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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for advice, books or videos about going down the ICW from the Chesapeake Bay to Miami then to the Bahamas.

I have a 1987 28' Newport MKII. An oldish boat but I feel safe enough to make the Gulf Stream crossing around Miami. I do not have a bunch of fancy electronics. GPS, VHF, Depth, Autopilot, Compass, that's about it. Inboard diesel ( Universal 18 ), wheel steering, Roller Furling Jib, original main.

I have been down the ICW as crew a couple of times. Once to Morehead City then out to St. Lucia.

I am trying NOT to fly by the seat of my pants like so many YouTube videos show with little concrete information. Also trying to weed out a good book or two from the plethora of ICW Cruising Books.

Any sound advice about doing this trip Fall of 2020 would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tom T
 

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bell ringer
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The only advise you really need is:
1 - on ICW stay int the channel based on your depth gage and don’t cut the corners of curves
2 - don't cross the Gulf Stream during or just after a N- NE wind
 

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Yup, as above. We did the ICW with 63 air clearance and 6-1/2’ draft. Your boat will be a snap. Be patient waiting for a crossing window, it will come. Might take 2 months. An abundance of patience will take you car safely.
 

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While in the ICW you will motor most of the time. Look behind you for the last marker. This will help you to stay in the channel. There were times I wish I had a rear view mirror to check for approaching boats. Don't run the ditch at night.
 
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Good advice above. Don't have any books to recommend other than the Coast Pilot - you can download electronic versions as you go. https://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/publications/coast-pilot/index.html

Another good source of info is the Cruiser's Net......https://cruisersnet.net/

And as always Active Captain and Waterway Guide are great resources for marinas, anchorages, etc.

Hope you have a great trip and keep us posted on your prep as you get ready to go.
 
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Kettlewell's Intercoastal chart book is worth every penny, far more useful than the guidebooks which seem to be more ads than information. Get a plastic pouch for it, the paper seems thin and fragile but the way the information is presented is better than anything else I've used.
Aquamaps is inexpensive, works well and can display Active Captain and Waterways guide info. Download all the charts while on a good internet connection, doing that on a phone is slow.
 

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Not exactly a guide but an interesting and nostalgic read about the ICW is America's Inland Water Way Exploring the Atlantic Seaboard by Alan Fisher Jr. If you're of a certain age it will bring back some retro memories from the late 60's and early 70's.
 

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I like and am still using the ICW flip charts.

I had the "guidebook" that went with it and didn't find it useful and gave away.

Active Captain is well worth having on the ICW so if you need to get an App like Aqua Map (well worth having) that also has the AC info on it.
 

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+1 on the flip chart books. Roughly 5 mi per page, just shows you what you need. I use them as my main reference while on the ICW. I transfer notes of interest from other sources (guidebook, AC, etc) into the margins. The pages are flimsy. I use a pair of spring clamps on the bottom corners to hold the page in place in the wind so they don't tear.

A great place in Miami to wait for a weather window to cross to Bimini is Oleta River State Park. Just opposite the haulover inlet in North Miami. A little skinny getting in, but deep water, clean sand bottom, and room for lots of boats without crowding. We once spent 10 days there waiting for a crossing window. Very plesant.

When crossing with a novice crew, I look for three things:
1: No winds with an "N" in them for 24 hours before (this lets the waves quiet down)
2: No "N" winds, winds 10 or under, waves 5' or under the day of crossing
3: Conditions hold for one day after (to allow a safety margin for breakdowns)

These are conservative conditions, but make for a very easy crossing.

The distance from South Maimi to Bimini is about 42 NM. For us, that was about a 9-10 hr crossing. Time your departure to arrive at Bimini when the sun is high overhead, as this is crucial for reading the shallow water entering Bimini. For us, this meant leaving at midnight.

Calculate your heading for crossing based in a "minimum time transit". This will result in an "s" shaped course. DO NOT simply set your GPS course endpoint on Bimini. That would result in you fighting the Gulf Stream, a battle that you can't win. Instead, calculate how far north the gulf stream will carry you during your crossing, and set your course bearing to innitally point to a location that is that far south of your actual destination.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Ed for the thoughtful reply.

My 20+ year old Universal worked fine when I bought the boat.
For some reason after I bought it, it started losing compression.
I had the engine "rebuilt. New Valves, new piston rings etc. She has started fine so far this season.
I say this because I am counting being able to do 5 knots down the ICW.
I could probably get 6 knots out of it but I do not want to push my luck.

I also am assuming I will be sailing during the gulf crossing and do 6 - 7 knots.

I have no clue what I will do in Bimini.
Probably wait for good weather and go back to Miami and down the rest of the ICW to the Keys.

Cheers, Tom
 
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