This 12 year old sticky note hangs on the chart on the wall above Tim Konkus’s desk.
If you have heard about the informative “Briefings” that are part of staying at this strategically located marina to set up for transiting Delaware Bay, you are not alone. This place is known for them!
I think yesterday we were part of the first “briefing” this season!
Tim gives the briefings here. He teaches us how to use the DBOFS to safely and efficiently get to Cape May or alternative ports like Lewes, Atlantic City, Hancock Marina, etc.
Google DBOFS and CBOFS and get familiar with these tools.
Example, a case study: Shellerina’s passage tomorrow. First, you need a good WIND weather window. We’ve been tied up here for five nights waiting for ours. Tomorrow is a good (hard to find) weather window to leave here and head south to Cape May on our overall northbound Loop trip. I could elaborate more on wind and sea state, but I’m not going to get into that for THIS post. I’m going to focus on currents and TIMING our departure time from this wonderful port, as well as strategically altering our route a bit to avoid opposing current.
Cape May is about 50nm from here. That’s 6 or 7 hours for us in our trawler. (( Mental note: 1/3rd of the way down is a security blanket on the east side: Cohansey River and Hancock Marina. Be ready for strong currents in that river if you need that lifeline. ))
OK… so lets see what is happening tomorrow for currents on Delaware Bay!
8:00am In the upper Delaware River area currents are starting to organize into Flood, northbound flow.
By 10:00 am we see PEAK flow northbound Flood in the upper Delaware “River” section of where we want to go. Again, most of that 2- knot current is on the west bank of the Delaware River.
Without getting into too much detail, we want to be at the entrance to Cape May’s canal by 5:00pm. The currents start to work against us down there by 6:00pm, plus we’ll start loosing daylight!
So given this scenario, what is Shellerina’s Float Plan?!?!
#1 We will exit the Delaware City Channel at 11:00am.
#2 We have plotted a course along the east side of the Delaware River (East & outside of the big ship channel). We are using +/- 20 feet of water depth as our guide. The currents against us are much milder on that side.
Some of our dock mates plan on leaving way before dawn in order to take advantage of southbound currents way BEFORE the 7:00am scenarios shown here. But, they’ll be navigating in the dark with that plan! Daring and adventurous.
Again, wind and weather come FIRST in selecting when to GO or NO GO. This post has been more focused on CURRENT which comes next (secondary) in your timing decision of when to push off. All are fun (and critical) to study for safe passages. Now that we have a weather window, timing the current becomes front of mind.
Tim Konkus’s “Briefings” here at Delaware City Marina will help you understand the very unique characteristics of the Delaware River and the Delaware Bay. It is very much part of the Americas Great Loop adventure to engage in this seamanship!
It is also important to note that the upper “River” part of this waterway is more significant to consider CURRENT compared to the lower “Bay” part of this segment of The Loop.
Every other week, this segment of the Delaware gives Loopers tidal advantages in the morning when winds are typically lighter.
You might try to time your arrival/departure from in Delaware City to be one of those weeks when morning currents in the Delaware RIVER align with lighter morning winds. We didn’t!
I think that our “innovation” not read before in cruising guides or forums, is that favoring the east side of the Delaware River is a good strategy of minimizing the effect of current here when you need to be in this waterway in less than ideal currents… at least for this passage tomorrow.