SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,189 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've traveled up and down the Delaware River a few times in years past and everyone seems to have an opinion.
To me, it seems to just be a long boring slog with the motor on and no sailing no matter what you do.

Some folks figure that since the trip in the river alone is 10+ hours the tide is going to be wrong half the time no matter what so don't even think about it.
Some folks try to time it, to what end I'm not sure.

Even if you are going south and catch the current change at slack before an ebb at Reedy Is it looks like the current will change against you only five hours later and you will have foul current for the last 5 hours.
Is there any strategy that is faster than any other than staying to the side where there is hopefully less current?

Every time I've done the trip it seems like part was slow and part was less slow.

What do you think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,067 Posts
Yup, sounds honest. If you are going to "time" the tides, you focus on the canal and upper portion, where the tide is stronger.

My fastest trip was under sail. A good northwest wind, fast enough to run the tide the whole way (I was over 10 knots most of the time). Motoring it is just a drag. Stay away from the lighthouses; they are full of biting flies that will follow you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,189 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yup, sounds honest. If you are going to "time" the tides, you focus on the canal and upper portion, where the tide is stronger.

My fastest trip was under sail. A good northwest wind, fast enough to run the tide the whole way (I was over 10 knots most of the time). Motoring it is just a drag. Stay away from the lighthouses; they are full of biting flies that will follow you.
Good catch on the upper vs lower.
I see that for June 1 the ebb is -1.3 at Reedy Point, -1.0 midway and -1.3 at the Entrance
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
The current runs swift off Artificial Island (Salem Power Plant), eases up after Ship John Light as the bay opens then is fairly light after Miah Maull Shoal. Square waves driven by wind against current over 20ft or less water depth has a bigger impact on comfortable progress. Plan for the current and prepare for unfavorable wind.
 
  • Like
Reactions: eherlihy

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,540 Posts
I will be making the same trip, HOPEFULLY, on the same date. We are currently pinned down by weather in Annapolis, and want to leave on Monday.

I have never been on the Delaware River, and don't know the geographic references, so I will be following this thread with interest.
 

·
Registered
Bristol 29.9
Joined
·
358 Posts
We’ve traveled north on the Delaware twice. It’s an unholy body of water that we’ve avoided by going outside when the weather cooperates.

One option if you don’t want to fight the current for half of it is to anchor in the Cohansey River and catch a fair current the rest of the way the next day. The current is strong enough that it will strum your chain like the devil’s banjo (to quote Mr. cthoops), but the holding is great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
The Delaware River and Bay are one of those bodies of water that take some time to get to know and then you fall in love with it.

The bay is edged with wetlands and wildlife areas, migratory and resident birds, sea turtles, rays, wandering cetacean, and of course black and greenhead flies which are a vital part of the food chain for the small fish in the wetlands and bats, martins and swifts.

I sail from Philadelphia to Cape May every other year and to Delaware City, just up river from the C&D entrance at least once every year, except last year.

For me it is a three day trip, in a 20ft boat, 80% to 90% under sail.

Day one Philadelphia to Delaware City, Day two Delaware City to Hancock Harbor on the Cohansey River, Day three to Cape May or Bidwell Creek/Reeds Beach (Cape May Middle Township). A larger boat would transit from the C&D to Cape May in one day, or Philadelphia to the Cohansey in one day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,402 Posts
I think one place to start your planning is to ask yourself , "When do I want to arrive" ? and then back out the time and see what fits best regarding currents and tides.

I would think that you'd might want to arrive in Cape May in daylight, ( High tide might be desirable too) ( slack might be good too ) as you'll have to go around the outside and then enter the inlet from the ocean side, find an anchorage or a slip, get fuel etc. Same idea if you intend to head to Lewes. Of course the Weather has to be factored in too. The Bay is a nasty place in foul weather with few escapes. Jon Eisberg posted a chart of the Delaware Bay Currents a number of years ago. I have it in a JPG file. I'll see if I can upload it. Otherwise you might find it in a search here.
 

·
bell ringer
Joined
·
5,129 Posts
I have done the C&D route 3 times. It never has seemed a big deal. Not like the currents, directions, timing is a secret.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,402 Posts
For June 1st ? I think I'd get out of Chesapeake City around 3 a.m. , and get in to Cape May on a Rising tide, with the rest of the day to chill. Fuel up, Take Hot showers and Go out for a Lobster Dinner. High Tide in Cape May is around 2 p.m. Then look at the Weather for the Trip up the N.J. Coast. Wait for a good Window, don't beat yourself and your new boat up, fighting contrary winds and seas.

I've left Chesapeake City once at 2:30 a.m. it's lit up like a Highway. No big deal. I think it's about 12 miles to the bay from there. So you'll get daylight soon enough, once on the Bay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,402 Posts
So what'as the deal? When are you leaving? The next few days look good for a run up the NJ coast. Thursday could get dicey,
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,540 Posts
We left Annapolis at 0530 on Monday. Winds were good, and the current turned favorable after a couple of hours as we headed up the bay. By the time we C&D Canal (12:30) the current was ripping in our favor. The boat went through the Canal at over 8kts most of the way! As a result, we entered the Delaware River at 1430!

Once in the Delaware, the current was foul until we passed Artificial Island and the nuke. Then it turned in our favor, and we made it to our initial target anchorage (Nantuxet Cove) by 7pm. We SHOULD have kept going.

The wind had completely died by 1600, and we rode the current. However, by 2000 the wind piped up from the south, making it a horrible place to rest. I gave up by 2100, and we set out, dodging crab pots by spotlight, for Cape May.

In order to stay clear of the pots, I made a bee line for the shipping channel. This was a good decision until midnight, when my AIS display suddenly showed 5 targets closing on me from both ahead and astern. One vessel hailed us by name, and politely asked me to get out of the channel.

We made it into the anchorage at Cape May at 0330 this morning.

The Delaware River sucks!
 
  • Like
Reactions: T37Chef and cthoops

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,189 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We left Annapolis at 0530 on Monday. Winds were good, and the current turned favorable after a couple of hours as we headed up the bay. By the time we C&D Canal (12:30) the current was ripping in our favor. The boat went through the Canal at over 8kts most of the way! As a result, we entered the Delaware River at 1430!

Once in the Delaware, the current was foul until we passed Artificial Island and the nuke. Then it turned in our favor, and we made it to our initial target anchorage (Nantuxet Cove) by 7pm. We SHOULD have kept going.

The wind had completely died by 1600, and we rode the current. However, by 2000 the wind piped up from the south, making it a horrible place to rest. I gave up by 2100, and we set out, dodging crab pots by spotlight, for Cape May.

In order to stay clear of the pots, I made a bee line for the shipping channel. This was a good decision until midnight, when my AIS display suddenly showed 5 targets closing on me from both ahead and astern. One vessel hailed us by name, and politely asked me to get out of the channel.

We made it into the anchorage at Cape May at 0330 this morning.

The Delaware River sucks!
That sounds miserable
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I just made a similar trip last Sunday, going from Riverside NJ down to Cape May NJ. We did it in two legs over two days, stopping overnight at Summit North Marina in the C&D Canal. I think our first leg was 8 hours, while the second was 11. My depth finder died, so I skirted the channel as much as possible using Navionics on my phone. It was long, and sometimes boring, but something I always wanted to do. I wanted to reposition marinas for the summer and I wanted to get there during daylight.

We did not sail at all, motoring all the way. I am in a Catalina 30, so we are not a fast boat, but a lot of the time going down the river the wind was on our nose (bow), which would make sailing difficult; too much tacking. Our slowest time was 4 kts, while our fastest times were +8 kts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
I just made a similar trip last Sunday, going from Riverside NJ down to Cape May NJ. We did it in two legs over two days, stopping overnight at Summit North Marina in the C&D Canal. I think our first leg was 8 hours, while the second was 11. My depth finder died, so I skirted the channel as much as possible using Navionics on my phone. It was long, and sometimes boring, but something I always wanted to do. I wanted to reposition marinas for the summer and I wanted to get there during daylight.

We did not sail at all, motoring all the way. I am in a Catalina 30, so we are not a fast boat, but a lot of the time going down the river the wind was on our nose (bow), which would make sailing difficult; too much tacking. Our slowest time was 4 kts, while our fastest times were +8 kts.
I am confused, why would you overnight at Summit North in the C&D if transiting from Riverside NJ to Cape May NJ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
What do you mean? Transiting the Delaware from Riverside to Cape May is 95 Nm and took 19 hours. I decided to break the trip into two legs to make it more manageable for me and my wife. This was our first voyage leaving our marina, and first time down the Delaware, which is fatiguing because of the busy commercial shipping up and down that stretch.

I intended to overnight at Delaware City, but they were closing at 4:00 PM and I would not make, so they suggested I go into the canal and try North Summit.

Thanks,

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
I was just wonder it is halfway down the C&D to Summit and halfway back to the Delaware. I have docked at Delaware City after closing, just tie up close to the fuel dock and pay the next morning when they open.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top