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Old 07-03-2016, 17:58   #1
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Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

Hi all, my daughter has asked me to help her get her Cal 27 from Charleston to Savannah, Easter weekend. Since neither of us has made this trip before I am looking for some advice on routing and estimates on how long we can expect this trip to take. Thanks
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Old 07-03-2016, 18:10   #2
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

Basically two options, inside or outside IE the ICW or the ocean.

If the boat has a good engine then the ICW is protected and easy in most weather but does require close attention to the course and charts. Outside it pretty simple. Leave Charleston, head south, enter Savannah.
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Old 07-03-2016, 18:26   #3
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

It's a easy two day trip on the ICW. You will want to make the first bridge opening south of Charleston. I avg 6.5knt and couldn't get to Beaufort before dark but if the days are longer when you will be heading down. I would figure on dropping the hook for a night. Tide can be a little strong as you get closer to Savannah. Check Active Captain for good places to drop the hook for the night. Nice trip.

I anchored close to the shore on the West side of the ICW just south of the creek of Buzzard Island before the turn to Beaufort to get out of the wind since I only draw 3.2'. THAT was NOT good; Outgoing Tide is like a river from 100 yards out to shore. Most anchor close to channal since not much traffic at night.
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Old 07-03-2016, 18:31   #4
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

I would wait and see what the weather is. It's about 100 miles outside down the coast. That's about 20 hours.

It could be perfect to sail outside or it could be perfect to motorsail or motor inside.
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:09   #5
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

Thanks. We would prefer to go outside. We will keep an eye on the weather. If its calm, is the outside still a good option ?
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:15   #6
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

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Thanks. We would prefer to go outside. We will keep an eye on the weather. If its calm, is the outside still a good option ?
Outside is a good option calm or moderate but might not be too much fun if it's blowing hard. How well it works for you if calm will depend on the engine in the boat. Does the boat have an inboard? Good condition?
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:25   #7
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

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Basically two options, inside or outside IE the ICW or the ocean.

If the boat has a good engine then the ICW is protected and easy in most weather but does require close attention to the course and charts. Outside it pretty simple. Leave Charleston, head south, enter Savannah.
The ICW doesn't go to Savannah. It's about nine miles up the Savannah River from the ICW junction.

The tidal currents on this trip are pretty strong and they reverse several times. It averages out but I can be going nine knots (in my trawler) one minute and five knots the next. There are a couple spots where depth might be a concern depending on the boat's draft and the state of the tide.

For me in my trawler, averaging seven knots, I can get to Beaufort in about ten hours and on to Savannah in five or six more. There are a couple decent anchorages near Beaufort. We go past the Downtown Marina, around the curve, past the sandbar and anchor to port, out of the channel (before the next marina).
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:26   #8
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

If you're going offshore it will involve an overnight sail or departure from Charelston in the middle of the night so plan for that.

As mentioned, the distance is about 100 nm so at least 16-18 hours in a 27' boat. On top of that it's a bit of a haul from Charleston to the ocean and ocean back in to Savannah so I would add at least 4-5 hours to the travel time to allow for that.

Similar situation if you feel the need to break up the trip and head back inside for the night. It's a long trip back inside from the ocean and there are not too many options between Charleston and Savannah that are easily accessible.
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Old 08-03-2016, 06:32   #9
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

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The ICW doesn't go to Savannah. It's about nine miles up the Savannah River from the ICW junction.
I assumed the OP was aware of that detail. Ocean or ICW you will have to go upriver if your destination is the city of Savannah.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:41   #10
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

I haven't been that way in years. If you opt. for the ditch, you may want to pick and incoming tide to pass Elliot's Cut. It is not that great of a distance but the current can be a help or add a good deal of time. When you exit the cut, if the tide is really ripping out watch for eddy's, it seems unsure if it wants to go the Cut or the Stono River. Other than that watch the markers. St. Helena sound can get lumpy. It is a nice trip.

Enjoy yourselves.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:51   #11
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

I would think the time to get out and in would make going outside for a 2 day trip not worth it....?
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Old 08-03-2016, 12:34   #12
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

Made the trip a lot. Go inside...beautiful low country views. About 6 to 8 hrs south of Charleston, there are several creeks that you can anchor in for the night...Steamboat, Toms Creek, Toogodoo Creek. Then about 6 hrs to Beaufort. Beautiful city...strong currents but they have mooring balls as well as Downtown Marina. You can also anchor out in back of the mooring fields. Several restaurants near the marina. Stay a couple of days unless you are on a tight schedule. Next day, about 6 to 8 hrs to Savannah. Down the Beaufort river past the marine base at Paris Island, up the Port Royal Sound, in Skull Creek to the Caliboge Sound then around Defuskie Island following the ICW to Field's cut and across the Savannah river. The waterway passes Savannah about 9 miles down the river. If you cross the river the next area is Thunderbolt Marina and Boatyard area. Good Luck
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Old 08-03-2016, 14:09   #13
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

I can't imagine it is worthwhile going outside for such a (relatively) short voyage.


The time sailing out of Charleston and the time motoring in to get to the river will be a significant % of the total hours.
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Old 08-03-2016, 20:54   #14
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

I made the trip on the ICW a few years ago. It's a nice cruise. There are lots of anchorages. I just noodled along and took 4 days, plus 3 holed up in Lady's Island Marina in Beaufort for a storm. I don't believe in setting a schedule of two days for such a trip.

As the chart shows, the ICW goes through Savannah (considering Thunderbolt as a suburb), through the southside. That's where all the marinas and boatyards are.
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Old 08-03-2016, 21:16   #15
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Re: Charleston S.C to Savannah, Easter weekend

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I can't imagine it is worthwhile going outside for such a (relatively) short voyage.


The time sailing out of Charleston and the time motoring in to get to the river will be a significant % of the total hours.
Completely disagree. If you have the weather you can easily RonCo (set it and forget it) the jump outside from Charleston to Savannah and do it in a day. The ICW is crap and is super boring and takes way to long to go anywhere. Go outside (weather permitting) and actually sail your sailboat.
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