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Old 26-08-2008, 09:55   #1
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Annapolis to Charleston (ICW Trip)

Hello again folks!

So I've been pondering life, the universe, and everything for the last couple of weeks. I remembered the answer to the ultimate question, but the question itself continues to elude me.....

So instead, I turned my thoughts to career prospects, and there is a potential that sometime in the next year or so I could swing orders back to Charleston again. This would, of course, be awesome, as Charleston is the place I'd like to retire to, and the more opportunities to put down roots there, the better. That said, I've been thinking about how to get my boat there if I move. I trucked it down from CT to Annapolis on the last move, because of time, baby, and crew constraints. A future move might not have all those same constraints, so I'm curious about sailing it.

I presume someone on here has done this before. About how long does it take to sail from Annapolis to Charleston, keeping mostly to the ICW (I'm not ready to take her offshore yet)? Are there any ICW little-known-factoids that a fellow should know (books, links, etc)? I've never doen the ICW, so any tips would help.

Of course right now this is all academic, but it never hurts to start thinking and planning early.

Cheers,
Alexei
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Old 26-08-2008, 10:10   #2
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About nine days should do it if you go from Annapolis to Norfolk non-stop. The Wahpoo Bridge is Mile 470 and the Hospital anchorage in Norfolk is Mile 0 so if you do 60 miles days once you get in the ICW nine days should do it. Those miles are statute miles and not nautical miles. Depending on the time of the year (daylight is important in the ICW) and the speed of the boat nine or ten days should do it. That's no lay days and traveling from dawn to late afternoon.
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Old 26-08-2008, 11:20   #3
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Try 3 days of daylight sailing or a less than 24 hour run down the bay to Norfolk. Have one THAT twice.
On the ICW it is day trips of about 50-60 statute miles and Charleston is mile 470 so it is at least 10 days from norfolk and I would allow 2 weeks for weather and layover days as it gets tiring steering for 8-10 hours a day in the channels.
Vasco and I are essentially in agreement.
Get a copy of skipper bob's guide to icw anchorages as it will give you good spots to drop the hook and RATE the quality of the anchorage as well as latest shoaling and bridge opening schedules. The skipper bob website also updates the data in the guide with the latest reports from cruisers.
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Old 26-08-2008, 12:00   #4
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Check Claybourne Young's Cruisers' Net - Home for updated information along the ICW.

George
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Old 26-08-2008, 12:26   #5
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Tom Dove has a good ICW page

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Old 26-08-2008, 19:24   #6
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Daylight is a real factor. When do you plan (If you can) to go dictates the daylight . Running the ditch after dark is doable but not fun. Saber 28? depending on the month 50 miles will be all the daylight you might have. Better to take your time and enjoy.
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Old 02-10-2011, 16:37   #7
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Re: Annapolis to Charleston (ICW trip)

I am about to make a trip from Deltasville, VA to Charleston and any help and advice would be appreciated. I will will be sailing with ttwo other experianced sailors 24/7 with a watch of 8 hour shifts. Any idea how long this might take? 28 ft columbia with a 7 ft draft, old boat, but seaworthy. 8hp motor. Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 02-10-2011, 17:42   #8
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I'd allow 10 days, but I'd be worried about that 7' draft - check the charts and "notice to mariners" carefully and be sure you can get thru some of the shallow inlet areas. You'll need to watch the tides as some places are pretty shallow. I've done the run several times (a couple of weeks and I'll be doing another run from Sneads Ferry, NC to Savannah) I draw 3'10" and have bumped the bottom at low tide...
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:16   #9
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Re: Annapolis to Charleston (ICW trip)

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Originally Posted by lanceb39 View Post
I am about to make a trip from Deltasville, VA to Charleston and any help and advice would be appreciated. I will will be sailing with ttwo other experianced sailors 24/7 with a watch of 8 hour shifts. Any idea how long this might take? 28 ft columbia with a 7 ft draft, old boat, but seaworthy. 8hp motor. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Very few people run the ICW at night, so your 24/7 watch schedule might not be needed. There are long stretches of very dark rivers and few of the channel markers are lit, and one can quickly run aground if you are even just a few yards off the marked channel. For the most part, the only vessels traveling in the dark on the ICW are tugs with barges. Best to plan for travel from sunrise to sunset.

Even less folks would opt to go around Cape Hatteras southbound at this time of year in a 28' Columbia. So, plan at least to go inside at Norfolk and down to Beaufort, SC. At that point, you might find a cold front that would allow one to sail south on the outside, but again, you would want to avoid the Gulf Stream with any north winds, so you would want to stay close to land. If the winds are from the S or SW, you would be beating right into it, and if the winds are so light that you need to motor, you might as well motor on the inside....

If it's your first time, the inside route is very pleasant, and affords plenty of options to seek repairs or find shelter from weather.
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Old 03-10-2011, 21:44   #10
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Re: Annapolis to Charleston (ICW Trip)

Go for it no problem!
Re: Baltimore, MD to Port Aransas, TX in My Flicka
I'm back home in Alpine, Tx. Wren did a great job with her gaff cutter rig sails and 10hp Yanmar. A 90 day motorsail from Middle River Maryland came to it's successful and safe conclusion September 28 at the City Marina in Rockport, Texas where she is now in slip #6 500 miles from here. This trip was an experience of a lifetime, my bucket list item #2 at age 72 single handing her down 95% of the ICW. The most memorable experience that money could never buy happend in the marsh land of Georgia, after a 12 hr. day in the grueling sun. I was feeling my way into a gunk hole anchorage using Skipper Bob's guide book, when that awful thunk in my feet and the transducer announced 3.3' "you are aground" suck-stuck in the mud!
I was working the tiller rapidly back and forth trying to work the bow off when I was distracted by a great commotion around the stern and spouting noises. When I looked over the sides there were six large dolphin with their bodys hugging Wren's sides working their tails back and forth as they pushed her off into deeper water, WOW! And then they dissapeared.
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Old 03-10-2011, 21:51   #11
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Re: Annapolis to Charleston (ICW Trip)

OOPs!, 7' draft, it will be trickey. I was only 3.3' and went aground several times in the Carolinal. Night motor sailing is out of the question!!!. Get a copy of Scipper Bob.
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Old 03-10-2011, 22:08   #12
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Re: Annapolis to Charleston (ICW Trip)

We have done it several times in our 6.2 foot draft sailboat. A few tricky areas, stay within the markers and check for drift in certain areas (i.e., look behind as well as ahead). We have touched in a few places but were able to go out on our own. In case you are worried sign up with Sea Tow or Tow Boat US, one tow will pay for several years of membership. In tricky areas (e.g., New River in NC) hail Tow Boat or Sea Tow on VHF and ask where there is more depth. Day time is highly recommended as mentioned in other posts. I know of delivery crews having moved at night for portion of the ICW using "million candles lights". In my opinion, it may be a sure way to damage your boat. The trip is worth it beyond expectations. Count on 50 miles a day (5 miles for 10 hours) but we may be slow in our sailboat. Day/light time gets reduced as we approach winter. Enjoy your trip.
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Old 04-10-2011, 07:04   #13
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Re: Annapolis to Charleston (ICW Trip)

Finished my fourth trip on the ICW this spring. With 6'8" draft, I was the deepest draft I saw on all trips. I did run aground fewer times after each trip (experience helps). I highly recommend towing insurance (you will use it). As others have posted, I wouldn't count any more than 50 miles per day. I averaged about 45. Good luck and fair winds.
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Old 04-10-2011, 07:35   #14
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Re: Annapolis to Charleston (ICW Trip)

There are postings on our Beach House blog on our recent trip down the ICW. The first posting is The Trawler Beach House: Trying To Get Down The Chesapeake Bay and if you click on the Cruising category in the left column the rest are there. this is the same trip we did with a 6 foot draft many times. You will need to follow the tides as others have said, but our friends with a seven foot draft do the ICW all the time. Your other options is going in and out at usable inlets, just watch the weather. Chuck
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Old 04-10-2011, 13:37   #15
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Re: Annapolis to Charleston (ICW Trip)

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Originally Posted by jimking100 View Post
Finished my fourth trip on the ICW this spring. With 6'8" draft, I was the deepest draft I saw on all trips. I did run aground fewer times after each trip (experience helps). I highly recommend towing insurance (you will use it). As others have posted, I wouldn't count any more than 50 miles per day. I averaged about 45. Good luck and fair winds.
And remember, the mile markers on the ICW charts are in statute miles, not nautical miles --15% difference.
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