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I'm moving to Cocoa Beach and need a little info on the sailing in the area.

How is the sailing the ICW in that area? Looking at OpenCPN, it doesn't look like there is enough draft available to do much (but that's coming from an FNG.) While I'm planning on getting something in the 27' range to gain experience over the next 7 years, the long term plan puts me in something longer with 4-5' of draft for a couple years before I head out. Do people in the are spend more time in the ocean or the ICW in that area.

I'm currently looking for a home on the water from 520 down to around Minutemen Cswy, and I'm having a hard time gauging how much draft I can get away with in that area. Several of the canals are plenty deep but according the the charts the routes to the river are quite shallow. However when I look at Google maps or Google earth, I see a fare amount of sailboats in the area. Unfortunately they don't have their draft marked on their decks.:)

So, if you have any personal experience in the area I'd really like to hear what you think of the area.
 

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I'm moving to Cocoa Beach and need a little info on the sailing in the area.

How is the sailing the ICW in that area? Looking at OpenCPN, it doesn't look like there is enough draft available to do much (but that's coming from an FNG.) While I'm planning on getting something in the 27' range to gain experience over the next 7 years, the long term plan puts me in something longer with 4-5' of draft for a couple years before I head out. Do people in the are spend more time in the ocean or the ICW in that area.

I'm currently looking for a home on the water from 520 down to around Minutemen Cswy, and I'm having a hard time gauging how much draft I can get away with in that area. Several of the canals are plenty deep but according the the charts the routes to the river are quite shallow. However when I look at Google maps or Google earth, I see a fare amount of sailboats in the area. Unfortunately they don't have their draft marked on their decks.:)

So, if you have any personal experience in the area I'd really like to hear what you think of the area.
Click over to ActiveCaptain.com, register (its free), and have a look at the area on the interactive cruising guide. The ICW, Indian River, in that area is very thin as you will note.
 

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If hurricane protection is a concern, look at Harbortown Marina on the canal to Port Canaveral. This gives you ICW and Atlantic Ocean access.
 

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The Banana River, it has 2 low bridges around 42' - the 520 causeway and the pineta causeway. The Indian River is the ICW (bridges 55') and is plenty deep for the boats you describe. The river looks plenty wide but most is too shallow to for sail boats - great flats fishing though. It was not uncommon for me to watch sailboats run aground from my vantage point at Toyota of Melbourne. To get to the ocean from the ICW you have to go through the cut in Merritt Island which seems to shoal at its mouth. Along that cut there is one drawbridge. As you exit the cut you are in the Banana River directly across from the locks. You then have to go through the locks and under another draw bridge. Once through there you are about one mile to open water. Daytona beach 50 miles north or Ft. Pierce 50 miles south are your next two closest inlets suitable for a sailboat. If you want to ocean sail I would recommend the marina in Cape Canaveral which is ocean side of the locks and drawbridge. If you want to river sail you are pretty much restricted to traveling up and down the ditch. Hope this helps.
 

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The Banana River, it has 2 low bridges around 42' - the 520 causeway and the pineta causeway. The Indian River is the ICW (bridges 55') and is plenty deep for the boats you describe. ....................
Great information from findrichard, but I just wanted to toss in the correction that the Indian River ICW bridges have a 65' vertical clearance.
 

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I used to sail a Hunter 27 in the area of Merritt Island. The Hunter drew about 3 1/2 feet, so I had pretty good range in the Indian River. I spent two years sailing there and always had fun. It was a place to hone your close hauled skills since during the summer, most wind was out of the south east. I did a lot of tacking also. When I got a taste for some ocean sailing, I went through what they called the barge canal (although I never saw any barges). That is what findrichard called the "cut." We always got to the ocean from the Indian River in three hours, so it was a bit of a motor. I never had any problem with shoaling like findrichard mentioned, but then my Indian River sailing days were quite some time ago.
 

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South of Pineda causeway, between Melbourne and the tip of Merrit Island, you can sail that 5x1 mile area with a deep draft boat and keep it at one of a number of nearby marinas (or buy a house off of the Grand Canal with a dock).

Even better would be to have a small sailboat on a trailer which you could launch on the west shore of Cocoa Beach and go around the 1,000 Islands area as well as the Indian River.
 
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