C & D Canal advice - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-21-2003 Thread Starter
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C & D Canal advice

With any luck, I will soon be bringing a newly-acquired Tartan 3000 up from Pasadena, MD to New Jersey. At this point, I''m presuming an overnight stop at Chesapeake City. I''ve never been through the canal before and would appreciate advice as to the best way to time the passage relative to the local tides. The engine on this boat is not particularly powerful for bucking adverse current.

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post #2 of 5 Old 05-21-2003
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C & D Canal advice

Check out Eldridge Tide and Pilot book it will give you the times for the tide changes, the directions of Ebb and Flood and the speed of the current fpr the date that you plan. Also, no matter what you do you will have a foul current at some point in time in Delaware Bay. I don''t know what your mast height is off the water but you need 55 ft to clear the Cape May Canal bridge. If you can''t make that clearance than you will have to go around the tip of Cape May. Do not cut it close to the shore as their are alot of shoals. Watch your charts carefully going around Cape May. Good luck
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-21-2003
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C & D Canal advice

I have gone both ways thru the canal and it is not a problem especially during daylight.
Check tide tables and do the best you can at getting the best push through. The Delaware Bay can be extremely nasty if you hit it when wind and current are at odds to each other. You have a full days sail or motor from Ches.City to Cape May. I would be more concerned about the weather being favorable.
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-21-2003
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C & D Canal advice

Suggest that you wait at the Engineer''s Cove on the C&D for a favorable tide. Leave about 1-1/2 hour before tide change, and get flushed most of the way down the Del Bay. I usually plan for a tide that closely coincides with a 5 AM slack - to arrive at Cape May in the mid afternoon. Either download a tidal flow prediction program from the web that includes the C&D canal or get a copy of Eldridge Tide Tables; but, be aware that NW or SE winds will greatly affect Del. Bay tidal flow. Also, if there has been a lot of recent heavy rain on the Upper Delaware R. you will get quite a boost from the flow in the upper bay. If the winds are light from the SW and the weather is good and you are early, you can anchor on the bay near the western shore of the bay well below the nuclear power plant (but stay *well* out of the busy ship channel).

IMPORTANT - Avoid the Del. Bay if greater than moderate NW or SE winds are predicted !!!

The Delaware shore of the Del Bay is notorious for quickly generating HUGE thunderstorms (and not predicted nor broadcast by NOAA); if large convective clouds are generating, consider delaying. The Del. Bay is NO place to be when its a ''snotty cauldron''.

You can anchor inside Cape May (ocean inlet), just behind the Coast Guard station near the docks. Consider anchoring with two anchors (bahamian moor) as the tidal flow inside can be quite fast; if there is a wind up, you will undoubtedly ''sail'' all over a single anchor.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-23-2003
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C & D Canal advice

Having just spent a very uncomfortable day on the Bay I can only repeat the earlier warnings.
I timed it badly and with tide changing and night coming had to duck into the Cohansey river which is a wonderful anchorage. The trip from Cohansey to Cape May was long and nasty with a chop that was no fun at all. Cape May Canal is being dredged We made it through with 5 feet draft but if depth finder is to be believed it was close at one point.
Todd V
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