What is the optimal draft for the upper Chesapeake Bay - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-26-2006 Thread Starter
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What is the optimal draft for the upper Chesapeake Bay

Looking at some boats and would like to solicit some input on the draft which will give me the highest level of mobility in the bay
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-26-2006
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'Course, the big question is: What kind of sailing do you plan to do?

My brother just bought a Bayfield 25. It has a 3 foot draft. We've got it down at Breezy Point at the moment. The draft is good for most places. However, if you are looking to get into the shallower areas (like parts of Cambridge), forget it for the most part - you'll want a more shallow craft. 'Course, you'll sacrifice some stability for that, but what do you do?

I'd say between 3 and 5 feet is where you'd want to stay based upon my observations and calling around to marinas for mooring. 5 feet is going to be tough to get slips (or, rather, inexepensive slips), and 3 will be easier.

Just my ill-educated two cents.

Sincerely,

/s/ Jon C. Munson II
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-26-2006
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A surfboard with a sail will give you the most mobility. what size boat are you considering and what do you intend to do with it...race, day sail, weekend...go out of the bay eventually? You might consider a centerboard boat like a Bristol if you are just a casual sailor that wants to explore...that way you don't give up performance in exchange for more cruising ground.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-26-2006
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I have cruised the upper Bay pretty easily with 5'-6" draft, and a little more cautiously with 6'-6" draft. I have raced up there on boats drawing 8'-0". You always hear people talking about the desirability of shallow draft on the Chesapeake. There is no doubt about it that there are a lot of backwater places that are not accessible for deeper draft boats, but the Bay has so many deep draft places that you can pretty much make a decision to trade off a little better sailing ability, seaworthiness and speed to get to further places for a little less draft and more places closer to home.

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post #5 of 8 Old 09-27-2006 Thread Starter
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My sailing will most likely be day sailing and some overnight cruising on long weekends. I see some older catalina's with with 5'6" draft and wonder if that is acceptable as compared with the more shallow draft boats I have seen at 3to 4 feet?

Buying a boat is confusing enough. I want the stability first and foremost and then want to be able to explore. My area of sail will be the delaware river to the chesapeake.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-27-2006
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If you are interested in Catalinas, you could go with the swing keel model.
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-27-2006
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For sailing on the Delaware River, perhaps more imporatant than a specific draft is to gain a good knowledge of the tidal currents, tides and shoals. Some locations at low tide will have less than 2 feet of water only a few yards from 9 feet of water and close to a shipping channel. Get a good set of charts and know where you are.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-30-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmunson2
'Course, the big question is: What kind of sailing do you plan to do?

My brother just bought a Bayfield 25. It has a 3 foot draft. We've got it down at Breezy Point at the moment. The draft is good for most places. However, if you are looking to get into the shallower areas (like parts of Cambridge), forget it for the most part - you'll want a more shallow craft. 'Course, you'll sacrifice some stability for that, but what do you do?

I'd say between 3 and 5 feet is where you'd want to stay based upon my observations and calling around to marinas for mooring. 5 feet is going to be tough to get slips (or, rather, inexepensive slips), and 3 will be easier.
Of course, going with a multihull might mean that you can get into those areas and not give up any stability at all. My trimaran draws less than 18 inches with the centerboard up, and only a bit over four feet with the centerboard down.

Sailingdog

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