ICW vs Offshore - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-05-2010 Thread Starter
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ICW vs Offshore

I have not sailed on the east coast at all yet - but wonder why more people don't just sail down the coast instead of down the ICW with all it's bridges and low areas. Staying within a couple miles of shore won't head into the Gulf stream in most areas as far as I can see, in fact there would probably be some counter current south in much of the route.

I hope to do some sailing on the coast in the coming year or two and any insight would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-05-2010
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Hi Dave,

There's many ways to take a trip south along the east coast. Depending upon your departure point, the route is not all...motoring in a ditch.

Long island sound, Chespeake Bay, the Pamlico and Abermarle sounds are prime sailing grounds with awesome stops along the way.
Many people choose to do the NJ coast offshore, or may stop in places like Atlantic City, or Cape May..via the inlets.

Some may jump in at cape may..and then skip the Delaware bay and go outside along the delmarva peninsula re-entering at norfolk.

Below the Pamlico, I see folks jumping in an out the inlets..probably based on weather, wind etc... I jumped out at Cape fear and came in at Jacksonville..

Bottome line is.....There are as many ways to undertake this trip as there are sailors...and as many reasons for how or why they choose to do it the way they do.

Do it in the wrong season, and you could be beating into the prevailing southwesterlies the whole time.

Some of us, like to stop and smell the roses...judging by the number of Canadians I see at the Annapolis boat show in October...

If you're in a hurry, I guess you can just run the coast...keep in mind that the time many people do this ( fall to late fall.) is the biggest chance of nor'easters.

Coming back, alot of folks may ride the stream..for the extra push, but again timing and watching the weather is key.

If you are coming from Texas, to sail the east coast I would think you'd want to stop and see some of the great sights..that we have to offer..

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post #3 of 13 Old 01-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuskerDave View Post
I have not sailed on the east coast at all yet - but wonder why more people don't just sail down the coast instead of down the ICW with all it's bridges and low areas. Staying within a couple miles of shore won't head into the Gulf stream in most areas as far as I can see, in fact there would probably be some counter current south in much of the route.

I hope to do some sailing on the coast in the coming year or two and any insight would be appreciated.
Graveyard of the Atlantic?
Graveyard of the Atlantic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Basically it is smart not to sail around Carolina's Capes close to shore.
There is entrance point at Chesapeake bay and exit point at Cape Fear, if you go south. This area is better transited inside. Rest of the coast can be sailed either way, depending on weather and mood.

CR
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-03-2010
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Dave,
I see exactly where your coming from...I too have been studying the charts and I thinks its totally possible to make the trip on the outside...I will be leaving the Delaware Bay sometime in March and heading south...as it stands right now im planning on doing the trip within a few miles of the coast except for going around the diamond shoals...also note i will be doing it in a 30ft watkins...i would love to hear from someone else who has attempted this route...
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-04-2010
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If all you're interested in is getting from Point A to Point B in the shortest time possible, then offshore is the way to go. Personally, I avoid the SC and GA portions of the ICW like the plague. Once south of Cape Fear, you're never more than an overnight (usually less) from an inlet

If you're in it for the journey, and not the destination though, there are many parts of the ICW that are worthwhile.

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post #6 of 13 Old 02-04-2010
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We went south via the ICW because there were lots of places we'd never seen that we wanted to explore. We draw 4-1/2 feet so the shoaly area were not terribly inconvenient as long as we timed our travels - there are 8 or 9 foot tides in parts of SC and GA. On the return trip we'll go outside for parts, riding the Gulf Stream, coming back in probably around Charleston SC because it was one of the places we'd enjoy visiting again when the flowers are in bloom. We'll stay "in" for NC to sail Pamlico & Albemarle. As PBzeer said, we're in it for the journey AND the destination ...
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-04-2010
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I am an off- shore guy both by style and a too tall mast. Most of the time we stop along the way where we want to. don't hit ever town or do 40-60 mile days motoring. We get off shore sail for 2-4 days or so and stop somewhere and explore for a bit. There are befits to both and even if I could go inside I really prefer sailing all day and overnight then motoring in a ditch.

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post #8 of 13 Old 02-04-2010
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I know a lot of people who do the Bermuda race and you get a beating going or coming home sometimes both ways

Last year it was like a lake going down and break the boat (really) trip home

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post #9 of 13 Old 02-04-2010
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Are Pamlico & Albemarle good/easy sailing?
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-04-2010
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Quote:
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Are Pamlico & Albemarle good/easy sailing?
They are shallow and wide open. It doesn't take much wind to kick up short, steep, "square waves" on the Pamlico & Albemarle.

I haven't sailed the Great Lakes, but I imagine your waves are more like ocean waves which are more likely to pick you up and put you down gently. A square wave picks you up quickly and slams you down. Then the next one following does the same, and then the next one, and the next one, ad nauseam.

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