Description of Chesapeake's seasonal sailing conditions - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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Old 04-30-2011
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Description of Chesapeake's seasonal sailing conditions

I am seriously considering the Chesapeake area, specifically the Norfolk area, as a permanent liveaboard location in the near future. Can anyone describe for me what type of sailing conditions I can expect in each season? Is there a problem with winter ice in the local marinas? What is hurricane season like? Extended periods of high winds or calms? Water depths or numerious obstructions/traffic? That sort of thing. I'm planning on numerous weekend anchorages and gaining salt water experience since almost all of my recent sailing has been fresh water. I'm also curious as to the availability of decent anchorages. Thanks and good sailing!
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Old 04-30-2011
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Welcome! I think you'll find the Chesapeake has many advantages--protected waters, countless anchorages, access to cities and towns yet plenty of wilderness, and a year-round sailing season if your tough.

My blog tells of my experiences, as well as some useful links on the side bar: Sail Delmarva

Ice is a significant problem from Annapolis north. In Deale we freeze in for a few weeks. From Solomons Island south, very little ice.

High wind is a matter of perspective. I suggest you check a weather site and make your own judgment. In general. there are seldom more than 1-2 high wind days in a row, with several calm days between them. Waves seldom get large because of the limited fetch.

Traffic can be considerable around Annapolis and some parts of the northern Bay around holidays, but other than that is minor.

Anchorages are countless.
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Old 04-30-2011
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was out today in the Potomac River about 10 miles from the Bay itself. Temp in the mid to upper 60's, winds varying in direction but 10-12 knts, gusts may be to 20. All in all a wonderful day.

From now to mid June, several days like today, then a string of lesser wind, often calm in the am and increasing winds in the afternoon.

From Mid June through september, similar but always the chance of an afternoon thunderstorm and a lot more humidity.

Anchorages galore. Marinas to suit any taste from stone drunk to deserted. Destinations 2-4 hours away or a three day trot.

Not like any lake I have been on, and that includes Smith Mtn in VA and Lake Norman and Buggs Island in NC.

You will not be disappointed!!
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Old 04-30-2011
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Well..... Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay is the sailing capital of the world. It is called for good reasons. Having said that, every year after July 4 to late Aug, all we can do is motoring around basking in the sun with 100% humidity. The bay water is heavily polluted, you can't even see your toes. I don't let my children touch the water.

Other than these two, I think Chesapeake is great, nice people and many interested places to go, plenty of jobs and vitality all around.

My choice is sailing in Maine and NS in the Summer and Caribbean in the winter. But that is just me.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
Well..... Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay is the sailing capital of the world. It is called for good reasons. Having said that, every year after July 4 to late Aug, all we can do is motoring around basking in the sun with 100% humidity. The bay water is heavily polluted, you can't even see your toes. I don't let my children touch the water.

Other than these two, I think Chesapeake is great, nice people and many interested places to go, plenty of jobs and vitality all around.

My choice is sailing in Maine and NS in the Summer and Caribbean in the winter. But that is just me.

Some can find fault in paradise... exaggeration helps .
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Old 04-30-2011
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I have found the water near the mid Chessy to be clear on the eastern shore while the western shore can be pretty turbid or filled with particulates.
It is a pretty unique estuary and worth exploring.
People still eat crabs out of the Bay don't they?
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Old 05-01-2011
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Great replies

Many thanks for the excellent responses! It sounds like my kinda place. I've not had any ice form around my boat before. Are there any problems with the ice damaging the gelcoat or forming in the thru hulls?
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Old 05-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
Some can find fault in paradise... exaggeration helps .
hahaha.... yes, my bad. I guess I have lived in Paradise Chesapeake too long. I don't appreciate it as much. Time for me to move the middle of Kansas to renew my appreciation of my own backyard.
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Old 05-04-2011
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Originally Posted by Dean101 View Post
Many thanks for the excellent responses! It sounds like my kinda place. I've not had any ice form around my boat before. Are there any problems with the ice damaging the gelcoat or forming in the thru hulls?
In the last 15 years,, the weather was very mild. I have not seen ice at the marina even in the northern side of the Bay. Many boats stay in water year around.
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Last edited by rockDAWG; 05-04-2011 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 05-04-2011
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More data than you may care to see

Why not throw Windfinder into the mix. Go to its wind-statistic page, like this one for the Bay Bridge, and click on each month to see historic trends in wind velocity and direction.
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