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  #1  
Old 08-12-2012
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JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

So, I'm toying with the idea of sailing my boat from Jacksonville, FL to Norfolk, VA the second week or third week of December this year. I'm looking at going outside from Jacksonville, FL to Moorehead City, NC, then staying on the Intercoastal to Norfolk, VA.

I have a good bit of time to do this, but I was hoping it wouldn't take more than around 7 days. I'm budgeting about 10 days as a "just in case". The boat is 33'; I'm planning for pretty conservative numbers.

It's going to be my first "coastal cruise" and "overnight cruise" - in my sailboat. I'm an officer in the Navy, so safety, navigation, etc isn't what scares me - even night time (you do a few nights near some pirate havens and you learn to deal with little contacts all over the place). It's more of a what don't I know?

To mitigate some risks I'll be:
1. Renting a liferaft.
2. Hiring a USCG captain (sailboat delivery captain) to go with us for the Jax to Moorehead City leg. I'm hiring him for his experience, and for his capabilities - he and I will head up the watch teams.
3. Crew size is 4 total (Captain, dad, brother, me).

My biggest concerns include exposure, so I'm planning on dressing warm. Immersion suits were brought up, so that's high on my list as a possibility (I have my own heavy weather gear - would that be enough)? In terms of safety, the boat has had a lot of good work done, and she's in really great shape (she's 31 but she's doing well). I'll do preventative maintenance right before I leave (for the engine). Sails are all in good shape. Heavy weather gear is onboard (storm sail, para-anchor). Good medkit. We'll all keep on inflatable PFD and safety harness on deck, and we'll have jacklines rigged.

Any other thoughts? Anyone have any pertinent experience sailing this particular run? How about sailing that area in December? Anything really glaring missing?

I'm not interested in going around Cape Hatteras - that's a non-starter. But I was also looking at Southport, NC - it'll just add another hundred intercoastal miles, if I remember right (its off the top of my head, and my handy Intercoastal Guide isn't sitting next to me).

Thank you!
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Old 08-12-2012
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JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

It is about 150 nm between Moorhead city NC and Norfolk.. It is impossible to navigate ICW at night. There are shortest nights in December. I'd plan 5 days just for icw. I did the stretch in November. I had ice covered deck more than once. You will need some heat. just to keep the crew happy after shift. Nothing fancy. You have plenty of people to stand a watch. Something simple like gas tent heaters from campmore.com will do the job. Read carefully notice to mariners. There are lots of repairs and closures at winter time. I had to retract 70 miles in NJ to get around closed bridge. Be ready for no service at marinas. Good luck.
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Old 08-12-2012
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Re: JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

Will you be leaving on a fixed date.

If so be VERY aware of the weather especially the winter cold fronts that bring strong North winds.

On a 33 footer you do not want to be out there in the gulf stream with a 20+ knt Northerly bringing out the elephants who play leap frog.

SHOALING INCLUDING THE INLETS SEE CLICKY

Make sure you have the latest version AND be aware it wil not be accurate in all respects.

If you are on a fixed schedule I would have as plan A running UP THE ICW and plan B doing part of the trip outside if and only if you get a good forecast.

Make sure you have spare pairs of warm gloves

Last edited by TQA; 08-12-2012 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 08-13-2012
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Re: JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

I too have done this trip - even from NAS JAX ha ha and I would not go outside all the way. I would most likely go up to Cape Fear and then inside the rest of the way. It will be cold, the weather is very changeable, and as pointed out if you get winds from the North not only will the Gulf Stream kick up (not a big problem, it should be about 50 to 75 miles east of your track) but you crew will freeze. As pointed out the days are very short so doing the ICW becomes an issue. If you check your charts you will find that there are long stretches you can do at night - Adams Creek is pretty easy, the Alligator River to Elizabeth City is another. Particularly with a good spotlight and chart plotter you can find the marks. I have always gone outside north of the St. Mary's River so I don't know the ICW between there and Cape Fear.

Either way prepare for COLD COLD COLD.
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Old 08-13-2012
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Re: JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

Are you just wanting to get your boat to Norfolk, or is it just something you want to do?

Unless you're very fortunate, what you're looking at is a hard, cold, push, with little to no room for error. Only way you make Beaufort Inlet in 3 days is riding the Stream (which isn't likely to be possible that time of year). And you'd be lucky to get through Carolina in 4 days. (For example, Coinjock to Hospital Point is right at 12 hrs @ 5.5 kts)

If all I wanted was to get the boat there, and I had a limited window of time, AND, was going to hire a Captain anyway, I'd just hire 'em to deliver the boat.

It's not that it can't be done, but unless it's the only option and has to be done, I wouldn't do it.
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Re: JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

Thank you for your responses. I was worried about the cold. I'll look into a boat captain delivery as well, and an overland delivery (anyone know of any really good services?).

It's based on transfer time between stations. I always seem to catch the crappy transfer times (winter when I'm available, summer when I'm deploying). I guess the other option would be to get it up to Moorehead City and leave it there for a few months until it warms up, then take it up the intercoastal when I have a few days free in the following spring. If I was going to do that, any marina recommendations?

@PBzeer - I was going to hire the captain only for the outside portion (Jax->Moorehead City). That's the only part that I'm "worried" about, and for which I would really like the extra experience. I do have several extra days if I needed them, so I'm not a completely static schedule.

@TQA: I hadn't considered doing the entire thing up the ICW. I'm out at sea now, and so I don't have my ICW Guide in front of me, but I imagine that a continuous ICW run would be about 10-14 days (assuming 5 knots and 10 hours of travel a day). I'll verify that when I get home.

@SVZephyr44: Are you military too?
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Old 08-13-2012
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Re: JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

Quote:
Originally Posted by jslade8581 View Post
So, I'm toying with the idea of sailing my boat from Jacksonville, FL to Norfolk, VA the second week or third week of December this year. I'm looking at going outside from Jacksonville, FL to Moorehead City, NC, then staying on the Intercoastal to Norfolk, VA.

I have a good bit of time to do this, but I was hoping it wouldn't take more than around 7 days. I'm budgeting about 10 days as a "just in case". The boat is 33'; I'm planning for pretty conservative numbers.

It's going to be my first "coastal cruise" and "overnight cruise" - in my sailboat. I'm an officer in the Navy, so safety, navigation, etc isn't what scares me - even night time (you do a few nights near some pirate havens and you learn to deal with little contacts all over the place). It's more of a what don't I know?

To mitigate some risks I'll be:
1. Renting a liferaft.
2. Hiring a USCG captain (sailboat delivery captain) to go with us for the Jax to Moorehead City leg. I'm hiring him for his experience, and for his capabilities - he and I will head up the watch teams.
3. Crew size is 4 total (Captain, dad, brother, me).

My biggest concerns include exposure, so I'm planning on dressing warm. Immersion suits were brought up, so that's high on my list as a possibility (I have my own heavy weather gear - would that be enough)? In terms of safety, the boat has had a lot of good work done, and she's in really great shape (she's 31 but she's doing well). I'll do preventative maintenance right before I leave (for the engine). Sails are all in good shape. Heavy weather gear is onboard (storm sail, para-anchor). Good medkit. We'll all keep on inflatable PFD and safety harness on deck, and we'll have jacklines rigged.

Any other thoughts? Anyone have any pertinent experience sailing this particular run? How about sailing that area in December? Anything really glaring missing?

I'm not interested in going around Cape Hatteras - that's a non-starter. But I was also looking at Southport, NC - it'll just add another hundred intercoastal miles, if I remember right (its off the top of my head, and my handy Intercoastal Guide isn't sitting next to me).

Thank you!
For whatever value, it took me 2 days to sail from St. Augustine to Beaufort N.C. a couple of weeks ago in a Ta Chiao CT 56.

You would possibly want to get into the Gulf Stream as soon as possible, in order to gain speed from that current.

We didn't have any issues, and it was a short smooth cruise.

Good luck / Fair winds,
Doug
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Old 08-13-2012
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Re: JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

Retired - say hi to Phil for me from Roger on Reboot.

Re Doug's comment - It was July/August - other than the possibility of dealing with a tropical storm that is like night and day to December.

PS If I were going to hire a delivery captain I would have him move the boat now - in the good weather rather than wait until December if for no other reason than the standing rigging will take less of a beating if it is not covered with ice.
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Old 08-13-2012
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Re: JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

That's a good question. Why wait until Dec?
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Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
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Old 08-13-2012
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Re: JAX, FL to Norfolk, VA in December

If I was going to have a delivery captain move it, the sky's the limit! As for me moving it, which is preferred, we're at a very busy point in my ship's life.

I'm working to get my transfer date shifted around so that I can have a few weeks in April next year to sail it up instead. If that works out I'll probably do that.
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