Delware Bay up the Jersery coast someday - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 04-16-2007
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Delware Bay up the Jersery coast someday

is kinda my dream. Hudson River, LI sound.. Even though I don't think I'll ever have the kind of time it would take to get there .. sailing to Maine is something I'd like to strive towards.

I'm obviously short on experiance but plan in the next couple of years to take a coastal nav course also. So, why does it seem so ominous to me when so many people I know with shoal draft have done it say: "just go!" ?? My reply is always.. uh.. yeah.. right... sure.. Then I start thinking... and wondering... "Maybe if the weather were.. and if the reefing lines were... and if ..."

I currently have an oday 30 finkeel, 4'11" draft, Keel stepped mast, that I'm slowly fixing up and upgrading as $ permits. New Traveler is already installed. My home port is Anchor Yacht Club, Bristol PA on the tidal Delaware. I already know it's way more fun and easier to sail then the Hunter 23 I had! She seems like a fairly stout boat too. We brought her up from Deal MD and kept er at Georgetown til the end of summer. BTW I love sailing on the Bay!! (chesapeake that is)

Denise
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Old 04-16-2007
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The Delaware river and Bay has some very strong currents, as you must already know. Throw in the heavy ship traffic and ......... My new slip is on the Maurice river off the Delaware bay. I just took the coastal Navagation course last month. I recomend it. There are easier places to sail then on the Delaware, but you'll end up a better sailer for doing it.
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Old 04-16-2007
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I've never sailed these waters, but years ago, on a cross-country motorcycle trip, I took a ferry from Cape May across the mouth of Delaware Bay in October. The seas were at least 8' and the wind was 30-40 knots. Cars were actually sliding and bumping into each and the ferry crew had to lash our bikes to the boat to keep them from toppling over.

I'm sure a 30' boat could handle these waters, but I'd certainly check the weather before venturing too far into the Atlantic.
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Old 04-16-2007
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Denise,

Your O'Day 30, if in good shape, is certainly adequate for the trip. And, she's no doubt small enough to be able to make it through the bridge at Cape May and run at least part way up the coast inland from Cape May.

Time? Last couple of times I made the trip from Annapolis to Block Island (off East end of Long Island) it took a couple of days (about 41 hours), though in larger boats than yours. Up the Bay, thru the Canal, down Delaware Bay, around Cape May, then straight shot for Block Island.

The distance from the East End of the C&D Canal to Block Island is 269 nautical miles if you go way around Cape May. If your mast will go under the bridge, as yours surely will, it's somewhat shorter...you don't have to go out so far. And, if you go outside there are places to duck in all along the Jersey coast enroute to NY if you want/have to: Cape May, Atlantic City, Great Egg, Barnegat Bay, Manasquan Inlet, Sandy Hook.

Maybe your dream isn't so distant??

Bill
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Old 04-16-2007
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The Delaware has a pretty strong current as IIRC. Going upstream it can really work in your favor if you time it properly. Going downstream... it basically works against you.

Any bay that has a strong current is going to be tricky if the current and wind and tide are in opposition... The most dramatic example of this is the Columbia River entrance in Oregon... which the USCG uses as a training ground for their rescue teams.
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Old 04-16-2007
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thanks guys... good advice and encouragement on all points.. Yes on the currents... the Delaware up here has 5-8 knots too. the big ships ply the channels up here too all the way to Trenton and they are big! But they don't scare me like the sportfishing boats do. (they don't try to head off a sailboat intentionally) Funny .. Delaware Bay is always the discussion. I looked at the charts and see how shallow it is but again everone here that's sailed it tells me it's not that bad, and you can tack across the bay and not run aground I dunno.. just what hear is all. Certainly it's not a bay to be dilly dalling on.. just get point a to b and back again. Lately I'm thinking about the Cape May jazz fest coming up soon. but geeze!! when will spring arrive???? LOL.
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Old 04-16-2007
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Well, according to the Nor'Easter that is currently clobbering the New England area... winter ain't quite done yet.
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Old 04-16-2007
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Denise:

I fish the Delaware Bay out of the Roosevelt Inlet in Lewes, DE. Yes it can get choppy if the wind picks up and is against the current. But most of my trips have been nice. I now have a Helms 25 now and plan to sail the bay many times this season. Take a look at the chart of the bay. There is a lot of deep water for great sailing. I would say the river section to where the bay opens up is you biggest concern with shoals, current, ship traffic etc.. Like anywhere else, plan your trip. Take a look at current, tide and wind. A stop over at Lewes might be a nice addition to your trip depending on the time you have. Its a nice town. You'll have to cross the bay to get to Cape May though, but a great 18 mile sail. At least your starting to plan your trip.
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Old 04-16-2007
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Denise:

Here is a good site to plan those tidal currents in the Delaware Bay an coast.
FishWeather.com - DE- Delmarva Wind Data
As you can see, the fastest tide currents are in the center shipping channel. Plenty of water to sail in less current outside of the channel.
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Old 04-16-2007
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Denise,

I would suggest getting a copy of the tidal current tables and tidal tables 1 2 and 3 to plan your trip. If you do not know how to use them I suggest learning before making the trip. The Tidal range and current velocities increase as you sail towards higher latitudes. Additionally I would recommend downloading The Coast Pilot Nos 2 & 3. Office of Coast Survey - United States Electronic Coast Pilot download

The Coast Pilots will tell you alot about what you need to know. It does help to know how to pilot a vessel. In fact I would not take an extended voyage without having someone on board who knows how to navigate WITHOUT a GPS.

Yamsailor
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