Cape May--Canal or Point? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-03-2007 Thread Starter
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Question Cape May--Canal or Point?

I am planning a trip from the Chesapeake out Delaware Bay to the Atlantic, headed north, first week in October, and have 2 questions. I read a lot of recommendations to take the Cape May Canal as a short cut north. My chart (NOAA 12304) shows good depths right off of Cape May,inside of the shoals, and am wondering if it would be simpler and just as quick to round Cape May right in close rather than messing with the canal, motoring and Cape May Harbor. What do folks think?

Secondly, according to the NOAA chart (print-on-demand), the water off Cape May was last surveyed between 1970 and 1989. Does anyone have recent experience with depths right off Cape May? Thanks!

Paul
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-03-2007
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If you can get under the bridges in the canal (I think they're about 55 ft) you're better off going through the canal. Faster and shorter. Depending on the tide and weather, the route around the Cape can be a slog.

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post #3 of 14 Old 09-03-2007
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I'd be leary about the depths inside the shoals. I have not been there recently but I think you'd be much safer going out around the bouys, particulary if the weather kicks up.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-03-2007
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If your mast is less than 55 feet go inside the canal. Good depths and shorter and MUCH safer than going across the shoals. Exit on the Jersey shore side has recently been dredged and is an all weather inlet.
If you have to go around offshore...do not take shortcuts. Follow th buoys.
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-03-2007
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I've spoken to many people who hug the coast and go around. Their recommendation is to go through the canal if you can do it, but as long as the weather is OK and the waves low, hugging the coast is OK. It's best to talk to people with local knowledge for the exact route though. When we went around Cape May we went with the sea buoys, but were listening to all the people hugging the coast over the VHF. A few people hooked up with others with local knowledge by doing general broadcasts on chan 9 as they approached Cape May.

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post #6 of 14 Old 09-03-2007
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If you have to go outside... keep a good eye on the weather... the New Jersey coastline is very dangerous if the weather goes bad... most of the harbors are difficult or very dangerous to enter in bad weather... going farther out to sea is generally the best defense in the case of a storm, unless you can make a harbor well before it arrives.

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post #7 of 14 Old 09-03-2007
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Following up on Cams comment, the inlet may have been dredged but I was at Utchs and Canyon Club a few weeks ago and both marinas told me Cape May harbor itself has not been dredged, had some shoaling in it, and so you'll need to keep an eye out depending on how much you draw. There were some large boats in Canyon Club one of which had run aground coming into the harbor. I'm sure you can get through but some local knowledge might be helpful.
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-03-2007
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I was just at the Cape May Canal yesterday unfortunately not sailing.

Plan on going through the Bay end early in the morning if on a weekend, before the power boat traffic picks up. The power boats go to plane just after the ferry terminal so the last few hundred feet before the end of the entry jetties have a significant wake sloshing with about an 8 to 10 foot swell.
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-03-2007 Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for your advice. I think I will go through the canal. By the way, I will be sailing a PSC 31, with 5 foot draft and 43' mast clearance.
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-03-2007
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At 5' draft you'll be just fine in Cape May Harbor. The boats that I talked to that had problems were much larger. You'll also be fine in the canal, just watch for the ferries docking.
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