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boydgatlin 03-16-2007 12:43 PM

FL==>NC advice needed
My wife and I are purchasing our first boat, a 42-ft Beneteau, in Fort Lauderdale and plan to move it this spring to North Carolina. We have friends who have taken a boat up the outside route before, and we can call on them to crew for a least part of the trip. We've motored the ICW enough on charters to know that we really do not want to go that route. Time is not an issue; we are both retired.
One scenario we have constructed is to add two experienced crew persons and ride the Gulf Stream under sail as far north as Savannah, GA, in early May if the weather cooperates. Then, we were thinking the two of us should be able to inlet hop the rest of the way, with perhaps one or two overnight passages as needed. I know the ICW might be faster, but we want to get the ocean sailing experience without the commitment of an extended passage.
Anybody ever done a similar trip and have useful advice?

sailhog 03-16-2007 12:52 PM


Originally Posted by boydgatlin
Time is not an issue; we are both retired.
One scenario we have constructed is to add two experienced crew persons and ride the Gulf Stream under sail as far north as Savannah, GA, in early May if the weather cooperates.

Savannah's a fantastic place to stop and go landside for a while. I'd suggest taking the ICW from there to Charleston, as it's drop-dead beautiful and you shouldn't have much trouble if your draft is less than 5'6". Although I haven't sailed it, I've heard the ICW through Georgia is a little dicier. A friend with a Bristol 38 that draws 4'6" ran aground on a couple of occasions... that's about all the information I'm good for...

hellosailor 03-16-2007 12:59 PM

Boyd, what is your sailing experience? (i.e. first boat, but not new to sailing?)

Whether the boat is new or used, I'd suggest planning on some time to take it out for shakedown, a day cruise or perhaps a few days down to the keys, etc., and then plan on something between 48 hours and a week to obtain spares and parts and do whatever prep it needs before taking the boat home. It might need nothing...or it might need things that will take a week to arrive and three more days to fit and check out again.

camaraderie 03-16-2007 02:10 PM

Boyd...Given your purchase in Florida...I am assuming this is a used boat.
The concern I would have is that with it being a used boat, you need a shakedown cruise to sort things out before getting out in the stream.
Assuming you are both capable sailors and navigators...I would start first with a day or two on the FL ICW...say to Palm Beach. This will allow you to analyze and deal with any immediately evident issues like overheating etc. while in protected waters and with towboatus and marinas handy.
Then you could hop outside at Palm Beach which is an all weather, easy inlet and come back in at Ft. Pierce after a long day offshore into another good inlet. This will allow any fuel problems or sail/rig problems to manifest themselves in the ocean swells and again ends at a good inlet with readily available marina services at the head of the inlet. you can have some confidence that the boat is sorted out and will have gotten used to handling her and you can take on longer passages...perhaps next up to St. Augstine (about 150 miles) or Jacksonville (180) or the St. Mary's River (210) depending on how long you want to stay out.
From Northern FL...Charleston is about 180 miles and there are several interim harbors where you can lay over if you want to break it up.
From there it is an overnighter to the Cape Fear River and Southport and another overnighter to Beaufort depending on where you need to come into in NC.
The above is pretty much what we did last year coming north and it saves a lot of time over the ICW and is do-able by a couple without getting too tired from standing watch. Certainly with a crew, you can do longer legs if you choose but the route I've given also does not put you more than a day away from a manageable inlet if the weather forecast says to batten down.
You didn't ask for a tourist guide so I'll refrain...but there are a lot of awful nice places to pull in along the way and if you have the time it is worthwhile to stop and smell the magnolias!!

boydgatlin 03-16-2007 03:10 PM

Thanks for the responses and solid advice. I should have provided more details initially. We have been bareboat chartering for about five years--Fl Keys, Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, BVI. But this is our first boat. It's relatively new--2002--and well cared for. We do plan to spend the month of April doing shakedown sailing along the coast and perhaps in Biscayne Bay. It's the going off shore to catch the Gulf Stream and saling at night out of sight of land that will be new to us.

conrat66 03-16-2007 10:48 PM

Sampit River in Georgetown SC is a great little boater friendly town! I used to be the Capatain on the Jolly Rover there and its a good overnight ancorage...................Conrad

camaraderie 03-16-2007 11:25 PM

Dittos Conrat...great SHRIMP there too in season!! Right off the boat!

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