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Old 09-30-2013, 11:52 AM   #1
City: Middle River Md
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Best time to head up the chesapeake to the C and D

When is the best time to head north on the Chesapeake to get to the C and D canal tide wise? Thanks!

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Old 09-30-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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I would think if you ran the tide into the canal and then let the falling tide pull you out and into the Delaware Bay that should work for you.

Life is a Beach
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:44 PM   #3
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The tidal current in the Chesapeake is a fraction of what the tidal currecnt is in the Canal and for most of the Delaware River.

Depnding on how far/long you are going to travel in the Canal and the Del River should determine when you want to hit the approach to the C$D canal.

You can't ride the tide all the way down the Del River like you can going from Cape May to the Canal...but you can still plan the maximum use for it.

Stopping over is the only way to ride it both ways I'm afraid...and even then, going from the Chessie to the lower DelBay isn't a one way ride...at some point you will be fighting a 1-2 knot current (at least)...you ust have to grind the numbers to see what works for you....

I bet I spend 5-10 hours preplanning that trip in either direction because it can save 3-5 hours worth of running time unless you really screw it up and depending on your boat speed...you can add 8 or more hrs to the trip is you are really slow.

I make a spreadsheet and plug in the major waypoints about an hour apart based on zero help, 1 knot added and 2 knots added.....then I look and see where I get the "free lunch" push for the longest amount and plan on hitting waypoint 1 at the time I get the longest or greatest average push.

This fall when I leave Cape May...I told my boss I have to leave a week earlier than normal to get my push and still travel mostly in daylight (December departure = shorter days). So to get the best tides...sometimes you have to delay a week or more to get them. When heading from Jersey to the Chessie...it doesn't matter about the Chessie...to get the tides of the DelBay...you sacrifice a foul tide in the Chessie the next couple of mornings anyway...I'm less familiar the other way as you can't narrow it down as well Chessie to NJ so I plan less.
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Old 09-30-2013, 06:17 PM   #4
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I have been through the canal close to 100 times over the years and each time the tide almost always runs west to east whether it is falling or rising. It is possible to plot an east to west current, but the Delaware has to be rising while the Chesapeake is falling at the same time. a rare occurrence in my experience! For a trawler it can mean the difference of a 1-1/2 hour to 2-1/2 hour trip. If you're heading east and heading down the Delaware to Cape May, I would just time my arrival at the Delaware for high tide and then ride it all the way down. If you really want to try to time an east/west ride through the canal, check with the harbor pilots at Chesapeake City for the best time. If you're running it at night be very careful and pay close attention to the lights that run along each side. When you can't see the lights it means something very very large. is in the way and heading straight for you

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Old 09-30-2013, 08:11 PM   #5
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I have always been more concerned about the wind vs. the tide as opposed to picking up a little help from the tide in terms of speed. 50 miles from Cape May to the C & D can be a bit nasty if you have opposite forces - Standing +/- 4' waves are no fun.
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:25 PM   #6
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SOJOURN4 has a good point...timing the tide is just as important as the weather (vice versa).....

Plus don't look at the tides...look at tidal currents as the times are often different from the tides.
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:59 PM   #7
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Transiting the canal or the Delaware should always be based on the high or low tide at Ready Point. If headed to the delaware then time your arrival at Ready Point with the high water mark. The same if traveling up the Delaware to the canal. It takes some seroius calculations if your in the canal headed to the Delaware as your going to pick up in access of five knots of current. You will have the tide all the way to Cape May if your a 7 knot boat in flat water. The same is true if you leave Cape May at low water. You will hit Ready Point exactly at high and then ride the tide down the canal. The canal (5+) and upper bay have considerable current well past Annapolis (1 1/2+) so timing in a slow boat is well worth it.

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