Sunday, September 30, 2018

Chesapeake City - at anchor

One of the many bridges along the C&D Canal
We left Utsch's marina in the dark at 5:45 am. We wanted to be sure to have clearance under the Cape May bridges and we did. I used my tried and true formula of both bridges having 58 feet of clearance at low tide and then just subtracted whatever the tide was at the time of passage to get the final clearance. In addition to the tide tables, you also have to figure in the actual water level vs the predicted tide. In order words, the water level may be higher than what's predicted by the tide tables. That's usually due to a strong east wind, especially if it's blown for several days. For example, if you pass under the bridges with a 1 ft tide and at the same time, the water level is 1 ft higher than normal, then you have to subtract 2 ft from the 58 ft of clearance at a normal low tide for a total clearance of 56 ft. Since my mast is only 55 ft 3 in high off the water, I can pass under with the above conditions. For more detail, see Water Levels in my blog.

16 boats in the anchorage, so far
Once out in the bay, we were ahead of the change in tides. The current was still flowing out of the bay, and ebb tide. We had to buck current until the flood tide caught up with us. The best strategy for doing that is to stay over to the side of the bay, nowhere near the main channel. The tide always changes first along the edges of a river and that's where you want to be when the tide is changing slowing in your favor. The sailboats following the main channel will see the foul tide the longest and strongest. At first, we were seeing 0.7 kts of foul tide when there was 1.5 kts in the main channel. That can mount up over the course of a 63-mile run. Eventually, the current reversal catches up even in the main channel and it doesn't make any difference after that. We started out at 5:45 am and dropped anchor in Chesapeake City at 2:15 pm. We average 7.3 kt through the water but the tide helped us a lot at the end.

It was a nice day and a nice sunset
The weather looks very settled over the next week and we intend taking full advantage of that to head south as fast as we can. We have a dock reserved at Downtown Hampton Public Piers for three days where we will provision for the rest of the trip and assess the situation down south by the Socastee Swing Bridge which is presently still closed due to high water - but it's dropping now.

Our next destination is Rhode River for Monday.