Originally Posted by ambitious/rubbish
My father and I have just completed leg 1 of our journey, taking our '98 Dufour 45 classic down the Chesapeake, through the ICW to Charleston, SC.
How was that part of the trip? We had planned to make it up to the Chesapeake, but gave up and stayed in Georgia for this hurricane season. It was July when we got here, and afternoon thunderstorms were nasty. The Georgia ICW seems pretty challenging, even considering that we did the ditch from Galveston, Tx, to Pensacola, Fl.
There are some problem areas to watch as you get closer here, if you continue on the ditch southward. I'd go outside from Hilton Head down to Jacksonville, if the weather is ok. You can also come in here at St. Simons (a good inlet, but long) if you want a short break. There is a good anchorage near Morningside Marina, where we stayed, at anchor, a few nights.
There is some skinny water at low tide near Jekyll Island (on the ICW), so beware. The only place we had a problem was just south of Fernandina (Saw Pit Creek?). Check out Active Captain, or I can look it up for you. We had a problem with a 5' draft, but it was low tide. One other is just south of Matanzas Inlet. Follow the markers near shore! Bottom line-the Florida ICW is NOT maintained very well as you get closer to Georgia. Farther south is fine.
Anyway, have a safe trip, which ever way you go.
I'd love to just leave from here, Brunswick Georgia, and head to the Abacos like other's suggested. BUT....we don't have an autopilot, so it's too hard on us (my wife and I) over 60's crew. Plus, you need a longer weather window. We use http://www.windfinder.com/forecast/hilton_head_island
, passage weather, and http://www.wunderground.com/MAR/AM/470.html
. I also download gribs on UGRIB (free).