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You may average about 5 kts during daylight hours but be held up at some bridges and the locks. The crossing on Albemarle is 25 miles and should leave early am. But generally with good weather you should average about 75 miles per day--perhaps get some 100 mile days in May-July if you push hard. 2-3 weeks should do it especially if you do some offshore.
 

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Trying to do it all on the cheap with experience is one thing...but trying to do it on the cheap without experience is a recipe for a costly enterprise or disaster. I've seen this way too many times on online boating forums. The questions you ask are so basic and simple and the answers are so easily found online or in manufacturer's sites (can a tiller use autopilot? What size charts?) that I highly suggest you either plan to invest a lot of money in hiring professionals (and $100 per day for a pro captain is very, very low) or mechanics or boatyards, but I would guess that you bought an older boat for a really, really great deal (??) and yet you thought a 600 mile trip on the icw would take 28 days? Are you willing to learn from your experience or really get the advantage of someone else's experience? That will cost you and you have already made it clear that money is the main issue. A deep keel (5'3" is deep--to some yes but not to others) is less of an issue that your readiness and that of the boat--and I'll bet neither are ready. When you run into a buoy or run hard aground or get caught with a rope in your prop....or worse..much worse, perhaps you will then realize why it is not wise to learn from your experience--though it can be done. But no experience and no money? Not a good idea....and even if you are a good mechanic., well coordinated, go slowly and use common sense, there is so much to know to do it safely and comfortably and a 28' boat cannot go as fast or take as much (meaning you too) than a larger boat.
 
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