Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chesapeake City - at anchor, steady rain all day long

We're by the bridge, you ought to see how close to the bridge the big ships come!
The trip north continued the spell of terrible weather. It rained all day long, not good for being in the canal and trying to avoid debris. By the way, we hadn't seen much stuff in the water at all until we entered the canal. There wasn't a lot but the occasional log kept your eyes open and when you missed seeing something, the thunk on the hull reminded you that something got past your watch.

It's actually a pretty little town, some houses date to 1849
Well, the title says it all, just a lousy day. We ran the genset a lot today so we were nice and comfy with both A/C units in heat mode along with the ceramic heater turned up full on. It's a good thing we have a 6 kw genset because we're now using 4.830 kw of its capacity right now and we're not even heating the hot water yet.

Looking towards the canal, most of the Bed and Breakfasts had a no vacancy sign out
Sunday is our day to reach Cape May we hope. We'll start out with a favorable tide (current) then see a foul tide and then see a favorable tide again (the tides flow up the bay and we're going down the bay). The low tide at the two Cape May canal bridges is at 3:30 pm so we're heaving on Sunday at 6:00 am, a very early start for us! Unfortunately, that's at exactly low tide here in the anchorage and we'll have to plow through some mud to get out. We made it coming in so we think we can make it going out given it's the same tide height as when we came in. On top of that there's scattered showers predicted too, just to add a little spice to the trip, oh well.


Unknown said...

Bob - what is the height of your mast? Critical info for me - we are 54' and I don't think we can chance going through the Cape May canal. But you do it - what is your height?
Thanks -

Bob423 said...

Whit, my mast is 55 ft 3 in. We've been through the canal a dozen times. There are now height boards in place so there's actually no risk. My rule of thumb is to make the passage with no more than a 1 ft tide which is plenty of leeway. A 0.0 tide will give you a 58 ft bridge height if the water level meets the predicted level. That information can be found at
For some reason, the display of the data is much better on an iPad.

For example, today due to the recent heavy rains, the water level was 1 ft above normal. I went through with a 0.5 tide. So 58 ft minus 0.5 minus 1 ft left me with 56.5 feet of clearance. I confidently went through.

I was going through one year when the boat behind me called on the VHF and excitedly told me to stop! I was going to hit and he was trying to be helpful. Since that was my fourth trip at the time, I ignored the warning and continued without harm. When you approach the bridge it will seem from your ground view that you will surely hit and even that the mast seems to "melt through" the bridge (how did it miss hitting?) Have faith, the height boards are right. In fact, if you avoid the little light handing down from the bridge you'll pick up another foot.

For the ultimate in confidence, take a dock at Utsch's Marina and walk over to the bank by the first bridge. From there you can see the height board and compare the expected height against your calculations (second paragraph).

Unknown said...

I understand everything you are saying except where you get the 58'. Charts show this bridge at 55' - which is 55' at MHW. The waterlevels you references in your link I think show a MHW at the 5' above MLW. I'm thinking that that should make bridge height at 60' above MLW. Then you have to start subtracting for what the tide is doing that particular day as well as when you are arriving in that tidal period. Am I missing something? I want to do just like you did and go through the canal coming down the Delaware so trying to check at Utsch's before hand is not an option. When you went through did you happen to look back at the tide board - the one you would see if doing the East to West passage - was it accurate?

Bob423 said...

Whit, l made an attempt to explain it better in today's blog. Please critique it, thanks.