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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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  #1  
Old 06-15-2009
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Potomac River Cruise

We have put aside a couple of weeks - more if needed - to cruise up the Potomac. We will start from Solomons and shoot for Smith/Jutland CK anchorage the first night and intend to make Washington, D.C. for a night or two.

Any Potomac sailors out there that can recommend anchorages or marinas along the way - particularly anchorages as we make north in the river, south of the Wilson Bridge? The chart looks sparse of protected anchorage along some long runs of the river.

We can make 7.5-kt under power or sail and draw 6'2". I'm not interested in pushing any more than 25-35 nm per day - unless necessary of course. And yeah, I know that I will be motoring a good part of it!

Wayne
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Old 06-15-2009
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check out the blog in my sig line, I did a Potomac cruise last fall....

Since this was my first cruise on the boat I was in a marina each night, but there were numerous anchorages mentioned in the Ches./Potomac cruising guide I found...

... into the Potomac, St. Inigoes Crk. up the St. Marys is a nice anchorage, as is St. Marys City, and should be fine for your draft.

On the other side in Va., Kinsale could be an anchorage.

Heading up river, if you duck in at Cobb I., you can anchor in Neale Sound between Cobb. I. & the mainland, depth should be fine for your draft I think and its usually sheltered.

You can also anchor on the Md. side before Cobb I. (Breton Bay?). And there are spots on the far side of Ragged Point/Cole's Point (Va.) that you can duck into, tho' I don't remember the names.

Between Cobb I. & the Occoquan (50 miles), it's harder. The Pt. Tobacco River can, I'm told, be a decent anchorage dep. on the wind, it can be fairly open to the N IIRC.

Aquia Creek is too shallow for you, I think. You might be able to duck in near Quantico marina, but not too sheltered there.

Once you get past Quantico & the power lines, you can duck into Mattawoman Creek on the Md. side for some shelter.

Between there & DC (27 mi.), you might be able to duck into Piscataway Crk (?) at Ft. Washington but it may be too shallow.

I've seen folks just anchor off the Va. shore around/north of there, OK if the wind cooperates.

Hope this helps -- I'd recommend the guide books (I don't have the title of the main one i used handy, it's on Amazon.com) for more in depth info.

Next time I make the trip I'll alternate marina days (needed for portapotty relief & battery charging etc.) w/ anchoring out.

Hope that's of some help.
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Old 06-15-2009
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Hello Wayne,

I have tucked up behind Cobb Island a number of times. Good spot.

Mattawoman Creek is likely to be a little shallow for you. I kept a boat on the Occoquan for several years and Mattawoman was a regular visit, but the charts aren't accurate and you will want local knowledge for your draft unless you are prepared to sail by braille.

I spent many many many nights anchored in the river off Mason Neck Park. I never had an issue with much more fragile ground tackle than I know you have. I usually anchored more or less on a line between Mason Neck / Sycamore Point and Indian Head, just upstream of the cable area. I can get you a specific lat/lon if you like.
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Old 06-19-2009
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What is the vertical clearance of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge? Thinking of going up to DC for the 4th of July fireworks.
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Old 06-19-2009
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HTH:

WWB :: Keeping You Moving

With the bridge in the closed position, the Federal Channel has a vertical clearance of 75 feet (MHW) at the Federal channel edges and 83 feet (MHW) at center channel from the bottom of the northernmost (upstream) steel girder. The navigation light posts hang down five feet from the bottom of the girders. These posts are offset 15' from the centerline of the Federal Channel. Channel width and depth remains unchanged at 175' and 28' (MLW), respectively.
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Old 06-26-2009
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There's no way into Piscataway creek (Ft Washington) with a 6ft draft. I used to have trouble with 3ft during the lower half of tides.

Once above the 301 Bridge sheltered anchorages will be scarce with that draft. The entrance to Pt Tobacco may hold enough. You'll have to probe the entrance with your sounder and see.

At Occoquan you should be able to follow the channel and get up to the Fairfax Yacht Club. I seriously doubt you'd get far into Mattawoman Creek. OTOH, the river is narrow there and depending on the winds you may find it quite acceptable to anchor in the river, outside of channel of course, and which side depending upon wind direction.

But from there on the next real anchorage would be just south of the WW Bridge in what used to be a nice cove, but is now off shore of the National Harbor Monstrosity - I mean, complex.

North of the WW Bridge you can tie up for a few hours in Alexandria. There is a city dockmaster who handles that. Even with your drfat you should be able to make it into the Washington Sailing Marina just south of the airport. Call and get channel info. And in Washington Channel in SW Washington, DC you'll have no problem with depth. You can anchor there and dinghy ashore to the Capitol yacht Club where for a small fee you can tie up the dinghy and get shower/bar priviliges.

I advise going from 301 Bridge to at least Occoquan in one leg. I used to be able to motor the whole river in about 16 hours. So you can do that portion in one daylight leg.
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Old 07-08-2009
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Thanks All...

for the Potomac experience & local knowledge. We are just back from 2-weeks on the north Bay and after a week off plan to tackle the Potomac all the way to D.C. for a couple weeks. I'll use your input to find anchorage and avoid mud.

Dave - hadn't realized you got that far south - next time s/v Auspicious needs the company of an "older sister" give us a hail - here is our MMSI# 338010792, channel 16 has become insufferable - particularly in your northern neck of the woods!

"Can I get a radio check on 16?" [How about a comm lesson instead?] (rant complete - out.)

Best Regards,
Wayne
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Old 07-08-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekka View Post
There's no way into Piscataway creek (Ft Washington) with a 6ft draft. I used to have trouble with 3ft during the lower half of tides.

Once above the 301 Bridge sheltered anchorages will be scarce with that draft. The entrance to Pt Tobacco may hold enough. You'll have to probe the entrance with your sounder and see.

At Occoquan you should be able to follow the channel and get up to the Fairfax Yacht Club. I seriously doubt you'd get far into Mattawoman Creek. OTOH, the river is narrow there and depending on the winds you may find it quite acceptable to anchor in the river, outside of channel of course, and which side depending upon wind direction.

But from there on the next real anchorage would be just south of the WW Bridge in what used to be a nice cove, but is now off shore of the National Harbor Monstrosity - I mean, complex.

North of the WW Bridge you can tie up for a few hours in Alexandria. There is a city dockmaster who handles that. Even with your drfat you should be able to make it into the Washington Sailing Marina just south of the airport. Call and get channel info. And in Washington Channel in SW Washington, DC you'll have no problem with depth. You can anchor there and dinghy ashore to the Capitol yacht Club where for a small fee you can tie up the dinghy and get shower/bar priviliges.

I advise going from 301 Bridge to at least Occoquan in one leg. I used to be able to motor the whole river in about 16 hours. So you can do that portion in one daylight leg.
Fairfax Yacht Club on the Mason Neck (north) side of the Occoquan, is a private marina with no transient slips ... Belmont Bay, across the way, is open to the public & may have transient slips.

It took me 10.5 hrs. from Cobb Isl. to the Occoquan (50 mi.) against the tide, so def. doable in a day from the 301 bridge.
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Old 07-11-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwilson View Post
Dave - hadn't realized you got that far south - next time s/v Auspicious needs the company of an "older sister" give us a hail - here is our MMSI# 338010792, channel 16 has become insufferable - particularly in your northern neck of the woods!
I definitely agree with you. If someone wants to reach me on the radio, DSC is the way to go (367107910 btw). I'm planning to sail down for Screwpile and will look you up if you are in town.
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