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Old 09-23-2021, 08:34 AM   #1
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Late Fall Trip to Chesapeake VA from Mystic CT

Miss Maggie will be going to Atlantic Yacht Basin in Chesapeake for stabilizer install and other refit type work. I'll be leaving from Mystic CT and plan to go west through LI Sound... through NYC... outside to Delaware River... through C&D canal and down ICW to Chesapeake, VA where Atlantic Yacht Basin is located.

Looking to leave last week of October. Thinking it will likely take 10-14 days with the shorter days. Don't need to be concerned with getting fuel and can likely ration my 650 gallons of onboard water for the entire trip if absolutely necessary.

Looking for some input and lessons learned from the group on those that have done this trip that time of year.

Boat is a Hatteras 50 LRC with cruise speed is 8-9 knots.

Plan is to stay at marinas each night.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-23-2021, 10:32 AM   #2
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If you're purposefully sightseeing along the way, both Cape May and Lewes are good stops.

Decent marina in Delaware City, or Chesapeake City is popular, easy to do both (but very short distance between the two).

Rock Hall is a decent stop. As is Annapolis. Maybe Knapp's Narrows, and/or maybe Deale. And then Solomons.

And/or you might enjoy a sidetrip through Kent Narrows to St. Michaels.

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Old 09-23-2021, 11:11 AM   #3
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I’m guessing ten days minimum and more for weather delays. On the Chesapeake you won’t have any issues with fuel and water.

You do need to be aware that in Norfolk, NS RR Bridge 7 is undergoing maintenance into mid-November and will likely have all day closures several days a week. The CG should post a LNM when the schedule is finalized.

The lock at Great Bridge opens about 20 -30 minutes after the hour and closes about 15 minutes before the hour. You’ll want to try and time your arrival as idling around there, if there’s a tug and barge lurking, isn’t much fun. But, also be aware there are two other RR bridges in Norfolk that can slow you down and Gilmerton Bridge if your air draft is more than 35’.

Here’s my thought for an itinerary without spending much time looking at a chart: Northport, Atlantic Highlands, Atlantic City, Cape May, Chesapeake City, Annapolis, Solomons, Deltaville, Hampton or Norfolk, Great Bridge.
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Old 09-23-2021, 11:15 AM   #4
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Wifey B: Ski Jackets. Heavy weather gear. Shivers me timbers.

May not be too bad. Shouldn't be crowded and still lots of great stops along the way. Love boating in NYC. Atlantic City nothing but a stop for overnight. Everything from Cape May on is great. Just pick your preferences. Ranger's list is good. I always have to stop in Annapolis at the Yacht Basin and spend time in such a wonderful place. St. Michaels is very nice as are many of the side trips and islands along the way. Just bundle up and enjoy.
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Old 09-23-2021, 11:27 AM   #5
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Wifey B: Ski Jackets. Heavy weather gear. Shivers me timbers.

Just bundle up and enjoy.

Heh.. shouldn't be all that that cold. October and at least up to (usually) mid-November are primo cruising months around here!

You're just used to south Florida temps.

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Old 09-23-2021, 11:43 AM   #6
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Just a thought. On either the trip south or back north consider going outside from the mouth of the Chesapeake up the coast back to Cape May. The point being, that would be one of the minor circumnavigation trips in the country to check off a box. Circumnavigate the Delmarva Peninsula.

Heading south from either Cape May or Lewes, the next stop is Ocean City MD. From there to Chincoteague VA. Between there and the Chesapeake is likely an anchoring stop unless you are into an overnight run.

Just a thought.
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Old 09-23-2021, 11:45 AM   #7
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Heh.. shouldn't be all that that cold. October and at least up to (usually) mid-November are primo cruising months around here!

You're just used to south Florida temps.

-Chris
Wifey B: Definitely not bikini weather. Looks like 50's and 60's so decent and nights only dropping to mid 40's. Now from the last week of October into November things start to drop considerably it appears. I don't mind occasional cold weather cruising. Sun blasting through generally you'll keep quite warm and only get cold docking and especially getting away early morning.

Haven't been to South Florida in sooooooooooooo long. Looking to return soon though. Highs in Venice around 70 degrees. About the same in our next stop in Slovenia. Then will warm as we go south through Croatia. That will leave us with only 14 days of Schengen time remaining for a touch of the Greek Islands, then around the tip of Italy, a couple of islands, couple of cities and leaving the boat in Genoa although possible change to leaving in Mallorca for it's trip home. Sure hope it doesn't get lonely on it's long ride home without all it's people. Of course, it might appreciate a little quiet time.
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Old 09-23-2021, 12:12 PM   #8
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Wifey B: Definitely not bikini weather.

Well, OK, I've give ya that one.

But then I don't wear those too often anyway.

-Chris
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Old 09-23-2021, 01:02 PM   #9
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My experience is from NYC South. Weather is going to be a bit sportier at that time, so I would budget 3 weeks. With Nor'Easters and more winds out of the East, I would want a couple of good days to do the NJ coast. Would want to plan whether I was going in for the night at Barnegat or Atlanta City. Did this trip a week or so ago. I opted to pass on Cape May, crossed the mouth of the Delaware Bay, and spent a blow day at anchor inside the "Harbor of Refuge" inside Cape Henlopen. Anchoring a few hundred yards off the beach and West of the ferry terminal breakwater was an excellent choice. Depending on cruising speed, leaving at slack low water, allows you to ride the incoming tide up the bay and through the C & D canal. I made it all the way to the Sassafras river in one day, but left in the dark cruising at 6 knots. Lots of good places to stop on the Chesapeake on either side.

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Old 09-23-2021, 01:12 PM   #10
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B&B is correct. Have done this trip starting in Newport and it can be quite cold. We had the pleasure of drizzle and rain as well. Reverse AC did little at times so was dependent upon the furnace. Plan accordingly. Other issue was what was open and fully staffed. Turned out easy to work around. Plenty of places weren’t shut down. One of the few trips it’s worthwhile to call all potential stops even if not making reservations due to uncertainties of timing before you leave. Had little local knowledge so deemed that wise and glad we did. Upside was the relative absence of traffic and near total absence of wet boats (small runabouts, PWC etc.). Think some of the snow birds are further south by that time. We left first week of November so you’re a slight bit earlier.
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Old 09-23-2021, 01:21 PM   #11
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Lived and worked on the water in South Jrrsey for decades. Early Oct can be beautiful to cool nights (cold to Floridians). Late Oct and early Nov can be cool and cold.....Indian Summer can make stetches of days pretty mild.

To get multiple freezing days, because of relatively warm water temps would be rare. Climate data is available, just remember they are long term averages and the difference of on the water and Inland can be 10 degrees more often than not.
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Old 09-23-2021, 05:53 PM   #12
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Thanks for everyone's very valuable input.

My reverse cycle units (5 of them) have proven to be very efficient over the last two winters spent in the water in Mystic, CT. Generally they will keep the boat warm down to water temps of ~42-45. I have supplemented that with the oil filled electric heaters when needed and could do the same on this trip. Generally my boat was not shrink wrapped until mid-to-late November here in Mystic and I fared pretty well with just the reverse cycle until then.

The Hatteras 58 LRC has a pilot house so I can run the boat from inside and even open the engine room door to scavenge the engine heat into the cabin if needed.

Definitely won't be bikini weather...

I'll start looking at some charts and may consider leaving a week earlier if at all possible.

Thanks to everyone and keep any more input coming!
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Old 09-24-2021, 06:55 AM   #13
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JD-we’re in the process (post survey now negotiating) of buying a boat in Noank, Conn. Will bring it to Deltaville after purchase for work. So like you doing about the same trip. From prior trips found there’s nights in particular the reverse AC isn’t enough. Never understood it. Doesn’t seem to correlate directly to latitude. Maybe it’s cold fresh water ingress or depth. But there’s cold spots where water temperatures are significantly lower than surrounds. Take comforters, quilts and warm clothing. Like you the P.O. got by on reverse AC so never used the Espar hydronic during entire period of ownership. We’ll fix it as I think it’s likely it will be needed for this transit.
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Old 09-24-2021, 08:56 AM   #14
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JD-weíre in the process (post survey now negotiating) of buying a boat in Noank, Conn. Will bring it to Deltaville after purchase for work. So like you doing about the same trip. From prior trips found thereís nights in particular the reverse AC isnít enough. Never understood it. Doesnít seem to correlate directly to latitude. Maybe itís cold fresh water ingress or depth. But thereís cold spots where water temperatures are significantly lower than surrounds. Take comforters, quilts and warm clothing. Like you the P.O. got by on reverse AC so never used the Espar hydronic during entire period of ownership. Weíll fix it as I think itís likely it will be needed for this transit.
Reverse cycle heat performance varies by model unit and water flow. The Webasto units I have do a great job down to about 38 degrees. At 35 degrees they are fair. Below 35, depending on water (fresh, brackish or salt) they quickly accumulate ice in the heat exchanger. Increased water flow and a clean heat exchanger make a noticeable difference, just as in air conditioner mode.

For cold weather sleeping especially on the hook, an electric blanket makes a huge difference and can be run easily off an inverter with modest draw from the battery bank. Using a twin on a queen bed under a bedspread, usually only requires a setting of one or two. The other advantage of the electric blanket if turned on Hi two hours before bedtime, is not having to climb into a frigid bed.

Ted
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Old 09-24-2021, 09:16 AM   #15
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Ted totally agree.excellent point. Electric blankets have much less draw than space heaters. We didn’t even need the genset on during the nights and they made a huge difference. Get somewhat dressed under the covers in the morning and you’re fine. Don’t think the O.P. will see any hard freezes on his trip and probably should leave reverse AC functional. Was just saying there’s some times it isn’t enough.
Other advantage is you expire a tremendous amount of moisture. If your boat is buttoned up air tight you get more condensation. We’d turn down the furnace a notch as slightly cooler environs induces sleep and you’re warm under the blankets/comforter. Crack the dorades or other opening to allow some air exchange and you get much less condensation. In fact never made the boat truly air tight, even during the day, just less airtight at nights.
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Old 09-24-2021, 12:40 PM   #16
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Wifey B: Long ago in a world far away, this young girl married a boating fanatic. Oh that first summer was a bikini babe's dream. Into the fall, still so many beautiful days. We braved even the colder ones. Then came winter and at first I thought my man was crazy, but soon our friends and neighbors thought we both were. January weekend and highs in the 40's and we bundle up and get in the boat. Oh, it's snowing. That doesn't stop us.

In the cold and darkness of an NC winter, a day on the water would just brighten up the world. Between the sun through the windows and the plastic glass and the VW type heater would soon find ourselves shedding clothes and cracking vents. We enjoyed a world of beauty that everyone else was missing. All these boats around and we're one of the few. Well a few fishermen but we knew they were insane zooming across at 50-60 mph in open boats. Only other cruiser we knew was a local architect we'd regularly run across.

I am known for preference of warmer weather, but I'll take cold weather boating over no boating any day. Just dress for it and plan but you'll see some areas like they're seldom seen by mortals. You'll experience the beauty. We started the loop with some 50 degree days and we hit some in Alaska. Even on our current trip we hit some colder days in the UK and in Scandinavia.

Just prepare and embrace. Don't think you'll just step out on the dock in your tshirt, but layer up as you approach so you're ready. And where PFD in case you slip and fall. Enjoy the peaceful tranquility of off season boating. You're not the crazy one. The owners of all those boats locked up for the winter are.
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