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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Tate

Route Planning

Crossing these larger bodies of water like the Albemarle Sound, Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay take what feels like a lot of planning and looking at a wide variety of resources. We look at weather resources like Windy app - we can look at overlays of wind direction, speed, waves, current etc. We also look at buoy reports and my favorite weather app from home, StormTrack 9. We use Navionics to auto plan routes from point to point. We use and to look for anchorages and marinas. We also have The Looper's Companion Guide that has a suggested Looper route and marina/anchorage stops.

So grab some coffee and sit with me today as I plan routing from Deale, MD on the Chesapeake to Cape May, NJ via the C&D Canal and Delaware Bay.

The Goal

Today is the 16th of May. We'd like to be through NYC by Thursday May 26th so we can get inland ahead of what I expect to be a busy holiday weekend in NYC harbor. Somewhere between the 26th and June 3rd we want to meet friends in Kingston, NY. We are planning on meeting my sister and her family in Albany, NY on the 4th.

The Forecast

Right now, there is a small craft advisory til Tuesday night at 8pm because of a cold front blowing through with winds 10 knots with gusts up to 20 in effect for the Chesapeake. It doesn't sound like high winds but winds in one direction over a stretch of water build some pretty big waves. Even if we could travel, we wouldn't go during that advisory. We we are looking at going Wednesday at noon after Bruce finishes teaching a class. So we need to look at wind/waves from about 12pm - 8pm on Wednesday. On Thursday the weather keeps changing - it looked bad this morning, but by noon today it looks like it could be a good running day. So, who knows! This is why we have to hold plans loosely. These are screen shots from Windy.

The Route

We generally have a goal destination but also have a bail point before that if the weather turns and the trip gets uncomfortable. These are screen shots from the Navionics app.

  • Wednesday: Deal, MD to Chesapeake City, MD (74 miles); bail point could be the Sassafras River (67 miles)

  • Thursday: Chesapeake City to Cape May (72 miles); bail points would be Delaware City (13 miles) or Hancock Harbor Marina (46 miles)

Where to Stay

Marinas, Anchorages and Free Docks, Oh My!

  • Chesapeake City has a town dock with a free marina we can stay at for up to 24 hours. So, that's probably the best option for that location. Because it's a long run and we need to be flexible, we will not make a reservation anywhere ahead of time and will likely just head to the free dock.

  • Delaware City - one marina! If we want to try to stay there, we'll call them in the morning after we look at the weather.

  • Hancock Harbor Marina - same, if we don't like the weather, we'll call and see if they can fit us in.

  • Cape May - there are a lot of options here! The Looper Guide suggests anchoring by the Coast Guard station. That would work for us for a night. Any longer if the weather is not great, we'd like to be at. a marina to wait it out.

  • These are screen shots from the Looper book and

After Cape May we are 3 travel days from NYC! That's so exciting!!

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