We are traveling north to the Chesapeake and would like to bypass the Norfolk-Portsmouth marinas in favor of an anchorage. Does anyone have any recommendations in the Hampton, VA area ?… the cruising guides are fairly thin with recommendations. Visually there appears to be a large ‘basin’ off Old Point Comfort similar to Marine Stadium in Miami. Does anyone anchor in the basin?
aboard M/V LiLi
Other than Hampton you might like to look at Willoughby Bay on Chart 12222. Look at NE side.
We usually anchor next to the the bridge up in the channel next to Fort Monroe between the bridge and the hospital. This is the bridge on the northern side of the bridge tunnel.
Go into Hampton and go past the city marina beyond the bridge. The charts don’t show any depths there but you can anchor safely in 12′ of water. Or utilize the Hampton YC for $1/ft. They don’t take reservations but it’s 1st come/1st served on any of their ‘T’ heads.
Portsmouth has a great FREE overnight spot right downtown. fyi
Knot Tide Down
I have some years ago. There is a lot of large and small boat traffic. The wakes are fierce.
Traveling north, just before the shipping terminal, there is a small inlet taking you East that leads to the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. There is about 10′ feet of water to the NY&CC and room to anchor to the south of their club docks. If you choose to use the NY&CC they charged 1.50/ft to other yacht club members. You will need evidence of membership, membership card or paid receipt, credit card and picture ID. The meals are great and reasonable in the After Deck, showers with warm towels and a bus ride to downtown Norfolk. Hard to beat after a long turn in the Intercostal.
I wouldn’t take Lili into the downtown “free” docks in Portsmouth if I were you. Lot of ferry traffic and You are pretty big for this area. If
you decide to look for a marina instead, we can recommend Salt Pond marina in Hampton. It’s on the bay side of things and not far off the path you will take. Very well protected with pool , easy access, and good pricing.
We left Second Star there for two weeks to go home a while back.
See you on the Water!
Michael La Porte
M/V SECOND STAR
We’ve spent one good and one terrible night in the Mill Creek anchorage between the bridge and the fort. Memory is that there is little protection from surge in one direction, but it was a long time ago. I can’t remember the specific problem.
Bad experience would eliminate this anchorage from our list.
We use north end of Hampton River. You go under a bridge which filters out the sailboats into a very nice anchorage which could likely accommodate a dozen boats. Use of the City’s dock is free. Post office, pubs, this and that, easy walk from city dock.
Protection is excellent from all directions.
Another anchorage is Lafayette River. We’ve used this three times. Other than distance off the Waterway, if you go well beyond the bridge, there’s good holding and adequate room, moderate protection.
Our only serious anchor drag over recent years was in Chismun Creek. Winds were 70 knots++. 44 lb Delta. We dragged about a 1/4 mile. Problem, which seems not uncommon in the bay is that the bottom can be 18 inches of silt or muck on top of hard-pan. Plows find their way down to the hard-pan and then skate along it as you drag downwind.
We think that is what happened there. If we were to do it again, I think we’d try the West Performance which is a very stiff Danforth type.
Testimony to this problem (silt on hard-pan) is the frequency with which we have to reset or try the other anchor in the bay. We back down on each try and with some force. No matter what Bruce Van Sant thinks about this, if you’ve backed down, you know it will hold in at least one direction.
Use of Hampton’s City dock free to dinghys, not the big boat
My thanks to all who provided advice on Hampton Roads anchorages. We ended up in the basin which was quite rolly-polly until past sundown. Everyone’s suggestions were so good that I look forward to visiting Hampton Roads .
on board M/V LiLi