Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Chesapeake City - at anchor

As we exited the canal, we surely wanted to stay away from the main channel for the best current
We went to bed Monday night not encouraged by the weather report of thunderstorms all day long but when I got up at 5:00 am the forecast had completely changed. Now there was no rain predicted and light winds out of the northeast, ideal for going up the Delaware Bay. We made it out of Utsch's Marina at a dead low tide and saw 5.1 MLW on the way out by the bulkhead entrance. That's enough for our 4 ft 9 in keel. Since we were at low tide, the bridge height was plenty at 57.5 ft for our 55.3 ft mast.

Here's a chart of the anchorage I made this afternoon
We've traversed the bay about a dozen times and have found that the ideal time to leave Cape May is on a rising tide just after a low with either no wind or wind from the south. The current in the bay will be turning to give you a boost to Chesapeake City. However, you don't want to immediately go over to the main channel. Anyone who has experience with tides on a river will realize that the current reverses first on the sides of the channel before the middle. So I kept east of the main channel until the power plant for a 0.5 to 1.0 kt boost all the way. The current in the main channel didn't kick in until Reedy Point. As we approached the entrance to the canal we found slack water and it gradually turned in our favor the rest of the way to Chesapeake City. We left Cape May at 6:00 am were anchored by 2:10 pm. By the way, don't ever allow yourself to  be caught in a wind against current situation on Delaware Bay if the wind is above 15 kts. It is not just rough, it's life threatening. The 2 to 3 kt current will produce standing waves that are very short and will break over your bow and down the length of the boat as your bow plunges into green water.

One of the two ACOE boats docked in the anchorage
Our next challenge was in getting through the shallow entrance to Chesapeake City anchorage. The free town docks are no longer used, take one at any time. Of course there's only two feet of water there but if you withstand that, then they are a great bargain. You enter the anchorage by hugging the east bulkhead within 10 ft (not 20 or greater!) for 8 MLW. As you exit the bulkhead, you'll see a white house off your port bow and you can head for that in a gradual turn and a 4.1 MLW passage for about 200 ft.  When abreast of the two ACOE boats at their docks,, turn sharply to port and pass both boats within 20 ft. After you pass the last boat of the two, you are then in the deep water of the anchorage, 8 to 12 ft everywhere, see the chart I made this afternoon for a sounding of the anchorage. All readings are at MLW.

ACOE draft gauge. This is why there's a 4.1 MLW channel!
A fine day capped off by a beautiful sunset
The afternoon enjoyment was watching a small sailboat trying to take a town dock, no dice, too shallow! We're headed for Rhode River on Wednesday with a 7:00 am start to have enough tide to exit the anchorage.


Sabbatical said...

Great chart, thanks! Did you take the soundings in your dinghy and, if so, what device did you use?

Bob423 said...

Jim, I used the Navionics iPad app and the T-Box inky dinghy. See:

Look at the left under "ICW Tips"' on the blog site for the link to a more detailed description .