Skip to main content

Updates the ICW: Hell Gate

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

12. Hell Gate STM 602 The very name of this short ¾ mile stretch of the ICW strikes fear into the hearts of many cruisers. It needn’t. While at 3’7” it is the shallowest section of the ICW we have seen, with 7 to 8 feet of tidal range, it is very easy to plan your transit with plenty of water.

Northbound we find that the anchorage at Duplin Creek is a nice place to stay, good shore access at a dinghy dock and miles of roads to hike. It is 40 nautical miles south of Hell gate and is a good staging point for a late day high tide. If you prefer a marina stay, at STM 620 you can head up the Medway River to Sunbury Crab Company, a very popular restaurant in a nice marina. Kilkenny Marina is a little more rustic. You’ll find it 1.5 miles off the ICW at STM 612. From any of these staging points you can time your Hell gate transit on a rising tide. After you clear hell gate it is only 10 miles to the marina at Isle of Hope. IOH I certainly one of the prettiest towns on the ICW. Another 5 miles brings you to Thunderbolt Marina.

We transited March 24 with +5.8 feet of tide. Our track followed the best water we could see on the up to date Navionics sonar chart. Over the years we have learned not to turn at G89, but to continue to a point about 300 feet north before making the turn towards the northeast. On our track, we noted 9.8 feet between G91 and R90. Subtracting 5.8 feet, and you will see 3’7” at MLLW.

Note: The name of this channel is Hell Gate. It is not Hells or Hell’s Gate. NOAA usually does not use possessives in their naming protocol. 

HellGate

May 2018

Related

Spons-Sailing-Convention-for-Women-CA-April-1-photo-1-2023-12_06_22

Sailing Convention for Women Returns

After a three-year pandemic hiatus, the Sailing Convention for Women is back with expanded learning opportunities taking place at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Corona Del Mar, California on April 1, 2023. Some of the workshop topics include Suddenly Singlehanded, Steer with ...read more

thumbnail_Jump-1

The Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race Returns

It’s been four years since racers last sailed the cold North Atlantic in the venerable Marblehead-to-Halifax race—and finally, the wait is over. The Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron have announced the 39th Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race set for this ...read more

Wendy-2048px

Meet Wendy Mitman Clarke, Editor-in-Chief of SAIL magazine

Learn more about how she and the magazine’s team are committed to building on SAIL’s legacy of more than 50 years as an authentic voice about the sport and the sailing life, delivering stories that educate, inspire and inform. ...read more

maintenance-02

Cruising: Old Sailors Never Die

“Old sailors never die, they just get a little dinghy.” It may be a hoary old joke, but one of my problems at age 79 is I can no longer get easily in and out of a little dinghy, and neither can my (several years younger than me) wife. For this, and various other reasons I will ...read more

01-LEAD-DSC_0953

The Mighty Compass

Here’s to the humble magnetic compass, without a doubt the sailor’s most reliable instrument onboard. It’s always there for you and with the rarest of exceptions, always operational. Yes, I love my chartplotter, autopilot, radar, and AIS. They help me be a safer and more ...read more

02-En-route-Jost-Van-D

Chartering: Swan Song in the BVI

Joseph Conrad once wrote, “The sea never changes.” And while this may or not be true, something most definitely not open for debate is the fact we sailors, “wrapped in mystery,” as Conrad put it, are continually changing—whether we like it or not. I found myself thinking these ...read more

220307FP51_1JML0332

Boat Review: Fountaine-Pajot Aura 51

If you can sell more than 150 catamarans off-plan before the resin has even hit the fiberglass, you must be doing something right. Despite costing around $1.1 million once fitted out and on the water, Fountaine-Pajot’s new 51 has done just that. The French yard has been at it ...read more

00LEAD-IMG-9035

Ready to Fly a New Sail

It’s a typical humid, southern Chesapeake Bay summer day when I show up on the doorstep of Latell & Ailsworth Sailmakers in the one-stoplight, one-lane-roadway, rural tidewater town of Deltaville, Virginia. I’m late getting here to work on a new jib for my 29-foot, Bill ...read more