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  #1  
Old 08-29-2011
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How long should I wait?

Was on the docks yesterday undoing all the extra lines and putting sails on. I was chatting with a charter boat captain who said it would be a good idea to wait a while before going sailing because of debris floating in the Cheaspeake. So i guess I was wondering if anyone had any recommendation on just how long I should wait? A week? I suppose I could wait that long..my wife and i are planning a 10day chesapeake cruise in a month or so. What is everyone experience with this?

I'd like to go out this week if possible!
Thanks SN
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Old 08-29-2011
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I don't know that anyone can give a specific time frame. Water from upstate Pennsylvania and its associated storm debris probably has not yet completely run downstream.

It might take a few weeks at least for storm- and flood-related debris to get washed down Bay. Keep in mind, also, that at some point Conowingo Dam in the Susquehanna River might have to do a release to get rid of crap.

If you decide to go out, keep a SHARP lookout for logs, escaped docks, steel drums, shopping carts, bodies and don't get complacent. I'm not planning on doing any night sailing for a while, either. If you do, have a lantern that someone can use to sweep the water and warn of debris.

Also pay CLOSE attention to the weekly Local Notice to Mariner for off-station and unlit ATONS so that you can update your charts.
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Old 08-29-2011
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At the very least, wait until the Harbormasters of Baltimore and Norfolk open the ports back up and allow large ships in. They only do that when they are sure they can get a ship from the open ocean all the way to a pier. Then you have reasonable assurance the worst of the crap is out of the channels and areas close by. I wouldn't go gunkholing for a month. Stuff can take that long to wash down from the streams.

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Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
It might take a few weeks at least for storm- and flood-related debris to get washed down Bay. Keep in mind, also, that at some point Conowingo Dam in the Susquehanna River might have to do a release to get rid of crap.
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Old 08-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
If you decide to go out, keep a SHARP lookout for logs, escaped docks, steel drums, shopping carts, bodies and don't get complacent. I'm not planning on doing any night sailing for a while, either. If you do, have a lantern that someone can use to sweep the water and warn of debris.
Here in the PNW, we ALWAYS have to keep a sharp lookout for debris in the water. The tidal currents create long lines of "drift" where you can find anything from sea foam and kelp, to logs and floating trash. While not as bad as it was years ago since fewer log booms are being towed up and down the Sound to lumber mills, there is still plenty. There is never a leg of any trip here where we don't have to divert around pieces of wood or logs that are large enough to cause potential damage to the prop or rudder.

So, I'm not sure sure that would keep me from sailing in the Chesapeake, just keep a eye out.

Dave
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If your boat can't hit a log or floating debris (logs, trees, etc) without being in danger of being holed and sinking, then you need to buy a new boat. The trouble with the typical "bay boat" is that many are not really sea worthy. They are constructed for typical bay weather...light, thin hulls, light rigging (masts, etc), relatively low displacement, etc, and when ocean type conditions arrive, they fall apart. We like to go out in 20-30 knot conditions in our fast, but relatively bullet proof 60's fiberglass boat, and I wouldn't let a floating log intimidate me. Check out a recent trip last Mother's Day: Varsity Sailing - YouTube
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgiguere View Post
If your boat can't hit a log or floating debris (logs, trees, etc) without being in danger of being holed and sinking, then you need to buy a new boat. The trouble with the typical "bay boat" is that many are not really sea worthy. They are constructed for typical bay weather...light, thin hulls, light rigging (masts, etc), relatively low displacement, etc, and when ocean type conditions arrive, they fall apart. We like to go out in 20-30 knot conditions in our fast, but relatively bullet proof 60's fiberglass boat, and I wouldn't let a floating log intimidate me. Check out a recent trip last Mother's Day: Varsity Sailing - YouTube
No one said anything about sinking, but I'd prefer to avoid damage of any kind when I can help it. I'm happy that you are perfectly sanguine about playing chicken with a floating log. Me, I'd rather keep a sharp eye out to avoid hitting them. Just because something is "bullet proof" doesn't mean you should shoot at it.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgiguere View Post
If your boat can't hit a log or floating debris (logs, trees, etc) without being in danger of being holed and sinking, then you need to buy a new boat. The trouble with the typical "bay boat" is that many are not really sea worthy. They are constructed for typical bay weather...light, thin hulls, light rigging (masts, etc), relatively low displacement, etc, and when ocean type conditions arrive, they fall apart. We like to go out in 20-30 knot conditions in our fast, but relatively bullet proof 60's fiberglass boat, and I wouldn't let a floating log intimidate me. Check out a recent trip last Mother's Day: Varsity Sailing - YouTube
Oh, it isn't about holing the hull. At sailboat speeds that sort of damage is an unlikely prospect. But trees, tarps, ropes and other such debris tangling with your keel, rudder, and propeller can make your life miserable and can completely remove your ability to maneuver or even move the boat. Disentanglement can be surprisingly difficult.

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Old 08-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgiguere View Post
If your boat can't hit a log or floating debris (logs, trees, etc) without being in danger of being holed and sinking, then you need to buy a new boat. The trouble with the typical "bay boat" is that many are not really sea worthy. They are constructed for typical bay weather...light, thin hulls, light rigging (masts, etc), relatively low displacement, etc, and when ocean type conditions arrive, they fall apart. We like to go out in 20-30 knot conditions in our fast, but relatively bullet proof 60's fiberglass boat, and I wouldn't let a floating log intimidate me. Check out a recent trip last Mother's Day: Varsity Sailing - YouTube
I am not sure how your video of a sail across the bay will help me determine if the bay is free of storm debris or not. But FYI, I sail an Alberg 30 which i am told were built pretty sturdy, prolly not as sturdy as your 1960s vintage, take anywhere in any conditions, battle barge. I was simply inquiring because do not want to cause unnecessary damage to my bottom paint, propellor or anything on my boat for that matter that can be avoided.
With that said, thanks to everyone who has posted. i am usually pretty observant when out on the water and I really had not thought about storm debris until the charter captain mentioned it, I guess his boat is just a "bay boat" like mine. Anyone have any recommendation for a sturdier boat than an Alberg 30, that is free and is in good working/sailable condition and of 1960s vintage??? if not i guess i will just stay at the dock and wish i had that boat in the video

Can someone please explain to me how bay sailing is any less demanding on a boat than ocean? I have been in some pretty rough weather in Cape cod bay, buzzards bay and now the Chesapeake. All of the places have some pretty severe conditions. I would rather be out in the open ocean in 30kts than the lower chesapeake with a 30kt NE wind! I have read the the threads about Bluewater boats and seaworthyness of a vessel and after sailing smaller boats and now my alberg "bay boat" 30 I can honestly say I think that the Skipper is 99% of a boats ability to deal with the conditions. I got stuck out in 40-50kts of wind on my alberg for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it was an experience but there were plently of other "bay boats" that also made it back...just fine.

Ok, I am done! I have to remind myself that this is the internet and full of keyboard jockeys who like to toot their own horns when they can....BTW,nice video, i can only dream my Alberg 30 could handle and sail half as good as your 1960s family truckster in the conditions in your video.

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Of course, we keep a good look out to avoid hitting things. Being from New England, sailing through thick clusters of lobster pots is a learned experience. My point here is that hitting a rock at full speed, (as I did once in Marblehead cutting a corner to quickly), would buckle the structure of most bay boats. (It took a small chip out of the cast iron keel). The bottom line is, if you have a seaworthy boat, you can go out most anytime with the proper sail configuration; if you don't, then you should wait for a better day. We tend to enjoy going out in "weather". Your Islander 30 is probably particularly well suited.

Moe
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Hello Cruiser2b, Thank you for your post. I have a lot of respect and admiration for the Arlberg 30, and I think you diminish it's heritage by calling it a "bay boat". I knew a family who lived on and sailed an Arlberg 37 to Bermuda and back years ago and have always considered your boat of a similar class and quality of mine...a 1967 Chris Craft (S&S designed) Apache 37 sloop. It is a "knock off" of Intrepid, the only boat that ever won two Americas Cups.

Anyway, have a good night...if you're ever at Hartge's in Galesville, look us up. We're on a mooring. You'd be welcome to raft up.

Moe
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