Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cape May - at Utsch's Marina

View off the back of Fleetwing. Things are looking up
There were 4 ft swells predicted and gusts to 20 kts but when we looked at the grib forecasts, the winds were only in the 10 kt range. Armed with that information, we decided to go and it turned out to be a good decision. As for the swells, you went up and then you went down, no big deal. The great helping factor was the steady 10 kt wind on the bean. It steadied the boat with the mainsail up.

Once again the tide was with us and we averaged 7 to 8 kts all the way, mostly around 8 kts. We reached Utsch's around 1:30 and they had a dock waiting for us. They have a pretty good marine store here and I found brass clip hooks I had been looking for elsewhere.

A calm night with a natural night light!
We are now off the Atlantic (as a cheer went up from Ann) and headed up the Delaware Bay on Wednesday. No wind is predicted so it ought to be a good ride to Cohansey River where we will anchor behind the island. There's Hoolie relief on the sandy island so we should be all set.

On Thursday morning, we will have the tide with us heading for Chesapeake City. That will be the second major event in going south - getting through Delaware Bay!


John Tyrell said...

Just a heads up: someone posted on active captain Facebook today that the surf city swing bridge is out of commission for at least 2 weeks.

Bob423 said...

John, thanks for the info, I hadn’t heard that yet. This is really some year!!

Dawn R said...

We went through Cape May canal yesterday at dead low, the fender boards are not readable after the 53 mark, but on the north bound side it showed 57 feet. No boards at all on the 2nd bridge. Near the ferry terminal favor the ferry side of channel, the red nuns were aground when we went by. As luck would have it no ferries where coming or going until we exited canal.

Bob423 said...

Dawn, the formula for determining the clearance under the Cape May canal bridges that I’ve worked out over the last 8 years is:
Clearance = 58 ft - tide - (water level above tide)

The tide is read off the nearest tide station, in this case the Cape May harbor station which read 0.4 ft at yesterday’s dead low.
The water level above tide is obtained from the NOAA station at the entrance to the canal at the west end. At yesterday’s dead low, it measured the water level to be 0.6 feet above the predicted (per tide tables) tide height. A link to the water level website can be found under ICW Tios on my blog site.

Putting the numbers into the equation yields:
58 ft - 0.4 - 0.6 = 57 ft which is what you saw on the height board.

Dawn, thanks again for collecting the information. The more data points I have, the more confidence we can have in the correctness of the formula for determining clearance under the Cape May canal bridges.

The details of all this figuring are on pages 66 - 68 in my book; 2017 ICW Cruising Guide.

John said...

On Wednesday Oct 4 someone else posted that they were hoping to have repairs done by the end of the day. Seems to be a dynamic situation.

Maria said...

Is there a way to predict the clearance BEFORE one arrives at the bridge?

I understand the formula, but from where would I get the information for 'tide' and 'water levels above tide'?

Bob423 said...

Maria, the formula does just that by using the NOAA tide station at the western end of the canal. You can see all the links on my blog site under “Links: Weather, Surveys, Buoys, Tides”. One entry will be the link for the Cape May tide station which I’ve separately included below.


PS, I’ve used the formula for the past eight years for Fleetwing with a 55 ft, 3 in mast. In one case I had the boat behind me call over VHF, “Stop! You’re going to hit!” This was before they had height boards on the bridges so it was more an act of faith that the formula was correct. As to the warning, I passed easily under the bridge. When looking up at the bridge from the boat, you would swear you’re going to hit - but you won’t if you used the formula correctly.

Bob423 said...

Maria, did you get your question answered satisfactorily?