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04-04-2013 10:20 PM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

All - some great advice.

Jon, your awesome article was one of the ones I found in my search of info recently, it was very helpful.

Also I had read travlineasy thread on his experience on the ICW (which gave me some pause due to the risks eg. Powerboaters wake, running aground, etc)

I must took my distance figures from the coast pilot charts wrong, I believe its in nautical mileage. But total distance is about the same

SVAuspicious is correct we were going to bring some additional fuel cans, to extend the stops. However I had calculated GPH at 1.5 based on the engine HP rating. So that would give me 24 hours running under motor. Not 54-60, I am hoping his number is correct, that would be a major improvement.

I had already decided that I would take the ICW at least to Beaufort for the reasons listed, even with a some pre-sailing experience I would rather play it safe around Hatteras. And nice to hear, that this is a sound option.

Post that assuming all is good, ill look to take outside route at Beaufort down, and will have a look at some of the guides etc.

And, yes true, any plan needs to adjust according to the conditions on the day, I have been caught times before in very changeable conditions in NZ.

Keep in mind, the trip won't be for a few months and in the interim Ill be taking the boat out as much as possible so should be familiar with her after a few solid months of sailing, plus will give me the time to work out any kinks on the boat.

All thanks for the great input, really helps.
04-04-2013 08:33 PM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

I haven't done the number of trips south that many here have. But, chucks post above is pretty indicative of how my last trip down to Fla. Went.

Annapolis to Portsmith overnight. The weather outside was frightful..( just a play on xmas song) So we stayed inside and made very good time heading south in the ICW. I think our 1st anchorage was behind Kitty Hawk after pushing a long day. The next day was Ocracoke after a pre-dawn start. We kept checking weather and ocean conditions and didn't get outside until we reached the Cape Fear River. Then 36 hours straight to Jacksonville. We had following seas..and fresh north winds the whole ocean trip ( it was fall)
I don't know if I would have wanted to beat into a SW wind with 8 ft seas.. having it all behind us, was pretty managable though. I had a little jib out and didn't touch it for 24 hours.

So weather and conditions really dictated our route and decision making, and we had plan A, B, and C.. ready to deploy.

So, I think my suggestion would be to be flexible..and keep all your options open, re-evaluate your plan every day..based on the conditions, the crew and the vessel.
04-04-2013 08:05 PM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

The answer might be, it will have to be decided when you get there. Even in the time frame you plan, weather will dictate inside or outside. If the weather isn't conducive to an outside run, do you sit and wait until it is or continue south on the inside. We have lost count on how many trips we have done on the ICW from NJ to Key West. There were years when we couldn't get a break and had to do every mile on the inside. There were years when we cruised long stretches on the outside. So you will need to plan for both or one or the other. That's the nature of the trip. Weather, break downs, bridges closed for repairs, will all affect your time in transit. It's a great trip. Too bad you need to do it in such a hurry. Running from sun up to sun down will get tiring very fast. Chuck
04-04-2013 10:17 AM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
If you're gonna be going outside, I'd recommend picking up Steve Dodge's guide to inlets along the SE coast, invaluable for someone doing the trip for the first time:
Jon and I must have been typing at the same time.

I strongly endorse his recommendation of Dodge's Inlet Guide. I have a copy on Auspicious and another in my delivery go-bag.

Heading to Florida from the Chesapeake I usually plan to head offshore from Norfolk/Little Creek and go straight through to my destination. Weather may dictate otherwise but that is my base plan.

Regardless, once offshore whether from Norfolk or Beaufort I stay offshore unless weather or the boat dictate otherwise. Interpret all my guidance in that context.

Originally Posted by RichH View Post
In that section, if you carefully plan your stops (using Skipper Bob's ICW guide, etc.) you can usually make 60-70+ statute miles per day at that time of year.
There are lots of good guides. A lot depends on you and how you interpret the layout. Doyles, Kettlewell, Waterway Guides, Skipper Bobs all have different formats for fundamentally the same information. I have Kettlewell and Skipper Bob's aboard and usually use Kettlewell although I've been leaning toward the Doyle's guide to give it a try - I like their format.
04-04-2013 09:53 AM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

If you have at least one other person with you, my route would be:

Annapolis to Norfolk - overnight
Norfolk - Elizabeth City (ICW and free dock)
Elizabeth City to South End of Alligator River (anchor)
Alligator R to Oriental - Free dock if available, if not stay at the hotel dock for showers and Tiki Bar (long day)
Oriental to Morehead City Yacht Basin - top off fuel, courtesy car if you need supplies
Morehead City, outside (weather permitting) to north end of Hilton Head Island (marina available or anchor), two nights
From there, you can hit St Augustine on an overnight, or two nights to Fort Pierce.

I've done these, so I know they're doable. It was mostly motoring though.
04-04-2013 09:52 AM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

Another factor affecting your progress on the ICW is how you time your arrival at anchorages. Ideally, you'd leave one right before sunrise when there is already enough light, and you drop anchor right before sunset. In reality, there can be quite a few miles between successive anchorages. On day I misjudged and ended up having to anchor in Albermarle Sound, where it can get pretty choppy. Not a fun night. Definitely get Skipper Bob's Guide to Anchorages!

I'd avoid Cape Hatteras altogether, especially in a boat that is new to you and with shorthanded crew. And in terms of actual miles the cut through the ICW is shorter. And the inlets around there are not that good in certain weather conditions (i.e. wind blowing against outflowing tide). Read this as a cautionary tale: Survivors of March 6 shipwreck say they stand by the choices they made. - Baltimore Sun

After Beaufort, NC I'd try to sail outside as much as possible, given a good weather window, maybe for a day, through the night and get to a harbor the following day way before sunset. Get weather updates regularly through VHF or your smart phone when you are close to shore.
Make a list of the good and bad inlets along your route so you know your escape route if things turn nasty. Some are navigable in all conditions, while with others it depends on current conditions. Always be aware of the tide and the effect it has on inlets. The book above has a good explanation of these factors.

If you sail at night, I found my AIS receiver (Standard Horizon Matrix GX2150 integrated with VHF) a great help and comfort, as you'll see a lot of big ships and sometimes it is hard to tell what direction they are going, especially the cruise ships. With AIS these mysteries disappear.

This will be a fun trip!
04-04-2013 09:29 AM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

The distance between Moorehead/Beaufort NC and Charleston SC is shorter on the ICW than going outside, when you consider the long 'slogs' in and out of the inlets. So, if its blowing stink on the outside, the ICW may be much quicker for that section; and, there arent as many bascule/lift bridges on that portion of the ICW to delay your travel if youre only traveling during daylight. In that section, if you carefully plan your stops (using Skipper Bob's ICW guide, etc.) you can usually make 60-70+ statute miles per day at that time of year.

The area to go outside when possible, is from Charleston SC to Fernandina, as the ICW in that section greatly meanders with lots of twists and turns and which has lots of shallow/thin sections, especially in Georgia. Overwhelmingly, the distance between those two points is much much shorter on the outside. Once you get down to Fernandina you'll probably be in the 'easterlies' so you can straight-line sail either inside on the long straight Florida 'rivers' behind the shoreline, or outside.

Travel on the ICW during that time of year requires the use of an 'electronic' fly-bat --- for the 'green heads' and stable flies, zillions of them; 'zap' them as you go and simply shovel the immense piles of dead bodies overboard at the end of the day.
04-04-2013 09:26 AM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

Originally Posted by KiwiSails View Post
After a false start, I closed a deal on an Endeavour 33 (4'6" draft). Boats in good condition with only 500 hrs on the Yanmar 27hp, sails are good, and rigging etc is same, and comes with autopilot. Boat is in Annapolis, I am in South Florida.
I had a similar choice to make bringing my boat home from Europe. I made the choice on economics (cheaper to sail) but I'd do it again in a second even if it cost more.

Originally Posted by KiwiSails View Post
The route people seem to take in these circumstances is:
Route. Via ICW & Outside (Beaufort/Morehead, NC)
140 nm, Annapolis, MD to Norfolk, VA
ICW 623 nm, Norfolk, VA to Beaufort/Morehead City, NC
497 Beaufort/Morehead City, NC to Stuart, FL
Remember that the ICW is measured in statute miles (5,280 ft). Knots (kts) are nautical miles (6,076 ft) per hour.

Beaufort is mile 202. Stuart is mile 987.

From Norfolk to Stuart should be less than 3 weeks.

4 kts seems pretty slow to me. In flat water on the ICW you should be able to make 5 kts pretty consistently.

50 miles per day is a pretty average pace on the ICW. 70 and even 75 is doable although you really need to be moving 6.5 kts and the days are long.

If you choose the ICW and are time-limited consider the following:

Stopping for fuel is a huge time waste. It appears your boat has a 36 gallon tank. That means between 54 and 60 hours. Every five gallon fuel jug you carry is another day without fueling.

Marina hopping inevitably leads to short days. If you anchor there are huge options along the ICW that will let you go another hour or two each day.

After dinner get everything together for breakfast (including setting up your percolator) AND lunch the next day. Plan to get moving at first light and eat underway. Lather, rinse, repeat. Daylight is for moving - keep going.

Although generally running the ICW at night is discouraged by conventional wisdom there are some stretches where you can go another couple of hours into the evening, or start before dawn. Alligator-Pungo Canal is an example. Remember that even with towing insurance if you run aground you'll lose more time than you might have gained.

Originally Posted by KiwiSails View Post
I believe by taking the outside route at Beaufort I can trim the trip down but I have seen varying estimates. Some around 13-15 days.
You should be able to go faster than that on the outside if you go straight through. Get the Gulf Stream charts from Tufte and blow them up to find the counter current inshore and keep moving.

The more often you stop the more time you spend heading into and out of inlets. That's wasted time.

Originally Posted by KiwiSails View Post
1. Is the ICW route from Norfolk to Beaufort, then take outside is this the best option for the boat with a intermediate experienced crew (my sailing is 15 years old from my NZ sailing time). Ill get experience on the boat inside and outside befiore leaving.
Maybe. It will give you a chance to blow the rust off your skills.

Note that motoring from Norfolk to Beaufort NC on the ICW is experience of limited value offshore. You'll get more benefit from the run down the Chesapeake, especially if you get some good sailing in. I suggest you plan for both heading outside from Norfolk (I stage at Vinings Landing Marina in Little Creek) or continuing inside (leave Annapolis at dawn so that if you do go inside you can just keep moving on the ICW and get your first day behind you).

Originally Posted by KiwiSails View Post
3. I am trying to work the budget. It looks like I would burn around 170 gallons of diesel, so thats about $700 in fuel. I would need to allow for marina stops say 30 stays on ICW trip at $40/night...and I assume less say 10 stays on ICW/Outside Run at same rate. On top of this is the usual food, etc, but ignore that. So need to set aside $1100 to $2000k, plus food.
I would anchor vice planning on marinas (see above). On days you have to stop for fuel push for a long day and spend the night on a fuel dock. When I fill up (tank and jugs) I tell the marina I spent the night on their fuel dock; most don't charge me for the night.

You can generally provision for about $15/person/day and eat pretty well. You can spend more than that on pre-made foods and eat poorly. Depends on your expectations and cooking skills.

Originally Posted by KiwiSails View Post
4. Biggest issue will be to get another person to crew, but there are some options to recruit. I am assuming I can get a free person, just pay meals.
If you're going to do more than day hops on the outside it would be nice to have three aboard.
04-04-2013 09:06 AM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

All of the above is excellent advice, and like everyone else said, have fun with that new boat.

04-04-2013 08:45 AM
Re: Annapolis, MD to South FL on ICW & Outside

Seems to me you'll easily be able to manage more than 40 SM/day on the waterway, as you'll have the longest days of the year to work with... Then again, I'm accustomed to being always underway before sunrise, and 10 hours/day seems like a ridiculously short day, to me... (grin)

Agree with others re the suggestion to go out around Hatteras, I wouldn't endorse doing so with a boat so new to you, and so early in the trip... Unless you're gonna proceed straight onto Charleston, there's simply no point, it's considerably longer going out around, and at that time of the year there's a good chance you'd be met by a SW breeze upon rounding Diamond Shoals, anyway... Not much fun...

As others mention, any hop outside between Beaufort/Morehead and the Florida line will generally save considerable time and distance over the ICW... But more importantly, it should afford you the opportunity to actually do some SAILING, and a chance to escape the monotony that motoring down the ICW can become... If you're gonna be going outside, I'd recommend picking up Steve Dodge's guide to inlets along the SE coast, invaluable for someone doing the trip for the first time:

With your draft, if you get favorable weather, I'd suggest going thru Pamlico Sound instead of the ICW between Albemarle Sound and the Neuse River. That can be some nice sailing, but don't try it if there's a probablilty of any stiff breeze out of the SW, that will quickly make it a very unpleasant bash... You might take a day off in Ocracoke, one of my favorite stops along the entire coast...

Here's my take on the trip - written with an eye towards maximizing the opportunities for sailing down the coast - in a piece for CRUISING WORLD about 10 years ago... Some of it may be outdated now (disregard my suggestion re Oregon Inlet, that's not a option at present), and bear in mind it's written from the perspective of the prevailing conditions one is likely to encounter in the fall...

An Insider's ICW | Cruising World

Good luck, have fun with your new boat, it's a marvelous trip, any which way you wind up doing it...
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