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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Tell me about the Delaware Bay
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Thread: Tell me about the Delaware Bay Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-10-2012 08:36 PM
Ulladh
Re: Tell me about the Delaware Bay

If the intent is passage through Delaware Bay as quickly as possible then it will either be unpleasant or boring,
While I would not recommend the bay as a destination for most sailors the wide waters mostly exceeding 20ft depth but some very sailable waters at about 9ft, and steady winds can be a delightful place to set your sails and stay on a single tack for half a day.

Fortesque was schedule for dredging by NJ last year, but I don't think it happened. The State Marina at Fortesque reports 9ft water, but the approach to Fortesque from the bay is a bit to shallow for my comfort, I swear I bounced of the bottom in a two foot swell with 4ft draft a few times last time I was there.

I will try it again this summer, and should be OK two hours before and after low tide.

Update;
Fortesque bulkhead was repaired, but dredging is still at the planning stage.
03-10-2012 01:48 AM
wbuckl
Re: Tell me about the Delaware Bay

Have sailed the bay a dozen times in each direction with crew and single-handed, generally found the Delaware bay less than pleasant and generally was happy to put in to Cape May or slip into the canal. Tried it at night (before GPS and chartplotters and still light on experience and it was down-right frightening, especially at night when thick fog rolled in. We headed for thin water (less than ten feet and anchored) and watched as the lights from tugs put a glow into the fog. The few marinas are for fishing boats, (Fortesque I think) we got in with our 6' draft to get fuel but almost didn't make it out due to a falling tide.

With an experienced crew it isn't a problem, it helps to have Radar and a good chartplotter at the helm. It doesn't hurt to have two hands on deck at night to help track Navigational lights and shipping. Once you've done it successfully in adverse conditions it will boost your confidence.
11-17-2011 10:14 AM
jameswilson29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
Scaring people on forums is grand sport...
You are taking all the fun out of this.
11-17-2011 08:12 AM
BubbleheadMd Dave,

That's really helpful. As PDQ says, trying to stick to a schedule exposes you to more problems. I've read a lot of chatter lately about people who have put themselves in a bad position by letting the schedule make decisions for them.

My job lets me accrue over two and a half months of vacation, and I'm pretty certain that I could actually use it if I provided enough notice and planning.

I'd like to visit Maine someday, and I was asking about the De Bay for planning purposes.
11-16-2011 11:57 PM
chef2sail Delaware Bay weather- Prevailing winds

Here is the site I use

Delaware Bay and C & D Canal

Weather
Strong north westerlies are prevalent from November through March; gales are encountered about 1 to 3
percent of the time.It has been reported that with sustained north westerlies over an extended period of time, lower than predicted low tides may occur in Delaware Bay and River and its tributaries.Seas build to 10 feet (3 m)or more about 1 percent of the time from November through March.High seas are most likely with northwest or southeast winds. Average seas run 3 feet (0.9 m) from October through March.During the summer, prevailing southerlies are often reinforced by the sea breeze and afternoon wind speeds may reach 15 to 25 knots strong easterly or southeasterly winds

Dave
11-16-2011 11:45 PM
RichH Dont get me wrong, The Del Bay is quite nice for sailing up/down.

One has to realize that the predominant winds for the upper and mid bay are SW (beam reaching stuff) and you usually get an onshore sea breeze near the 'points'.
Yes, its unspoiled and uninhabited for most of the bay ... and thats the 'nice' part. Only near the town of Cape May will you receive the obligatory 'severely waked' by the numerous sport fishing boats frenetically traversing the inlets, otherwise the Del. Bay is 'vacant' ... and thats a good thing if you're sailing.

If you catch the tides/current correctly you'll 'scoot', If you dont catch the tides/currents correctly you not enjoy as much. Only on a NW or SE 'blow' does it get 'especially' rough ... and these are not 'predominant' winds.
11-16-2011 09:43 PM
pdqaltair
Tales of daring do are so much grander when we exagerate!

Scaring people on forums is grand sport.

As I stated before, I believe most transits of the Delaware are done under power in light winds and are merely dull. That said, any sort of distance cruising on a schedule exposes you to more potential for sailing in challenging conditions than an over night trip on the Chesapeake. That's just the way it is. You need to either stay near home or keep a flexible schedule.

The comment on not running the engine is wise. Also, NEVER use the grill near fly or mosquito infested shorelines; it's just like ringing the dinner bell.
11-16-2011 02:53 PM
PalmettoSailor Fortunately my wife doesn't read these boards, so there is still a chance of talking her into a trip up north and/or a Delmarva Circumnav.
11-16-2011 12:43 PM
ottos
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
It looks like a huge, shallow area with a very narrow channel. Can sailors safely navigate outside the channel to avoid being run down by large, commercial vessels, or is this not really a problem?
They're not so bad....



Taken somewhere near Ship John Shoal, Delaware Bay while on a delivery.
11-16-2011 10:40 AM
jameswilson29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulladh View Post
I am fortunate to have a wilderness lightly touched by European settlement so close.
Are we still talking about New Jersey?
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