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Old 06-01-2007
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Question San Diego to Miami, on to Norfolk

New to forum. In the middle of pencil planning and researching a passage that seems nicely ambitious, but do-able......

Depart San Diego around 1 Nov, possibly with the Baja Haha for company. From Cabo, over to Acapulco, along the coast (and out some further south for winds/pirates) and then into the Panama Canal. On the Caribbean side, head up to Costa Rica, then out/around to Honduran Gulf islands, then Guatemala visiting Lago Isabel, Belize barrier reef, Yucatan, the hop across to Keys to Miami.

From there, work in/out of the ICW a ways, then up to Norfolk via "the ditch"\

I can do the math on mileage, but am wondering what timeframes would be reasonable for such a passage. We are in a Mason 33, have done extended (30 day) passages on other vessels with larger crews, but as a crew of two, wanting to move efficiently, but also be able to stop and enjoy the sites enroute, we are trying to estimate a good timeframe ---- like, if we targeted arriving in Miami by June for the start of hurricane season heading N in the ditch, would we be feeling rushed?

Opinions, please!

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Old 06-01-2007
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All I can tell you is about Indian Key to Fort Pierce (current location). The biggest factor though, is weather. It determines a lot of what you can, and can't do.

I did Indian Key to Miami, coming in at Cape Florida, on an overnight run. Actually, I ended up circling around until daylight, as I didn't want to run the channel in the dark. Coming in there, to me, is preferable to the main entrance at Government Cut, which I left by. I then went offshore to Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), though I had intended to go all the way to the Lake Worth or Fort Pierce Inlets. Weather though, made me decide to go inside. After waiting out the Memorial Day weekend at Pompano Beach, I then motored to North Palm Beach, with the next leg to Fort Pierce. If the weather holds good, I'll then go outside to St. Augustine, then Hilton Head Island. One or two more hops should put me in North Carolina.

If you don't mind a lot of inconsiderate powerboats (yes, there are some who aren't) and dealing with 10-15 bridges a day, as well as some shallow water. going by the Ditch is okay. Knowing what I know now though, I would have tried to find some crew, then rode the GulfStream up to Beufort, NC.

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Old 06-01-2007
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PBzeer may have a somewhat biased opinion regarding "... dealing with 10 -15 bridges a day ..." on the ICW. From what I've read of his posts, he has been on (and off) the Intracoastal Waterway mostly between Miami and Fort Pierce, Florida. There are over 30 lift or swing bridges that a sailing vessel may have to wait for in this distance of only 125 miles. That's enough to put any sailor off his feed.

The good news is that there are only 34 lift or swing bridges over the waterway in the entire 965 miles between Fort Pierce, Florida and Norfolk, Virginia. As you might expect, most are clustered around major cities; Daytona Beach itself has three, Norfolk (and vicinity) has six. On the other hand, the entire state of Georgia has only two.

PBzeer had the misfortune of cruising (so far) the most heavily populated and most "bridged" portion of the ICW.

Windsaloft: Good luck with your plans!
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