old 06-19-2007
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You don't indicate where you are sailing from, but here is some information.

The last bridge before you get to the heart of DC that can be sailed under is the Wooddrow Wilson Bridge, which carries the Capital Beltway (I-95/495) across the Potomac between MD and VA. They've been working on replacing the old bridges with new ones for quite some time. Here is a web site that you can access, with information about clearances and numbers to call for more information.

WWB :: Keeping You Moving

The only large marina area I know of in the immediate DC area is in the Washington Channel, in Southwest DC. There are a number of marinas, including Washington Marina and James Creek Marina. There most likely are also areas where you can anchor out. The Channel is very close to the Tidal Basin, Jefferson Memorial, and the Mall, either a short cab ride or a not-too-long walk. There are several restaurants and a fish market along Maine Avenue adjacent to the Channel.

Here is a web page for the marinas:

Marinas in Southwest DC

Wikipedia reports that James Creek Marina is 95 miles from the Chesapeake Bay. That's all Potomac River. At some point you may have to motor in the river, although it's very wide at the mouth and for some distance.
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Old 06-19-2007
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Drop a PM to Bill Trayfors who has his boat there and will give you all you need to know.
http://www.sailnet.com/forums/members/btrayfors.html
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Old 06-27-2007
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Washington Channel is a short walk from my office on Independence Ave. I sometimes walk down to look at the boats anchored off the marina. I've never been there in a boat, but judging from the size vessels I see anchored there, it appears there is good depth right up close to shore across from the marina. There are usually a half dozen to a dozen boats anchored there during the week. I'm not in DC on the weekends, but consider the possiblity that there would be even more activity when more folks are off from work.

From the docks, it would be a very short walk up to the National Mall. Smithsonian Castle for example, would be maybe a 3 or 4 block walk from the marina so you are really very close to the things most folks visiting DC want to see. You probably couldn't park your car much closer. There are several nice restaraunts along the waterfront. There are also some less fancy places in the mini-mall underneath L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, which is within sight of the marina. The area around the marina is not what I'd call a "bad" area, but there is a homeless camp under the bridge nearby. I've encountered some disturbed indivduals on my walks. It's not too much of a problem to avoid them and encounters are rare. However, forewarned is forearmed, so just maintain your situational awareness.

As far as getting there from the bay, I'm guessing it would be a whole lot of motoring. Even though I'm here daily, I have to say coming up in my boat is an intriguing possibility for me. It's something that might get added to my someday list.
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Old 07-01-2007
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test test test
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Old 07-02-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor
As far as getting there from the bay, I'm guessing it would be a whole lot of motoring.
Yup. The prevailing winds are almost always coming down-river, so be sure and fuel up.
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Old 08-17-2007
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Washington Channel is controlled by the Harbor Master for that area. I am pretty certain that you have get clearance to anchor there.
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Old 08-19-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfesq View Post
Washington Channel is controlled by the Harbor Master for that area. I am pretty certain that you have get clearance to anchor there.
You have to check in with the DC Harbor Police upon arrival, either by phone or VHF. They will come out and check your papers. If you are legal there will be no problems.There is plenty of water, so no depth concerns. But the bottom is very soft. Keep that in mind when anchoring. The Harbor Police will recommend that you use two anchors.

For a nominal fee you can land by dinghy at the Capitol Yacht Club and have access to their bar and showers. You can probably arrange something similar at the Gangplank Marina.

The L'Enfant Plaza Metro stop (Blue & Yellow lines) is a short walk from club. From there you have access to the entire DC Metro system. A block or two beyond L'Enfant Plaza is the Mall, where you arrive in the vicinity of the Hirshorn Museum/Gallery and the Air & Space Museum.

Last edited by Trekka; 08-19-2007 at 04:00 AM. Reason: remove image
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Old 08-21-2007
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There is a great thread on this topic currently running on the SSCA Discussion Board in the "Destinations" category. Look for "Washington DC Recommendations".
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