Mill Creek

Lat:3700'32" Long:7618'27"

Beginner to intermediate

Probably the most popular spot on the Peninsula is Mill Creek with a launch on Fort Monroe. It is also popular with kayakers and others with small boats. Although not a great windsurfing spot, it is quite sheltered and shallow in many areas and is therefore popular with the beginners and intermediates, those who are a little rusty, those who like the social flavor of it, and those looking for a safer launch during nuclear winds.

Mill creek is best sailed on a North or Northeast wind. Other winds are possible because it is completely enclosed but those are the least gusty and shifty as this launch seems to turn everything coming at it into gusts. The bottom is quite muddy and booties are recommended as there is some debris to be found there. Watch out for a drainage pipe off to the West.

The creek (more like a small bay) is less than a mile across it's longest axis so your jibes (or however you do it) will be somewhat frequent with an on-shore wind. There are two launch areas. One consists of two small beaches, divided by a pile of rocks and a concrete deck with a floating dock in the center of the picture above while the other is much wider but places you closer to the bridge.

A word of caution: On an outgoing tide, stay away from the two bridges. I got sucked under one of them twice in the same day once. The parking lot could be a little larger but at least it's close to the launch. There are a couple of port-a-potties in the parking lot. The grassy rigging area is excellent, with plenty of room for a picnic, kites, or frisbee throwing.

When the winds pick up to nuclear strength and the other open water launches get hazardous, Mill Creek can be one of the few safe place to sail. If your are looking for someone to sail with, hit Mill Creek on a Sunday and you will almost always find a few boardheads gathered there. It's the Canadian Hole of Tidewater.

Directions: To get here from I-64 West, take the first exit after coming off the Hampton Roads Bridge-tunnel (or the last one if you are travelling East) at (Exit 268). At the light, in either case, turn left and proceed past the Hardee's and the McDonald's to the next light. Turn right onto Mellen Street which will curve around and take you across a small bridge, to Fort Monroe National Monument. At the light, take the left fork and then the first left onto Eustis Lane. For the east launch, continue along Eustis Lane (becomes Stilwell Drive) for a half mile. For the western launch, turn sharp left onto Stilwell Road 200 feet after turning onto Eustis Lane and ignore the "Do Not Enter" signs.

Good points: Shallow, protected water; almost always someone there if there is any wind; great rigging area; close parking and port-a-potties; fast food nearby; great chop-hop spot when the waters elsewhere get too dangerous.

Bad points: Winds are usually gusty and shifty; bridges and other obstructions can be hazardous on an outgoing tide; lots of mud, shells, and other foot hazards just off the shore; could get a speeding ticket.


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