A number of logical reasons would lead schooner captains with hidden passengers to favor sailing north in the Chesapeake Bay and through the canal rather than choosing to sail the Atlantic. Fountain had routinely used the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal to reach Philadelphia, with Wilmington, Delaware a secondary stop along the way. In 1850, Captain Fountain’s homeport was in Baltimore, and he hauled grain and other freight on the schooner Eliza S. for H. Kelsey and Company. In 1853, Captain Fountain sailed the schooner Millsville for two Baltimore and Philadelphia packet companies. He carried freight for Brown and Son’s Canal Line in Baltimore and Hand’s Canal Line in Philadelphia, the company names referring to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
Experienced Chesapeake Bay schooner captains like Baylis and Fountain knew the ports, channels and local pilots, and were familiar with the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal at the northern end. They knew the advantages of sailing north on the Chesapeake Bay, going through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and entering the Delaware River to reach Wilmington and Philadelphia over venturing into the Atlantic Ocean and entering the Delaware Bay to reach those two Delaware River ports. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal’s main advantage was the shortened distance and sailing time between Chesapeake Bay ports and Philadelphia. Although the distance and time savings was greater for ports in the upper Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal route did reduce the distance between Norfolk and Philadelphia by twenty-four nautical miles. This savings subtracted several hours of travel time in unpredictable weather for a schooner laden with passengers and cargo. A second advantage the Chesapeake Bay route offered was the multiple stops that a captain could make on the way north to deliver and receive cargo, and take on provisions. Ports like Cambridge, Washington, DC, Alexandria, Baltimore, Havre de Grace, Port Deposit, and Elkton could make a trip more profitable than the paucity of ports on the Atlantic and Delaware Bay side of the Delmarva Peninsula. As previously noted, Still had explained a third advantage important to captains transporting freedom seekers from Virginia and North Carolina. Captains remaining in the Chesapeake Bay and sailing northward could present a bill of lading for any of these slave state ports north of Norfolk, raising less suspicion than identifying Philadelphia as the next port of call. A fourth advantage was greater safety and relative comfort offered by the sheltered inland route. This advantage was particularly important for a captain responsible for a large number of passengers, in some cases more than a score, crowded below deck. If the dark clouds of a storm appeared, or if strong winds threatened to blow the ship off course, the bay offered a captain many inlets and protected harbors. Calmer waves in the bay were less punishing for the ship and the passengers than turbulent ocean waters. For example, in late fall of 1855, Captain Fountain would crowd twenty-one freedom seekers below decks before leaving Norfolk. Visualize a voyage in the ocean under those circumstances; the rocking of a schooner in the rough seas, the malodorous air in an unventilated space overcrowded with twenty-one bodies cramped together for hours, and the inexperience of at least some of those passengers to sea voyages and ocean waves. The unpleasantness of seasickness and the sight, smell, and sound of vomiting for the other passengers may seem like one of the smaller problems in an escape, but an experienced seaman would understand it as another practical reason for choosing the gentler Chesapeake Bay route.
 “Shipping,” [Baltimore] American & Commercial Daily Advertiser, August 13, 1850; “Shipping,” [Baltimore] American & Commercial Daily Advertiser, May 2, 1853; “Shipping,” [Philadelphia] The North American, July 29, 1853.
 US Dept. of Commerce, Distances
 Still, The Underground Railroad, 77