Where and when to get the sail repaired, how to manage the current up the river, where to spend time in the Chesapeake; with luck things would fall into place, with bad luck the weather would turn. I am the half-empty glass girl I suppose.
A couple of calls produced possible credible sail makers near St Michaels or Annapolis. The Annapolis Sailboat Show Oct 10-14 would make the area in and around Annapolis very busy and we weren’t sure where we’d find space. The powerboat show was this weekend and the place becomes one massive nautical fun and grog fest until both shows are over. We’d try for a weekday arrival and figure out how to get the sail to shore. Fickle weather goddesses could ruin our sand written plans at any time.
Friday was a short, 5 hour day. Pulled over toward a wide cove rather than fight the current. Indian summer weather is upon us (but can you say Indian Summer now? Sorry, but Native American Summer does NOT work). Morning fog and haziness kept the day’s high temp to 80 vs the 84 degrees forecast. Guess I could have left those cold weather meals behind 🙂 Saturday saw us spend 3 more hours up the Delaware, the current sweeping us along well enough to hit 7kts on one engine at 2400 rpm. The few tankers heading south were huge, but they keep in the channel and the rest of us stay outside it.
Around noon we entered the 14-mile long C&D Canal, a godsend for all boat traffic wanting or needing a northern route between Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River. Wide enough for freighters, barges, pleasure boats and PWC (especially active on weekends) the canal is banked by hefty riprap (large stones) and spanned by six bridges all with oodles of clearance. Once a dream of cartographer Augustine Hermann who mapped the area in the 17th century, the canal idea popped up again in the 18th century, but not until the dawn of 1800 was the lobbying, interest and funds sufficient to get the lengthy process started. Benjamin Franklin’s efforts helped form the C&D Canal Company which began digging, only to fizzle out for lack of money.
In 1822, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania raised enough money and along with Federal funds and stock subscriptions, the $2 million price tag was met; let the digging begin. More than 2,600 men hacked away with shovels and pickaxes for seven years. Can you picture the effort, the generally lousy working conditions and poor food quality? The canal opened to ship traffic in 1829; it was 10 ft deep and 66 ft wide. In 1919 the U.S. government bought the canal and made it part of the Intracoastal Waterway. Locks were removed and the canal was widened to 90 ft. Several expansions later the canal is presently at least 35 feet deep and 400 ft wide.
In 2010 we took this route and pretty much zoomed down the Chesapeake after spending a few nights at Delaware City Marina. This time, with our early schedule we plan to spend time exploring some of the many lovely creeks and towns along the shores of the Bay.