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Old 09-22-2020, 09:50 PM   #1
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Winter in the Chesapeake

I have a mainship pilot 34 HomePort Portsmouth New hampshire. Was thinking about taking her down to the Chesapeake for the winter. Please reply with general boat use weather and some suggestions of good places to keep it. Thank you
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:32 AM   #2
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I would look at the southern Chesapeake as the water isn't as likely to freeze. There are some less expensive marinas in NE Hampton and up the York River.

You can get some nice days of close to 60 deg but you probably need heat in your cockpit to go any distance.

David
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:39 AM   #3
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Greetings,
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:54 AM   #4
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We usually winterize engines and water systems in late November through mid-March-ish... usually stored in the water. Water temps here often get too low in those months to get much heat out of a reverse cycle system. Harbors occasionally freeze where we are near Annapolis, but a de-icer works well enough.

When we had a boat with a lower helm -- en earlier model Mainship 34, actually -- we could extend into those months just a bit more, actually use the boat for short jaunts.

Some nice sunny days make visiting in the saloon or enclosed flybridge -- or doing work on the boat -- sometimes OK.

-Chris
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Old 09-23-2020, 08:25 AM   #5
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In past years we've not seen "a lot" of ice, but who knows what'll happen this year. 2 (3?) years ago we saw single-digit temps in the area, so winterizing is not really optional. De-icing schemes work if the marina is good about setting them up and checking on them. We've done both in-water and out on past boats. Currently, we pull for indoor storage over in Chestertown. It's not fully heated enough, though, just out of the elements and suitable for getting work done. But in-water, winterized and covered to your preference (shrinkwrap, canvas, whatever) has worked for us in the past. If just to save on winter storage and have a jump on getting the season started next Spring.
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Old 09-23-2020, 09:42 AM   #6
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Welcome aboard. The Chesapeake does freeze some years. Maybe at a yard that can pull it if a freeze coming. My uncle was in the Merchant Marine pre-WWII and told us one winter their ship was frozen in place in the middle of the bay. Folks with old Model A Ford pickups used to drive supplies out to them.
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Old 09-23-2020, 10:28 AM   #7
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I doubt you will ever get to freezing in place in the southern Chesapeake, particularly if you use an ice eater. I kept my boat in the water on the Connecticut River one winter and occasional use of an ice eater kept the ice at bay. Most winters you would not have to do anything on the southern Chesapeake.

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Old 09-23-2020, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
I doubt you will ever get to freezing in place in the southern Chesapeake, particularly if you use an ice eater. I kept my boat in the water on the Connecticut River one winter and occasional use of an ice eater kept the ice at bay. Most winters you would not have to do anything on the southern Chesapeake.

David

I agree as salinity is a factor...but the farther you go up some rivers...that can change a bit.


Here's one bad winter that I believe the pics were taken near Crisfield, Md. I can't be sure but it was below the bridge...maybe someone can help ID it.
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Old 09-23-2020, 11:30 AM   #9
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Old 09-23-2020, 11:56 AM   #10
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I grew up in Southern Delaware and in the 1960’s we used to be able to ice skate on the lakes every winter for several weeks. In the 1970’s the lakes only froze for a day or two, but we could still skate on the small shallow irrigation ponds. My friends back there now tell me that the lakes and ponds haven’t frozen over for many years and nobody under 40 or so knows how to skate.

It’s almost like there is something to this whole Chinese Hoax business......
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Old 09-23-2020, 03:46 PM   #11
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Welcome to TF.

When I scouted Solomons marinas before purchasing my boat in 2015, there was ice in the slip I was considering. The covered slip was the 2nd from a seawall that the marina used to park boats and crane off/on masts, so they had a bubbler set next to the wall. The bubbler kept my slip from freezing over completely, but even if it had, it would have been very thin.

I've wintered the boat in the water since then, always winterizing the engines and fresh water system. Early on I had a clause in my insurance that I'd install a bubbler during the winter, but I never did and removed the clause after the first year. There hasn't been any ice in my slip since that winter before my boat was parked there, and the water temp has not fallen much below 40-deg F. I understand it could happen someday, and I'm prepared to mitigate as needed.

Mid-November to ~March is too cold for me to boat or spend much time on the boat in the slip.

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Old 09-23-2020, 04:59 PM   #12
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What are your personal plans for the winter and motivation for bringing the boat south? That would determine where I'd want to locate.
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
I agree as salinity is a factor...but the farther you go up some rivers...that can change a bit.


Here's one bad winter that I believe the pics were taken near Crisfield, Md. I can't be sure but it was below the bridge...maybe someone can help ID it.
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:05 PM   #14
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Unless you and the pundits have a crystal ball, you had better winterize by the 1st of the year because it's better to be safe than sorry. Last year we hardly had any ice at all in our creek, which is pretty high in salinity since we're about 40-45 miles from the mouth of the Bay. I never even bothered to get the ice eater out of the shed. 2 years ago, we had such a hard freeze that my wife & I walked out to the mouth of our creek where it enters the Chesapeake. I've seen winters on the Chesapeake where I was boating & fishing in January & February in a tee shirt. I've also seen winters where people drove their Jeeps on the ice of the Rappahannock.
A case or 2 of antifreeze is the best sleep aid I can think of when the wind is howling and the temps don't get out of the teens and 20's for days & weeks.
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:24 PM   #15
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Cool

I'm good with my decision to winterize the boat every year.
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
I agree as salinity is a factor...but the farther you go up some rivers...that can change a bit.


Here's one bad winter that I believe the pics were taken near Crisfield, Md. I can't be sure but it was below the bridge...maybe someone can help ID it.
Top pic looks to be the remnants of the fish cannery chimney at Janes Island. This would be the image you see to the North when entering the navigation channel to Crisfield, MD.

Ted
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