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4arch 06-14-2011 09:15 PM

Chesapeake to Newport - first ocean sail
Apologies in advance for the long post! My wife and I just returned from a cruise from Baltimore to Newport and I wanted to record the events and some of my thoughts/observations. We sailed with a friend on his 35 foot sloop. He's done the trip several times now but it was the first sail outside the Chesapeake for my wife and myself.

Saturday June 4, 2011 Left Baltimore at 7 AM and headed down the Patapsco and up the Chesapeake toward the C&D canal. Wind at less than 5 knots meant motoring all day but the current was giving us an extra knot or so of lift most of the way up the Bay. We arrived at the Chesapeake City anchorage about 3 PM by which point the few deep water slips at Chesapeake Inn were already taken. We decided to anchor in the tiny and already fairly crowded basin but right when we were about to drop the anchor, the dock master at the Chesapeake Anchorage Marina shouted to us that he had a spot on his T-head. Had dinner and walked around Chesapeake City.

Sunday June 5, 2011 Woke up at 6:30 AM and found the tide just coming in. The depth gauge indicated the keel must have been kissing the bottom but we decided to attempt to get away from the slip. We fired up the motor and plowed through slowly, making it first into deeper water in the basin and finally to the canal. The goal was to make it up the C&D, across the Delaware, and through the Cape May canal by 5 PM. This timing was dictated by the fact that the mast could only fit under the two bridges spanning the Cape May canal at low tide. We again rode a nice current on the canal and made it to the Delaware Bay by mid morning. In the Delaware we had a nice sail on a beam reach with the current still behind. Eventually the wind lightened and went forward so we motor sailed in the afternoon. We made it to the mouth of the canal around 4:30 and successfully under the bridges. It was an adjustment getting used to our sailing being so dictated by currents and tides since they usually aren't much at play here on the central Chesapeake.

Monday June 6, 2011 We were on our way out of Cape May by 8 AM (got to sleep in a little due to the tide being too low to leave earlier!) and headed out to the ocean. Unfortunately there was no wind all day. We motor sailed continuously from 8 AM Monday until 5 AM Tuesday. Saw some porpoises mid morning, but not much else to speak of the rest of the day. Around 6 PM Monday was the low point of the trip for me. With no wind and the sun beating down all day on a boat with no canvas, I was feeling queasy and wondering why I signed up. I think the queasiness was more from being sun stroked than sea sick, and the constant noise and vibration of the engine did me no favors either. By sunset with some dinner in my stomach and the sun retreating, I was feeling better as we moved toward our 3 on/3 off night watch cycle. My wife and I took 9-midnight and 3-6 AM as our on watch shifts. All the lights on the fishing boats were difficult to figure out but I don't think we ever got closer than a mile to any other traffic after dark.

Tuesday June 7, 2011 The wind finally picked up on our 3-6 shift and we were able to turn the engine off and sail on a broad reach. Sunrise greeted us with more porpoises and we continued under sail for several more hours until the wind died late morning and we had to go back to motor sailing. We arrived in Block Island at 5:30 and tied up at a marina on the Salt Pond. Walked to town and strolled around a bit and had a nice dinner.

Wednesday June 8, 2011 Did a little more exploring around the island before putting back out to sea around 10 AM. Wind was calm and on out tail again so more motor sailing most of the AM until the wind picked up to around 15 knots about a mile outside the mouth of Narragansett Bay. Had a nice beam reach into the Bay and did a little day sailing outside Newport before heading into the harbor. We found a slip at the Newport Yacht Club and that was the end of the road for us.

We stayed on the boat Wednesday night and after being invited into the NYC coffee klatch on Thursday AM my wife and I decamped to a hotel for a few nights to tour the town. Relief crew arrived and the boat is now sailing on to Martha's Vineyard. We were kind of disappointed to not be heading back out to sea but the experience got us excited to do this again and to cruise more of New England and beyond.

chef2sail 06-15-2011 06:25 AM

What kind of boat was it. Donna and I have made this trip many times and each time we have had a great time. In Cape May did you anchor or take a slip. Maybe next year you guys will take the trip with your boat and join us. We dont usually go all the way up on the outside and take time to come in at 3 every afternoon and try and enjoy the town and anchorage that we have plopped the anchor or taken the mooring in. Most of tyhe towns have launches which are covered by the 25 dollar mooring cost. We occasssionally take slips also.


SVAuspicious 06-15-2011 08:40 AM

Congratulations on your first offshore experience. Fun, isn't it? *grin*

4arch 06-15-2011 12:11 PM

The boat's a Baltic 35 VTM. We took a slip in Cape May at Utschs. I don't think my friend's a big anchoring/mooring fan and we were just along for the ride as far as route planning and stop overs. He also wanted to maximize his time in NE instead of being more leisurely going up. We wouldn't have made all the same choices (but that's always the case when you're on other people's boats) but it was still a lot of fun and gave us the confidence to do it again - and going on our own boat's not out of the question at all.

chef2sail 06-15-2011 05:39 PM

Well the offers there for next year to go up with us. Utschs are family friends of mine for the last 25 years...we always visit with them when we travel. There is a great breakfast restauarant and restauarant across the street (not the Lobster House tourist trap) and my 2nd most favorite restauarant in the whole world is in Cape May. The Ebbit Room in the Virginia Hotel. It is a treat every year for my wife. My first favorite is Roys in Pouipu Kauai or in Kannapoli Maui. Lets get together and talk soon.


brokesailor 06-16-2011 03:51 AM

Make sure you post next year when you are going to make the trip. I would like to do the trip also. Would need to coordinate dates with vacation etc.

4arch 06-16-2011 06:22 AM

Maybe a raft up or shoreside rendezvous sometime before this sailing season's over would be in order to discuss the possibilities for next year.

CapnBones 03-07-2012 08:15 AM

Re: Chesapeake to Newport - first ocean sail
Ended up on this thread and this is something that I am looking to do this summer, I sail out of Kent Narrows. If you guys do set dates to go let me know perhaps I could tag along. I have never done the trip before so it would be nice to do it with another boat or two.

chef2sail 03-07-2012 10:35 AM

Re: Chesapeake to Newport - first ocean sail
We are leaving Friday August 17. 4Arch is going as far as NYC. We are headed up to LI Sound and beyound and will return September 3. We would welcome other boats. 4 Arch has the same boat you do. Feel free to PM me.


ottos 03-07-2012 03:20 PM

Re: Chesapeake to Newport - first ocean sail
Chef -

If you stop by at Utsch's I'd love to share a cold one and meet the OC expat ;-)

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