Monday, February 23, 2009

Chesapeake Bay

I got an email from Tom, an open boat sailor from (I think) Maine.  He said is spending the winter in Charleston.  Boy, would I like to do something like that someday.  I spent a few days in Charleston and thought it was a great place.  And I imagine it must be a wonderful spot to sail in the wintertime.  Tom sails a Drascombe Scaffie, a 15 foot boat that he trailered down for the winter.   I have been a fan of the Drascombe line of boats for years, ever since I read Webb Chiles' book Open Boat:  Across the Pacific and his other books about an attempt to sail around the world in Drascombe Lugger.
Tom said he was going to trailer his boat back north in the Spring and was thinking about doing some camper cruising along the way.    He wanted to know if I had any suggestions for day sailing on Chesapeake Bay.  Did I ever.  He really got me to thinking about the Bay.  My last three cruises have been to the south on Pamlico Sound, but my first ever cruise aboard the Pathfinder Spartina was on Chesapeake Bay ( the photos are from that cruise in the Spring of 2007  to Tangier Sound - map at the bottom of the post).    The Eastern Shore of Virginia, also known as the southern tip of the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) Peninsula is prime territory for sailing.  From my home in Chesapeake, Va it is less than two hours away.  Tom has got me thinking about cruises - just weekend trips - that I could do over there.

Here are the places I mentioned to Tom:

Kiptopeke State Park almost at the southern end of the peninsula.  Wide open sailing on the bay.  The ramp/anchorage is a man-made harbor of wwII concrete hull liberty ships.

Onancock -- beautiful river, nice eastern shore town.  Great ramp with a dockmasters house and a "liar's bench."  At least they are honest about lying.  

Crisfield and Janes Island State Park (Maryland).  This opens out on to Tangier Sound.  Take a look at the charts, Smith Island is just a few miles across the sound from the mouth of the Annmessex River.  You could leave your vehicle at the campground or ramp in Crisfield, sail over to Smith Island, spend the night and then return.  Interesting waterman's island over there, so isolated they speak a version of old english (hard to understand them when a few islanders get together).

Deal Island, Hoopers Island.  This is just above Tangier Sound.  I have heard there is camping on the Honga River, but not sure where.  Very protected area.

Oxford, Md   -- I've never sailed there but it is a cool little town and from looking at the charts it will be a great place to sail. I hope to be there on my fall sail this year. 

Those photos above are from (at top) Watts Island, and (fishing) at Great Fox Island.  It was a great trip and I look forward to exploring the area a bit more.  Bruce and I might pass by those areas this Fall as we sail up the Bay to the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.

The places I told Tom about are just on the southern half of the Bay, there are lots more places to the north of that.  Maybe I'll catch up with him as he heads up the bay.  We'll see.  I am glad he reminded me that there is some great sailing just to the north.  


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