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Looking to buy a boat just north of atlantic city. I need information about getting it to northern part of the chesapeake. I was thinking of going off shore from great bay to cape may because of my 45 foot height. I do not have offshore experience but do have chesapeake bay experience. What inlets are safe to use for cover in case of a storm between AC and Cape May. The charts only make reference to local navigation bouys and shoaling. Is is possible to anchor somewhere in the cape may harbor area overnight? (4.6 foot draft) Any advise on proceeding up the delaware bay? The anchorage areas around the mouth of the D and C canal are they only for large commercial boats? My intention is to anchor somewhere near the openning on the 2nd night. Then it should be a short motor through the D & C canal to more familar waters.
 

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Between AC and Cape May there are no safe inlets. Nevertheless it is a DAY TRIP...you can wait for a good forecast leave in the AM and be into safe harbor well before evening. No big deal...just wait for the right weather! My recollection is that you can anchor just off the Coast Guard Station there in Cape May
You can go out the back side of Cape May with that mast height and save time going up the Delaware. Get a VERY early start as it will be a long day to the C&D and you will be fighting current for some portion of the trip. Stay just outside the shipping channel on the way up to avoid the big ships and the worst current....of course USE the channel when it is giving you a ride...but keep an eye peeled.
There is a small anchorage just north outside of the C&D. Stay near the shallows and no worries about the big boys!
There is also a marina near the East End.
SUMMITNORTHMARINA.COM
 

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A few more thoughts...

Between AC and Cape May there are no safe inlets. Nevertheless it is a DAY TRIP...you can wait for a good forecast leave in the AM and be into safe harbor well before evening. No big deal...just wait for the right weather! My recollection is that you can anchor just off the Coast Guard Station there in Cape May
You can go out the back side of Cape May with that mast height and save time going up the Delaware. Get a VERY early start as it will be a long day to the C&D and you will be fighting current for some portion of the trip. Stay just outside the shipping channel on the way up to avoid the big ships and the worst current....of course USE the channel when it is giving you a ride...but keep an eye peeled.
There is a small anchorage just north outside of the C&D. Stay near the shallows and no worries about the big boys!
There is also a marina near the East End.
SUMMITNORTHMARINA.COM
The Cape May Inlet (Cold Spring Inlet) can be nasty in on-shore conditions, so be careful if it is strong from the east. The Bay-side inlet (Cape May Canal) is all-weather.

Chesapeake City is also a good stopping point in the C&D. However, I don't recommend the C&D at night; if the visibility is good it is fine. If it is rainy, it is a nightmare.

As suggested, a very early morning with the tide. Wait for a weather window, if need be. No strong west or north winds. North wind against rising tide - very nasty, did it once.

Very straight forward, in fair weather.
 

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You can definately anchor off the Coast Gaurd station at Cape May. Bridge height is 55 feet so you should have no problem. There is a marnia at the west end of the Cape May channel. The C&D is big and straight forward.

The Delaware is huge, you cannot see across it.

Gary
 

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Atlantic City to Cape May is a day trip. Cape May to the C&D is a long day trip. If you don't want to anchor at Cape May you can stay at Utsch's or the Canal Club Marina (some people have said this place hates blowboaters but we were fine when we stayed there). If you enter the Delaware right at slack, you should be able to follow the flood almost the whole way to the C&D Canal. There are a couple of places you can anchor on the east side of canal if you want to stop for the night, or you can head to one of the marinas on the canal or the Delaware City Marina just north of the canal for the night.
 

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South Jersey Marina in Cape May is also nice. Facilities are decent. There's a diner there called Dock Mike's that has an AWESOME breakfast menu. Try the orange zest pancakes, you won't regret it.

My mast height is 49 ft plus the VHF antenna and I had a serious pucker going under the bridges and powerlines. And when I wasn't looking up to see if I'd clear the bridges, I was looking down at my depth gauge. There's a box on the chart that describes the observed depths (source: Army Corps of Engineers) in various parts of the channel. Read that.

We did New York Harbor to Cape May in under 20 hours in both directions, motoring one direction and motorsailing the other. We did Cape May to the Bohemia River in a long day, motorsailing. Same going the opposite direction. The Bohemia is a nice place to anchor if you don't want to squeeze into Chesapeake City. A lot of folks anchor just off the channel in the Elk a few miles below the canal, though you'll be rocked by a few tug wakes overnight.

The currents in the C&D can be fun. Eastbound, we had the current with us, so I opened the throttle to see what we could do. 11.5 kts over the ground!! On the return trip, we bucked a 1.5 knot current from Cape May all the way through to the last mile or so of the canal.
 

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I did that trip in the opposite direction last June. I will reiterate the advice to plan for the current in the Delaware River. It would be slow going against it.



We made it (with the current) from the Bohemia River through the C&D Canal to Cape May via the Cape May Inlet in one day. Like the others have recommended, we anchored off the Coast Guard Training Center. It was fun to watch them march around, but it was not quiet.
 

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We have done this trip 5 times in the last 5 years and will do it this year as we go from the Patapsco (Rock Creek) to Mystic, Conn. Atlantic City to Cape May is an enjoyable day sail. Having lived in Ocean City NJ for 18 years I would tell you no inlet in between AC and Cape May is a good one. I have been in Little Egg but I lived there many years. Cape May and Atlantic City are the two best inlets in NJ. We stay at Utsches at the foot of the bridge always on our trips and have always been welcome by them. The CG anchorage is a good one, but you will be up early with the wash of all the Head boats heading out for fishing. You can easily clear the 55 GS Parkway bridge so use the canal. Start early up the Delaware as no matter when you go you WILL face the tide demon at some time during the trip.

The advice to go to the Bohemia is good as thats where we inevitably wind up, but beware it is shallow. We usually wind up near the mouth on the north side as their is good water there and you are out of the wakes from the tugs and the S breeze. I would not stop at Chesapeake City in the canal as the anchorage is very small, ripping 2 knot current inside with people with shortened rodes (you will never sleep). A recipie for dragging and bumping. If you cant make the canal hole up behind Reedy Island. Its about 6 miles south of the canal on the Delaware side. You go through a small passage through two rock jetties and have space and protection behind it from tanker wakes. There is a good current there though so watch your anchor. We use Reedy Island as our destination for our first night stop on our trips dfown the Delaware. From there it is 8 hours to cape May (depending on current).

Fell free to PM me with other questions.

Dave
 

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You can also anchor on the NW side of the entrance to the C&D Canal. I prefer to tuck up between the jetty and the shore if wind conditions allow, but have anchored between Pea Patch Island and the bar that runs along side the channel when I needed protection from the North.

With your draft you can anchor on either side of the Bohemia. I like to tuck into Veazey Cove on the south side. We spent our first night on the Chesapeake there. Beautiful sunsets.

We purchased our first east coast boat at Pt Pleasant, NJ and made a very similar trip. We went out Manasquan Inlet to Atlantic City, Atlantic City to Cape May and Cape May to the Bohamia River. If you can pick a day with an incoming tide that coincides with daylight hours, you can ride the current all the way. Enjoy your trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
More detail on reedy island

.... If you cant make the canal hole up behind Reedy Island. Its about 6 miles south of the canal on the Delaware side. You go through a small passage through two rock jetties and have space and protection behind it from tanker wakes. There is a good current there though so watch your anchor. We use Reedy Island as our destination for our first night stop on our trips dfown the Delaware. From there it is 8 hours to cape May (depending on current).

Fell free to PM me with other questions.

Dave
Dave,

I just realized I was missing the chart that showed reedy island. When I look at it there is deep water on the south side (delaware side) of the island that I would have to get into well below the island when coming up the bay. Is that where the 2 rock jetties are or are you talking about the upper part above the island where it appears to get shallow? It seemed like your description was going the other way so I am guessing its the upper part just before the d & c Canal. I assume you would stay out of the cable area when anchoring there. Would you set 2 anchors one upstream and one downstream for when the tide flips?

General question,
What is the procedure for going through the canal? I seem to remember reading you have to call ahead 2 hours before you are going to arrive. Is that just a radio call?
 

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Not unless you are a ship.

Dave,

I just realized I was missing the chart that showed reedy island. When I look at it there is deep water on the south side (delaware side) of the island that I would have to get into well below the island when coming up the bay. Is that where the 2 rock jetties are or are you talking about the upper part above the island where it appears to get shallow? It seemed like your description was going the other way so I am guessing its the upper part just before the d & c Canal. I assume you would stay out of the cable area when anchoring there. Would you set 2 anchors one upstream and one downstream for when the tide flips?

General question,
What is the procedure for going through the canal? I seem to remember reading you have to call ahead 2 hours before you are going to arrive. Is that just a radio call?
No need to call ahead. And, should a big ship seem close, get to the side into less water than they draw. Most draw ~ 30'.

Additionally, it is best not to parallel a ship; let them pass you quickly and do not be next to them near a turn or near a bridge - they need the whole canal. Certainly it is rude to the pilot as well.
 

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The entrance to the area behind Reedy can be achieved in two ways. I have never done the full southern entrance but have seen boats come up that way, I go between the Green 1 and Red 2. The green 1 is one the dike (although there is a small island there now) and the red 2 is one the southern end of Reedy Island directly across from Augstine Beach. Come through between the two markers and you will be fine as the water depth is 12-15 ft. Arc slowly north after passing the red 2 and anchor up behind the island. Its about 20-30 ft there. You can get wind protection from the island if the wind is from the E or SE by going a little further North. If you want some breeze (usually our case as we are there on transit in July) stay where there is virtually no elevation to the island. I have never had to use two anchors there. Your best bet if coming from Cape May is to try and make it to the Bohemia. Not necessary to let the Canal know you are coming through. Just be careful of the Cigarette Boats who love to crank in the calm waters of the canal. The canal has great width to it.

My first night anchored in behind Reedy was during a typical Chesapeake Bay T storm. What a great show with the lightning repeadedly hitting the Salem Nuke plant cooling tower about 5 miles away. What woke me up at night before the storm got there was the sudden rush of wind down the companionway into the cabin. At anchor usually the wind come through the front hatch, so I bolted up the steps as I though we had to be dragging anchor at 2 in the AM. The current was running opposite the wind at 2.5 knots and was the predominant force on the boat keeping it pointed into the current with stern into the wind. Was a good lesson is fluid dynamics.

Dave
 

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Lost count of how many times I've done the trip between C&D and Cape May.
Going up the Bay, if you leave an hour or 2 before slack, you won't have much current to contend with before getting a very nice lift. This should stay with up to, and through the C&D. Don't be afraid of the C&D in the dark. It's lit up like I-95. I prefer to stop at the cove in Chesapeake City. I've never experieced current in there. I've always found room to anchor, and if your lucky, the town has FREE docks and slips, with elec. & water for an extra $15. Nice boater friendly town. As far as avoiding the big ships and tugs, move to the sides and let them pass. The water is deep almost to the shore, and the canal is wide enough for 2 big ships to pass each other with plenty of room left for us. Just use your normal common sense, and you'll be fine.
Enjoy, Marc
 

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One other piece of advise, watch for the RR bridge, which is usually open. The last two times I have been through the canal, it has been down and I have had to get them to lift it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well this coming weekend I hope to do the trip from nj to the chesapeake. Hope to leave great bay on thursday or friday depending on the weather.
 

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I did the Delaware both ways in 07 and both way I experienced quite a blow and 6-8' waves. in my face from c&D to Cape May and following from cape may to C&D.
We (crew/family) and I were anchored in the chesapeake city basin (great place) and talked to several sailors anchored there. One sailor claimed extensive experience and talked aout the Delaware as if it was something to be wary of, and that there were no opportunites to seek shelter on the Delaware (not accurate). This scared us a bit. we stayed in the basin a few more days and spoke w/ other sailors who had made the trip before, and the city was handing out the previous years guide books covering the Delaware. Upon looking in the books I found 2-3 possible places to seek shelter.
As we exited the C&D towards Cape May we experienced building seas and increasing winds on the bow and decided to seek refuge into Cohansey creek on the east side of the Delaware about 1/2 way down to Cape May. It was a deep creek w/ a swift current and depths at the mouth of 40' we spent 2 days in there "hiding" from the blow and even went as far up as we could before grounding ! there are also 2 Marinas a mile or so in you cannot miss them. even pryed my wallet open and spent one night at one of them to give the crew a little shore leave.
I would suggest looking at the satalite shots of these areas on google earth or similiar maps , I wish I had looked more at these along the way it gives you a different perspective on the inlets and channels. Also you can Zoom in to the point of identifying actual sailboats ! when I see big motorboats and sailboats in locations it usually indicates good access.
Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
trip update

Trip update. Bought the boat (first mistake). Thursday sailed across great bay. Tried to roll the sails up but the roller gets stuck. Started intercoastal to atlantic city with both sails up. Ran aground had to call boat us to get off. Dropped sails at this point its low tide. Boat US guy guides us through the shallow spots. Almost got stuck again but managed to get it free. Stayed at at marine next to a restaurant which played music until 11:30.

Friday get up at 6 wife run aground again while I am trying to get the sailed up but manage to get it free again. Set sails head down coast. wind and wave build to 15+ knots (not quite in the right direction) and 3 feet. Try to reef main but I can not get the reef tack down to the boom. Again can not roll the genoa up. decide to drop jib. I get the jib down but not secured and the port upper shroud comes loose swinging wildly. I laying on the heaving deck with my legs on the jib to prevent it from blowing over board trying to catch the shroud with out getting hit in the head. I get the shroud secured and the jib secured and wired the turnbuckled that I could. The starboard lower shroud does not have any holes so it can not be wired (moused or siezed?). Run motor and full main only and were are moving maybe 3.5 knots. I look down and fuel gauge is on e. Shut down engine main only now moving maybe 2 knots. Can see wildwood ferris wheels. Call Boat US at 5 for diesel. Diesel arrives at 6:30 problems with cell phone and gps. should have just taken tow. Ben says its 7 mile to cape may. 7 mile at 4 knots 2 hours right wrong. One hour later I over heated the engine and it just died. Call Boat Us again for tow. Winds are calming put up jib. Ben gets there just as it is getting dark. Drop sails. still 3 foot wave almost get leg broken trying to fend of boat. We noticed when we ran the engine for a couple of hours we would get about 5 gallons of water in the little access spot for looking at keel bolts. Stuffing box is doing more than a drip when the motor is running. No automatic bilge pump. Ben (Boat US guy) is now towing us faster that the boat as probably gone in its life in the dark. He had arranged for us to get pulled to two mile marina for the night. $2 per foot. We get the boat tied up and I step into the cabin there was 4 inched of water in the boat. Spend half hour filling bucket and dumping water overboard. Get needed shower and go to bed.

Saturday get up late find key broken in switch. Take switch out to get part of key out. Jim and Mary (slip neightbor) help get it fixed. now water temperature gauge does not work. but engine will start. Head down or up cape may canal to delaware bay moving slow not pushing the motor. blowing 15 gusting to 23. Avoid the ferry. Get out of inlet experiencing 4 foot waves. Turn around. Stay at utches marina $2 per foot.

Sunday buy hand held radio (onboard radio is not working) and delware chart. I get the spinner pole off the front of the mast and try to get the rolling furler working. Low tide supposed to be 12. Winds east shifting to south. Decide to try to maurice river. Do not push motor have sail up head out 10 ish takes 2 hours to get to bay. Need to go exact north wind now out ot the south very light. moving very slow and need to go 14 miles to maurice river. Dark cloud to south. oil pressure goes to 0. Decide to go back to two mile marine.

I had to be back at work today. I plan to find a mechanic to look at engine, fix water temperature.

I have the following questions/concerns.

Any ideas on the rolling furler working? There were some lines crossed at the top which I think I have straightened out. There are 2 halyard running up the front of the mast. I am wondering if thr prior owner hooked up the wrong one. The one we have been using goes over a pulley at the top and into the mast then it comes out lower on the mast. The other halyard does not appear to go in the mast at all. I took the non active halyard and bungied it away from the active halyard yesterday but that did not work. The roller turn freely without the sail but it binds at the top with the sail on it.

The main has 2 reefing points in it however as I said I could not get the tack point down to the boom. In the track there is this big brass knob blocking the track that the maiin sail connectors go in. Below the brass knob the track has a big gap on the port side. I am guessing I needed to remove the knob to get the reef point down to the boom but I could not turn it. I am guessing the gap in the track is how you attach the sail to the mast but I wasn't going to mess with it bouncing around on the deck.

This engine does not have a tachometer. How am I supposed to tell when I have reached top cruising speed? Is it possible to add a tachometer?

Does anyone know a good trustworthing mechanic in the south jersey area that could check my engine out. At the very least I need the water temparature gauge fixed and I would like them to check out the oil pump/pressure.

When I overheated the engine I was showing roughly 4.5 knots on my gps (hard to tell because it jumps around a lot). After talking to people I am having my doubts about getting this boat up the delaware and through the canal. I do not know how far I can motor its certainly less than 4.5, maybe its 4? I thought were were doing more like 3 into the wind and waves. After how poorly the boat performed coming down from atlantic city I know it is not possible to make the 50 mile run in a day . I was thinking about going to the maurice river which is a 17-18 miles trip. One guy was saying the bay can have tide and current greater than 5 knots faster than I can motor and 1 knot less than my boats top sailing speed. So fighting the tide and current is out of the question. He said my best bet is to try to get to fortescue in one run from low to high (not sure how far that is) anchor and wait for the next low to high. I would have to wait 18 hours because I do not want to run at night for the next cycle. I would have to get out to the end of the canal (which took 2 hours on saturday and sunday with the tide against us both ways) right at low tide and have favorable winds and preferrably less than 2 foot waves. The directions is due north for maurice river and maybe like 340 to 350 for fortescue south wind is a dead run (slow), west/southwest wind would put us on the leeward shore with bigger waves. East or southeast I am guessing would be the best direction. and now for the hardest part how do I get all this to happen on a weekend? Any ideas on how I get the boat to the d & c? and can I then get through the d & c on a 4 knot motor?
 

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ekenna,

Dont give up. We all have had our misadventures, but it seems yours all came in one trip. I would suggest you get a reliable motor and solve that problem first. Take someone experienced with you. You will learn faster that way and follow the tide up the Deleware. Once you get out of the Bay and into the river it is not so fierce. YOU can ride with the tide up the river at 7 knots an hour if your motor cabn make 4 at slack tide. Anchor Spots are Cohaneassey River, Reedy Island as mentioned before. Both are acheivable for you. I would not waste my time tacking and trying to make distance but follow a direct path. The Delaware is tough to sail with a destination. We usually wind up motorsailing it. Once you hit Reedy it will be easy. You time the tide into the canal and get pushed through in 3 hours. Once on the Chesapeake side there are many stop off and anchoring places. Rememeber the British took their sailing ships up the Delaware without motors.

Dont give up. Your boat is not as sound as you thought, but all boats have their problems. You just fix them and improve them. It is a constant game as well all know.

Dave
 

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Keep working at it. It sounds like your getting a fair dose of "new owner"
You've got alot of catch-up to do in the sailing and maintenance areas , coupled with the time/stress factor it probably seems overwhelming.
I had similiar issues when I first started out as well. All the mechanical stuff is a pain , if you stick with it and ask alot of people alot of questions you'll figure it out , hopefully sooner than later.
The tide and wind issues take a little getting used to. Only time and experience will solve these mysteries.
Watch the other sailors and see who sails and who motors. Follw the sailors. they won't be fighting the elements. they will be following them.
People have been sailing far and wide with much less capable sailing rigs/designs than we have today. Also, without the convenience of engines.
Check out Cohansey creek fo a shorter hop from cape may. Both marinas have lifts and yards. there was alot of work being done when I came through in 07. I'm sure there are people there who would be willing to offer advice.
 
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