Chesapeake cruising ideas (with deepish draft)

Wess

Super Anarchist
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”.
You know how to read a chart so I assume you can figure out where you can and cant get to. And as you already figured, with a breeze out of the N the bay gets far worse than charted depths the longer and harder it blows.

Whatever you do, no matter what the chart says, don't do Knapps Narrows.
 

Stunt21

New member
Surprisingly, the water did not blow out of the Swan Creek this weekend. Here at Osprey Point the wind has been blowing snot from the NE since Friday night, but actual tide elevations appeared pretty much normal.

Last weekend was a different story though. Strong winds were N/NW and Friday the 23rd's single low tide around 1200 was well below MLLW. There was effectively no high tide that evening. Boats were sitting on their keels just about everywhere in Osprey.

Photo was an hour before low tide 9/23. Ordinarily the low water level is just above the base of the riprap that is partially visible in the foreground.

I would not attempt to navigate an 8'+ keel through the Swan Creek past Swan Point marina. Anchoring in Swan Creek is not realistic. Maybe a mooring from Swan Creek Marina would be possible.

Stunt21 (nee Deadhead)

image.jpeg
 
We’re still in the Sassafras enjoying this fine weather — not! (the last sunshine we saw was leaving Block) and it looks like we won’t be moving until Tuesday or Wednesday, but next stop will probably be somewhere up the Chester River.

Many thanks to all of you for your feedback. Extremely helpful.

Loading the boat for extended cruising has been a learning experience. How did I ever think to bring a soldering iron without any electrical solder? A few cents worth of electrical solder and I would be able to fix our network router which suffered a little water infiltration, but just enough to blowout the electrical connection, in big waves on the passage down here. Humbling to dwell on my shortsightedness. Nonetheless, Mrs SD and I are having a grand time. She grew up sailing in Wales racing in the Irish Sea out of Abersoch and Pwllheli, so she thinks this weather is really quite dandy. As an English south coast sailor I‘ve given up learning how to pronounce Pwllheli.

But can’t wait to move further south. Big jump south around Nov 1.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,688
5,538
Kent Island!
We’re still in the Sassafras enjoying this fine weather — not! (the last sunshine we saw was leaving Block) and it looks like we won’t be moving until Tuesday or Wednesday, but next stop will probably be somewhere up the Chester River.

Many thanks to all of you for your feedback. Extremely helpful.

Loading the boat for extended cruising has been a learning experience. How did I ever think to bring a soldering iron without any electrical solder? A few cents worth of electrical solder and I would be able to fix our network router which suffered a little water infiltration, but just enough to blowout the electrical connection, in big waves on the passage down here. Humbling to dwell on my shortsightedness. Nonetheless, Mrs SD and I are having a grand time. She grew up sailing in Wales racing in the Irish Sea out of Abersoch and Pwllheli, so she thinks this weather is really quite dandy. As an English south coast sailor I‘ve given up learning how to pronounce Pwllheli.

But can’t wait to move further south. Big jump south around Nov 1.
Do not even think about Queenstown on your way up the Chester, I run aground getting in there. Langford Creek is doable as an anchorage if you stick to the deeper part. The Corsica would be doable at high tide, there is an 8 fot bit right off Red 2 you need to get past to get to the best anchorage. I am not sure if the marina at Chestertown has 9 feet at the dock or not, but there is plenty of deep water right off the town and they have a dinghy dock for you. The town is very interesting, I think you will find it many levels above Georgetown.
If anchored, beware the reversing tide. It runs pretty swift through there, we used to suffer from wind vs. current issues and end up with the anchor rode around the keel more than once. I solved that by buying a lot more chain, with 30 feet instead of 6 this doesn't happen anymore.
* if you are in a yacht club, Corsica River Yacht Club is usually friendly to transients and are reciprocal to most. They have a beach and may still have the showers and bathrooms open. Look them up, they have contact info somewhere on their website. You can dinghy all the way up to Centreville, but nothing with more than 3 foot draft can go that far.
 

Black Sox

Super Anarchist
3,170
1,216
Dublin, Ireland
We’re still in the Sassafras enjoying this fine weather — not! (the last sunshine we saw was leaving Block) and it looks like we won’t be moving until Tuesday or Wednesday, but next stop will probably be somewhere up the Chester River.

Many thanks to all of you for your feedback. Extremely helpful.

Loading the boat for extended cruising has been a learning experience. How did I ever think to bring a soldering iron without any electrical solder? A few cents worth of electrical solder and I would be able to fix our network router which suffered a little water infiltration, but just enough to blowout the electrical connection, in big waves on the passage down here. Humbling to dwell on my shortsightedness. Nonetheless, Mrs SD and I are having a grand time. She grew up sailing in Wales racing in the Irish Sea out of Abersoch and Pwllheli, so she thinks this weather is really quite dandy. As an English south coast sailor I‘ve given up learning how to pronounce Pwllheli.

But can’t wait to move further south. Big jump south around Nov 1.
Possibly raced against, or even with, her BITD. Spent many a blurry night at Abersoch. A lovely club, as long as you have ahead for heights.

And a week-long Squib Nationals at Abersoch. F-all wind but blue skies and sunshine all week. Memorable. Lovely people.

(Any decent gentleman knows it's "Piss In The Welly".)
 
Well, you are in the middle of civilization. Solder and flux are readily available and numerous Chesapeake sailors would help get it to you.
Thanks. Duffy’s boatyard gave me some. Router is now working again — Peplink recently stopped making it and don’t have a simple replacement model, so very happy to have resuscitated it.
 

bgytr

Super Anarchist
5,083
690
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.
I bumped on the west exit of Knapps Narrows this summer in the center of the channel with my 4 ft draft.
 

bgytr

Super Anarchist
5,083
690
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.
Assuming you have by now made your way down to Annapolis area since the original post, and that you are anchoring most of the time...
Overall my experience on the Bay is unless there is an abnormally low tide, the chart depths are usually a foot or so shallower than the typical low tide. So keep tabs of the tide tables. Also, look at the cbofs website

If you want a short trip out of Annapolis to escape after the boat show, Galesville on the west river is a decent stop. You should make it draftwise in the vicinity of the Pirates Cove restaurant. Might be a bit exposed if there's a NNE strong wind.
Of course St Michaels and Oxford are common stops on the eastern shore. St Michaels Maritime museum is good.
Solomons is a good stop, the Maritime museum there is worth it too.
In Solomons if you need any boat work done, Wasburns treated me very well this summer when I needed my pressure water pump replaced. Responsive, quick, and well done was my experience.
St. Mary's city and college are pretty cool if you want a slow pace for a day. There's not much there for provisioning though if you need that at that point in your trip.
Crisfield has a deep harbor with a very nice and accommodating marina. You should be able to make it in there without trouble at high tide.
Gwynn Island is pretty neat if you don't have SE wind, since you will be anchoring- a SE wind you'd be exposed, but if the wind is outta north quadrant you'd be good.
There are random creeks and coves all over the lower western shore that make for good anchorages depending on wind direction. You can pick dern near any one and have a good stop.
You're too deep for lower eastern shore unfortunately.
Last stop would be Hampton/Norfolk area.
 

Wess

Super Anarchist
Just take red #4 at the west entrance to Knapps Narrows down the wrong side and its doable with 6 foot draft when normal water. Says the guys who just did it few weeks ago. Even Queenstown I can get in with 6 if you pay attention and tread carefully.
 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
7,102
1,469
worldwide
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’ve sailed the Chesapeake with 4m draft …

tide table, good charts, be alert to barometric and wind driven tide.

have a good tender …you will be anchored farther out in places like Annapolis

famailiare yourself with the techniques to free yourself from the mud when you do ground out
 

bgytr

Super Anarchist
5,083
690
Just take red #4 at the west entrance to Knapps Narrows down the wrong side and its doable with 6 foot draft when normal water. Says the guys who just did it few weeks ago. Even Queenstown I can get in with 6 if you pay attention and tread carefully.
Good to know.
The spot where I bumped was between 4 and 3 about halfway between em.
 

Bryanjb

Super Anarchist
4,464
274
Various
We've not had any trouble in the Chesapeake with a 9' draft but it's more of a transit for us. We anchor just outside of the C&D, then Baltimore, Annapolis, Solomon and Hampton.
 

cmonkey

Member
298
38
NW Virgina
As you head south Fishing Bay is a good deep protected anchorage and then across the bay to Cape Charles, the municipal dock is deep enough and a cute little town just a short walk away.
 
Yesterday, we moved to the Corsica River off the Chester River. Bit gloomy still weather-wise yesterday but glorious day today and a chance to get a few boat jobs ticked off the list. Mrs SD took a couple of trips up the mast. Will probably stay here another day.

One thing I appreciate about cruising down here is not getting woken up at 5am by the lobster boat armada setting out. We might have to set an alarm instead.
 


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