They are all talking about Delaware Bay. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Bruce and I have started researching the bay as we plan our Fall cruise. That sail will be our over the top sail of the Delmarva circumnavigation. We'll start somewhere mid-Chesapeake Bay, go up to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, then sail down Delaware Bay to somewhere around Lewes, Del. or Ocean City, Maryland. We've got a skype session scheduled in the next couple of weeks so we can talk about our plans.
Much of the research we need to do on Delaware Bay has already been done for us by my friend Barry who transited both the C and D Canal and Delaware Bay just a few weeks ago. Barry shows that the Delaware is a bay that is wide open to the full of the energy of the ocean. Take all that energy and combine it with the wakes from enormous commercial ships, crosswinds and strong tides -- the bay ends up being a very uncomfortable body of water. You can read Barry's detailed description of the bay, along with his interesting adventure on a schooner that lost power in the shipping channel at night, in his post called Danger on the Delaware. Enjoy!
Barry also showed this topographic image. It looks to me, at best, uninviting, and, at worst, just plain scary. It is obvious how the waves come up from the Atlantic and funnel from the wide mouth into the narrow bay. I can just see the waves criss crossing the bay in a confused mess.
Reading all this was not fun, but one of the things I kept in mind - and Barry mentioned the very same thought in an email - is that much of what we are reading about Delaware Bay comes from keel boats that need to stay in the shipping channel that runs up the middle of the bay. Could the bay be a little bit different for a small boat with a centerboard that could skirt along the edges of the bay, either the Delaware coast to the south or the New Jersey shore to the north? While thinking about this I realized that I had three descriptions of small boat sailing on the bay right here on my bookshelf.