Chesapeake cruising ideas (with deepish draft)

After a fairly boisterous and mostly wind-on-the-nose sail down to Delaware Bay via PTown, Hadley and Block, we now find ourselves with a month in the Chesapeake before heading further south around Nov 1. The first two weeks we intend to spend in the upper Chesapeake and the second two weeks in the lower part of the bay. Where should we go? The Big Constraint is 8’6” draft.

The month will be punctuated by the Annapolis Boat Show and associated events, but other than that few constraints (other than the Big Constraint). And along the way, boat stuff that needs to get done.

Most immediately, looking for recommendations following a late pm C&D exit tomorrow, Friday, and an upcoming week of less-than-glorious weather. Not exactly a champers and strawberries kind of forecast.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,267
5,174
Kent Island!
After a fairly boisterous and mostly wind-on-the-nose sail down to Delaware Bay via PTown, Hadley and Block, we now find ourselves with a month in the Chesapeake before heading further south around Nov 1. The first two weeks we intend to spend in the upper Chesapeake and the second two weeks in the lower part of the bay. Where should we go? The Big Constraint is 8’6” draft.

The month will be punctuated by the Annapolis Boat Show and associated events, but other than that few constraints (other than the Big Constraint). And along the way, boat stuff that needs to get done.

Most immediately, looking for recommendations following a late pm C&D exit tomorrow, Friday, and an upcoming week of less-than-glorious weather. Not exactly a champers and strawberries kind of forecast.
I'll echo the last post - do you want to get NEAR someplace at anchor or actually be in a slip?
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,267
5,174
Kent Island!
You can get up the Sassafras to Georgetown. Into a slip - not sure.
You can get up the Chester to Chestertown. Into a slip - not sure.
You can go to Baltimore, freighters used to tie up where you would be tying up.
You can get near Saint Michaels.
 

T sailor

Member
458
106
Chesapeake
Wow 8’6” is deep for these parts. How much water do you need under the keel to be comfortable? Baltimore is a good option, the Sassafras is nice, but you will likely need to anchor. Oxford is a nice town that you could at least anchor off of. I think you can get into Solomons. Further south, I think you can get into Irvington, and maybe cape Charles commercial harbor. Beyond that, I am at a loss. My boat draws 7’ and there are places we can’t get near.
 

pjwalsh

New member
The Sassafras river is a good place to stop after transiting the C&D canal - first river on your left after exiting the Elk River. It is deep and well marked. 8'-6" should not be much issue if you stick with the channel. There are several marinas with both moorings and slips available. Not much to the town though.

You will have trouble getting into Rock Hall with that draft.

Chestertown is a nice place to spend time too, very boating oriented town. You will need to stick with the channel to get upriver there but your draft should be ok. Better restaurant options than in Georgetown in my opinion.

I would not attempt Kent Island Narrows with a boat that deep.

Oxford is very nice, St Michaels too, and on the Choptank river right across from Cambridge there is a lovely little spot to anchor just inside Trappe Creek, though might be a little shallow for you.
 
Many thanks for these replies.

Our ratio of nights at anchor (or on a mooring) to nights in a slip must be around 50:1. One night so far this year in a slip, two nights last year, though we do have some slip space booked in October.

So, when cruising, our preference is anchoring.
 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,811
3,084
Edgewater, MD
@Sweare Deep You can't get into Rock Hall but you can anchor in Swan Creek just north/around the bend. You can borrow bicycles from Osprey Pt. Marina and cycle a short distance into Rock Hall.

You can hit St. Michael's and Oxford at the same time if you sail into the Choptank and anchor in San Domingo Creek. There is a public dinghy dock in San Domingo. From there, you can walk into/all over St. Michaels and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. They have an outstanding wooden boat shop where the newest replica of the Dove colony ship was just built. Several decent restaurants. Carpenter's Saloon makes great breakfast after a night of drinking.

To get to Oxford, you sail out of San Domingo Creek, back into the Choptank, sail up a little further (basically around the bend) into the Tred Avon River. It is common and popular for large boats to anchor off of The Strand and then dinghy ashore. There is also adequate water even for you, to take a slip at the Safe Harbor Oxford Brewer Marina. You can easily walk about the entire village of Oxford.

In Oxford, you can visit the Robert Morris House, financier of the American Revolution. The house is still fairly original and is now a first rate restaurant. Visit the Scottish Creamery for great ice cream before it gets too cold. There is also the Cutts and Case wooden boat yard and shop. Every bit as impressive or even more, than the wooden shop at St. Michael's.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,267
5,174
Kent Island!
@Sweare Deep You can't get into Rock Hall but you can anchor in Swan Creek just north/around the bend. You can borrow bicycles from Osprey Pt. Marina and cycle a short distance into Rock Hall.

You can hit St. Michael's and Oxford at the same time if you sail into the Choptank and anchor in San Domingo Creek. There is a public dinghy dock in San Domingo. From there, you can walk into/all over St. Michaels and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. They have an outstanding wooden boat shop where the newest replica of the Dove colony ship was just built. Several decent restaurants. Carpenter's Saloon makes great breakfast after a night of drinking.

To get to Oxford, you sail out of San Domingo Creek, back into the Choptank, sail up a little further (basically around the bend) into the Tred Avon River. It is common and popular for large boats to anchor off of The Strand and then dinghy ashore. There is also adequate water even for you, to take a slip at the Safe Harbor Oxford Brewer Marina. You can easily walk about the entire village of Oxford.

In Oxford, you can visit the Robert Morris House, financier of the American Revolution. The house is still fairly original and is now a first rate restaurant. Visit the Scottish Creamery for great ice cream before it gets too cold. There is also the Cutts and Case wooden boat yard and shop. Every bit as impressive or even more, than the wooden shop at St. Michael's.
No way is he getting anyplace close to Rock Hall.
1664538113382.png


Likewise San Domingo's Creek.
1664538229058.png


Kent Narrows NO WAY do not even think about it, it can be challenging with 6 foot draft.

You can go into Saint Michaels through the front door and anchor out past Green 3. You might fit in a slip there.
1664538356864.png


Chestertown is plenty deep in the channel, you can anchor there or maybe tie up. Don't anchor in the cable area! There is a swift reversing current there, so use a good anchor.
1664538538559.png


Oxford is doable and maybe in a slip if you want.
1664538689251.png
 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,811
3,084
Edgewater, MD
I agree, he should NOT transit Knapp's or Kent Narrows. To visit Oxford, he'll need to take the long way around Black Walnut Point.

ETA: I still say that he can anchor in San Domingo a bit further out. The other option is to simply take the Oxford ferry to Bellvue and hop an Uber to St. Mike's for the day.
 

T sailor

Member
458
106
Chesapeake
I'm seeing 8 and 9 foot charted depths. As I said, that's MLLW depths. He should have more than that at normal tides.

View attachment 543892
I would no be comfortable going in 8-9’ charted depths with an 8’-6” draft. My boat draws 7’ and I won’t go in 7’ charted depths unless I have local knowledge that it is definitely deeper. Maybe I am conservative, but I still manage to find the bottom. Good thing the bottom is soft mud.
 
@Sweare Deep You can't get into Rock Hall but you can anchor in Swan Creek just north/around the bend. You can borrow bicycles from Osprey Pt. Marina and cycle a short distance into Rock Hall.

You can hit St. Michael's and Oxford at the same time if you sail into the Choptank and anchor in San Domingo Creek. There is a public dinghy dock in San Domingo. From there, you can walk into/all over St. Michaels and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. They have an outstanding wooden boat shop where the newest replica of the Dove colony ship was just built. Several decent restaurants. Carpenter's Saloon makes great breakfast after a night of drinking.

To get to Oxford, you sail out of San Domingo Creek, back into the Choptank, sail up a little further (basically around the bend) into the Tred Avon River. It is common and popular for large boats to anchor off of The Strand and then dinghy ashore. There is also adequate water even for you, to take a slip at the Safe Harbor Oxford Brewer Marina. You can easily walk about the entire village of Oxford.

In Oxford, you can visit the Robert Morris House, financier of the American Revolution. The house is still fairly original and is now a first rate restaurant. Visit the Scottish Creamery for great ice cream before it gets too cold. There is also the Cutts and Case wooden boat yard and shop. Every bit as impressive or even more, than the wooden shop at St. Michael's.
Are transplanted Brits really allowed to visit the Robert Morris House? There lurks a risk of being hung, drawn and quartered.

Ajax, sorry the weather prevented us last year from having you on board for a drink in Port Clyde.
 
Perhaps it’s the northeasterly breeze, but the Sassafras River seemed lower than charted. We managed, though, to plow a channel through the mud to a slip in Georgetown. With the somewhat, ever-so-slightly-less-than- completely-and-utterly-perfect forecast over the next few days we‘re at a slip. I don’t want Mrs SD to strangle me in my sleep. Actually, Mrs SD is a terrific sailor from very fine sailing heritage — her mother circumnavigated.

The depths we saw on the way in we’re consistently less than charted, which wasn’t a whole lot to start with. Quite a mindset adjustment for us from Maine cruising where there’s ample water until all over-of-a-sudden there isn’t (any)! Although there’s the famous (and no doubt without any basis in fact) legend of a harbor master in Maine who was questioned about the shallow water in their bay: “there’s plenty of water in my bay it’s just spread out a little thin”.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,267
5,174
Kent Island!
What he said ^
The tide tables are more like guidelines when the wind blows from one direction for a long time.
You won't have the same issue with the Chester, it is plenty deep except for maybe right at the marina dock if you tie up. You'll find a lot more town there in Chestertown than Georgetown if you make it up there. This is nothing like Maine, getting into some places is run aground, move over 20 feet, try again. In Maine that would get expensive. Last I was in Maine I rented a Boston Whaler for the day and they counted the nicks and dents in the prop and said we owed them a new prop if we came back with more than we left with!
 




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