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Old 01-04-2017, 07:06   #1
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Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

Survey is complete and it appears likely I'll be buying a new to me keelboat in Boca Raton, FL. We'll be moving it to the Great Lakes and hate to miss an opportunity to move it ourselves by putting it on a truck. The hope is to sail it up the Atlantic Coast to NYC, Hudson, Erie and maybe Oswego/Welland to Buffalo and leave it there until we can finish the trip to WI. My plan for moving it up the coast is to stay near shore (but outside of the ICW) and keep a careful weather watch with a definite escape to refuge available if the weather starts to sour. Having started to study charts and reference materials a couple of weeks ago, I've found that there are far fewer deep water inlets than I'd anticipated, especially around the outer banks. I've found reference to Inlet Chartbook to Southeastern United States and the Atlantic Cruising Club produces some guides but it looks as if these may be dated. Can anyone comment on the value of these guides or recommend a good guide to inlets and marinas/amenities for the trip up the coast? It's definitely worth noting that I'm and old Luddite who hates computers and would rather have paper to thumb through. Many Thanks!
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:35   #2
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Re: Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

Hate to say it, but Active Captain is going to give you the best and most updated information. In the Carolinas the shoaling at many of the inlets is constantly changing.

If I were you I would go inside from Charleston to Georgetown. It's a beautiful stretch of the ICW, with a network of sandy islands and lovely stopping points. Then I would cut outside from Georgetown to Cape Fear. Leave mid-day, arrive the next morning in light. Then up the Cape Fear River and follow the ICW to Wrightsville Beach. Then outside again to Beaufort/Morehead. Then inside up to Norfolk. This strategy avoids rounding capes and allows you to "cut the scallops" in the coastline and avoid problematic areas of the ICW, like the Rockpile and Folly inlet.

The major inlets are free of shoaling and well marked, but the minor ones should be avoided if possible.

Make sure you plan your exit/entrance from narrow inlets so that wind is with tide or you'll be looking at some hair-raising standing waves. Winyah Bay Inlet (Georgetown) inlet in particular should be treated with caution given the strength of the max current and the cross current at the mouth.

You'll also want to exercise caution along the Jersey coast, as the inlets there can be tricky. It's often better to go straight from Cape May to Sandy Hook overnight, or be prepared to stand off offshore if the weather is dicey for the inlets.

Active Captain is a really good resource for traveling in unfamiliar areas. Very useful "local knowledge" for inlets, anchorages, marinas, etc. and all in one place. So much of this information changes so quickly that even annually updated printed guides can be woefully out of date a year later.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:34   #3
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Re: Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

What are the stats. on the boat you bought? Draft, air draft, etc.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:56   #4
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Re: Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

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What are the stats. on the boat you bought? Draft, air draft, etc.
It's a Cabo Rico 38. Depending on the specs one references, it draws 5'-5'3" and, as I recall, the mast height is 56' above the WL. Thanks!
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:41   #5
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Re: Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

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It's a Cabo Rico 38. Depending on the specs one references, it draws 5'-5'3" and, as I recall, the mast height is 56' above the WL. Thanks!
That's a very nice boat. Congratulations.

I remember our first trip up the east coast. (Mrs. Flare and I). We had Sirius XM weather which allowed us to get the coastal and offshore forecasts all along the way. In other words, since we were sailing northearly we needed to know the forcast for the waters to the north of us that we'd likely be in in two or three days. We also kept a list of harbors we might want to head into if the forcast predicted a gale, a tropical storm or hurricane.

Our boat has a 6'4" draft and a 54' 6" air draft.

We only travelled north when there was some southerly winds in the forcast. We didn't always get those winds but we didn't go looking for winds to beat into to get to the north.

We went around Hatteras. With Mrs. Flare I've been around twice, and I believe both times were in late May, and both times the forcast was basically SW winds 10 to 15 gusting to 20. The important part is that the forcast went on for days with no end in sight; same forcast out to beyond 4 or 5 days. I think this is from a high pressure system that sits over the eastern US. (I'm only just now learning more about the weather than just looking at a forcast.)

I think you can do it. We took the trip in small steps. We only needed a good forcast to get to the next port.

Also, the only ICW we did on the trip up the east coast was from Ft. Lauderdale to Lake Worth. We were waiting out tropical storm Beryl and wanted to go north a little bit while waiting.

Since then we've done more of the ICW going north or south, and for you're boat's draft it's probably doable but for me much of the ICW is more nerve wracking that I'd prefer.

Good luck! It'll be an adventure!
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Old 01-04-2017, 13:07   #6
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Re: Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

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That's a very nice boat. Congratulations.

I remember our first trip up the east coast. (Mrs. Flare and I). We had Sirius XM weather which allowed us to get the coastal and offshore forecasts all along the way. In other words, since we were sailing northearly we needed to know the forcast for the waters to the north of us that we'd likely be in in two or three days. We also kept a list of harbors we might want to head into if the forcast predicted a gale, a tropical storm or hurricane.

Our boat has a 6'4" draft and a 54' 6" air draft.

We only travelled north when there was some southerly winds in the forcast. We didn't always get those winds but we didn't go looking for winds to beat into to get to the north.

We went around Hatteras. With Mrs. Flare I've been around twice, and I believe both times were in late May, and both times the forcast was basically SW winds 10 to 15 gusting to 20. The important part is that the forcast went on for days with no end in sight; same forcast out to beyond 4 or 5 days. I think this is from a high pressure system that sits over the eastern US. (I'm only just now learning more about the weather than just looking at a forcast.)

I think you can do it. We took the trip in small steps. We only needed a good forcast to get to the next port.

Also, the only ICW we did on the trip up the east coast was from Ft. Lauderdale to Lake Worth. We were waiting out tropical storm Beryl and wanted to go north a little bit while waiting.

Since then we've done more of the ICW going north or south, and for you're boat's draft it's probably doable but for me much of the ICW is more nerve wracking that I'd prefer.

Good luck! It'll be an adventure!
Thank you. Very similar to the strategy I'm planning and similar circumstances so this is very helpful. We're also planning to start in mid May and I'm also trying to prepare a list of preferred harbors we can safely duck into before any weather arrives. We spent about 4 1/2hrs on the ICW getting the boat to & from the haul-out for the survey and I'll have to motor up to the Lake Worth inlet to escape as you did and I think that that will be enough of the ICW for me. Thanks again!
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Old 01-04-2017, 13:36   #7
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Re: Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

Go for it, although I'm always a bit hesitant about heading offshore in a new-to-you boat until you're familiar with it to the point of confidence. Plenty of horror stories of folks taking off only to have some critical system fail.

While you're staying coastal, you're going to have to head farther out to get past Frying Pan Shoals and Cape Hatteras. If the weather is favorable you could ride the stream all the way up to Hatteras and a bit beyond.

I would put Charleston, Georgetown, Southport (Cape Fear), Wrightsville Beach, Morehead/Beaufort, and Hampton VA on your list of good duck-in points. You could probably add Myrtle Beach if necessary although I'm not sure about the depths. Are you going up through the Chesapeake or staying in the ocean? If the latter I would consider Cape May and Sandy Hook, maybe Absecon and Manesquan but be cautious about any others. Definitely avoid Barnegat Light and Little Egg, the former for the convoluted shoaling inside and the latter for serious and poorly marked shoaling on the way in.
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Old 01-04-2017, 14:09   #8
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Re: Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

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Go for it, although I'm always a bit hesitant about heading offshore in a new-to-you boat until you're familiar with it to the point of confidence. Plenty of horror stories of folks taking off only to have some critical system fail.

While you're staying coastal, you're going to have to head farther out to get past Frying Pan Shoals and Cape Hatteras. If the weather is favorable you could ride the stream all the way up to Hatteras and a bit beyond.

I would put Charleston, Georgetown, Southport (Cape Fear), Wrightsville Beach, Morehead/Beaufort, and Hampton VA on your list of good duck-in points. You could probably add Myrtle Beach if necessary although I'm not sure about the depths. Are you going up through the Chesapeake or staying in the ocean? If the latter I would consider Cape May and Sandy Hook, maybe Absecon and Manesquan but be cautious about any others. Definitely avoid Barnegat Light and Little Egg, the former for the convoluted shoaling inside and the latter for serious and poorly marked shoaling on the way in.
Pretty much what Suijin said^^^. In Florida we were doing Lake Worth to St. Mary's, (Fernandina Beach,) or St. John's River, (Jacksonville,) but after an overnight we had no wind and the seas were a mess. We motored into Canaveral went through the lock and anchored just to the left. Next morning we were on our way again and went in at Fernandina Beach. Great town BTW.

Then Fernandina to Georgetown, SC to visit friends. Next jump was to Norfolk which took about three nights and four days.

We were stuck in Norfolk for a week with north winds then, when the shifted, we sailed to NYC.

You will love this trip in May or June. We did the trip south from CT starting the week before Christmas this year and the windows to get to Norfolk were tiny. We would leave one port after a gale and get into the next port just before another one.

Have fun.
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Old 01-04-2017, 14:31   #9
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Re: Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
Go for it, although I'm always a bit hesitant about heading offshore in a new-to-you boat until you're familiar with it to the point of confidence. Plenty of horror stories of folks taking off only to have some critical system fail.

While you're staying coastal, you're going to have to head farther out to get past Frying Pan Shoals and Cape Hatteras. If the weather is favorable you could ride the stream all the way up to Hatteras and a bit beyond.

I would put Charleston, Georgetown, Southport (Cape Fear), Wrightsville Beach, Morehead/Beaufort, and Hampton VA on your list of good duck-in points. You could probably add Myrtle Beach if necessary although I'm not sure about the depths. Are you going up through the Chesapeake or staying in the ocean? If the latter I would consider Cape May and Sandy Hook, maybe Absecon and Manesquan but be cautious about any others. Definitely avoid Barnegat Light and Little Egg, the former for the convoluted shoaling inside and the latter for serious and poorly marked shoaling on the way in.
Very sound advice. I share the reluctance regarding getting into a seaway in an unfamiliar boat. I do plan on having some preventative maintenance done before I get down there to help assure some reliability. I also plan on arriving about ten days before we leave to prepare, provision and spend some time handling the boat and familiarizing myself with the systems and rigging. I cannot claim I'll be completely prepared but I'll have done as much as I'm able to that end by then. I've also been hitting the books hard since we made the offer on the boat and boning up on navigation, tide & current tables, weather, safety, emergency procedures, etc & so on. It's like drinking from a firehose but I do not approach endeavors of this nature lightly.

Thanks also for pointing me to ActiveCaptain. I already have a list of "preferred" and "emergency only" inlets started (included are those you've pointed out) with notes on depths, currents and facilities for each.

I'm not sure yet whether we'll enter the Chesapeake as it will depend almost entirely on the weather. I'm planning on dropping off an experienced hand in Beaufort and picking my wife up there. This is where I have the largest concern as I estimate we will need a near perfect weather window for 48hrs to get around the outer banks and to the Chesapeake and, if that window is open to 72hrs, we'll keep going to the Absecon inlet where we plan on resting a couple days with a buffet nearby before heading up to NYC & the Hudson.

Thanks folks, I really appreciate the guidance.
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Old 02-04-2017, 16:25   #10
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Re: Atlantic Coast Inlet/Facilities Guide

Thanks for saving me typing all the same stuff great info and your is really well detailed. I love Charleston and Beaufort. I am currently just outside Annapolis and heading north in 2 weeks.
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