Up Delaware Bay
09/18/2007, Chesapeake City, MD
September 17th ..... Chesapeake City
Today we sailed.
We left Cape May an hour an a half after low tide and headed out the Cape May Canal which saves going around the shoals at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The down side was that there were two 55 foot bridges and our mast is 54 foot tall... we made it, but not without few tense moments. The Canal is only about 4 miles long but saves about 15.
Delaware Bay is similar to the west end of Lake Erie... most of the water is 18 to 24 foot deep and the waves tend to be short and square. We had our foul weather gear on as well as our life jackets, as we cornered into the seas under power with about a two knot current in our favor. The mizzen and stay sail went up for stabilizing as we pounded to the north. After an hour or so we hoisted the main and rolled out the head sail .... and turned off the engine for the first time in a long time.
We had a great sail into the wind, and with the afore mention two knot push, were cruising along at 8 to above 9 knots for the better part of four hours. As the Bay became a river, the winds slacked and we were back to motor sailing for the remainder of our Bay Cruise.
About 50 miles up the Bay we hit the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal which is about 20 miles long and connects the Delaware Bay with the Chesapeake Bay.
Chesapeake City is about 14 miles into the canal and has a small harbor with too many boats.
We make our way in and found the last suitable anchorage... our friends Steve and Carol arrived about 20 minutes later, took a spin around and headed for the next anchorage about 8 miles away.
We find ourselves traveling in a loose knit group of about 12 boats.
On to the cape!
09/18/2007, Cape May, NJ
Friday, Sept. 14
We left our home in the marsh at around 8:45 and motored out the channel against a three knot current and past the row of casinos that make Atlantic City famous. The seas were rolly, but not bad. Our experience with the Atlantic (all two day's worth) is that it is much like traveling up Lake Michigan. We stay between 2 and 5 miles off shore in much less water than I expected. The lack of water tends to limit swell formation although every once in a while a set o waves will roll through. Yesterday we had more wind...from the SE and my arms are tired today after steering for the better part of seven hours. It is hard to estimate wave height...my best guess is that they were 2-4 feet on top of the occasional swell of probably 4 feet.
During the day I purchased ,via phone, an alternator which is going to be picked up by Kris Dilts tomorrow morning. Our plan is for me to take the Cape May to Lewes Ferry (across the mouth of the Delaware Bay) tomorrow afternoon and meet Kris. We can't thank Kris enough for his help and I fear will never be able to adequately repay him for his assistance. .
We arrived at Cape May around 4:00 pm and had no trouble with the inlet. I had worried all day about what reasonably large waves going directly against an out-going tide were going do to us and it ended up being fine. We surfed for about 100 yards and then drove into a steady two knot current.
Although the harbor is large here, anchorage is limited. There are about 10 boats anchored in a cluster just south of the main channel in front of the Coast Guard Docks. Commercial traffic tends to roll us around some but it hasn't been too bad. A front is moving through tonight and tomorrow a.m. , so it's best to stay off the water tomorrow and get some work done.
Saturday, Sept. 15
The front came through as forecast on Saturday morning and the wind filled in behind, 20 knots gusting to about 30. We thought we had a good anchor set but it took some watching to make sure. Kris called to say that he had our alternator, but at the time I was not at all sure about leaving Kathy alone on a boat that could drag. After a few hours, I decided that I needed to make the trip to Delaware and that if Kathy really needed help we were within shouting distance of the Coast Guard. I set a second anchor, hopped in the dingy and headed for the only marina that would allow me to tie up the dingy for the afternoon. I called a cab for the five mile trip to the ferry dock and then waited an hour for the next boat. The wind was wild on the bay and the stabilizers on the Ferry were working overtime. They were still not enough for the motion sensors on some the cars on the lower deck.
I walked off the boat chatted with Kris for a few minutes... then back on for the 80 minute return trip. I arrived back at the boat at about 6:00.
Meanwhile, back at the boat... I assured Mike that it was all okay-I didn't think we were drifting, although he did. Of course, as soon as he left, I was sure we were moving! I finally just sat out back and read etc., and I could tell everything was fine, but I still got nervous when we were waked by the whale watching boats and fishermen. I did clean the boat some and our neighbors, Liz and Kevin stopped by to chat and then Mike came back, and finally we decided to get together on our boat and Mike went and picked up Steve and Carol. It was a fun evening-such fun to meet new people.
Bright lights, big city
Mike and Kathy
09/18/2007, Atlantic City, NJ
Sept. 13....Atlantic City
We were up at 4am for a 5:00 departure but it was so dark that it took us forever to feel our way through the mooring field and channel to deep water. It was 10 miles to Sandy Hook and then 70 to Atlantic City where we find ourselves at this point in time....13 hours of the Atlantic Ocean. The sails were up but due to distance and the fact that there are no places to bail, the engine was on to maintain 6.5 knots. We're anchored in a marsh that is well lit by the casinos across the way. Tomorrow we will run down the coast again... 2 to 5 miles off shore, to Cape May. A front is if forecast for Friday night and Saturday, so our trip up the Delaware Bay will probably be on Sunday....sliding up on the tide and a broad reach. (we're sure about the tide anyway)
We are currently facing our biggest challenge of the trip. ... alternator problems.. The house alternator hasn't worked for a few days. We have run enough tests to realize that the cause is undoubtedly fried diodes. Anyway, we need a new one and the old one fixed to use as a spare.
We would like to get to the to the north end of the Chesapeake where we're a little closer and hopefully can rent a car for a day. The refrigerator has been off for a few days... ice works ok. We leave the instruments off unless we really need them which is rare. No autopilot is a pain, but we take turns steering. We have a little Honda generator so we have lights at night and run our anchor light. It has been an inconvenience but really not much of a problem yet...
Sorry we couldn't meet up with Bob and Karin here. . .