Sailing in the Potomac River - Page 5 - SailNet Community
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post #41 of 44 Old 01-14-2012
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Curious as to what is meant by "mouth of the Potomac". Is it just where the river meets the Bay? If wind and current are opposing at the mouth of the river, how far East and South do the nasty conditions extend?

Can you avoid them by crossing from say, Reedville to Tangier? Or would that put you right in the middle of it? Could you travel north on the west side of Tangier and Smith Islands or would it be better to just travel up Tangier Sound?

Thanks for any insight.

Mary Lou
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Rock Hall, MD
I think you will find that when it is nasty, both the potomac from the Birthday Cake mark (about 12 miles up the river) to the bay, as well as the bay itself can be pretty nasty. If you are transiting north south (or vice versa), you can get some relief staying closer (in the lee) to the eastern shore - but that makes watching the water much more important. Alot of the water around Tangier and Smith Island is quite thin, and even more so when it blows east west. And you lose the ability to run to a hole, if things get worse. IN a blow, perhaps a bad habit I learned way back, was to stay in the deep water with plenty of room to run, or be pushed around...there have been times that I motor, head in to the wind and waves at mid throttle - and just stay still and have control. Much better motion.

Transiting east to west or vice versa you will need to be on your toes, but as a previous poster indicated, it is a great way to test your skills. Not sure though that I would want to be in it in a small, or mostly open boat, unless you have a buddy around or onboard who can help you out.

Best of luck, and I am sure others will chime in.
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post #42 of 44 Old 01-14-2012
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This is a great story. Having visited the area many times, I can envision exactly what happened to you. Luckily, you only had to pound your way downriver a short ways before you rounded Point Lookout. You probably had a sweet, downwind ride all the way up the Bay after that.
Yes we did, covering some 90+ miles in 14 hours, average SOG of about 6.5 +/- (I know that seems minuscule to some, but for us it was a rewarding accomplishment )

After rounding Tilghman Point on Eastern Bay and down the Miles we had a most memorable windward sail into St. Michaels. Days like those I will never forget, we got to see several of the bays personalities in a span of 24 hours, gotta love it

Summer Cruise - Southern Chesapeake Bay?

Cheers,
Shawn

S/V Windgeist
1982 Tartan 37C

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post #43 of 44 Old 01-14-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mltroy View Post
Curious as to what is meant by "mouth of the Potomac". Is it just where the river meets the Bay? If wind and current are opposing at the mouth of the river, how far East and South do the nasty conditions extend?

Can you avoid them by crossing from say, Reedville to Tangier? Or would that put you right in the middle of it? Could you travel north on the west side of Tangier and Smith Islands or would it be better to just travel up Tangier Sound?
I think of the lower Potomac as starting east of Cole's Point, where the Potomac widens to more than 5 miles across - close to the width of the Bay near Annapolis - and is subject to the same tidal flow as the Bay, along with the current/outflow from the Potomac. The widest portion of the entire Chesapeake Bay is south of the mouth of the Potomac River, just south of Tangier Island.

The particular turbulence I have observed are relatively small areas near, and just west of, the two points - Point Lookout to the North and Smith Point to the South.

I would not run up and down the Smith Island/Tangier Island east side of the Bay. The charts show numerous prohibited areas, restricted areas, fish havens, obstructions and wrecks. The main channel and markers are much closer to the western side of the Bay.
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post #44 of 44 Old 01-14-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mltroy View Post
Curious as to what is meant by "mouth of the Potomac". Is it just where the river meets the Bay? If wind and current are opposing at the mouth of the river, how far East and South do the nasty conditions extend?

Can you avoid them by crossing from say, Reedville to Tangier? Or would that put you right in the middle of it? Could you travel north on the west side of Tangier and Smith Islands or would it be better to just travel up Tangier Sound?

Thanks for any insight.

Mary Lou
Rhodes 22 Fretless
Rock Hall, MD
Yes, going out a ways can help, though the center is enough. I've done that stretch on brisk days many times. It's only exceptionally rough right at the mouth, in my expereince. Or rather more confused, as the waves come from 2 directions.

Traps and prohibited areas? Just keep watch and check the chart.

(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

"Well, I just climb up to them."

by Joe Brown, English rock climber




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