Questions about sailing on the Potomac - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 12-23-2012 Thread Starter
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Questions about sailing on the Potomac

My family and I are planning a trip to D.C. this spring or possibly the fall. We are pretty set on docking at National Harbor, but just about everything else is still undecided. We are looking for any info that the sail net community can share. We will be leaving from Rock Creek, and were thinking of making the trip to D.C. in two days.

Is there any navigation issues in traveling to National Harbor?

What marina's would you suggest for a good midway overnight stop?

Any other info is appreciated

Thanks, Mike
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-27-2012
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Re: Questions about sailing on the Potomac

I've sailed around between Fort Washington and the DC National airport. Channel is plenty deep in the river, but it gets shallow pretty quickly in areas.
BTW, I wouldn't be comfortable going to the Fort Washington marina with a deep draft keel. The approach to the marina is more a shoal draft boat place.

The channel to National Harbor was well marked in the day, but in the interest of full disclosure I didn't go all the way to the marina.

The area is not very crowded on the water except for the July 4th evening fireworks.
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post #3 of 9 Old 12-27-2012
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Re: Questions about sailing on the Potomac

Mike

one assumes rock creek, up the bay?

Sailing or sailboat motoring from the mouth of the potomac to National Harbor is a LONG day just on it's own, with no weather....

maybe you mean up the river in two days?

A few more bits of information as to your location would help....there are lot's of marinas on both sides of the potomac colonial beach and south...not so many for 40' north, unless you know the area and channels pretty well...
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-27-2012
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Re: Questions about sailing on the Potomac

Mike/Catalina 400,

As kd3pc indicated, some more info would be helpful in providing you better information. If we assume you mean Rock Creek off the Patapsco (we are located at Oak Harbor Marina) you're not going to make it in two days. Its a good haul in one day just to Solomons from Rock Creek.

How much time are you considering? I would say you should plan at least two weeks for it to be worth your time. I have not been past St Marys River on the Potomac so I cant provide much insight beyond there.

Solomons is a good stop, easy in and out and good supplies

The mouth of the Potomac can be ugly depending on wind and current.

BTW...if you're on Rock Creek, come to the SailNet Rendezvous in June! See here: 2013 5th Annual Sailnet Chesapeake Rondevous- June 8, 2013
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post #5 of 9 Old 12-28-2012
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Re: Questions about sailing on the Potomac

That far up the potomac, shallow, expensive, and mostly motoring.
The lower potomac is fun sailing, sometimes rough weather. I'd time your approach at the begining of a flood tide. Hitting the mouth at max ebb, is not fun.
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post #6 of 9 Old 12-29-2012
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Re: Questions about sailing on the Potomac

Mike is located a few slips down from me at MYC.

Two days is really pushing it foer you guys. Three each way is more realistic. But you will still be pushing it You will not be sailing as you wont make enough time.

Figure 60 miles to Solomons. At 5 steady knotts thats 12 hours easily. . The slog up the Potomac is difficult to time as you will have substantial current.

From Solomons to the mouth of the Potomac is 20 miles
From the outh of the Potomac to the 301 bridge is 40 miles
From the 301 Bridge to the Wilson Bridge ( I95 ) is 40 miles.

Total trip is 160 miles conservatively. Even is you motored at a steady 6 knots ( normal traveling speed when cruising) thats 10 hours almost every day. no sailing at all,

I would say a minimum of 3 days to DC thats pushing hard. A trip to DC proably would be a weekend to weekend trip where you jave 9 days so its a vacation or fun rather than a forced march. And you have weather days too.

Any particular reaosn for the National Harbor vrs Capitol Yacht Club. National Harbor is classier..nice but a long way from any of the attractions. Capitol Yacht club is about a 6 block walk to the Smithsonian Aerospeace Museum on the mall.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-29-2012
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Re: Questions about sailing on the Potomac

I came up with something closer to 200 miles one way using the link below

Measure Distance on a Map

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post #8 of 9 Old 12-29-2012
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Re: Questions about sailing on the Potomac

Mike just to add a little,

Solomons to the 301 Bridge is like 50 miles conservatively as I just measured it on my I Pad. You should look for a place close by to anchor. Port Tabacco River looks like a place you can do that and be out of the Potomac main stream. Current at the 301 bridge and most of the Potomac will run 1-2 knots. The Potomac is very shallow in spots andyou have to really pay attention most of the time once you are above the 301 bridge.
Anchoring in current also requires a different technique. If you have lots of chain ( 90+ ft) no difficulty otherwise I would lay down a kellet to prevent anchor rode wrap around you keel/ rudder. Not hard to do and good to learn. ( I learned the hard way anchoring on the Delaware River and Long Island in current)

Just so you understand the scale of things. MYC to Cape May ( 2 day trip is 110 miles). Atlantic City add 35 miles. ( 3rd Day).

When we travel like when we go to New England or Long Island and we are mildly cruising 50 mile days are the norm and we can still sail. Leave at 7 AM and get to anchorage by 5 PM

70 mile days pushes it for all involved and usually means mostly motoring or traveling when its dark. No hanging out for leislurely breakfast, its the crack of dawn and the anchor comes up and we get underway. Remember after June 21 the days are shorter. When we travel to New England/ Long Island in mid August sun sets around 7-7:10.

You are looking at motoring almost all of the Potomac 90 miles.

I am not trying to disuade/ be negative to you just telling you the difficluties of this trip. DC is a tough place to visit by sailboat, thats why very few people do it. Powerboat different story.

Dave
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Re: Questions about sailing on the Potomac

Quote:
Originally Posted by T37Chef View Post
I came up with something closer to 200 miles one way using the link below

Measure Distance on a Map
I was doing best case scenerio cuttting all the corners zoomin in and out on my I PAD going bouy to bouy on the Potomac like the PB do .. Yours is probably more realistic.


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