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Quickstep192 04-29-2012 08:06 PM

Anybody sail out of Alexandria VA?
I was in Alexandria today and noticed some folks sailing in the Potomac, out of the marina near Founders Park. I didn't think there was much depth in the Potomac, except in the middle, but these were decent size boats. Anybody sail there? Is it just a matter of knowing where to go?

jesselee 04-29-2012 09:38 PM

Re: Anybody sail out of Alexandria VA?
I grew up in Alexandria back in the 70s spent alot of time on the Potomac the water was 8-25 ft in most places but the undertows wear deadly

jesselee 04-29-2012 09:53 PM

Re: Anybody sail out of Alexandria VA?
I grew up in Alex in the 70s the river changes because of the flow sand bars come and go but there are some deal draft sail boats around even back in the creeks update your charts yearly

zedboy 04-29-2012 11:25 PM

My step mom told me a story about her and her girlfriends sailing a centerboard dink out of Washington Sailing Marina, and getting the board stuck in the muddy bottom right off the end of the runway at National. Someone came out to help them and ended up falling in. I still laugh when I think about the entertainment anyone on a plane looking down would have had.

Of course the difference is no one thought twice about a couple of teenagers messing around the airport - this would've been in the late 50's...don’t try that today :)

TakeFive 05-01-2012 08:34 AM

Re: Anybody sail out of Alexandria VA?
I grew up on motorboats in the Potomac in the '70s, but moved away in 1980. I rented one of the Flying Scots at Washington Sailing Marina a couple years ago, and hope to do so again sometime. I have a friend who has a Catalina 25 at the mouth of the Anacostia, and a standing invitation to go sailing with him. I plan to as soon as I can get time to drive 3 hours down there.

What I most remember about the Potomac is the large amount of submerged debris stuck on the bottom - wrecks, trees, stumps, pilings, etc. We never left the channel with our power boats, out of fear of destroying our prop. With a sailboat you need tacking space, so you have to leave the channel. A quick scan at the chart around the Woodrow Wilson bridge confirms that there is still a whole bunch of junk there. I'm curious to see how my friend avoids that stuff on his Catalina.

sailordave 05-01-2012 09:14 AM

Re: Anybody sail out of Alexandria VA?
I used to frostbite my LASER there. I wouldn't sail anything of any size in the Potomac, at least not above the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Currents, junk in the water, shoals, etc. Not my idea of fun.

jsaronson 05-01-2012 11:00 AM

Re: Anybody sail out of Alexandria VA?
Check out the charts:
NOAA's On-Line Chart Viewer

Nicklaus 05-01-2012 11:46 AM

Re: Anybody sail out of Alexandria VA?
I took lessons on the Potomac with a Flying Scot just south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. There were a couple times where we would just stop in the middle of the river and have to raise the center board because it would snag. That being said, there are some sailboats of pretty good size anchored at Gangplank Marina right under the 395 bridge. I assume they did a lot of tacking in the channel or a lot of motoring. I’ve never seen a sailboat over 25 feet actually sailing in the Potomac though.

Here is the NOAA chart for the DC area - Chart 12289 - Looks like once you get up past Haines point you get some depth, but I'd still be afraid of running smack into a log.

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