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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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  #21  
Old 08-15-2012
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Re: Chesapeake at night

My husband and son were out fishing....anchored.....off Cape Charles area recently, at night.

They almost got run over by a catamaran that probably confused their anchor light with all the other lights on the shore. Sailing at night has distinct hazards in populated areas.....sometimes the hazard is the other sailers.

They ended up blasting a horn at the guy and signaling with a moving light. But he came dangerously close.
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  #22  
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Re: Chesapeake at night

I've sailed through the night on the bay in 2 governor's cup races, a BOR race, and a Trip to Florida.

Sailed to St Michael's Island from Annapolis in darkness more times than I can count. You have to be alert, but I love sailing at night. I haven't done it in a while, and actually miss it.

Someone mentioned the how the wind can be different at night, steady with flatter water. That is about as good as it gets!
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  #23  
Old 08-15-2012
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Re: Chesapeake at night

Many folks here discussed white knuckle experiences dealing with white lights from unknown sources.
Well, here's the flip side of that coin.
Imagine 6 miles up the Wicomico River, no radar, new moon, heavy cloud cover, just past midnight, not a single solitary star or light in view, and you really want to get back home. Then the strange noises from ???
That puts pitch black darkness in an entirely different perspective.

dick
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  #24  
Old 08-15-2012
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Re: Chesapeake at night

" I also think the threat of things lurking beneath the surface waiting to rip the bottom our of our boats is overstated in this thread."

Ask anyone that fishes regularly out of Point Lookout, Smith Point, Tangier Island and Chrisfield about: The Old Hannibal, Tangier Wreck, The Davidson Wreck and the half-dozen other major wrecks that are scattered throughout the stretch from the mouth of the Patomac south to Wolf Trap Light. Nearly all of them were above water less than two decades ago, but that's no longer the case. All were strafing targets for naval aircraft flying from both Norfolk and Patuxent Naval Air Stations. During the winter months, when the water is relatively clear, you can see the shredded steel lurking just one to five feet beneath the bay's surface, mainly in depths of 18 to 25 feet, locations that are no longer marked. The only marked target ship I know of now is the American Mariner, which rests in 18-feet of water about 7-miles northeast of Point Lookout. The Old Hannibal's boilers and part of her hull sits about 100 yards to the west of the American Mariner. Years ago it where must of the locals went scuba diving to get boat anchors, most of which were in like new condition.

In addition to the wrecks, there are literally thousands of broken off pound net stakes that lurk just beneath the bay's surface. You'll find many of them on your charts, but there are lots of them that are not listed. They can do a lot of damage to your hull if you hit them head on. One such location is near the entrance to Cornfield Harbor at the Potomac River's mouth. The nets were set during a time when menhaden were bountiful and brought top dollar as crab bait and chum. Recreational anglers often fished near the old pound net stakes because the submerged structure lured large numbers of red drum (redfish) to the area.

Good luck,

Gary
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  #25  
Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Chesapeake at night

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
" I also think the threat of things lurking beneath the surface waiting to rip the bottom our of our boats is overstated in this thread."

Ask anyone that fishes regularly out of Point Lookout, Smith Point, Tangier Island and Chrisfield about: The Old Hannibal, Tangier Wreck, The Davidson Wreck and the half-dozen other major wrecks that are scattered throughout the stretch from the mouth of the Patomac south to Wolf Trap Light. Nearly all of them were above water less than two decades ago, but that's no longer the case. All were strafing targets for naval aircraft flying from both Norfolk and Patuxent Naval Air Stations. During the winter months, when the water is relatively clear, you can see the shredded steel lurking just one to five feet beneath the bay's surface, mainly in depths of 18 to 25 feet, locations that are no longer marked. The only marked target ship I know of now is the American Mariner, which rests in 18-feet of water about 7-miles northeast of Point Lookout. The Old Hannibal's boilers and part of her hull sits about 100 yards to the west of the American Mariner. Years ago it where must of the locals went scuba diving to get boat anchors, most of which were in like new condition.

In addition to the wrecks, there are literally thousands of broken off pound net stakes that lurk just beneath the bay's surface. You'll find many of them on your charts, but there are lots of them that are not listed. They can do a lot of damage to your hull if you hit them head on. One such location is near the entrance to Cornfield Harbor at the Potomac River's mouth. The nets were set during a time when menhaden were bountiful and brought top dollar as crab bait and chum. Recreational anglers often fished near the old pound net stakes because the submerged structure lured large numbers of red drum (redfish) to the area.

Good luck,

Gary
I sailed in that area for 5 years. Never had a problem or heard of anyone having a problem with submerged wrecks. Crab pots/fish traps yes, but not wrecks.

Yes, I conceed they are there are wrecks out there, but again maintain that the evidence indicates you are overstating the risk, in a way that might discourage folks from experiencing one of the greatest joys of sailing in what is really quite a safe venue.
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  #26  
Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Chesapeake at night

Well, that's what charts are for. You have to study them, and plan accordingly.

Not only are there wrecks, but there are Exclusion Zones around the nuclear plant, and the natural gas terminal. The zones are marked on the charts, but there are also small, flashing yellow bouys in the water marking the perimeter of the zone. My skipper did not know what these were until I advised him.

I was the navigator for Governor's Cup and I spent considerable time identifying and marking hazards on the charts.

If anyone is interested, I have a .gpx file with precise GPS coordinates of many of the pound nets on the Chesapeake Bay that I would freely share. You can upload the file into your GPS or chart plotter.

The thing is, none of this should deter anyone from sailing at night. There's plenty of room in the Chessie. Just plan accordingly, and keep your head on a swivel.
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  #27  
Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Chesapeake at night

Love sailing at night, period! Beautiful, and familiar areas take on a whole new look.

Never worried about shipping - the big guys are usually well lit, and because they have a Ches. Bay pilot aboard, they will always answer your hail and you can arrange to pass safely. The fishermen in the mid-Bay are a different story; sometimes they're just too busy fishing.

If we're coming in to an area that has crab pots or fish stakes, we usually just stand off till first light. The shape of our keel and skeg is a bit of a line magnet; even with a shaft shark.
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  #28  
Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Chesapeake at night

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
If anyone is interested, I have a .gpx file with precise GPS coordinates of many of the pound nets on the Chesapeake Bay that I would freely share. You can upload the file into your GPS or chart plotter.
I would certainly be interested. We don't have many up this way, but there are definitely a few at the mouth of the Chester.
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  #29  
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Re: Chesapeake at night

Does twilight sailing count?

As others have mentioned, at the end of the day the breeze often seems better, and the water flatter, making for glorious sailing conditions. If I can leave work early on a weeknight, it’s even better.

Why, in the golden light of the setting sun, even the Sparrows Point steel mill looks nice.

Thanks to all you night sailors for your tips on sailing the Chesapeake after dark!
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Old 08-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
If anyone is interested, I have a .gpx file with precise GPS coordinates of many of the pound nets on the Chesapeake Bay that I would freely share. You can upload the file into your GPS or chart plotter.
I'd love to get ahold of this file too. Perhaps putting it on Dropbox or someplace similar and sharing the link? I'm planning my first overnight sail to an unfamiliar part of the bay and that'd help.
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