But they don't offer much info on the commonness of severe weather...
Yes they do. And it's extremely important you see that part of the pilot chart.
Blow it up to about 200% and scroll far to the right you will see a very small map of the Atlantic with little boxes with numbers in them. These numbers are the percentage days with gales.
In the March Pilot, Look at the area in the north of the USA and you will see its 5% I will never sail, nor have I sailed through a box with 5%
Then further south it's 3% I have never sailed, nor will I in a 3% box.
Now look at Florida and the Bahamas. That's the only weather I will sail in 1% or 0%
As you go through each month you will see those figures change dramatically. By may/June it's all 0% up and down the coast.
So not only does one pick a weather window for a passage, one also picks a climate window (season) for their passage or cruise.
I only sail in the right season.
In your plan I would not go outside from Chesepeake. I would plan to do the ICW till the boxes work for you. If you are inChesepeak and a particularly nice weather window opens then you could think about racing around Cape Hatteras.... But it's the Graveyard of the Atlantic for a reason and you would be sailing against the season.... And two people have died there this year....
A lot of people will tell you that the passage is safe.... But your pilot chart tells you different.
So the pilot charts give you a lot of information, but you need to read all the fine print on them and really study them