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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are planning to go up the ICW from Miami to Chesapeake Bay.
We would like to know, how much of the total distance can you sail, and how much you will need to motor.
Would it make sense to lay down the mast, to have less waiting times at the div, bridges ?

Hope to get some inputs from the forum.
Thanks
 

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I came the other way. Not being a local boat I wouldnt have been able to work out the safe places to sail.
If your sails are on furlers and you know the area it still wouldnt be much, probably.
There were two boats I saw with sails up... But not for long.
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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The amount of sailing you can do, for most of the ICW, is about how far you want to go each day (though wind direction will play a part as well). As to bridges, once you're north of Fort Pierce, they aren't that much of a problem. Certainly not something I'd go to the expense and trouble of dropping the mast to avoid.

I prefer to go outside at Miami, then overnight to Fort Pierce. From there, an overnight to St. Augustine, then to Hilton Head Island. But north of Fort Pierce, it's possible to sail quite a bit.

Basically though, if you're going to stay on the ICW, you simply take what's available that day.
 

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Through most of the trip two years ago, I utilized the jib, which I suspect aided in lowering my fuel bill. Bridges were never a problem for me, especially north of Fort Pierce, but there were very few areas other the sounds that you could actually sail without the engine running. The engine is your control module for the ICW and provides the safety factor for navigating a waterway that in many places was less than 100 feet wide.


Good Luck,

Gary
 

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We are planning to go up the ICW from Miami to Chesapeake Bay.
We would like to know, how much of the total distance can you sail, and how much you will need to motor.
Would it make sense to lay down the mast, to have less waiting times at the div, bridges ?

Hope to get some inputs from the forum.
Thanks
It would help to know what sort of boat... I'm guessing fairly small, since you're considering the possibility of dropping the rig?

Impossible to give an estimate of the percentage, as pbzeer noted, it will depend on conditions day to day... However, with a bit of luck, it is possible to do a lot more sailing on the Ditch than most people assume. Sadly, very few out there today seem to bother, even when some very nice opportunities present themselves...



You definitely want to be outside at least as far as Ft Pierce, but it's quite possible to sail most of the length of the Indian River in favorable conditions. I've consistently had some of the most pleasurable, relaxed sailing anywhere on the Ditch thru there...

The really good opportunities for sailing extended periods/distances inside won't come until you get up to the Sounds of North Carolina, however... Doing the Pamlico Sound route behind the Outer Banks instead of the ICW route can often offer some really nice sailing...

Unfortunately, I think the trip south in the fall generally affords the more favorable conditions for sailing the ICW... You might find this helpful, it's written from the perspective of trying to maximize the amount of sailing along the way, though by now contains some information that has become outdated... Don't even think about doing Oregon Inlet nowadays, for example :)

Sailing the Intracoastal Waterway | Cruising World
 

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Don't even think about doing Oregon Inlet nowadays, for example :)

Sailing the Intracoastal Waterway | Cruising World
shoaling on the ICW last fall was so bad you could never know when you would hit bottom. If not for someone on a dock, we would have run hard aground. He kept encouraging me to come right next to his dock, within feet of it. I could see the shoal as we went by. you must be very cautious going inside with a deep draft. If we had a less robust keel, we would have sunk.
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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Perhaps the operative question is why use the ICW if you want to sail? Also how much crew? You can do a lot of sailing if you are willing to do a lot of trimming but most (myself included) would say it is not worth it.

Now, from Miami - even presuming you can get under the Julia Tuttle (dyslexic) bridge you are going to do a lot of motoring and even more time waiting for bridges. The gulf stream is pretty close to shore here - go out into the ocean and ride it up (with a wind component from the SE to SW of course) to Titusville, then on to Jacksonville/Ferndandina Beach. Nice sail, particularly with a following wind, sea, and the current pushing you north. Head on up to the Savannah, GA - about 100 miles so a 24 hour sail. You could then head up to Charleston, SC. Enough to make my point. Why do the ditch in a sailboat? You can stay close enough to shore so that you can duck in if the wind is forecast to move NW-NE and it is a lot easier than motoring, bridges, traffic, etc.

Of course if you have some experience and some help (although I have done it solo a number of times) you can just go direct to Morehead City in about 5 to 6 days of sailing.
Then two or three days from Morehead to Mile 0 on the ICW

Fair winds and following seas :)
 
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