Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 22-03-2012, 17:37   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 8
From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

In June we will be cruising from the Chesapeake to Florida in a 35 ft sailboat that draws 4 ft. We were planning to use the ICW as far as possible, but were told by someone who just made the trip that the ICW is not well maintained, is shallow in areas, and takes way too long. We would appreciate some insight by others who have recently made the journey.
__________________

__________________
Starlight35 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-03-2012, 17:52   #2
Registered User
 
Nicholson58's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Live aboard
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
Posts: 3,466
Images: 83
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or offshore??

I followed on SPOT a good friend who made that trip last year on a cat. I helped spot issues for them and likely stopping points. The only issues were the occasional bridge work that caused them to pause. 4 ft is no issue at all. The ICW was made for you. I suggest you consider some side trips if you have time. Great Dismal Swamp for one. I would also plan to poke around Charleston as it is one of my favorite cities, especially the old quarter by the battery. I assume your mast is below 62 feet or so. That is about the min low clearance on most of the east coast ICW. It is less if you carry on through Lake Okechobe. I think 49 ft at Port Mayaca. I suggest you load SeaCLear (freeware) and the NOAA raster charts, also free, and get a BU-353 USB ported GPS antenna, 35 on Amazon. This will give you the latest NOAA charts for the entire passage. There are now other apps available for Droids etc. You should ignore the doom sayers and have a really nice time. Plan ahead using the SeaClear and Google earth.
__________________

__________________
Nicholson58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-03-2012, 18:38   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
FSMike's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Bahamas/Florida
Boat: Solaris Sunstar 36' catamaran
Posts: 2,654
Images: 5
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or offshore??

I'm doing that trip right now, currently anchored behind Sapelo Island, Ga. There are no funds for maintaining (read dredging) the South Carolina and Georgia portions of the ICW. The Corps of Engineers releases soundings periodically. You can get that info from Skipper Bob's Anchorages Guide with updates from their website. Doubtless available from the USACOE also.
There are two places in Georgia, maybe more, where you will have to play the tides even with a 4' draft. I went through Hells Gate (MM 601 - 602) today and saw 9' of water. Judging from the pilings I saw full high tide would have been about 11'. Since Georgia has an 8' tide at least once a month that leaves about 3' of water at full low tide.
Tomorrow I get to go through Little Mud River (MM 653 - 656) which reportedly has 3.5' to 5.0' in the channel at MLW.
It's not difficult to transit S.C. and Ga. by using the tides, especially with a 4' draft. If you're not in a hurry the ICW can be a delight to play tourist on.
One other thing about the SE portion of the ICW - don't forget the screens and the bug spray.
__________________
Sail Fast Live Slow
FSMike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-03-2012, 18:40   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

From Norfolk to Miami is about 1090 statute miles, and the average small sailboat does 50 miles or so per day, meaning it is about 22 days of traveling time. Take a couple of days off each week and you're looking at a bit more than a month if you do the whole thing. But, if you get bored, or the weather is enticing, feel free to head out one of the many inlets and do a day or two offshore. Personally, I love the ICW, have done it numerous times, and find it fascinating. Anchor every night if you want, and most of the time you are alone in the anchorage, or maybe sharing it with one or two others. The worst areas for shoaling tend to be in southern South Carolina and Georgia, but there's also a lot of tide down there, so in the worst case scenario you go aground and wait a few hours to float off. Listen in on the radio and there will usually be someone up ahead to warn you of any unusually shallow spots. It is very well marked and in general easy to stay in the channel.
__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2012, 05:48   #5
Sponsoring Vendor

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Heathsville, VA
Boat: Gemini 105Mc 34'
Posts: 1,459
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

Welcome aboard! Navigate carefully and you shouldn't have any problems. The trip is wonderful. And one more vote for taking the Dismal Swamp route from Norfolk to the NC inner banks...same distance basically as the main route but much more scenic. Have a great trip!
Waterway Guide is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 09:19   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 8
Many thanks to all those who replied to our thread "Chesapeake to Florida-ICW or offshore?" We got a lot of useful info back and will put it to good use. We will be cruising the ICW and plan to take our time and enjoy the sights. We'll also take some side trips, weather permitting. Hope to see some of you on the trip.
__________________
Starlight35 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 09:44   #7
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Eastern Seaboard
Boat: Searunner 34 and Searunner Constant Camber 44
Posts: 949
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight35 View Post
In June we will be cruising from the Chesapeake to Florida in a 35 ft sailboat that draws 4 ft. We were planning to use the ICW as far as possible, but were told by someone who just made the trip that the ICW is not well maintained, is shallow in areas, and takes way too long. We would appreciate some insight by others who have recently made the journey.
I just finished a Charleston, SC to Tampa, FL trip on the ICW on a 30' boat with a 5' draw. You depth should not be an issue but if you're worried, time your movements from about an hour before low tide. If you get grounded and can't get off, you'll have more than enough lift from the tides in GA and SC to lift you. The other advantage is some areas are really shallow outside the channel and you can more easily see this at lower tide.

If you are planning to stop into Beaufort, SC and plan to tie up to the "free wall" (which is now 50 cents/foot) make sure you have chafe boards a lot of slack for the tidal drop of about 6-8 feet. You can make them for just a few bucks but you truly need them there.
__________________
Regards,

Maren

The sea is always beautiful, sometimes mysterious and, on occasions, frighteningly powerful.
Maren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 09:54   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,363
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

I've done North Carolina to Ft Lauderdale with 6-5" draft. Not a huge deal. A couple spots as noted... watch the tides..
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 09:54   #9
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: South Florida and the Caribbean
Boat: A beautiful catamaran
Posts: 152
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

Me personally.. Offshore.. get there faster.. less delays than what you would get in the ICW.
__________________
Capt. John Banister, AMSŪ
SAMSŪ Accredited Marine Surveyor
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
SuenosAzules is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 10:11   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Oak Bluffs MA
Boat: Triangle 40
Posts: 23
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

The ICW can be fun although at times the anchorages can be tricky, particularly in the winter months. One bit of advice I got, was to join Towboat US or Seatow before you start. I did , and it was well worth it.(like AAA on the water). Anyone who hasn't gone aground on the ICW just hasn't gone aground yet. I'm proud to say I left a little bottom paint in every state from Va. to Fla. Good Luck
__________________
fishtrap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 10:12   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 8
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maren View Post
I just finished a Charleston, SC to Tampa, FL trip on the ICW on a 30' boat with a 5' draw. You depth should not be an issue but if you're worried, time your movements from about an hour before low tide. If you get grounded and can't get off, you'll have more than enough lift from the tides in GA and SC to lift you. The other advantage is some areas are really shallow outside the channel and you can more easily see this at lower tide.

If you are planning to stop into Beaufort, SC and plan to tie up to the "free wall" (which is now 50 cents/foot) make sure you have chafe boards a lot of slack for the tidal drop of about 6-8 feet. You can make them for just a few bucks but you truly need them there.
Thanks for the info Maren. We plan to get (and follow) tide charts for the trip. I had no idea the tides were that drastic in Beaufort! I will be making the chafe boards to take with us.
__________________
Starlight35 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 10:17   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,363
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishtrap View Post
The ICW can be fun although at times the anchorages can be tricky, particularly in the winter months. One bit of advice I got, was to join Towboat US or Seatow before you start. I did , and it was well worth it.(like AAA on the water). Anyone who hasn't gone aground on the ICW just hasn't gone aground yet. I'm proud to say I left a little bottom paint in every state from Va. to Fla. Good Luck
Good advice just in case, with your draft I doubt you'll run aground... I actually sailed through much of Georgia... had a beam breeze.... kinda cool...
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 10:26   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: virginia
Boat: islandpacket
Posts: 1,833
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore?

I enjoyed the ICW and have done it several times on friends boats, The trips were from the upper Chesapeake bay to fort lauderdale and took almost a month. when I take my boat I will take two or three months for the trip as there is so much to see and great places to eat. When I went through the lock to do the dismal swamp there were over twenty boats in that lock, the canal is narrow so we were either blocked by slow boats or pushed by aggressive boats, Next time I will pull over leaving the lock and let the northern hoards pass and then enjoy my leisurely trip.
__________________
That derelict boat was another dream for somebody else, don't let it be your nightmare and a waste of your life.
Badsanta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 12:58   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 8
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or offshore??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
I followed on SPOT a good friend who made that trip last year on a cat. I helped spot issues for them and likely stopping points. The only issues were the occasional bridge work that caused them to pause. 4 ft is no issue at all. The ICW was made for you. I suggest you consider some side trips if you have time. Great Dismal Swamp for one. I would also plan to poke around Charleston as it is one of my favorite cities, especially the old quarter by the battery. I assume your mast is below 62 feet or so. That is about the min low clearance on most of the east coast ICW. It is less if you carry on through Lake Okechobe. I think 49 ft at Port Mayaca. I suggest you load SeaCLear (freeware) and the NOAA raster charts, also free, and get a BU-353 USB ported GPS antenna, 35 on Amazon. This will give you the latest NOAA charts for the entire passage. There are now other apps available for Droids etc. You should ignore the doom sayers and have a really nice time. Plan ahead using the SeaClear and Google earth.
Thanks for all the info Nicholson 58. Sorry it took me a while, we're new to this. Our mast is only 44', so we shouldn't have much trouble with bridges. We do plan to do the Dismal Swamp canal, several people have said it's a nice trip. We stayed a week in Charleston last year (not by boat) and loved it. We definitely plan to stop there. We're also putting a new chart plotter on the boat, and will take as much info as we can on tides, anchorages, etc.
__________________
Starlight35 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2012, 13:17   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 8
Re: From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or offshore??

Quote:
Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
I'm doing that trip right now, currently anchored behind Sapelo Island, Ga. There are no funds for maintaining (read dredging) the South Carolina and Georgia portions of the ICW. The Corps of Engineers releases soundings periodically. You can get that info from Skipper Bob's Anchorages Guide with updates from their website. Doubtless available from the USACOE also.
There are two places in Georgia, maybe more, where you will have to play the tides even with a 4' draft. I went through Hells Gate (MM 601 - 602) today and saw 9' of water. Judging from the pilings I saw full high tide would have been about 11'. Since Georgia has an 8' tide at least once a month that leaves about 3' of water at full low tide.
Tomorrow I get to go through Little Mud River (MM 653 - 656) which reportedly has 3.5' to 5.0' in the channel at MLW.
It's not difficult to transit S.C. and Ga. by using the tides, especially with a 4' draft. If you're not in a hurry the ICW can be a delight to play tourist on.
One other thing about the SE portion of the ICW - don't forget the screens and the bug spray.
I started a thanks and reply, but messed up (again, we're new to this). I started to tell you about the Thermacell. It's a small device that uses a butane cartridge and a saturated pad. It will keep the mosquitoes away all night without spraying. We used it kayaking in the Everglades and it was fantastic.
Thanks again for all the info.
__________________

__________________
Starlight35 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
chesapeake bay, florida, icw, offshore

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
From Chesapeake Bay to Florida-ICW or Offshore? Starlight35 Navigation 24 12-06-2017 08:53
Up the St Lawrence to Kingston jadamsson Great Lakes 4 07-08-2012 20:17
Crew Wanted: Miami to Maine in May dcohen Crew Archives 9 02-06-2012 19:14
Crew Available: America to Europe (competent crew couple is seeking) Petr Crew Archives 3 02-06-2012 17:34
From Crystal River to Miami, Fl HPBristol 27 Navigation 12 25-04-2012 21:29



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 21:51.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.