Over The Horizon
by Tom Dove
Originally published in several Maryland newspapers 2/24/89
If your cruising has been restricted to the Chesapeake Bay and you would like more of an adventure this summer, why not plan a cruise that will take you into completely new waters? Go over the horizon and up the coast or around the Delmarva peninsula.
You can make an extended cruise in almost any boat. If yours has bunks, head and galley, you have more options for overnighting than if you are traveling by small runabout, but it is possible to make long trips by stopping at motels and hotels for the night. You might consider camping as you go by water, too.
This is the perfect time of year to plan your adventure. The weather is still too cold to actually go out on the Bay with any comfort, but the days are getting noticeably longer so spring must be on its way.
First, pick a place you would like to cruise, then see if it is practical to get there in the time available. Start with a large-area chart that includes both your homeport and your destination to get the “big picture” and to estimate travel times.
For relaxed cruising under either sail or power, 50 miles per day is plenty. Sailors will probably be more comfortable planning on an average of about 35 miles per day, with a few longer legs included where necessary. Powerboaters could certainly go as much as 100 miles in one day, but they will be very tired of the noise and vibration at the end of the run.
If your destination seems too far away for your vacation time of one or two weeks, consider breaking the trip into two sections. Perhaps you could take the boat part of the way over a long weekend and leave it at a marina, go back and cruise for a couple of weeks, then bring it back home during another long weekendnear the end of the summer.
Trailerable boats make long range cruising easy. A friend once took his 22-foot Aquasport along the coast from Annapolis to Maine over a two-week period and left it there in a boatyard. At the end of the summer, he drove to Maine with the trailer andbrought the vessel home.
Here are some suggestions for cruise destinations and routes:
*** AROUND THE DELMARVA PENINSULA – Circumnavigate in Deither direction with stops at Chesapeake City, the Cohansey River, Cape May or Lewes, Ocean City, Chincoteague, Norfolk, Mobjack Bay and Crisfield.
*** TO NEW YORK AND LONG ISLAND SOUND – North through the C&D Canal and down Delaware Bay, up the New Jersey coast with stops at Cape May, Atlantic City and Manasquan, through New York harbor and into the Sound, where you should spend a week or two exploring the harbors and towns.
*** TO NEWPORT, MARTHA’S VINEYARD AND NANTUCKET – Add a couple of weeks to the Long Island Sound run and visit this excellent sailing area. Go to Block Island, too.
*** TO MAINE – Just keep going north. If you have less than four weeks, consider leaving the boat up there for the winter, then return next summer to pick it up and continue your cruise.
*** TO THE NORTH CAROLINA SOUNDS – This area is like the Chesapeake was 20 years ago, but it’s hot after June.
*** TO NOWHERE, OFFSHORE – Get some open ocean experience by going east from Norfolk for a day or two to get into the Gulf Stream, then turn around and come back. This is the easy way to find out if you like ocean cruising without committing yourself to a long voyage.
Remember to build in lots of extra time to your plan and do not schedule tightly. Have alternate destinations in case the weather closes in or people get tired. Don’t push; just have fun.
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