Should we even do the intercostal en-route south? From what I am reading... - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 01-09-2011
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Should we even do the intercostal en-route south? From what I am reading...

..

Last edited by chrisncate; 01-12-2012 at 02:21 AM.
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Old 01-09-2011
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This is just my opinion and not advice. Every mile of the ICW has worth but some miles you may want to see only once. You can not drop the hook anywhere but there are many many anchorages. Some beautiful and isolated some crowded and functional. Skipper Bob is great but there are other options. Be creative but stay out of the channel. The ICW is slow and not for night travel but you can use it when off shore is not comfortable. I have covered from the Pamlico Sound to Keys three times in the last 5 years and Pamlico north to Yorktown last spring. Some days are boring some are great. You run into many great people and a few jerks. I single-hand a lot so my off shore runs are limited. I definitely try and go out anywhere south of St Lucie or Jupiter Inlet. I believe half+- of the 60+- bridges I have to deal with are south of there and the jumps are short. I only draw 3.5 ft so I have it easier than most but I know many folks with more that run the ICW with few problems. I have been boarded/inspected many times and it might have been inconvenient but basically painless. Again some of that is luck of the draw. There is beauty in every mile, off shore or in the ditch. Dan S/V Marian Claire Heading south in 19 days. Yeeehaa
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Old 01-09-2011
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If you're more concerned with the destination than the journey, stay outside. At least from Beaufort Inlet south. If you're not in a hurry, stay inside at least till Hilton Head Island.

I've had no problem finding places to anchor, and have only been boarded once, and that was part of a CG training exercise. The Florida bridges south of Fort Pierce can be a pain, as most are on a schedule rather than on demand.

Skipper Bobs and Cruisernet are good resources. I use the Maptech Chart Books rather than individual charts. Dozier's Waterway Guide is also useful.
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Old 01-09-2011
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Thing have probably changed since I did the last of my eight trips up and down the east coast, but I never had a problem anchoring and I was never boarded or inspected.

I've never tried to go round Hattarras, always electing to stay inside from the Bay to Moorhead City, but after that I've done it entirely outside and entirely inside. Obviously, weather is the big issue if you intend to stay outside. Just don't be in the Stream in anything with north in it.

I like the ICW and would like to do it one time on a more suitable vessel than a sailboat with its deep draft and mast.

If you intend to leave the country and have no interest in exploring the eastern seaboard then by all means just head south to the Bahamas.
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Old 01-09-2011
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ICW route

I've done the ICW 15 times. I have never been boarded. Always found anchorages - The beauty of the ICW is that weather is not usually a factor. I find the ICW much more interesting than the ocean. Don't like those over-nighters either.
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Old 01-10-2011
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Please do not take anything I say as a recommendation. I would have to know a great deal about you, your crew and your boat before recommending a course of action.
Info: I agree with the previous post. Skipper Bobís ICW anchorage book is #1. It covers anchorages, bridge schedules, areas of strong currents etc. There is also a web site with updates. Things do change so do not take anything as gospel and some of the on shore info is subjective ie. A long walk to the grocery store for one person is a pleasure for others. I also use the large charts. I found an old set and went on-line and page by page updated the markers. As soon as something is printed it is out of date as inlet markers constantly change. Honor what is on the water.
My experience is that 99.9% of the people on the water and on shore were nice. A few years back Fla did push the anchoring issue to hard and has paid the price with bad press and I think has backed off some. If you can find a more cruiser friendly town than St Maryís Ga I will eat my hat. Again it is luck of the draw. If you get pulled by the officer on a power trip it is going to be a hassle. The CG and most of the enforcement officers I have encountered where very professional and courteous. I think, as in the news, we hear a great deal about the one bad apple and little about the others.
I think many of us could talk/write/tell stories for ever on how we contact/dealt with bridges, fast boats, tides, strong currents, the beauty of some areas, the opulence of Ft Lala, the Rock Pile, Elliotís Cut, the list is endless.
Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 01-10-2011
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If you're like me (fairly new to sailing, limited to the Ches. Bay, non-bluewater boat) then based on your end-destination, I would consider using the ICW to get you safely south of Cape Hatteras (graveyard of the Atlantic) and then pop out and sail along the coast the rest of the way.

Nothing says the ICW is an "all or nothing" proposition.
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Old 01-10-2011
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A lot of doing the ICW depends on what you are looking for. If you want speed, you go outside. If you want nature, you stay inside. If you want a bit of everything, then mix it up, depending on conditions.

A lot depends also, on the time of year. The later in the year, the more likely you are to stay inside.

There's many points of historical interest, as well as places of natural beauty, like Charleston and Cumberland Island. Or maybe you want to see Cape Canaveral. It's all up to what you want to do.
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Old 01-10-2011
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I'd point out that once you're south of Cape Hatteras, going outside isn't too difficult and lets you make more distance in less time.

The ICW is probably at its worst in Georgia, since the ICW there hasn't been all that well maintained, and the ICW there isn't anything close to straight.
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Old 01-13-2011
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chrisncate -

Where are you on the Bay? I'm in Annapolis and have done the trip South many times, albeit more out than in. Happy to catch up with you near Annapolis and share my experiences and walk through the charts.
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