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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast
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  #1  
Old 10-03-2011
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Question DelMarva Rally

Our sail club is considering participating in the DelMarva Rally next year. The web page says that one goal of the rally is to prepare novice blue water sailors for that type of sailing.

Looking at the Required Equipment Checklist, it appears that each boat needs to be documented and registered. Is this the case? There is no disclaimer saying one or the other.

If a boat needs both, why?

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Old 10-03-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
Looking at the Required Equipment Checklist, it appears that each boat needs to be documented and registered. Is this the case? There is no disclaimer saying one or the other.
Don't need both - I think it is a data collection questionnaire that is poorly worded.
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Old 10-03-2011
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Sounds like fun!

I also notice that the schedule made no sense; I think the first reference to Hampton Roads actually meant Lewis, DE, or perhaps Cape May, NJ.

I've done the trip many times, and there's a bunch of stuff about it on my blog:
Sail Delmarva: Search results for circumnavigation
I'm not much of a rally person. I would rather be able to stop where and when I want, for as long as I want. I think it is also safer to go alone, because you are not pressed by a schedule to sail when you would rather not.

The first time I went I had a 1200-pound boat and a 9-year old for crew. We had a towable for a tender (the boat only drew 12 inches) and my off-shore expereince was limited to a beach catamaran. But it was safe because we picked our weather. We also made a lot more than 3 stops--9, I believe--and those stops were highlights. Of course, some of the stops would not accomodate a rally group--too big--which suited us even better.

Have fun!
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Old 10-03-2011
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Thanks for replying, Dave. I kind of suspected that the form was not well-written, but I've never been on a rally.

PDQ, I think, since one of the group has sailed around DelMarva, that I will suggest that we do it as a group outside of the rally. I'll send them the link to your website and we can use it as a guide to make that decision. What caught my eye in your post is not being able to stop in places that could not accommodate the number of boats in the rally.

In addition, the minimum size for the rally is 28 feet. That means only a handful of our members can take their own boats. The majority of the members have trailer boats. Going on our own may increase our numbers.
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Old 10-03-2011
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Donna,

We have done the circumnavigation route a couple of times. You should note that the only really passable inlet from Cape May/ Lewis to the entrance to the Chesapeake at Norfolk is Ocean City Maryland. Though passable, this is also not a very nice inlet in many different typers of weather and tides. certainly not the place for a first timer in many ways.

I would suggest if you want off shore experience a different tact. Go to Cape May and take a few days from there. 26 miles to Atlantic City, 16 miles to Lewis accross my favorite...Delaware Bay. You would get some ocean experience this way. Also Cape May, Atlantic City are two of the very best NJ inlets and along with Manequan are the only ones that dont have issues associated with them.

PDAltair, I rememeber yourblog/ story about your trip and it was quite memorable. Your catamaran is a lot safer going in some of the inlets I would not try with a keel boat.

Dave
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Old 10-03-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Donna,

We have done the circumnavigation route a couple of times. You should note that the only really passable inlet from Cape May/ Lewis to the entrance to the Chesapeake at Norfolk is Ocean City Maryland. Though passable, this is also not a very nice inlet in many different types of weather and tides. certainly not the place for a first timer in many ways.

I would suggest if you want off shore experience a different tack. Go to Cape May and take a few days from there. 26 miles to Atlantic City, 16 miles to Lewis across my favorite...Delaware Bay. You would get some ocean experience this way. Also Cape May, Atlantic City are two of the very best NJ inlets and along with Manequan are the only ones that don't have issues associated with them.

PDAltair, I remember your blog/story about your trip and it was quite memorable. Your catamaran is a lot safer going in some of the inlets I would not try with a keel boat.

Dave
Regarding small boats, you do need to be careful, but with careful planning it's safe. Try to get a copy of "Eastern Shore, Western Wind", a classic tale by DeGast, I think. Even if you don't do the trip, it's great read. He did the trip in a Sailmaster 22, I recall, taking 3 weeks and stopping everywhere.

Regarding Delmarva entrances, we once did a trip in the wake of a Hurricane, with an 8 foot swell running; the only entrance that was not breaking was Chincoteague. OC was closed. Chincoteague was casual and is a much easier entrance in a swell, in my opinion and expereince, than OC. OC is simply more popular as it is better known, has more marinas, and the piloting is simpler. Remember, the Coast Guard HQ for the eastern shore is in Chincoteague and there is a commercial trawler fleet there. Big boats that draw 10-12 feet (they do have to watch the tide). If you get sloppy, you may see 7 feet at low tide, but a boat drawing 5 feet would be very safe, and I have seen larger boats in there. However, Chincoteague is not well lit and should be avoided at night unless you know the route.

There real challenge in Chincoteage is dockage. Trailer boats should be able to find many slots, but multihulls and deep draft boats can only go a few places (town dock, Chincoteague Inn)

Watchapreage is also cake in a trailer boat, as long as there is no big on-shore swell (it is reasonably protected in moderate north and south wind by flanking bars). The bar is about 7 feet and the channel is dead straight. Good for power boats and shoal draft boats only.

Other inlets are not for the feint hearted, are only for fair weather, and shoal draft boats.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Donna,

We have done the circumnavigation route a couple of times. You should note that the only really passable inlet from Cape May/ Lewis to the entrance to the Chesapeake at Norfolk is Ocean City Maryland. Though passable, this is also not a very nice inlet in many different typers of weather and tides. certainly not the place for a first timer in many ways.

...

Dave
Thanks Dave for the input. We have a house in OC, MD. I'm familiar with the inlet and wouldn't recommend it to any sailor unless it's absolutely the last option.
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Old 10-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Donna,

We have done the circumnavigation route a couple of times. You should note that the only really passable inlet from Cape May/ Lewis to the entrance to the Chesapeake at Norfolk is Ocean City Maryland. snip

Dave
Correction: My recollection below was flawed. My club didn't go in a Wachapreage, they went in at Chincoteteague. I think Wachapreage would be doable, but don't know anyone that's done it in a sailboat. I do have a friend that has a big fishing boat he keeps there.

I hear that statement often, but when our club did it they went in a Wachapreage with no problem. I'm not sure the sizes of all the boats that participated, but the lead boat was a Valiant 42 and I think the rest were in that size range, or slightly less, so we're not talking about little boats.

Probably better done with local knowledge or lots of advanced planning, but it can be done. There is a Coast Guard station there so you can probably ask for some guidance from them if needed. There are lots of large fishing boats including large commerical fishing vessels with drafts equal to a midsized sailboat that use that inlet routinely.
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Old 10-13-2011
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It is mostly about tide, since there is about 4 feet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
Correction: My recollection below was flawed. My club didn't go in a Wachapreage, they went in at Chincoteteague. I think Wachapreage would be doable, but don't know anyone that's done it in a sailboat. I do have a friend that has a big fishing boat he keeps there.

I hear that statement often, but when our club did it they went in a Wachapreage with no problem. I'm not sure the sizes of all the boats that participated, but the lead boat was a Valiant 42 and I think the rest were in that size range, or slightly less, so we're not talking about little boats.

Probably better done with local knowledge or lots of advanced planning, but it can be done. There is a Coast Guard station there so you can probably ask for some guidance from them if needed. There are lots of large fishing boats including large commerical fishing vessels with drafts equal to a midsized sailboat that use that inlet routinely.

The entrance to Watchapreague changes little with storms and is very straight and well marked. The entrance bar is at the seaward end and is typically about 7-8 feet at low tide. Once over the bar, the water will be 15 feet into the basin. The holding ground is best to the south, in front of the old CG station. Given that most boats need a good safety margin on ocean side inlets, Watchapreague is really for boats that draw less than 5 feet.

Chicoteague is a different fish. The channel moves a good bit, but the CG keeps a bouy tender there and is RIGHT on top of the situation. Call them and they can give up-to-date marker info. I did that once, when entering in the wake of a huricane (still an 8-foot swell), and they were able to tell me what markers were off-station and exactly where the channel was (gps). Nice, since it was dusk. The real challenge in Chincoteague can be finding slips. None of the marinas can handle much draft or beam, and the city dock has such a cross current, a lot paint has been left on the pilings.
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