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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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  #11  
Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Certainly not the first time I've been guilty of that!

Yes, I use OpenCPN both at home and at the helm. It's a fantastic tool, and predicts both tide levels and currents at all the NOAA sensors just by right-clicking on the chart. However, it defaults to showing a graph for the present day. In order to bring up the tidal current graph for a day 4 months in the future, I need to click the "Next" button ~120 times. And I need to redo that every time I bring up a different graph. (Maybe a different commercial package would do this better, but OpenCPN works perfectly for almost everything else that I do.) So the old fashioned current tables, whether Eldridge or NOAA, are the best thing I have right now for future planning.

As I already mentioned, this whole thing is a learning process for me, but one that is worth it because I expect to be making a lot more transits through the canal going forward, and the lunar calendar is rather predictable so I can leverage what I learn for many future trips.


Any route on the Delaware that lasts less than 5 hours is pretty simple to predict - just time it to stay in the favorable current. But when you go out for more then 5 hours (downriver) or 7 hours (upriver), planning becomes more difficult because you'll encounter a tidal swing during your trip. And turning into the canal makes it even more complicated because its ebb and flood are on a different timetable than Chesapeake or Delaware. That's why you (Dave) have to stop at Reedy Point every time on your way to the ocean, and why I suggested stopping off heading from Philly to Chesapeake. As you've noted before, going the opposite direction (ocean to Baltimore or Chesapeake to Philly) can be timed to proceed without a delay at the eastern end of the canal because the currents at the canal entrance are in sync with the river currents in that direction.

That complication is the reason I cobbled together a spreadsheet planning tool for the Philly-Chesapeake. I haven't seen another tool that does this.
My best was last year actually. We left Cape May 1.5 hours before max Ebb at the CM Canal entrance and flew up the Delaware at 8.5 SOG, hit the tide perfect going through the canal all the way to Still Pond going 8+ again. We still had 5 hgours of dayilight so we booked for our dock in Rock Creek

As we got to the Patapsco we were chased by a waterspout comming off the land between Dundalk and Middle River. Cared the **** out of me as it was 1/2 mile behind us, but was moving east. The whole trip took 14 hours from Cape May ( Utsches) to our slip. Our best was Worton Creek before, but daylight, tides, wind a current lined up this time


Rick,

As far as fighting current, it is ineveiable if you are going to sail on the Delaware., A prime reason for moving to the Chessie, plus think of the other achoring alternatives it will open up for you. To me a one hour ride in the car is worth fighting currents and tide changes which make you waste more than that in the big pitcure. I am waiting for the day you tell me you have decided to join us permanently I see it in your future as you guys move forward.

A couple hours fighting the tide wont hurt you too bad ( Colin it will because of his boat speed). I woul go into Chesapeake City before going down to Reedy and backtracking. But if you are coming from the south usually you can ride the tide up the Delaware through the Canal as james and rich have said.
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  #12  
Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

Timely discussion. I'm looking to sail around DelMarVa this year, and have been wondering how to time my passage through the C&D canal.

I'm looking to make a counter-clockwise trip, so I'll be hitting the C&D from the East, motoring West. James W. has been a big help with planning.

My engine runs very well, but I'm not interested in stressing it out. I hope I don't have to run at WOT for long periods in order to time the currents.
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  #13  
Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

Even though I had 10-15 knots out of the ESE, I motorsailed the most of the way up the Delaware Bay and Delaware River to the C&D, so I could make the 8 knots over the ground necessary to ride the current for 14 hours. The difference was the boat never slowed down, so the P28 would hit 8.5 knots surfing down the front of the chop and not slow down to 5 knots on the back.

You can hear the engine running (and my rudder clicking) in the video, while I sail at maximum speed:

Last edited by jameswilson29; 01-28-2013 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Even though I had 10-15 knots out of the ESE, I motorsailed the most of the way up the Delaware Bay and Delaware River to the C&D, so I could make the 8 knots over the ground necessary to ride the current for 14 hours. The difference was the boat never slowed down, so the P28 would hit 8.5 knots surfing down the front of the chop and not slow down to 5 knots on the back.

You can hear the engine running (and my rudder clicking) in the video, while I sail at maximum speed: Glorious day on the Delaware Bay... - YouTube
James,

I'm curious about the dinghy shown in your video. Is it a soft inflatable bottom, or hard bottom? How heavy is it? Have you ever had it flip on you? Do you do anything special to prevent flipping in rough seas?

My little cheapo dinghy (shown in my profile pic) was purchased on short notice just to have something on last year's Chesapeake charter. It weighs about 50 lb and stores in a bag. I have never used it - just the leak test in my living room (shown in the pic).

When I got it, it was a little better quality than I expected. It is just PVC (not Hypalon, like the better dinghies), but it is multi-ply, with a very nice nylon fabric sandwiched between the plies that prevents stretch and allows it to become very rigid when pressurized. It might actually be a viable dinghy for towing behind the boat. But I'm concerned about its light weight, and the possibility of it flipping.

Design-wise, it looks similar to your own dinghy, so I'm curious about your towing experience with it.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

Just to add to the confusion a little.

I'm working on the planning for a possible June 2013 transit to NE including the C&D/Del Bay transit. The currents shown in Garmin BlueChart mobile and on the NOAA current tables don't match up.

Here's an example

June 1, 2013 for Reedy Pt, DE
Max flood Slack Max Ebb
Garmin 03:11 06:39 11:10
NOAA 04:49 07:35 11:49

Any ideas on what might cause the differences?
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  #16  
Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

paperbird
Look further back in this thread or the one this migrated from, TakeFive references the differences between various gauge station for the C&D.

At the Delaware end there are at least 3 stations; at the radio tower east of the route 9 bridge, on the jetty end (Reedy Point) and 1.1 miles east of the jetty end.

From Delaware bay as noted by others it is possible to time your transit with the current from bay through canal.

Going canal to bay usualy requires waiting for a favorable current down the Delaware.

Transiting from the Delaware River with the current above the canal then through the canal will require either waiting for a favorable canal current or transiting against the current for some time.
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Last edited by Ulladh; 01-28-2013 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
James,

I'm curious about the dinghy shown in your video. Is it a soft inflatable bottom, or hard bottom? How heavy is it? Have you ever had it flip on you? Do you do anything special to prevent flipping in rough seas?
It is a used Achilles hypalon with a folding wooden floor insert and a wooden motor mount I don't use. I actually rowed it around St. Michaels from the museum anchorage in front of the Cabin at Perry Inn to the town dock and back to pick up ice (probably half a mile total).

It probably weighs 50 lbs without the boards in. It is a tough little dinghy.

While anchored at Kiptopeake Beach, I was awakened by the derecho passing through last summer at 12:30 a.m. Wind gusts were reported at 70-100 mph. It sounded like a freight train onshore. (This was one of the few times I thought I would die on a boat, by a tornado.) The Pearson was actually vibrating and shaking up and down, healed over at a 45 degree angle with no sails up, the wind was whistling and/or screaming through the rigging, and the Achilles was flipping over and over again. Fortunately, the anchor held and my boats and I survived fine with no damage, not even a lost oar!

I have since lashed the oars to the dinghy to prevent a loss. On my voyages, it is towed behind the boat. It tows well, but I occasionally have to haul it out of the water to empty any accumulated water from splashes/rain/waves, etc. It costs me 1/3 of a knot in speed. I tow it as a last ditch vessel in case my boat sinks. After reading about all the depictions of liferafts failing in various storms, it gives me a sense of security on my cruises, even though it is not a proper liferaft.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 01-28-2013 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

Thanks Ulladh,

But those readings are for the exact same stations (by name and lat/lon) just different sources. That's what's troubling me a little. Maybe it's the source data used by Garmin?

After looking at it for a bit, I agree that going from the C to the D ideally requires riding the current through the Canal then stopping and waiting for the current to turn in the Delaware. In June, the assist (or opposition) from the current will be between 2 and 3 kts the entire 60ish mile trip to Cape May.

Of course, that all assumes the wind is either light or NOT southerly. All bets off if the wind is against the current out there.
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Old 01-28-2013
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by paperbird View Post
Just to add to the confusion a little.

I'm working on the planning for a possible June 2013 transit to NE including the C&D/Del Bay transit. The currents shown in Garmin BlueChart mobile and on the NOAA current tables don't match up.

Here's an example

June 1, 2013 for Reedy Pt, DE
Max flood Slack Max Ebb
Garmin 03:11 06:39 11:10
NOAA 04:49 07:35 11:49

Any ideas on what might cause the differences?
Both of these are probably 'calculated' data.
Yes, my Garmin current info can lag or lead 'actual'.

Repeat, get Eldridge Tide tables -- all based on 'historical' observations.
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Re: Currents in the C&D Canal

Tide and currents predictions are based on historical data most of which is produced by NOAA from their various stations.

It would be interesting to compare actual conditions experienced in the canal next to one of the stations (say radio tower at route 9 bridge), with real time data from the station and predictions from the tables. Only a snap shot but it could give a tolerance range maybe plus or minus 30 min or more for the predictions.
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