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post #11 of 33 Old 01-28-2014
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

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Josh, if he doesn't reply soon, send a PM to JamesWilson, too. He's done it twice, I think, and fairly recent.
Thanks, Jim, and just for the record (if anyone is interested):

I have 3 Delmarva circumnavigations, 2 recent solo counterclockwise in my Pearson 28 in 2012 and 2013, and a 1993 clockwise in my then Pearson 26. I also sailed from the Potomac to Cape May and back solo via Cape Charles on the Pearson 28 in 2012, so I have been up or down the Delmarva coast a total of 5 times now, 4 solo and recent.

As a youngster, I sailed from Annapolis to Cape May and back on the inside route twice with the family, once in a Venture 24(my parents and three kids!) and once in an O'Day 27.

It is a great trip. I recommend it to all sailors.
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post #12 of 33 Old 03-04-2014
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

Definitely go counter clockwise. Never done a Delmarva but have done DE Bay more than I care to. IF you time it right you can ride the flood UP the DE Bay, and through the C/D canal and then catch the ebb down the Chesapeake! Did that on the delivery of my boat 2 years ago. IIRC we made 90+ miles under power in under 14 hours w/o pushing things.

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post #13 of 33 Old 03-04-2014
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

No circumnav experienc heree, but I'm getting to know the Delaware pretty well. Currents can be swift, and it will be a LONG day if you try to go against them. You'll zigzag backwards if you try to tack against both wind+current.

As a rule, going upriver on the Delaware, if you have the current with you in the river, you will have the current with you in the canal entrance and can continue westbound into the canal without waiting. Going the other direction, if you have the current with you eastbound in the canal, you often have to wait a several hours by Reedy Island for the current to turn favorable. And you may not make it to Lewes before it turns against you. As a general rule, you have 7 hours of favorable current going upriver, but only 5 hours favorable going downriver. If you think about how waves propagate up a channel, you'll be able to visualize this. Check the current tables for yourself to verify, but every time I look at them, these required delays seem to crop up.

The Delaware River currents, plus the tendency to have southerlies in the summer, is probably why most people do it counterclockwise.

One other observation - even since I was a child, whenever I was at the shore, be it in NJ, DE, MD, or VA, the breakers always seemed to push me gradually toward the north. I'd play in the water for an hour, and look up and see that I was 1/4 mile north from where I started. I don't know if this is the Gulf steam effect or something else, but it sure seemed like the prevailing ocean current was always to the north. Does this match up with what others have seen?


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post #14 of 33 Old 03-04-2014
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

Rick, I think that varies by day. When we were at the NJ shore this past summer, we found ourselves heading South some days. I think it has as much to do with the wind direction as anything. The prevailing southerlies would tend to push you north, but if you're there on a day when it's blowing from the north, I think you'll wind up being pushed south.

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post #15 of 33 Old 03-05-2014
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

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As a rule, going upriver on the Delaware, if you have the current with you in the river, you will have the current with you in the canal entrance and can continue westbound into the canal without waiting. Going the other direction, if you have the current with you eastbound in the canal, you often have to wait a several hours by Reedy Island for the current to turn favorable. And you may not make it to Lewes before it turns against you. As a general rule, you have 7 hours of favorable current going upriver, but only 5 hours favorable going downriver.
I'm confused about what you are describing.

With just a little bit of timing I've had a decent boost from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the Delaware Bay Capes and from the Capes to the bridge. Are you talking about the river or the bay?

Coming in from offshore I often anchor behind the breakwater at Cape Henlopen for a nap and wait for slack before flood to head up the Delaware Bay. NW winds make heading up the Delaware a little more time sensitive. Maybe its an STW thing? You definitely have to keep boat speed up to keep the boost.

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post #16 of 33 Old 03-05-2014
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

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I'm confused about what you are describing.

With just a little bit of timing I've had a decent boost from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the Delaware Bay Capes and from the Capes to the bridge. Are you talking about the river or the bay?... Maybe its an STW thing? You definitely have to keep boat speed up to keep the boost.
I am referring to the river, where it narrows north of they bay and the currents accelerate. The tide is basically a "wave" that propagates up the river. If you are going upriver, you're going in the same direction as that wave and you'll see favorable currents for a longer time (~7 hours). If you're going down river, you're going in the opposite direction from the wave, so you'll see the favorable current for a shorter time (~5 hours).

Greater hull speed always helps because you can minimize the effect of current by getting further before the current shifts to an unfavorable direction.


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post #17 of 33 Old 03-06-2014
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

My home port is Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay and inlet. Just a note that the old 35' high bridge at Indian River Inlet was taken down last year. It now has a new 45' high bridge. I don't know your air draft. The Indian River Marina is very new and has transient slips, floating docks, restaurant, showers etc.. No problem with water depth as it is just inside the inlet. Take the inlet on slack current or with flood current. I've never had any problem during those conditions. Also slack current lags behind the change of tide tables by about an hour. So if the tide table says change of tide is 9:00 at the bridge or Coast Guard Station, then plan on slack current at around 10:00. Outgoing current sets up some standing waves at the mouth that can give you a pucker factor if you haven't done them before, and never do out going current with an onshore wind.
I am also a big fan of Lewes, DE which is accessed through the Roosevelt Inlet (no bridge). That inlet is very nice in almost all conditions. Lewes also has a city dock and transient slips that are brand new. Lewes is a very friendly family oriented small town with nice shops and restaurants and with a nice beach.
I fish a lot in the Delaware Bay and I would go up the bay with the tide and wind. If you ever do get caught in a tide against wind chop in the Delaware Bay, get out of the main channel and go along the west coast a few miles out. The current isn't nearly as bad. Look at your chart for depths. There are a few landing points on the west coast of the Delaware Bay. One north of Lewes is Cedar Creek/Mispillion River. The next further north is Bowers Beach. They are dredging that river now, but that river has a lot of current. Just some bailout points if you ever need them. By the end of May the prevailing wind is starting to come from the south or southeast. Also, along the Maryland and Delaware beaches to about 15 miles out, incoming tide goes north up the coast and out going tide goes south down the coast. Its about 1/2 to a 1 knot depending on Moon phase, so its worth planning to have in your favor. Have a great trip. Its a trip I really would like to do one day, but with a Helms 25, I would really have to have the time to plan around weather windows.

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post #18 of 33 Old 03-06-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

Thanks for the great details on currents am tides. I need to sit down and lay out a precise plan. All the tide entry exit planning gives me something else to think about.

Josh
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post #19 of 33 Old 03-06-2014
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

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Thanks for the great details on currents am tides. I need to sit down and lay out a precise plan. All the tide entry exit planning gives me something else to think about.

Josh
If you want a second opinion on your calculations, post your itinerary with dates and approximate times and I would be glad to work out the tides and currents with you in the thread using Eldridge's and other references...
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post #20 of 33 Old 03-06-2014
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Re: Delmarva Circumnavigation

2014 Tidal Current Predictions - NOAA Tides & Currents


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
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