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Old 11-06-2013, 17:03   #1
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ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

Curious about Intercoastal Waterway from Wilimington, NC to Hampton Roads Has anybody done this leg, or does everybody go on outside? What are bridge clearances and major issues?
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Old 11-06-2013, 17:21   #2
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

Hundreds of boats do this both directions each year. Take a look at ActiveCaptain.com to see the details of various places and bridges, etc. The ICW along the east coast is generally a 65 foot bridge clearance (with maybe a few 63's thrown in).
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Old 11-06-2013, 17:51   #3
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

If you do the last leg on Sunday the bridges are on demand makes life so much nicer.
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Old 11-06-2013, 18:17   #4
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

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If you do the last leg on Sunday the bridges are on demand makes life so much nicer.
But all the rookies are out on the summer weekends Not as bad as Florida though.

There aren't a lot of opening bridges (or at least until the last twenty or thirty miles south of Norfolk) if I recall correctly, though the Wrightsville Beach bridge and Haulover Canal bridge need to be timed properly.

Get an ICW Guide and go for it. Going outside is too much easting for the effort.
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Old 11-06-2013, 18:37   #5
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

I'm in the Pasquotank now, having just passed that way. We usually take the Dismal Swamp at the top of this run. Everything is normal here, no unusual shoaling. Wrightsville Beach Bridge is on the Hour, Figure Eight Island Bridge is on the hour and half hour, Surf City Bridge is on the Hour. There is no "Hualover Canal" Bridge in this area. Brown's Inlet north of the Onslow Beach Bridge is the most suspect point in this span for depth, but it showed nothing less than 6' at low for this time. It's casual and easy with plenty of good overnight anchorages.
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Old 11-06-2013, 19:40   #6
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

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I'm in the Pasquotank now, having just passed that way. We usually take the Dismal Swamp at the top of this run. Everything is normal here, no unusual shoaling. Wrightsville Beach Bridge is on the Hour, Figure Eight Island Bridge is on the hour and half hour, Surf City Bridge is on the Hour. There is no "Hualover Canal" Bridge in this area. Brown's Inlet north of the Onslow Beach Bridge is the most suspect point in this span for depth, but it showed nothing less than 6' at low for this time. It's casual and easy with plenty of good overnight anchorages.

Sorry. That was in Florida. Senior moment ?????

Be cautious also at New River Inlet and at Bogue Inlet just north of Swansboro. We just returned home two weeks ago and it was pretty thin through there.
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Old 11-06-2013, 20:45   #7
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

Or you can go out the inlet at Wrightsville Beach to Beaufort NC in one long day. Going north from Beaufort is pretty easy. When approaching Norfolk, make sure you have the info on the bridge openings. All in all, pretty easy for us with our 5' 6" draft & 61' mast.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:06   #8
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

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Sorry. That was in Florida. Senior moment ?????

Be cautious also at New River Inlet and at Bogue Inlet just north of Swansboro. We just returned home two weeks ago and it was pretty thin through there.
Yes, we had a cruising neighbor run aground at Bogue Inlet. The mistake is being drawn toward the inlet side by the inlet markers that are not ICW markers. The same with New River Inlet,- You're best to keep to the ICW nuns and not cut any corners on the inlet side.
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Old 12-06-2013, 15:48   #9
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

Thanks all so much for the tips and input! Will be taking Bristol 40 north in next month and wanted to avoid being caught on the outside in inclement conditions ( i.e, enough shipwrecks off Hatteras already, not need to add to the pile!
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Old 12-06-2013, 17:03   #10
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

Hi Crimea, consider that outside hop gettinthere mentioned, from Wrightsville to Beaufort or Cape Lookout. It can make for a really nice day sailing, especially in a Bristol 40 I would think. If you fish, drop a line in the water. There's good king and spanish through there, and at least some Mahi. Watch for flying fish.... The route around Hatteras draws me for the same reason in fair weather - fish- but also the Gulf Stream is just beautiful, along with it's phosphorescence at night. Practically speaking, it is out of the way unless you plan to put out at Cape Fear and hop in the stream.

I've done that route many times now. Catch the flood tide up the Cape Fear, then head offshore at Masonboro inlet - if so inclined - or take the ICW towards Swansboro. The bottom of that White Oak Creek is a little scoured, and previous posters are right that there has historically been thin water in the New River inlet vicinity. Didn't they recently dredge there? I haven't been through there in years, preferring the 70 nm offshore run to Cape Lookout.

As I recall, the approach to Morehead City can be tricky, so get the binoculars out. Chartplotter will dumb it down..... Bogue Sound is shallow on either side of the channel.

From Beaufort, Oriental is a short day. River Dunes marina is just a little ways down the Neuse on Lower Broad Ck. Very nice marina if you have not been there before. I'm sure you've heard that before, but really, it is easily one of the nicest marinas I've ever tied up in (for $1.25 high season) and happens to be where I tank up when I go cruising.

Belhaven is an easy day from there, but I usually take the PAmlico Sound to Ocracoke and Manteo. If the wind is 15-20 knots SW, you'll have a great ride under sail and they recently dredged the channel into Manteo. When not going around Hatteras, I always take the Dismal swamp, but I only draw 4', and I suspect a Bristol 40 draws considerably more. Other's with bigger boats and deeper drafts can comment there. I just really like the Pasquotank for anchoring, and the canal is pretty sweet, but less so in July. Good counsel from others about the other ICW route and Sunday. Not a big deal to do it other days, but that stretch does lack good anchorages in my opinion and it is good to push on to Portsmouth/Norfolk.

CaptForce, the Dismal is pretty well protected for gusty weather coming. Hope it is nice on the Pasquotank tonight, although maybe you're at visitors center or Chessie by now. I'm south of you on the Pamlico Sound, headed out for some local cruising.
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Old 12-06-2013, 17:57   #11
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

I also recomend the Dismal (5 ft draft or less) as it is very historic. Elizabeth City has free dockage just before. You can tie up at the South Mills lock, The welcome center (which has a great Canal History center) or at the north end.

There is lots of barge and tug traffic in the Norfolk area and lots to look at so keep a good eye out for traffic.
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Old 12-06-2013, 18:25   #12
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

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...................................
CaptForce, the Dismal is pretty well protected for gusty weather coming. Hope it is nice on the Pasquotank tonight, although maybe you're at visitors center or Chessie by now. I'm south of you on the Pamlico Sound, headed out for some local cruising.
I'm always behind my potential location. I'm off on a road trip to Florida and 'won't be in the Chesapeake 'till July. 'always behind!
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Old 12-06-2013, 19:07   #13
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

Going to Beaufort, Ocracoke, Manteo is much more fun (and a good bit safer) than going outside Hatteras. Even in mid summer, the weather off Hatteras can turn dangerous quickly.

Absolutely do Wrightsville to Beaufort outside if the wind's aft of the beam but I follow the rule that "Gentlemen don't sail to weather". The ICW is very pleasant and doesn't present any navigation challenges that should really bother you. Use Active Captain to check for the current ICW shallow spots. With the long daylight of June the bridge schedules aren't really much of a concern.
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Old 12-06-2013, 19:47   #14
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

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I also recomend the Dismal (5 ft draft or less) as it is very historic. Elizabeth City has free dockage just before. You can tie up at the South Mills lock, The welcome center (which has a great Canal History center) or at the north end.

There is lots of barge and tug traffic in the Norfolk area and lots to look at so keep a good eye out for traffic.
I was checking out some info on Dismal Canal. Seems like I will go this leg. Will be pleasant diversion from normal fare. Draft should be good at 4' with CB version. Free dockage never hurts either!
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Old 12-06-2013, 20:09   #15
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Re: ICW from Wilmington, NC to Chesapeake

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I was checking out some info on Dismal Canal. Seems like I will go this leg. Will be pleasant diversion from normal fare. Draft should be good at 4' with CB version. Free dockage never hurts either!
That's great you only draw 4'. That's going to make staying off the bottom a piece of cake. You might hear some bumps in the Dismal, but no need to put the pedal to the medal anyway just to get there early and wait for locks. The tenders are great and will tell you what speed to maintain to hit the next lock on time. Have fun-
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