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post #1 of 20 Old 01-08-2009 Thread Starter
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Smith Is./ Chesapeake bay

Looking for advice about a sailing trip and I believe this is probable the right place. I have a 24' sloop Lapworth Trojan 1968, 6hp engine, no GPS, 4' draft. Last year was my first year sailing and I think it was a pretty successful year. My boat is docked on the Rhode river and I took it out about 70 times last year. I went from needing help pulling in and out of my slip with a motor to being able to sail into my slip single handed. In this first season of sailing I was able to navigate to Annapolis, Eastern bay, and Herring bay. These where all day trips, so I do not have much night sailing experience. A few times I have sailed at dark in the Rhode river coming in at sunset. Looking at my charts it will be approximately a 60 mile trip from the Rhode river to Smith Is. I plan on making this trip in May while I still have spring winds. Here are a few questions anything else will be great!

How long will this take (15-20knts. wind) ?
Will the currents make a big difference in travel speed?
Should I drop anchor in the Bay if we need to rest or find a river ?
Good places to eat and sleep on the Island ?
How hard is it to navigate Smith Is. channel ?
Should I go in the channel at night?
Where can I tie up ?
Do I need GPS ?
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post #2 of 20 Old 01-08-2009
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Lapworth,

That's a pretty long trip for one leg in a boat your size. If you could average 4 knots, it would take you 15+ hours even if you could sail the rumb line. Consider doing it in two legs, so that you can arrive with plenty of daylight as you approach Smith Island. A good stopover might be Solomons.

Don't just anchor out in the middle of the Bay -- you need to find a sheltered anchorage to spend the night. Good luck!


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post #3 of 20 Old 01-08-2009
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Stopping at Solomons Isl. is a good idea to break up the trip. I visited Smith Isl. in the Summer/Spring of 2007 with My Family aboard our 32' Centercockpit Sloop w/ a 4' Draft without problem. I chose to enter the Island on the west side during the day . The water is shallow there but not terrible if you follow the channel markers. As far as a place to dock you have 2 choices the Marina/Bed and Breakfast (great people,facility etc.) or the town dock. you could also anchor in off the eastern channel and dingy to land. The Island is small and provisioning is limited. the museum is nice and the 3 small villages are fun to bycycle through and just enjoy the scenery.
we liked it , hope you will too.
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post #4 of 20 Old 01-08-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the idea of Solomons, but is 4 Knts the best I can expect ? I know on a fresh breeze with only my main sail I do 3.5 Knts.

The more I see the less I know.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapworth View Post
Thanks for the idea of Solomons, but is 4 Knts the best I can expect ? I know on a fresh breeze with only my main sail I do 3.5 Knts.

The more I see the less I know.
You might do better, you might do worse. If you plan your departure to coincide with a nice strong nor'wester, you'd skip along nicely. But if it ends up being a beat to weather, you'll be covering more distance possibly at a slower pace -- a 3.5 VMG upwind in a boat that size isn't unthinkable.

So it could hinge on whether you are on a schedule/timeline or whether you can wait for the most favorable winds.

But 4-4.5 knots is probably a good figure for planning purposes. If you average more than that, all the better.


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post #6 of 20 Old 01-08-2009
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Lapworth,

I typically averaged 5 knots when on the bay in my Islander 26 with winds at 8 to 10 knots and I think you should be fairly safe with that assumption. I would not drop anchor in the bay as there is lots of traffic at night. There is a book called the Gunkholers Guide to the Chesapeake they is a great addition for someone wanting to explore the bay. It has all the marinas listed with services and recommended area for shelter and anchorages. There are also some recommended trip routes.

Good luck on your adventures the bay is a fun place to explore.
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post #7 of 20 Old 01-08-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapworth View Post
Thanks for the idea of Solomons, but is 4 Knts the best I can expect ? I know on a fresh breeze with only my main sail I do 3.5 Knts.

The more I see the less I know.
There are different kinds of speed when navigating a vehicle through a liquid environment. Presumeably since you mentioned not having a GPS, you are talking about your speed through the water read from a knot log.

Speed through the water is the least useful for any kind of navigation time calculation. For it to be of use, you have to also have an accurate knowldge of what the current is doing to you. Speed through the water plus or minus current will give you your speed over the ground.

Speed over the ground (as shown by a GPS) can be used to calculate how long it will take to get somewhere, so long as you can sail directly to that point. If you have to tack to get to your destination, then the distance you cover towards your destintion (Velocity made Good) is needed to determine when you'll get there.

Example:

4.5 Knots through the water
1.0 Knot current against you
3.5 Knots Speed over ground

Now if you have to tack to get to your upwind destination your VMG might be 3 knots or so. Which is what you would have to use to accurately determine how long it would take to reach your waypoint.

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post #8 of 20 Old 01-08-2009
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Just my two cents...I would break up that trip even on a larger boat, most of the time. There could be exceptions, but planning on being able to make 60 miles puts a lot of pressure on your for the day. Breaking it up would make it much easier and safer, not to mention more enjoyable. You can always choose to go farther if the conditions really are perfect for it. But I'd plan on breaking it up.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josrulz View Post
Just my two cents...I would break up that trip even on a larger boat, most of the time. There could be exceptions, but planning on being able to make 60 miles puts a lot of pressure on your for the day. Breaking it up would make it much easier and safer, not to mention more enjoyable. You can always choose to go farther if the conditions really are perfect for it. But I'd plan on breaking it up.
I agree unless the purpose is to get experience night sailing on longer passages. If that were the case, leaving home waters at night/wee morning hours for a daytime arrival is probably the way to go vs. leaving in daylight and arriving after dark.

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post #10 of 20 Old 01-08-2009
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I have a Garmin hand held GPS with a small color screen -$300

Without upgrading the software I get coastline and channel bouy graphics.

It really comes in handy and beats cruising for an hour up a river only to discover it's the wrong one!!
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