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  #1  
Old 04-23-2007
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Figuring out currents for Delaware River/Bay

Hi All -

On our way from Annapolis to Lake Champlain, we'll be leaving the C&D Canal on approximately May 8th and heading towards Cape May.

I show a 1.1kt ebb flow at 0700 right at the eastern end of the C&D Canal where we'll be entering the Delaware. I'm fairly new at factoring currents into timing. It looks like we'll have the ebb for 2 hours or so, and then we'll start fighting the flood, and we may be fighting that with a 2+ knot current for a good portion of the rest of the way. The problem I'm having is that there is such a drastic difference with ebb/flood timing between the C&D Canal and Cape May. It's difficult to figure out how to compute timing.

For those of you that have some extra time on your hands and tide/current tables, do you have any thoughts as to the best time to get started in the morning (or if I should wait) and how long it may take me to get to Cape May (or specifically Red Nun 10) assuming a cruising speed (with no current) of approximately 6 knots?

Can you walk me through the best way to figure this out so I can do it myself in the future?


Thanks!!
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Old 04-23-2007
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Hi Labatt

I would approach the problem simply by trying to be in ChesapeakeCity at max flood. If I understand the following site correctly, the C & D floods east and ebbs west. Check it out at http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/ports_screens/cnscreen.shtml under the current section. This site gives up to the minute data about conditions in that area.

From the table below, it looks like you might want to be in ChesapeakeCity around noon on the 8th



Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Maryland/Delaware Current

8 May 2007

39.5333° N, 75.8167° W
2007-05-08 01:16 EDT Moonrise
2007-05-08 01:35 EDT -0.05 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
2007-05-08 05:14 EDT -2.16 knots Max Ebb
2007-05-08 05:56 EDT Sunrise
2007-05-08 08:41 EDT 0.01 knots Slack, Flood Begins
2007-05-08 10:36 EDT Moonset
2007-05-08 12:33 EDT 2.09 knots Max Flood
2007-05-08 15:42 EDT -0.08 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
2007-05-08 18:12 EDT -1.39 knots Max Ebb
2007-05-08 20:03 EDT Sunset
2007-05-08 20:32 EDT 0.07 knots Slack, Flood Begins
You can change the date and get other tide information for Reedy Pt at the eastern end and Old Town Wharf at the western end at;
Site Selection: U.S. Upper East Coast (Maine through Virginia)

Remember, the times of low tide and high tide do not reflect times for slack water.

Good luck

Hope I'm not steering you wrong
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Old 04-23-2007
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Position yourself to be at the Delaware side 1 hour before Full Flood tide.
Start heading down the Bay and let the tide ebbing catch you and give you a lift down the bay. As I recall it is about a 10 hour trip so you can't avoid adverse tides but you can play around their ends rather than meet full flow going down the Bay.
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Good advice from Cam.

The distance from the East end of the C&D canal to the point where you can safely turn around Cape May (Red #4, just outside the 3-mile line) is 55.1 NM.

Slack water at the Canal just before the ebb (which you want) is 0620 EDT on Tuesday May 8. Slack water at Red #4 just before the flood is 1023 EDT, some 4 hours later. So, you have 4 hours between slack waters at each end, with no tidal current or a favorable current. That should get you a good 38-40 miles or so of the 55, IF you leave the canal as Cam suggests about an hour before slack water. At the mouth of the Bay, flood current isn't bad, only amounting to a max of 1.2 knots (against you) by 1330 hours.

So...... plan to leave the canal EARLY, before dawn if you can. If the weather is good, you can actually anchor in the river just to the north and opposite the canal...I've done it. Just be sure to anchor outside the shipping lanes and have a bright anchor light showing.

Have a good trip. (Perry-designed boats love this run!)

Bill
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Old 04-23-2007
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Also, the tidal current is strongest in the center of the channel...weaker on the edges...so you can avoid the brunt of the tidal currents by sticking to the edges.
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Old 04-23-2007
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Wonderful info and greatly appreciated!! Where do you get 620EDT from? I was just looking at the NOAA predictions here and it looks like between 7am and 7:30am is when the changeover from flood to ebb is?

Bill - where exactly are you talking about anchoring? I'm looking at the chart and across the river from the canal looks like pretty thin water!

With regards to Red #4 vs. Red #10, one of the people coming with us has done this route many times before and I believe he said when you reach Red 10, head towards Green 5 and then skirt the beach around Cape May and then to the inlet entrance. Apparently you can cut off many miles this way if you plan on ducking in to Cape May Harbor overnight. I may have heard him wrong though. Depending on the weather, however, we will probably head offshore some past Red #4 and then turn north towards NYC for an overnight sail. I'm only going to take this route if it's light and he's with me. I just paid up my SeaTow membership too

I'm glad to hear Perry designed boats love this run! I'm somewhat nervous about the Delaware Bay.


Thanks again for the info!
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Old 04-23-2007
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Labatt..what is your 'air draft" on the P40? If you are less than 55 you can go into Cape May through the canal which can save time and trouble. Otherwise...I would stay in the ship channel until you can safely hang a left as the whole area is vey shoaly and unless you have rcent local knowledge it is kind of iffy for a shortcut IMHO.
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Old 04-23-2007
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Unfortunately, I'm going the long way around. I don't know the exact height (but will be measuring when we drop the stick for the trip up the canal) but I'm estimating 55' - 58'.
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Well...at least you'll know for the trip back! (G)
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Old 04-23-2007
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Chris,
I used to sail out of Cape May a lot and CAM is right, you don't want to cut the corner. Go out to Red #4 and then head up the coast. Good luck.
Tom
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