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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to sailing. I've taken a few lessons but am still a novice. I recently bought a 22' Catalina in Middle River, but I need to get it to a slip in Baltimore. I'm nervous about sailing that far in the near future, but the boat needs to be moved.

I could get a slip in Middle River, but that's not really where I want to stay. Any one have any thoughts on making that trip?
 

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Sea Dweeb
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You said you are new to sailing so I can understand your reluctance to make the voyage. From Middle River to the Inner Harbor is roughly 20 nautical miles if you go to the outside of Miller Island. So it could be a long day trip. If you are planning to get a slip in Baltimore I would suggest asking around the marina. Perhaps there is someone with local knowledge that could make the voyage with you. Or the other choice is to leave the boat in Middle River and drive back and forth to your boat until your do feel comfortable.
 

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Do you have a reliable outboard? If so...just pick a nice calm day and do it. This is a no problem trip and you can use chart 12273 ....
Chart 12273...

...to cut behind Miller Island in the marked channel and then round up into the Patapsco River and follow along the edge of the shipping channel into Baltimore. Should take around 6 hours under power on a calm day. Rig your mainsail to help stabilize the boat. No need to worry about sailing it...you can practice when you have the boat "home".
Main thing is to pick a light wind day...have an anchor ready and a good radio to call for assistance if the motor breaks down...and of course, stay tethered in if you are alone and carry the required USCG equipment.
Welcome aboard and good luck!
 

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Ditto what Cam said, and go early to avoid any late afternoon thunderstorms. Watch the shipping traffic and the big power-boaters and you will be fine. There's many crab pots south of Hart & Miller and they can be overwhelming to navigate through sometimes. Be sure you have all the proper safety equipment on board, including your VHF and a chart. Someone should go with you if at all possible, even if they're a novice too ;)

I would offer to go with you or tag along nearby but just don't have much free time right now :(
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice. I might try making the trip this weekend. The first time I tried going out on a boat without an instructor was last Sunday -- and the winds were too strong.

Have you guys taken the channel on the south side of Hart-Miller? I've been using the online charts and have 12278 on the way. But both charts, make it look like a tough path on the south side. Is it pretty easy to get through with a 4ft draft? BTW, have signed up for sea-tow but needing isn't appealing.

Also is the island worth stopping at? I read that it has moorings and a decent beach.
 

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The channel on the south side of Hart Miller is fine. There is a little beach right by the channel, but no moorings. There can be a bit of current there, so I would not recommend stopping and anchoring at the beach as a first time anchoring experience.

I would also second other folks advice to get an early start, not only to avoid afternoon thunderstorms, but to avoid getting waked by all the power boaters going through the Hart Miller channel on a summer weekend.

What marina are you going to in Baltimore?
 

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It looks like we're going to Harborview. I've called around and they seem fairly cheap. Plus they're right next to Downtown sailing where my fiance and I are members.

Thanks for the advice on the channel. Going around the north of the island was where I expected to have the most problems.
 

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There are a ton of crab traps once you pass through the Hart Miller channel, so keep a sharp eye out, especially since you will be motoring. Also, try to stay out of the shipping channel. Tugs and freighters will come up on you fast. One minute they are a speck on the horizon, the next they are breathing down your neck.

Since you are passing through the Inner Harbor, be prepared to be stopped by the coast guard for a safety check. You can do an online quiz to make sure your boat is compliant at Vessel Safety Check

White Rocks is a good place to anchor or marina, if you want to break the trip into two days. Have fun on your first sailing adventure!

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
 

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It looks like we're going to Harborview. I've called around and they seem fairly cheap. Plus they're right next to Downtown sailing where my fiance and I are members.

Thanks for the advice on the channel. Going around the north of the island was where I expected to have the most problems.
Greetings! I am a former long-time member of the DSC, though I "dropped out" when I bought my own boat. I still stay in touch with some of the members and occasionally visit the open sails' after-sail gathering at Little Havana.

Have you thought about asking one of the DSC skippers to help you with the boat move? I know that some members have boats (or did last season) up on the Middle River and I'm sure they'd know that channel well. I can't imagine you couldn't round up someone from the DSC to help you move the boat.

Good luck!
 

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if you want to come pick me up near the harbor i will come along, you buy the soda. i have made the trip many times, including the channel at miller island, i sail out of the harbor.

i can do the trip sleeping, well okay maybe napping.
 

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thanks Scott. I tried to send you a PM, but the system won't let me until I ramble more on the boards. Send me an email at my username here @ gmail.com
 

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To anyone curious how the trip turned out, I ended up making it only with my fiance. Scott offered to help, but then I was suppose to have a friend to help -- that fell through last minute. Some lessons learned:

1. Use the channel in Middle River I say this for two reasons. First, there are crab pots spread out all around Hart-Miller island and it's like sailing through a mine-field. People said to watch out for crab pots, but if you're new you really have no idea how bad it can be. Second, we missed the turn to take the channel south of Hart-Miller so we added some time to our trip. If we were in the channel, I'd have followed the markers better.

2. I learned why sailors hate power boaters. Maybe that isn't universally true, but after having innumerable power boats zoom past me at break-neck speeds, I don't care for them much. I understand the appeal of going fast on the water and love to jet ski (though it's been a long time). The problem is that most of them weren't considerate of the effects they had on others.

3. The approach to Baltimore was rough. There were 10 knot winds predicted for the day from the NW. Right around the time I started approaching the key bridge, the winds seemed to spike (from a couple miles out). That was miserable. We couldn't tack back and forth handily enough to make sailing worth while. So we dropped the sails. With the strong head wind it was still rough. Also, I left the jib attached but tied it in a bundle. That was a mistake. With such strong winds it flew up and caused problems. I'm not sure what the right approach is to lower the jib on a small boat in rough weather. I ended up squeezing through the air vent/portal (?) on the deck and crawling up to pull it in. I'm sure it was a sight.

4. I'm going to go with Baltimore is a good place to learn to sail. I don't think the rivers are meant for sailing. I see people doing it, but you need to know the area really well. Out further into the bay was rough in a small boat. The harbor is busy but no one is speeding along. Most of the boaters are respectful and the waters are placid. There are down sides to that I'm sure, but for us right now the harbor is nice.

5. The VHF is mandatory. We only used ours to hail the marina, listen to the weather, and coast guard reports. It felt reassuring to have it and I felt it was a safety line that let us keep going when times were rough.

6. To sailors, don't abuse the rules of the waters. I had a sailboat beat back and forth across my bow over and over. I couldn't have sailed the course that they were, so I know avoiding me wasn't a high priority. But after I've diverted 3+ times for you, please show a little courtesy to boats under power. (yes, I hope to remember this while I'm under sail)

If someone could provide feed back it would be appreciated. In particular, I'd like to know the best procedure for taking the jib down in at least somewhat rough weather. I'd also like to know if there's a simple trick to fix a small outboard motor to not turn. It seems to flip over at the most in opportune moments, so any thoughts on that?

Thanks again everyone for all the advice.
 

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6. To sailors, don't abuse the rules of the waters. I had a sailboat beat back and forth across my bow over and over. I couldn't have sailed the course that they were, so I know avoiding me wasn't a high priority. But after I've diverted 3+ times for you, please show a little courtesy to boats under power. (yes, I hope to remember this while I'm under sail)

If someone could provide feed back it would be appreciated. In particular, I'd like to know the best procedure for taking the jib down in at least somewhat rough weather. I'd also like to know if there's a simple trick to fix a small outboard motor to not turn. It seems to flip over at the most in opportune moments, so any thoughts on that?

Thanks again everyone for all the advice.
It should be pointed out to you that a sailboat under power is a powerboat, and the sailor "beat[ing] back and forth across your bow" is perfectly in the right, and you need to avoid him. It may have seemed annoying to have him tacking where you want to go, but remember -- he has the right of way. And you'll appreciate that fact when you get better and you're the one tacking, and some powerboat pins you into the wind.

Glad to hear you made it! Keep on learning.
 

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glad you made it, you could have still called me.

you did the right thing about crawling up there, stay low and hold on. also yes the boat under sail has the right away. and i was at the stadium when the wind picked up, i am jealous i wanted to be on the water

hart miller is fun, i just run thru the pots and turn if i get too close. i have only bumped one, every so often i miss one and get too close, but i have never really hit or snagged one.
 

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It should be pointed out to you that a sailboat under power is a powerboat, and the sailor "beat[ing] back and forth across your bow" is perfectly in the right, and you need to avoid him. It may have seemed annoying to have him tacking where you want to go, but remember -- he has the right of way. And you'll appreciate that fact when you get better and you're the one tacking, and some powerboat pins you into the wind.

Glad to hear you made it! Keep on learning.
jaschrumpf, respectfully there's a big difference between someone having the right to stand on and someone abusing a rule. The sailboat could have adjusted it's course slightly to pass at my stern. I'm not saying that's the proper rule, but after you've cut across someone's bow 3 or more times I think it's time to adjust no matter who technically is suppose to stand on. Just like the powerboats are perfectly allowed to speed across the bay and can get very close, it's much more respectful when they pass far away.

If you think you can always follow the rule book verbatim and not run into real world problems, I'm not sure where you can sail without having a collision. I'd further offer that it is much easier for a sailboat on a close reach to fall off the wind a few points than a sailboat under auxiliary having to repeatedly alter course in heavy head winds. IMO everyone doing little things to make the waterways easier to navigate and more enjoyable is the right thing to do.

glad you made it, you could have still called me.

you did the right thing about crawling up there, stay low and hold on. also yes the boat under sail has the right away. and i was at the stadium when the wind picked up, i am jealous i wanted to be on the water

hart miller is fun, i just run thru the pots and turn if i get too close. i have only bumped one, every so often i miss one and get too close, but i have never really hit or snagged one.
Scotty, appreciate the help. I didn't like crab pots but they weren't too bad. I don't think I'll be making it to Hart-Miller any time soon. But the sailing we did around the island and up toward the Key bridge was the most fun of the trip. The trip was only rough for an hour or two.
 

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Well done....look forward to hearing more about your adventures as you learn this craft we all love. :)
 

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I expect you have moved your boat by now. I have a long term sailing opinion for you though. Winds in the Baltimore Harbor area are very shifty due to the many tall buildings and the water is more foul than other parts of the bay. Once you get out beyond the inner harbor you have to keep aware of commercial boat traffic, which is bound by channels and has right of way over sailboats due to being in a channel. These boats are very large and travel much faster than they appear to. It also is a much longer sail from the harbor to the bay than Middle River to bay. These are some considerations you may want to consider in the future, even if it takes a few minute longer drive to another location, if it is safer and has better sailing conditions, those should also be considered.

Fair Winds
Alston Davis:)
 
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