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Old 29-03-2012, 15:51   #16
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Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

Starlight, thanks for the tip on mosquito control, will check it out.

I really like to make some tracks offshore when I can, and spend leisurely days at anchor - rather than taking the entire ICW down. This way I can hop from one favorite place to the next, or go inside when weather, crew or whim dictate. That said, if you are not on a timetable, then go at your leisure and stop regularly. It's not as much fun if you are on the move all day every day, in my opinion.

Echoing others opinions, your draft is fine if you stay in the channel and watch the tidal ranges for the shallow areas. Cruisersnet has updates for the ICW, check that site out for sure. I brought my new boat home from west coast FL a couple of years ago, drawing 4'. Didn't have a depth sounder but staying in channel kept me off the bottom.

Favorite spots are Cape Lookout and Beaufort, NC, Cape Romain, Charleston, Cumberland Island. Some good overnight+ hops are from Cape Fear to Charleston Harbor and Charleston Harbor to St Simons or perhaps St Marys.

Someone mentioned Okeechobee, and I think that is doable for you with your height. Dismal swamp is worth doing, and should be reasonably pleasant in June. Both of those sections are a little unique and worth checking out if the water levels are right....which there is a good chance they will be.

Hope you have a great cruise-
Chase
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Old 29-03-2012, 16:03   #17
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Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

we are in central florida on the intracoastal and i can assure you the sun is getting intense down here. temps are enjoyable but the UV index is extreme. be sure you have a good bimini and plenty of cold beer in your ice box. the ICW is well maintained in florida with most depths over 10 or 12 feet. a chart plotter is very reassuring to have
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Old 30-03-2012, 12:52   #18
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Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

Thanks for the reply Chase. Sounds like there are a lot of nice places to see along the way. My wife and I are both retired so we don't plan to follow a set schedule, just take our time and enjoy the sights. We're going to make a list of all the places fellow cruisers have told us about, and will check out as many as we can. Should be a great cruise as long as the heat doesn't get too bad.
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Old 30-03-2012, 13:39   #19
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When you get to FL, if you like nature/ park like settings try the new Marineland Marina, just south of St Auggies. Tell Chris we said hi.
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:56   #20
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Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

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Originally Posted by SuenosAzules View Post
Me personally.. Offshore.. get there faster.. less delays than what you would get in the ICW.
May I ask how you avoided being slowed down by the Gulf Stream? Just how close to shore is it?

Thanks
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:29   #21
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Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

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Originally Posted by dougdaniel View Post
May I ask how you avoided being slowed down by the Gulf Stream? Just how close to shore is it?
This is a pretty old thread but yours is a good question. You have two choices heading South: get across the Gulf Stream early and head South or stay close inshore hunting for counter currents and accepting that somewhere in GA or FL the northbound current will be so close to shore that you'll be bucking the edges of it.

How long it takes depends on the boat but Southbound from Annapolis to Ft Lauderdale should be a week to 10 days compared to the month to six weeks most people experience on the ICW. Northbound of course is faster and many boats can make Ft Lauderdale to Annapolis in four days.
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:42   #22
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Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

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Originally Posted by dougdaniel View Post
May I ask how you avoided being slowed down by the Gulf Stream? Just how close to shore is it?

Thanks
Close to shore near Miami. Elsewhere not so much, especially along the coast of northern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. There are a number of resources for finding it including -

https://earth.nullschool.net/#curren....45,31.37,3000

And

Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:18   #23
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Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

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Old 12-06-2017, 08:27   #24
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Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

I will add that crossing the Gulf Stream early, say north of Cape Hateras which is the only other place where it really comes close to shore, and then heading south means that you will have to cross it TWICE if you are going to Florida.

A better bet would be to take the ICW from Norfolk, VA to Beaufort, NC and then head south offshore until you get further down the coast of Florida.

I think this is a common approach that minimizes your exposure while still allowing you to make good time sailing mostly offshore maximizing your use of the counter current.

The location of the Gulf Stream and the counter current, when present, changes but you can see from the map below that the counter current can at times easily be 30 miles off the coast.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:53   #25
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Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

Starlight,
My vote is for offshore. However, we have never enjoyed traveling the ICW largely due to traffic, bridges and constant chart mania as it meanders South. If you have the weather, go outside and have strategic bailout points if the weather changes for the worse. Also, even when the Gulfstream is close to shore, you can still head South in 30 plus feet of water and stay inside the stream. You can actually see where the stream begins by the agitated currents in the water on its edges. This area is also a great place to troll a lure for a nice mackerel, little Tunny and sometimes even a dolphin fish. Hope this helps. Good luck and safe sailing.
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