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Old 06-12-2007, 20:13   #1
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New Jersey to Key West

I'm relatively new to the boating world, but learning fast. This spring my friend and I are embarking on a trip on his family's 50-foot Constellation and we'll be going from Oceanport, NJ all the way down to Key West, using the ICW. Does anyone know how long this trip will take going straight through (as in no major sightseeing stops)? My friend has never done the trip, so I wanted to check and see if anyone had. Any advice? Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2007, 20:40   #2
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I'm relatively new to the boating world, but learning fast. This spring my friend and I are embarking on a trip on his family's 50-foot Constellation and we'll be going from Oceanport, NJ all the way down to Key West, using the ICW. Does anyone know how long this trip will take going straight through (as in no major sightseeing stops)? My friend has never done the trip, so I wanted to check and see if anyone had. Any advice? Thanks!
It depends on how many miles that you want to make in a day. It gets pretty tiring sitting at the helm all day. 60 miles a day is doing pretty good in the ditch.

You'll be missing some pretty beautiful country.

What time of the year do you plan on doing it. It'll be getting pretty cold now.
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:37   #3
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With about 1000 installed HP (2 x 500), a 50 FT Chris Craft Constellation 501 shouldn’t have too much trouble making 60 mile days (or even 100 nm) in “the ditch”.
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:00   #4
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Be careful of speed limits and no wake zones! Some friends got chased down and pulled over somewherein South Carolina.
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Old 13-01-2008, 14:27   #5
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Be careful of speed limits and no wake zones! Some friends got chased down and pulled over somewherein South Carolina.
I can attest to that. We bought our boat in Annapolis and headed south just before this past Thanksgiving. I had no problems with the "water cops" on my way south from Annapolis...my boat cruises at 8 to 8.5 knots...but even still there are a large number of places along the ditch...starting in Norfolk/Portsmouth area where you "will" idle along making no wake...or pay a price. We did in fact reduce speed to 4 knots or even less in areas so as to comply with the posted signs. You will also deal with a number of bridges along the way that have "fixed" opening schedules. Many do not open on request. There are marinas that only handle boats up to a certain size. There are anchorages where boats of a certain size and draft are not safe to anchor.

It would be advisable to get your hands on the "Cruising Guides"....don't bother with the ones done by "Maptech"...they are "less than worthless" in that most of them are more than 3 years old and out of date...

Take a good bit of time and familiarize yourself with the "ditch"...on this site: Cruisers' Net - Home The "cruisersnet" is a daily updated news bulletin/blog of what people are experiencing along the ditch from one end to the other. Invaluable information from people who have done it for those about to do it. I know the information on the site, and the cruising guides helped us immensely and were well worth the time and the money spent on the guides. The cruising guides that you will need can be found at this link: Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net ~ Your home for all the cruising news along the ICW

Do a lot of research...and go back a ways in the listings...back to last November at least...mark the problem areas on your charts....you'll be glad you did. There are some relatively serious problem spots in the ICW.... water as thin as 3' in the center of the ICW channel.... I know, as I found it. Plan on an offshore jump from Charleston, SC to Mayport, FL.... GA's section of the ICW is a real mess.

I would plan on maybe with a 12 to 20 knot boat making 70 to 80 miles per day. 60 was about our max...but remember...speed X hours does not equal distance. What determines your achieved distance every day is where you plan to dock or anchor out.

Have fun!
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Old 13-01-2008, 14:40   #6
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if you are up for speed and time and not seeing the sites then do as many outside runs as you can. Watch the weather carefully and pick your windows but you won't have to slow down to pass, you will do a lot of that, for bridges or no wake zones and you can run at full speed if you like. Our take on changes on the ICW can be found here,
Voyages of Sea Trek: Changes In The ICW so our preferences after several trips is to do as much outside as possible. This cuts down on the overall time to Floriduh quite a bit.
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