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Old 02-15-2013
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North on ICW?

We wanted to tag onto this discussion and ask whether or not it is possible
to go up the ICW from Fort Lauderdale to Portsmouth with 65 feet of
mast height and 7 feet of draft?. Has anyone done so in such a vessel and were
there points where you exited then re-entered the ICW?
Had a friend who once started it in his Pacific Seacraft and ultimately became so irritated he ended up having the boat trucked back to California .
Thanks in advance for any response that may be offered.
HV
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Old 02-15-2013
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Re: North on ICW?

With 65 ft, I would look for a good weather window, and go outside. If I need to hide, I will just come back in for a few days. Some enjoy the ICW scenery, some don't.
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Old 02-15-2013
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Re: North on ICW?

While you "could" do it, I can't imagine myself doing it under those conditions. I've had enough worries with 4 1/2' draft on the ICW. My usual method is to do overnight hops from one inlet to another.
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Old 02-15-2013
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Re: North on ICW?

Not a prayer with those dimensions. While there are lots of bridges that show a 65-foot clearance, there are several that never get clearances better than 62 feet.

As for the 7-foot draft, there were loads of locations where the actual depth was less than 5 feet, even at high tide. Keep in mind that much of the ICW has not been maintained for decades, which accounts for the growing number of temporary buoys and markers.

Stick with the outside,

Gary
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Old 02-15-2013
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Re: North on ICW?

I was perusing the USCG's Notices to Mariners for a possible trip from the Chesapeake Bay to Barnegat Bay. I was struck by how difficult parts of them were to decipher, and also by the number of bridges that are under inspection, or even closed. There was one near Atlantic City, NJ that, if I read the NTM properly, was broken and stuck in the closed position, with only 20' of vertical clearance. I'd suggest very carefully reviewing the notices before leaving, even if the rest of the trip looks OK. If there are opening bridges (drawbridges, rotating train bridges, etc.), you'll want to make sure they are working properly, otherwise you'll have to back-track to the nearest inlet and go around them. Or drop your mast. That may sound silly, but there are folks who come down to New York from the Great Lakes, and simply ship the mast ahead of them, thereby avoiding the entire bridge issue.
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Re: North on ICW?

There was a recent thread on this recently, here's my take on it:

Any Hylas 46 owners here?

If your mast height truly is 65', it will be a VERY daunting trip. I believe Gary overstates the minimum clearance somewhat, the only fixed bridge north of Lauderdale generally acknowledged to be closer to 64' at MHW is the Wilkerson Creek bridge at the western end of the Alligator Pungo canal. But other than in prolonged offshore conditions, or spring tides that have driven water levels along the ICW higher than normal, you'll eventually have 65', though you may have to wait for it...

64' air draft is really pushing it, 65' would just be an incredible PITA... The Ditch can be a wonderful trip, but why anyone would want to turn it into something that nerve-wracking is lost on me, such a boat really should go up outside...
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Old 02-15-2013
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Re: North on ICW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
There was a recent thread on this recently, here's my take on it:

Any Hylas 46 owners here?

If your mast height truly is 65', it will be a VERY daunting trip. I believe Gary overstates the minimum clearance somewhat, the only fixed bridge north of Lauderdale generally acknowledged to be closer to 64' at MHW is the Wilkerson Creek bridge at the western end of the Alligator Pungo canal. But other than in prolonged offshore conditions, or spring tides that have driven water levels along the ICW higher than normal, you'll eventually have 65', though you may have to wait for it...

64' air draft is really pushing it, 65' would just be an incredible PITA... The Ditch can be a wonderful trip, but why anyone would want to turn it into something that nerve-wracking is lost on me, such a boat really should go up outside...

And to boot a 7 foot draft.
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: North on ICW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
And to boot a 7 foot draft.
Again, I think the air draft of 65' is FAR more problematic... There are many more times the number of fixed bridges between Lauderdale and Norfolk, than there are where a 7' draft might really pose a problem... A first-timer is certainly likely to run aground in numerous spots, but currently - aside from perhaps a short stretch on the Little Mud River in Georgia - I doubt there are any places where 7' can't eventually be carried through by waiting for the tide... I had to run inside through GA last spring with 6.5" draft, it's not as bad as many reports seem to suggest...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
I was perusing the USCG's Notices to Mariners for a possible trip from the Chesapeake Bay to Barnegat Bay. I was struck by how difficult parts of them were to decipher, and also by the number of bridges that are under inspection, or even closed. There was one near Atlantic City, NJ that, if I read the NTM properly, was broken and stuck in the closed position, with only 20' of vertical clearance. I'd suggest very carefully reviewing the notices before leaving, even if the rest of the trip looks OK. If there are opening bridges (drawbridges, rotating train bridges, etc.), you'll want to make sure they are working properly, otherwise you'll have to back-track to the nearest inlet and go around them. Or drop your mast. That may sound silly, but there are folks who come down to New York from the Great Lakes, and simply ship the mast ahead of them, thereby avoiding the entire bridge issue.
Although it is officially named the "New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway", nobody really considers it - along with similar routes between Shinnecock and Rockaway on LI's South Shore, and that through the back bays of the Delmarva - to be part of the AICW between Norfolk and Florida... The section between Atlantic City and Cape May is impassable to all but the smallest sailboats, several bridges of 35' clearance, in addition to the lower one behind AC you mention, and numerous spots where shoaling has become so problematic as to restrict passage to all but the smallest boats at low water... The stretch from AC up to Manasquan is a viable route, however, for boats drawing 5' or so, and an air draft of less than 60', and those who might not mind running aground from time to time... But, during a strong blow out of the E or NE when running down the Jersey coast can be uncomfortable and carry considerable risk, the amount of additional water that is usually driven into the inland waters during such periods can make running down inside as far as AC a reasonable alternative...
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: North on ICW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Again, I think the air draft of 65' is FAR more problematic... There are many more times the number of fixed bridges between Lauderdale and Norfolk, than there are where a 7' draft might really pose a problem... A first-timer is certainly likely to run aground in numerous spots, but currently - aside from perhaps a short stretch on the Little Mud River in Georgia - I doubt there are any places where 7' can't eventually be carried through by waiting for the tide... I had to run inside through GA last spring with 6.5" draft, it's not as bad as many reports seem to suggest...

..
John, I know you run many more boats and trips down the ICW than I ever have or will. The Ga tides are pretty large in my recollection so sure you can wait for a high tide there. You dont get that same tidal swing in NC or other areas.

Of course an absolute barrier is a tall mast with shorter bridges. That goes without saying so yes its FAR more problematic as its a problem
without real solution

Last trip I made down the ICW through the Dismal Swamp and other parts of NC 4 years ago there were many many stretches 6 feet deep and 5 feet. A seven foot draft boat would be possible for sure if you didnt mind constant groundings and you dont mid plowing furrows through the bottom. Gary I think mentioned it also in his post as he just came down the ICW this year. I dont think that would be a very enjoyable trip.

You could wait out the weather windows and inlet hop and make big progress each time than waiting out tide windows to unground yourself or move past shallow spots...and bridge openings making a few miles each day.
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Old 02-16-2013
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Re: North on ICW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
John, I know you run many more boats and trips down the ICW than I ever have or will. The Ga tides are pretty large in my recollection so sure you can wait for a high tide there. You dont get that same tidal swing in NC or other areas.

Of course an absolute barrier is a tall mast with shorter bridges. That goes without saying so yes its FAR more problematic as its a problem
without real solution

Last trip I made down the ICW through the Dismal Swamp and other parts of NC 4 years ago there were many many stretches 6 feet deep and 5 feet. A seven foot draft boat would be possible for sure if you didnt mind constant groundings and you dont mid plowing furrows through the bottom. Gary I think mentioned it also in his post as he just came down the ICW this year. I dont think that would be a very enjoyable trip.

You could wait out the weather windows and inlet hop and make big progress each time than waiting out tide windows to unground yourself or move past shallow spots...and bridge openings making a few miles each day.
You're right, I should have specified that the Dismal Swamp Route is the exception to the rule... As I NEVER take that route (have only done it once in my own boat), I always forget that it's technically part of the ICW (despite the fact that it is so often closed), but would certainly not recommend it to anyone with more than 5' of draft, or in a twin screw powerboat... The Virginia Cut route through Currituck Sound and Coinjock, however, is definitely do-able with a 7' draft, the steady big tug traffic through the first 200 miles of the Ditch has a lot to do with ensuring that, of course...

Once you reach Morehead City, however, the tidal range does become pretty significant... The run inside between Morehead and Little River can be an incredible PITA which I always try to avoid at all costs (although I often do do back inside at Masonboro, and jump outside again at Southport) and the areas behind Lockwoods Folly and Shallotte Inlets have always been renowned for their shoaling and less than project depths... But, those spots have been largely improved in the last few years, and in recent years the biggest trouble spot has been behind Carolina Beach Inlet, where even at high water 7' might have been marginal. That has recently been rectified by dredging, however, and over the past year or so, I don't think I've ever seen much less than about 10' feet through there...

I certainly agree that the best way to run up and down the East coast is to take advantage of any good sailing opportunities outside, but if someone is asking whether it's possible to do the ICW with a 7' draft, I will tell them that Yes, it is possible to do so...

"Why", of course, is an entirely different matter... (grin) Chances are, a boat with a 65' stick and a 7' keel is gonna be a pretty fine sailing machine. If one wants to savor the many and various pleasures of the ICW, seems it would be best to do so on a boat far more suitable for that purpose...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 02-16-2013 at 11:12 AM.
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