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post #1 of 29 Old 02-23-2011 Thread Starter
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Delaware River Question

I'm hoping to finally do a short summer cruise from the Chesapeake to the Long Island Sound this summer. My question concerns the right time of tide to enter the Delaware from the C&D Canal? Should I plan to enter at slack tide or a few hours before slack? And what about the return trip leaving from Cape May?

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post #2 of 29 Old 02-23-2011
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Exiting C&D at Reedy Point destination Cape May;
Run with the start of the ebb tide through the C&D, or if timing is off wait at Delaware City or behind Reedy Island and depart in the last hour of the flood tide.

Exiting Cape May Canal destination C&D;
Try to avoid summer weekends at the Cape May exit.
Depart C&D the last hour of ebb tide and ride the flood to Reedy Point. Depending on timing wait in Delaware City or behind Reedy Island to run with the flood through the C&D.

Watch your weather window, wind in opposition to tide can make for nasty conditions.

If you don't have the boat speed to make the 50nm transit within the tide cycle, I would suggest breaking the transit at the Cohansey River to wait for the next favorable tide.

Check for local current variations, some locations in the first and last hour or so of each tide run counter to the tide.

1970 Havsfidra 20 by Fisksatra
On the Delaware River at Fox Grove Marina Essington PA

Last edited by Ulladh; 02-23-2011 at 10:16 AM.
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post #3 of 29 Old 02-23-2011
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Think current not tide. The phase difference between tide and current is both significant and variable with location. Fortunately, NOAA has a great site with current information. See Tidal Current Tables .

From the C&D, if you can make 6 kts (or close) you can make Cape May or Cape Henlopen in 10ish hours. If your boat won't fit under the bridge at Cape May you'll have to go around the outside in which case Cape Henlopen is a much better idea before heading outside up the NJ coast to NY harbor or offshore to Montauk.

I regularly leave Annapolis (40' boat, 36' LWL, 22,000# cutter-rigged sloop) and make Cape Henlopen in 18 - 20 hours by watching the current cycle (NOT the tide cycle). I can catch a favorable current by Worton Creek and carry it all the way to the mouth of the DE Bay.

Let us know what boat you have and where you would be starting as well as how long a day you are willing to sail and we can help you better.

sail fast and eat well, dave S/V Auspicious

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post #4 of 29 Old 02-23-2011
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Ulladh how easy, dicey, is it to get behind reedy Island? There's that long concrete dam or wall that's submerged along there (if I understand the chart)

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post #5 of 29 Old 02-23-2011
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We regularly go to NE and the Lond Island Sound every summer for about 3 weeks from the Patpasco. Dave from Auspicious is spot on with his advice. If I rememeber correctly his wife hails from the N Jersey area as well and he has taken many trips north there also.

We generally break the trip to Cape May up into two days. Patapsco to behind Reedy Island on day one, then Cape May the second day. Reedy Island is about 5 miles south of the C&D Canal and the way in is soputh of the island where there is a cut in the low stone jetties about 100 yards wide. There are lashing narkerson either side with about 13 ft depth through the "cut". Anchoring behind the low island with a few scrub brush trees on it will protect you from tanker wash as well as any waves and chop fromn the e, se, or ne. The current can be 2 knots so you need to keep that in mind.when anchoring as well as the change from ebb to flow in the time you are there. Generally we leave about 2 hours before slack tide and ride the current down the river. It takes about 7 hours to the canal averaging 5 knots OGS. If you are less than 55 feet with antennnaes you can cut 2.5 hours off of your time and head through the canal under the bridge. We stay at my long time friends marina there Utschs ( I lived in Ocean City, NJ for 18 years before moving here.)

You have many options north then. 1 straight shot to Mantauk if so inclined. If you do not do that there are really only a couple of "safe inlets in NJ I would traverse. Cape May Atantic City, and Manesquan are the safest and easiest. Barneget is treecherous but with proper knowledge is very doable. All the other have shifting shoals and are not for the average traveler without local knowledge. We usually do a long day 72 miles to Barnegat and then a shorter day 38 miles to Atlanrtic Highlands (Sandy Hook) or 52 miles to Liberty Landing Marina accross from Mnahattan and next to the Statue of Liberty. This a great jumping off point to ride the tide up the East River the next day and out the LI Sound stopping at North Port of Port Jefferson.

We anjoy many of the twons on the LI Sound and usually go this route s we are on vacation and all of these town on the Sound hav great character.

The trip back up the Delaware gives you an elongated run with the current and you can make it to the Sassfras/ Bohermia in one day easily if you play the currents correctly.


Where are you leaving from? When?

Feel free to PM me as I have good knowledge of anchorages, marinas, feul, restaurants all along your route as we have done this 15 times or so.

Dave


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post #6 of 29 Old 02-24-2011 Thread Starter
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I'll be leaving from the West River just south of Annapolis. Under auxiliary power my boat can do about 5.8-6.0 knots in flat water. If I have crew I can make the trip non-stop to Cape May or Cape Henlopen. If solo I would prefer to break it up.

I've crewed a few times making this trip and we always stayed in Cape May so I'm somewhat familiar with it. My mast height is 54' and I have an antenna that goes 3'-4' higher. If I head to Cape May I believe Iwill have to go around to the Atlantic side entrance. I've never stayed in Cape Henlopen. What are the best anchorages and slips there?

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post #7 of 29 Old 02-24-2011
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Denise
Only been behind Reedy Island once.
From the C&D entrance stay close to end of the south jetty and navigate by depth sounder. Water is deeper on the Delaware side until the jetty/harbor south of Augustine Beach. Cut in the breaker water is opposite Augustine Beach.

I did not go through the cut, but with 4 ft draft I had at least 10ft water depth until clear of the south end of the break water.

Did not anchor, just wanted to look see.

1970 Havsfidra 20 by Fisksatra
On the Delaware River at Fox Grove Marina Essington PA
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post #8 of 29 Old 02-24-2011
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Quote:
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Denise
Only been behind Reedy Island once.
From the C&D entrance stay close to end of the south jetty and navigate by depth sounder. Water is deeper on the Delaware side until the jetty/harbor south of Augustine Beach. Cut in the breaker water is opposite Augustine Beach.

I did not go through the cut, but with 4 ft draft I had at least 10ft water depth until clear of the south end of the break water.
I'm glad you mentioned that. It looked doable on the chart, but very tight:



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post #9 of 29 Old 02-24-2011
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Rhythm
The narrow channel between the C&D south jetty rip-rap and Reedy Island mud/sand bar, is similar to the narrow channel we are familar between the rip-rap at Mufflin Bar and the Little Tinicum sand bar.

The current scours the bottom deeper next to the rip-rap and deposits the sand and mud on the bar.

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On the Delaware River at Fox Grove Marina Essington PA
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Quote:
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Rhythm
The narrow channel between the C&D south jetty rip-rap and Reedy Island mud/sand bar, is similar to the narrow channel we are familar between the rip-rap at Mufflin Bar and the Little Tinicum sand bar.

The current scours the bottom deeper next to the rip-rap and deposits the sand and mud on the bar.
Yes, your are right. And after a little nervousness the first time I passed through, I do it all the time now (even tacking into the wind sometimes, motoring other times) without a second thought. With repetition I gained confidence that the charts were accurate and pretty static over time.

I agree that the northern channel by the C&D jetty will never fill in because it gets constantly flushed out.

Speaking of currents and flushing, have you seen the plans to expand Philly airport? They plan to fill in 25 acres between the island and the airport, apparently right into the deepest part of the channel south of Mifflin Bar. There's concern that it could choke off the flow and allow the whole harbor to silt in. Some people are pushing to make sure they remove the (unused) pipeline which currently restricts the flow (you can see the "hump" in the chart) and dredge a relocated channel to maintain the flow. But obviously it all costs money and they're going to be looking to do it as cheaply as possible, especially since the federal money is sure to be cut back under current budget proposals.



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