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I have been in the C&C Canal once at night when we saw a big ship ( lights and radar) and pulled to the side. There was a 35 ft sailboiat following us a half mile back who stayed in the center. The freighter blew his horn at 10PM right next to us and we almost jumped out of the boat.

I have seen the lights of truck and they are confusing although those yellow vapor arc lights of the canal are bright.

dave
Its VERY easy at night on the C&D to be fooled by oncoming LARGE ships because their running light are so much higher than the yellow vapor lights; and, because of the brightness of the vapor light, you wont see the running lights ... unless you continually look 'high'.
One good way to find/visualize such ships because of the glare is to watch for what appears to be 'missing' vapor lights, then look 'higher' for the running lights. The sodium vapor lights are continuous and regular with very few exceptions such as near the Rt 213 bridge at Chesapeake City, and the entrance to Summit North Marina ... otherwise they're quite regularly spaced.
Tow boats aren't a problem because their running lights are much closer to the water.
 

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Bubble,

If you leave Cape May/ Cape Henlopen 2 hours before maximum ebb you will make it through the Canal to at least the Northeast/ Sassafras River riding the tide all the way. When are you thinking of doing this? ( date) I can give you more specific data.,
Chef,

I'm hoping for late Spring/early Summer while there's still some breeze. I'm not interested in "motoring around DelMarVa".

Failing that, end of Summer/early Autumn when the breeze picks back up.

With predominant winds from the South, I think I'd like to do a counter-clockwise trip so that my upwind work is in the Chesapeake, with lots of "bail out" points, and a downwind run out in the Atlantic. (Heading North).
 

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Thats a smart move. It is almost inevitable to motor the Delaware River and your are not allowed to sail the C&D Canal without motor assist.

Dave
 

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Chef,

I'm hoping for late Spring/early Summer while there's still some breeze. I'm not interested in "motoring around DelMarVa".

Failing that, end of Summer/early Autumn when the breeze picks back up.

With predominant winds from the South, I think I'd like to do a counter-clockwise trip so that my upwind work is in the Chesapeake, with lots of "bail out" points, and a downwind run out in the Atlantic. (Heading North).
Keep us posted on your plans. I'm hoping this will be the year I tick this trip off my "want to do" list.

I too felt a CCW trip would offer the best chance of sailing. I'd be looking to do the trip in fairly compressed fashion. Not has hardcore as TGOR, but at least paying homage. Thinking an overnight down the bay for crew practice and depending on timing, maybe a stop before exiting the Chessy. For sure I'd plan a stop at Cape May to rest and wait for favorable tides headed up the Delaware. I'm not sure if my TM C36 can use the Cape May canal so thinking maybe I'd have to go the long way 'round.
 

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Keep us posted on your plans. I'm hoping this will be the year I tick this trip off my "want to do" list.

I too felt a CCW trip would offer the best chance of sailing. I'd be looking to do the trip in fairly compressed fashion. Not has hardcore as TGOR, but at least paying homage. Thinking an overnight down the bay for crew practice and depending on timing, maybe a stop before exiting the Chessy. For sure I'd plan a stop at Cape May to rest and wait for favorable tides headed up the Delaware. I'm not sure if my TM C36 can use the Cape May canal so thinking maybe I'd have to go the long way 'round.
CCW is smart as it gives you that 6.5-7 hours run up the Delaware tidal/ current advantage as the opposite was is 5.5 hrs, Plus you can generally ride it ride it through the C&D Canal.

Bridge is 55 ft at MLW in Canal. We are 53 without antaneea. Going around is about an extra 2 hours. You dont have to go far outside as there is a channel right off of the point. Have done this a number of times.

Coming in the Cape May inlet is like the Indy 500 and the Winternationals NHRA at the same time.

Dave
 
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Just to add to the complex predictions for tide/current at the C&D.

Yesterday 2/1/2013 the observed high and low at Reedy Point was 2ft below predicted high and low water levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Just to add to the complex predictions for tide/current at the C&D.

Yesterday 2/1/2013 the observed high and low at Reedy Point was 2ft below predicted high and low water levels.
Similarly in Marcus Hook and Philly. My assumption is that the 20-30 kt NW winds blew the water out of the bay, and that effect drained the river upstream from the bay.

On the subject of C&D currents, I stumbled across this nice explanation of how to best time your passage. I haven't had time to calculate how it might change for our slower boats:

Chesapeake and Delaware Canal - Timing Your Passage
 

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Thanks for the link Rick.

I read the link and will re-read a few more times and will try this out for the early May trip from Cohansey to Chesapeake City.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Thanks for the link Rick.

I read the link and will re-read a few more times and will try this out for the early May trip from Cohansey to Chesapeake City.
Yes, see how the timing works out. As I mentioned before, it might actually be better to do Cohansey to Delaware City (as you originally suggested), then on Sunday do a two-way trip to Chesapeake City for lunch and walking around town. We could all go for the day on one boat, or if you preferred to stay in Delaware City we could go ourselves and meet you back at Delaware City in the evening. I'm flexible on this, and the currents look like they might be running perfectly on Sunday for the two-way trip.
 

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Keep us posted on your plans. I'm hoping this will be the year I tick this trip off my "want to do" list.

I too felt a CCW trip would offer the best chance of sailing. I'd be looking to do the trip in fairly compressed fashion. Not has hardcore as TGOR, but at least paying homage. Thinking an overnight down the bay for crew practice and depending on timing, maybe a stop before exiting the Chessy. For sure I'd plan a stop at Cape May to rest and wait for favorable tides headed up the Delaware. I'm not sure if my TM C36 can use the Cape May canal so thinking maybe I'd have to go the long way 'round.
Palmetto-

My goal is a somewhat compressed timeframe as well. I'm not setting out to grind myself down, but I'm not trying to take 2 weeks either. I'm looking at stopping at Smith Island for historical sightseeing.

We could caravan, but you're 6' longer than me, and I might slow you down more than you'd like.

I'll send you a PM.
 

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Skip Smith Island and Tangier. You can take a ferry to either island from the shore for a day excursion. Tangier is nice, quaint and underwhelming. There are submerged hazards in the area and it puts you in an undesirable part of the Bay for fast North-South travel. I would stick to the Western shore in that part of the Bay and jump from the Great Wicomico (or parts south) to Solomons Island (or parts north) or vice versa. Fleet Bay has some beautiful anchorages as well.

There is such a long stretch without good anchorages North from Solomons (except Little Choptank) and a long day's sail from Great Wicomico to the mouth of the Bay, where you can anchor at Cape Charles or Kiptopeake for the Northern Channel, that I would not stop anywhere in the vicinity of the mouth of the Potomac. I love the area for daysailing, but it is less than ideal for anything other than leisurely local cruising or travel.
 

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Further, I love Cape May, N.J., and would spend as much time there as possible, however, if you really want to make a fast Delmarva circumnavigation, stop at the breakwater in Lewes/Cape Henlopen instead of crossing the Delaware Bay and head up from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Further, I love Cape May, N.J., and would spend as much time there as possible, however, if you really want to make a fast Delmarva circumnavigation, stop at the breakwater in Lewes instead of crossing the Delaware Bay and head up from there.
I'm trying to talk my wife into taking our little boat down the Delaware River to Cape May for a week-long trip (this year or next year). If we time things right, I'm hoping to go two days each direction from Essington (stop off in Cohansey), and a few nights in Cape May. I assume Utsch's is the place to stay, right? Other recommendations?
 
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Utsches is great - very sailboat friendly. South Jersey Marina is nice too, more powerboat oriented, and a little more expensive - you are likely to be tied up alongside the main pier instead of in a separate slip.
 

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I'm trying to talk my wife into taking our little boat down the Delaware River to Cape May for a week-long trip (this year or next year). If we time things right, I'm hoping to go two days each direction from Essington (stop off in Cohansey), and a few nights in Cape May. I assume Utsch's is the place to stay, right? Other recommendations?
Cape May has really nice beaches, striking Victorian architecture, historical sites, a scenic lighthouse in a great state park, excellent and plentiful restaurants, a walking mall downtown, and a free trolley service.

It is such a great place to visit. You can walk many places.
 

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Utsches are friends of mine. We stop there twice every year. Nice restaurants close and town is a mile walk or a ten dollar cab ride. Nice ACME in town for provisions, Lots of great restaurants shops etc, Chance to go out into the Ocean for a few day sails or do Atlantic City which is 30 miles north, as CM inlet is easy although a combo of the Indy 500 and NHRA Winternationals.
You could make it from Essington in one long day and definately could go through the CM Canal at 55 ft max.

Dave
 

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With a June/July pre-dawn departure from Essington with favorable currents and tides a one day dash to Cape May before sunset is possible but that strikes me as to much work.

I take an overly relaxing 3 days; Essington-Delaware City- Cohansey-Cape May, cutting out Delaware City would still be a relaxing 2 day trip.

A Cohansey departure can be scheduled to arrive at the entrance to the Cape May Canal near slack at the canal entrance. If arrival is early for slack and the wind is not out of the west then anchor off Higbee Beach until slack, or just power through the rock jetties. After the ferry terminal the canal is OK even with power boats zipping by.

Try to avoid the canal entrance on summer weekends when the power boats power up as they transit between the rock jetties. The entrance is a lot narrower than the C&D.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 · (Edited)
With a June/July pre-dawn departure from Essington with favorable currents and tides a one day dash to Cape May before sunset is possible but that strikes me as to much work.

I take an overly relaxing 3 days; Essington-Delaware City- Cohansey-Cape May, cutting out Delaware City would still be a relaxing 2 day trip.

A Cohansey departure can be scheduled to arrive at the entrance to the Cape May Canal near slack at the canal entrance. If arrival is early for slack and the wind is not out of the west then anchor off Higbee Beach until slack, or just power through the rock jetties. After the ferry terminal the canal is OK even with power boats zipping by.

Try to avoid the canal entrance on summer weekends when the power boats power up as they transit between the rock jetties. The entrance is a lot narrower than the C&D.
I'm waiting to see how our May outing goes first, but if we demonstrate that Cohansey is doable in one day, then I would shoot for 2 days to Cape May later this year or next.

On my charts it looks like Cohansey mouth to canal entrance is a perfectly stright shot - 29 nm on 140 true. And in case I were to get out of sync with the currents, my program predicts much weaker currents along that line. If I'm sailing with the ebb, that might be reason to get closer to the channel to get more of a push. Is there any reason not to do that?

I know Dave has mentioned severe chop off Egg Island Point. Is there a way to avoid that (head out to deeper water near the channel)? Or, once past the point, is there benefit to curving through the northeastern bay to reduce the fetch? It adds a lot of distance, but looks on the chart like it might be smoother if there was a southeastern breeze in direct opposition to the ebb current.

Just curious, since I've never done this. Thinking this through gets my mind off the current sub-freezing temps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
...A Cohansey departure can be scheduled to arrive at the entrance to the Cape May Canal near slack at the canal entrance. If arrival is early for slack and the wind is not out of the west then anchor off Higbee Beach until slack, or just power through the rock jetties...
If I sailed down the river from Cohansey on ebb, I'd be arriving at the canal entrance near slack before flood, and would want to get into/though the canal as quickly as possible before the current started pushing too hard against me, right?
 
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