Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Circumnavigating the Delmarva Pensinula" book summary


Edition: Sixth Edition.
Binding:Kindle or PDF, 159 pages

 Description: The Delmarva circumnavigation demystified. Join us on the quintessential mid-Atlantic cruise. Bring whatever you have - micro-cruiser, multihull, or mid-size cruiser. On our first trip around we sailed a fast yet spartan 1200-pound Stiletto catamaran; later we enjoyed a comfortable 32-foot, 7,500-pound cruising catamaran; the experiences were different and I have shared and explained both. Primarily, I have done my best to share a tale of a father and his 10-year-old daughter's first trip around the Delmarva, exploring the Chesapeake Bay and the most beautiful wilderness on the East Coast, the Virginia Coast Preserve. Throughout the narrative are woven details and advice gained over multiple visits to each of the areas described. The balance of the guide information is compiled in extensive appendices; everything needed to make a relaxed and safe passage. In the first edition first the emphasis was on story telling and small boat cruising, demonstrating all that is possible in a micro-cruiser. In the second edition, I have added a few tales from Delmarva trips in a medium size cruiser and additional guide information reflecting the needs of larger boats.

Cobb Island Life Saving Station, built 1890. Click to enlarge.

The writing of this book has been a 8-year labor of love, summarizing all we have learned in six circumnavigations, and all we have learned of this trip from locals and other sailors. I remain baffled by how few taste the inner passage or many small harbors along the way. I grant you, the prospect and the reality of piloting changeable inlets in anything but calm conditions is intimidating , but with suitable caution and flexibility in planning, there are many fascinating possibilities. I have describe both the conventional paths, and the more adventurous and rewarding alternatives.

  • The distilled experience of six Delmarva cruises and countless Chesapeake Bay cruises in small and medium cruising boats.
  • Information to help an experienced day sailor make the step to coastal cruiser.
  • Our favorite towns, resorts, and stopovers... and our less favorite.
  • A detailed cruising guide to the Delmarva Coast, tailored to the needs of a shoal draft boat (4-foot or less). Hand drawn charts combine on-site observations and satellite imagery to provide critical information about less charted inlets.
  • All of the required navigation information is available on-line for free, and we have cataloged the specific URLs needed to access this world of Coast Guard and NOAA material. By downloading required charts, tide information, and Coast Pilot® chapters just prior to departure and inserting these in this convenient binder, you are assured of having the most current and complete information at your fingertips. The Delmarva coast is a very changeable area, and we have found charts even a few months old are generally out-of-date.
  • Shoal draft. We mean less than 5 feet. More than that is certainly plausible, and I've seen 45-footers in Chicoteague, but there are other places that are off-limits or where you will watch the tide. With a draft of less than 3 feet, a whole world opens up. With a mast height of less than 35 feet, the entire inside passage opens before you. 

We went the places big boats fear and brought back the details of a world known only to watermen and local sailors. I hope I have brought real life this tale; I know how deeply I enjoyed the time spent with my daughter.

Ponies on the Beach, Assateague Island

Circumnavigating Delmarva Peninsula—A Guide for the Shoal Draft

Table of Contents

Map: Course of 2006 and 2007 trips
Preface to Second Edition
Trip Summary: Anchorages, Stops and Inlets Transited: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012

 --------------(click sample pages to enlarge)--------------

Lesson 1: Preparations
Day 1: Deale to Solomons Island
Lesson 2: Single-handed and Shorthanded Sailing
Day 2: Solomons Island to Cape Charles
Lesson 3: Kids
The Cape Charles Impact Crater
Plate: Smith Island, Southern Point
Day 3: Cape Charles to Wachapreague
Plate: Cobb Island, Southern End
Plate: Hog Island Inlet
Plate: Hog Island Inlet and Broad Water Area
Plate: Wachapreague Inlet
An Alternative Passage: Cape Charles to Wachapreague
    by the Virginia Inside Passage
Hurricane Swells and Night Sailing; Cautionary Tales
A Brief History of Cobb Island
Day 4: Wachapreague to Chincoteague
Lesson 4: Settling Down for the Night
Day 5: Chincoteague, a Non-Sailing Day
Lesson 5: Safety
Day six: Chincoteague to Ocean City
Lesson 6: Tips for the Trailer Sailor
Day 7: Ocean City to Cape May
Days 8-11: Interregnum - Cape May with Family
Day 12: The Approaching Storm
Day 13: Cape May to Chesapeake City
Day 14: Chesapeake City to Deale
Three Weeks Later…

Appendix I: Cruising Guide
a) Delaware Bay and Atlantic Coast from Cape Henlopen to Cape Charles
b) Camping Opportunities on the Delmarva Barrier Islands and Chesapeake Bay
c) Chesapeake Bay—Details and Corrections of Interest to the Shoal Draft Sailor

Appendix II: Access: The Delmarva Barrier Islands and Chesapeake Islands
Appendix III: Recommended Reading

Suggested Inserts

Ship John Shoal Light, Delaware Bay