Originally Posted by Tangaroa
My wife, the Supply officer, and I are sailing a 39' Corbin with a 55' mast
and a 5' draft
. So I guess that means no ICW
. With the prevailing winds, the choice will be between waiting for the right conditions or lots of diesel
fumes and noise
. I expect a lot of both.
I have Clairborne Young's cruising guide. Any other suggestion for guides ?
I've used Young's guides and also Rick Rhodes' guide to cruising Florida's Big Bend.
I've made one cruise
, FL up through to Mobile, and as I say we used the coast-hugging route
. For various reasons we didn't anchor
out but went into marinas
each night. Marinas
are few and far between, between Anclote Key (just south of Hudson) and Apalachicola. You can figure 40+ miles between anchorages
, and long, narrow channels in to reach them. Bascially you have to get 2-3 miles offshore
to be in 5' or water
or more. At Hudson
we couldn't even navigate the channel at low tide, and we only draw 2'10" and we bumped the bottom going into Suwannee on a falling tide at the mouth of the river.
If you do come up the coast, from Anclote going north you could get into Hudson, Crystal River (we didn't go there), Yankeetown (we went there but a long motor
up the river to get to any marinas), Suwannee (lots of deep water
anchorages once you actually get in the river), Steinhatchee (we didn't go there), Cedar Key (we by-passed this, said to be a tricky channel to get into the anchorage) and then behind Dog Island below Carrabelle.
If I had it to do over again and the winds were with me, I'd leave Anclote and either go into Cedar Key (about 24 hours) or by-pass Cedar Key and go directly into Carrabelle/Apalachicola (basically two days). You could run up the shoreline, which would add to the distance but give you the option of bailing out to a port if the weather
got bad; or strike out direct, which at some points would put you 30-50 miles or so offshore
in the Gulf.
As to the ICW
, you'll be able to enter at Apalachicola and go thru to Panama
City (or take the cut off at Port St Joe and then go out into the Gulf again). With your mast
height you'll have to go outside at Panama
City and come back inside again at Pensacola
; there are bridges that are too low for you between Panama City/Destin/Pensacola, particularly in Santa Rosa Sound.
Going outside at Port St Joe you can go direct to Panama City, Destin, Pensacola
or Mobile Bay. At Destin you can't go under the bridge at the pass but would turn east just before the bridge into Destin Harbor where you can anchor
out. But be advised that the channel into Destin, even outside the bridge, is narrow and shoal and changes constantly.
If you come in at Pensacola there are no further bridge problems thru the ICW to Mobile Bay and beyond into Mississippi
If you come up Mobile Bay your draft
is good for most depths, but watch the depths north of the channel into Point Clear (stay outside the Point Clear Light), just south of Fairhope (there's a finger of sand that extends quite a ways out) and along the spoil dump areas on both sides of the Mobile Ship Channel. Also watch if you go north of Fairhope on the east side of the Bay, there are some oyster reefs
Sound, stay in the marked ICW channel under the Dauphin Island Bridge and until you come abreast of "Katrina Cut" (used to be an open pass to the Gulf, now filled in with rip-rap) - shallows rapidly both north and south of the channel, I've bumped bottom in an earlier boat that drew only 18".
Also, if you go into Mississippi Sound, keep a weather
eye - the Barrier Islands are great places if the winds are out of the SE-S-SW, but unprotected if there are northerlies - if northerlies, the only possible anchorages are either outside at Smuggler's Cove, south of the little sand island below Pascagoula, or running into Pascagoula (very busy commercial
port), Biloxi/Long Beach/Pass Christian or Gulfport (brand new city marina at Gulfport, I haven't been in it and don't know rates but looks nice, right next to the Gulfport Yacht Club).
Let me know if you want more info and if you get up this way. My boat's down with mechanicals (again!) and am waiting for parts
but our club has some sailing planned for later in Feb and March.