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Laura,

It's not the dumbest idea, you will gain a lot of experience very quickly. If the trip does become overwhelming, or something critical breaks on the boat, you can always stop at a marina. I can think of worse things than having to spend the winter on a boat in say, Baltimore.

I had a lot more sailing experience than you when I went down the icw. But I did it on a new to me boat. In retrospect, I really wish I had lived and cruised on it for a season at home, before setting off down the icw. It took a while for me to get familiar with all the systems on the boat (electrical, plumbing, etc.), and to get things set up the way I wanted for cruising. Cruising is more than just sailing. It's like sailing the house you live in.

If you do go, I would leave NOW! You want to be in the Chesapeake in October and on the icw in November. The weather is gorgeous on the Chesapeake in October, with the leaves changing and all. In November, conditions on the Chesapeake can get downright nasty. Many an ocean sailor has said the worst sailing conditions he has ever seen were on the Chesapeake.

If you go, I guarantee it will be one of the most exciting (and hopefully best) things you do in your life. Shameless self promotion: I wrote a book about my trip. It's available on amazon at Amazon.com: Captain's Blog with Comments: Scott Englehart: Books

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
 

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Laura,

I looked at your profile. You have a website! Home : Sea Hobo You didn't mention that you are cruising with four young children and a pit bull mutt on your 38 foot boat. One of the children is a newborn. Mazel Tov!

You are psychotic. Please continue posting on sailnet. This has the potential to be a truly classic thread.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
 

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Laura,

I don't want to discourage you from the trip. I apologize for calling you psychotic. But I'm sure you well know that you have responsibilities with the kids. I don't know what your alternative plans would be, but you could start sailing and see how far south you can get.

I'm sure myself and others on this forum would be willing to help you with advice and as much practical help as we could.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
 

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Laura, you have no idea how good Dave's advice is. Maybe either you or your husband could stay on land with the kids while the other sails the boat with an experienced delivery captain down to Baltimore, or better yet, Norfolk.

The boat would be given a good shakedown on the trip, and at least one of you would gain a lot of sailing experience. Once the boat is in Norfolk, you would be in the company of a lot of other boats doing the icw trip. I bet you could even find a some folks to buddy boat with down the icw.

I won't say that the trip is cake once you are in the icw itself, but I know I would feel a lot safer if I were in your shoes starting out in Norfolk with all the family aboard.

I would question the sanity of a delivery captain who would do the trip from Maine to Norfolk with all of you, including the newborn aboard.

Scott
 

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Laura,

In the spirit of adventure, I really think you should go now. However, I do think you are a day late and dollar short in terms of time and experience. You probably should have left Maine in early summer in order to do short hops and gain experience on a trip south.

You really could catch up in both time and experience, if one of you took the boat to Norfolk with an experienced delivery captain. I wouldn't think it would take more than a week or two (depending on where Hurricane Bill and future friends were headed), and more than a grand or two (depending on the captain's monetary needs).

It does make me a little sad that you are considering spending a cold winter in Maine, instead of heading out on an adventure to warmer climes.

Scott
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Laura,

That sounds like a great plan! If you made it to the boat show, you would be right on time for the trip south. And of course, you would be in Annapolis where you could easily repair anything that broke during the delivery, or add any equipment that your husband and the captain found was missing.

Melbourne was as far south as I got on my trip. I really liked the Indian River. My admiral came down for Spring Break and spent a week on the boat with me there. It was her first extended cruise on the boat. I also saw a space shuttle launch while down there.

Sorry to hear about your dad.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
 
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