Hello - I plan to sail on the Atlantic-side Intercoastal from Daytona Beach to Jacksonville, or Jacksonville to Daytona Beach. I am a trailer sailor so can launch/pick up in either city. Which way are the prevailing winds in the winter? Thank you.
It's a constant cycle really. Before a cold front, expect winds to go west before going north when the front hits. Maybe a lull in winds after a day or two, then going strong east to southeast. Repeat as the next frontal system approaches. It's what we learn before crossing to the Bahamas.
I second what he said. Winter is much better for the north to south vs south to north passage. Its open ocean once you get outside the st johns inlet. Kinda a long run from there south. Ponce de leon inlet is the next pass south from Jax. After the northern component of the front passes winds often shift Northeast to east. Just keep in mind that the ocean inlets get pretty bumpy with easterly winds, especially during an outgoing tide. Have fun and be safe!
Don't forget tides and currents. I don't recall which bridge it was, but the tide was against us and we barely made it through (say less than 1/2 knot boatspeed). Was somewhere south of Jacksonville. Anyplace that narrows up, the tides can really help or hurt you. It's kind of hard to plan around the currents if travelling the ICW. You need to make a certain number of miles during the daylight, so leave early. But those tides and currents can sure muck up your plans.
I was in err technically speaking st augustine is the next inlet south. I bypass it as I consider it a local knowledge only pass and its in pretty close proximity to the class A pass of St Johns inlet. I sailed a trailer sailer for my first 12 years of sailing. Mine was a heavily modified aquarius 23. What are you sailing?