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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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Old 05-26-2010
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Wilmington, NC to Annapolis

If the offer on the Tartan 3000 goes through, I will be sailing her from Wilmington, NC to Annapolis in July. I'm quite familiar with the ICW from Wilmington to Cape Lookout and somewhat less familiar with Pamlico Sound and Albemarle Sound. Farther north than that and I'm totally out of my element.

Questions:

What is a reasonable estimate on the time it will take to make this trip?

Beyond Oriental, where would be some decent locations to overnight? I don't mind going "on the hook" for a night or two but she draws 5'2" of draft and I really, really, really don't want to get stuck waiting on a high tide to float me free!!!

Can I sail the Chesapeake fairly freely drawing 5'2" draft?
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Old 05-26-2010
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If all you're interested in is getting there, you can motor it in 8-9 days from Masonboro Inlet.

Masonboro Inlet to Beaufort Inlet. Beaufort to Oriental. Oriental to Alligator River. Alligator River to Coinjock. Coinjock to Hospital Point (Norfolk). Hospital Point to Fishing Bay (Deltaville). Fishing Bay to Solomons. Solomons to Annapolis.

You won't actully go into the Pamlico Sound, and you'll be going crosswise the Albemarle. Sailing on the Chessie should not be a problem, draftwise. Though it may take longer if you sail there or in NC.
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We just did this trip, and we counted on 40-50 mile days when we traveled. So, about 5 travel days from Oriental to Norfolk, and 3 from Norfolk to Annapolis. Best anchorages will depend on which way the wind is blowing, so where we stayed won't necessarily be where you would do best. Get Skipper Bob's Anchorages on the ICW ($17) for mile-by-mile info on bridges and places to spend the night. You'll find it well worth the cost. After Oriental, there's at least a couple of days in Wildlife Refuge areas, very pretty but you won't have cellphone reception if you're counting on that to get your weather forecasts find an alternate like VHF WX.

In the Chesapeake, try day 1 Norfolk (or Great Bridge) to Deltaville, VA; Day 2 Deltaville to Solomon's Island, MD; Day 3 Solomons to Annapolis. 5'2" will be fine in all these spots (we draw 5 and had no trouble)
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I was roughly estimating 14 days so I wasn't too far off. Sounds like 8-10 is more reasonable. I don't mind motoring the ICW. I grew up on power boats so that's really more in my comfort zone anyway!!! Really, though I would like to sail as much as possible but thought it would be best to motor to Albemarle before putting up any sail. I'm a bit of a novice and don't want to get caught off shore in a situation I'm not prepared to handle. It is my intent to live aboard in Annapolis and sail as much as possible on weekends as a means of gaining the required proficiencies.
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Old 05-26-2010
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I sail the heck out of the Chesapeake with 5'8" draft. There are very few places I can't get to, although there are a few. You'll be fine.

Regardless of how you break it up it will take 20 - 24 hours to get from Norfolk to Annapolis. I generally do it in a day. I know folks who have taken a wonderful week to make the same trip.

If you're organized, get up with the sun, and don't dawdle 70 mile days are readily achievable on the ICW. The key is eating underway, getting every bit of mileage out of daylight, good charts, good calculations so you hit the bridges just before instead of just after they open, and the aforementioned Skipper Bob's material.
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That is my intent....this is more than a transport of a boat from one place to another. I need something cathartic and all day at the helm just might do the trick!
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Old 05-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmpac View Post
I don't mind going "on the hook" for a night or two but she draws 5'2" of draft and I really, really, really don't want to get stuck waiting on a high tide to float me free!!!

Can I sail the Chesapeake fairly freely drawing 5'2" draft?
One other thought - the tides are minimal in most of the area you're discussing: moon tides are only 6-8 inches from Oriental to the lock at Great Bridge. In this area, wind is more important - winds blowing consistently from one direction can affect water levels by a foot or two. (lower in the direction the wind is pushing the water from, and higher as it piles up on the opposite "downwind" side of the bay/sound). You have tides again, around 3 feet, in the Norfolk area. Then decreasing tides going up the Chesapeake; they're only around a foot in Annapolis but again, strong consistent winds from the north or south will pile the water to one end of the bay.
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