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Old 04-09-2014, 12:41   #31
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Re: ICW Travel Time

If you are under those kind of restraints you may want to consider another form of transportation....such as a motor yacht as you don't seem to be concerned about the price of diesel.If you are not a sailor you will have a lot to learn and adjust to prior to pulling out, dropping the mast, stepping the mast, and making sure you have TowBoat insurance to pull you off the bottom of the ICW. You will find the bottom!

You may want to review a post from last fall about NY to Miami transit times. The poster was also new to sailboats, and no matter what people told him he was going to make the trip in 6-8 days. Three months later they were in St. Augustine where I believe they are still tied to a dock. Don't review it because of the OP, but because there really was a lot of good advise given but little listened to.
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Old 04-09-2014, 13:00   #32
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Re: ICW Travel Time

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Originally Posted by tomdidit View Post
If you are under those kind of restraints you may want to consider another form of transportation....such as a motor yacht as you don't seem to be concerned about the price of diesel.If you are not a sailor you will have a lot to learn and adjust to prior to pulling out, dropping the mast, stepping the mast, and making sure you have TowBoat insurance to pull you off the bottom of the ICW. You will find the bottom!

You may want to review a post from last fall about NY to Miami transit times. The poster was also new to sailboats, and no matter what people told him he was going to make the trip in 6-8 days. Three months later they were in St. Augustine where I believe they are still tied to a dock. Don't review it because of the OP, but because there really was a lot of good advise given but little listened to.
I'm not concerned with the price of diesel on a sailboat but a motor yacht is way out of my price range. I will also be taking the advice I've gotten here today and will not be attempting to go "the wrong way" up to chicago. I also don't in anyway think I'll be making the trip in 6-8 days and I'm not so pigheaded that I wouldn't listen to the advice given by folks such as yourself...after all, that's why I'm on here!

I'm not a sailor...yet! I figure the only way to becaome a sailor is to DO IT...after taking the latter mentioned courses that I'm already registered for of course. All this being said, I still plan to depart the toronto area in agust of 2015, make my way to the coast, travel south to the bahama's and then back up the coast to the great lakes for summer 2016. My departure and return date are the only set schedules that I have.

I greatly value all the advice from everyone here and look forward to more

A great quote I once heard "calm seas don't make good sailors" or something like that :-p
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Old 04-09-2014, 14:37   #33
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Re: ICW Travel Time

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I'm not concerned with the price of diesel on a sailboat but a motor yacht is way out of my price range.............
I think as you continue your research you will find that you cannot do a lot of sailing on the AICW and other parts of your trip. You will be motoring a lot of the time.

Regardless, but especially if you're buying a sailboat, you don't want this to be your first trip. There are a lot of things that you need to actually do to become good at even if you've studied them in books. I would suggest a couple hundred hours of on the water experience before starting what's going to be a 6,000 mile or more journey.

Just to throw this out there, I just completed a cruise of about 2,000 nautical miles and used slightly under $2,000 in fuel. In a small trawler. A sailboat would probably use less but it's still going to cost quite a bit of money to do the Great Loop in a way that you can enjoy it. You will need to eat, sometimes in restaurants and you will want to stay in marinas from time to time to clean up and wash laundry (another expense).
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Old 04-09-2014, 14:44   #34
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Re: ICW Travel Time

If I missed this I apologize but don't think I have seen any mention of the fact that north of Norfolk VA there is no more ICW. You can run up the Chesapeake Bay cross the canal and back down Delaware Bay to avoid offshore on that stretch, but past Delaware Bay you will be in the ocean.

Once you reach NY City you have the option of going inside up Long Island Sound or stay on the ocean side of LI.
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Old 04-09-2014, 14:58   #35
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Re: ICW Travel Time

Step one... Throw away the calendar
Step two... Sail south
Step three... Enjoy

Don't over plan
Down wind is easier
With the current is Much easier

Again, lose the calendar and have a good time

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Old 04-09-2014, 15:39   #36
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Re: ICW Travel Time

Howdy!

As you are planning to do the entire ICW on the Atlantic side, I recommend seeing the following two part video on YouTube. I found it interesting for several reasons. One reason is that it shows the narrowness of the channels and canals and the shallowness of the ICW.

It is a two part show. Here is the link to part One
http://youtu.be/Q8Y35_z8cxM
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Old 04-09-2014, 17:07   #37
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Re: ICW Travel Time

You have a link to part 2? I can't figure out how to get there with this Ipad
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Old 04-09-2014, 17:22   #38
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Re: ICW Travel Time

Part 2
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Old 04-09-2014, 21:04   #39
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Re: ICW Travel Time

The ICW starts at Norfolk Va. If it helps to give you a rough idea of how long it takes for a sailboat to make it to Florida from there, this is our itinerary via the Dismal Swamp, averaging about 8 hrs daily and stopping at:
- Dismal Swamp info center
- Elizabeth City NC
- Alligator River marina
- Belhaven NC
- Oriental NC
- Morehead City NC
From Morehead we sailed along the coast overnight to Southport, then left Southport for an overnight to Charleston. From Charleston we spent 3 days (2 nights) at sea before arriving in St Augustine, FL. The ICW is particularly challenging for deeper draught sailboats through SC and GA.
From St Augustine we carried on down the ICW, again averaging 8 hr days and staying at:
- Palm Beach
- New Smyrna Beach
- Titusville
- Melbourne
- Fort Pierce

From there, we jumped to the Bahamas. If you add it up, that's 18 days travelling (Norfolk to Ft Pierce) - but there were many added days of resting, sight-seeing, and waiting for better weather.
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Old 04-09-2014, 21:36   #40
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ICW Travel Time

Most of the advice here had been on the Atlantic side. Last fall we took our sailboat, a Hunter 356 from Kentucky Lake to Punta Gorda, Florida on the west coast. We went down the Tennessee to the TennTom and had the mast down until we got to Mobile. We returned in March, mast back down at Turner Marine in Mobile. We fought floods up the TennTom and sometimes were doing 2.9 to 3.0 knots speed over ground. Also, on the lower part below Coffeeville, the water was up 15 feet above normal. It took four days to get to Demopolis from Mobile, normally a three day trip.

If I were you, I'd wait until May to make the move up the Tenn Tom. I watched the water levels in the Tenn Tom and by May the flooding and current was pretty much gone this year. You will be more likely out of the rainy season and still not into the early part of Hurricane season. You are doing the loop backwards, but once above Demopolis, there is not a lot of current in the TennTom and once to the Tennessee, you are going downhill to the Ohio and then to the Mississippi. From Cairo, IL north, you will buck current on the Mississippi to St, Louis, then the Illinois to Chicago.

You will need to drop your mast and keep It down until you get to Chicago to clear the bridges. The TennTom has 52 feet at normal pools, but If there are floods, then that is reduced. You will be under 15 feet most likely with the mast down. There is a bridge in Chicago that limits you to just over 15 feet I believe. I burned $1600 worth of fuel down and back 2,513 NM and we run our 5KW generator all the time when we we are not at the dock. From Mobile north to Kentucky Dam, I would figure 11 to 12 days. We did it from Punta Gorda to Kentucky Lake in 27 days, so add another couple of weeks to Chicago north of Kentucky Lake.

We went as far south as Indian Key, but I have sailed many times from Charlotte Harbor to Key West and back. Nth Keys and Southwest Florida are really good sailing grounds and the weather in the lower part of Florida is very comfortable during the winter months.

If you would like a copy of my blog, send me an email and I'll send it to you. It is a good documentary on the down and back, total of 325 pages with a lot of photos.

jclark@caarchitects.com

Let me know you are sending and your email so I can get you unblocked from my spam filter before you send me the email.




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Old 05-09-2014, 06:18   #41
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Re: ICW Travel Time

Going up the Mississippi with a sailboat from the Ohio River to St. Louis is not a cost issue (it is but that isn't the limiting factor) but a fuel capacity issue.

In order to make any headway, you will need to push the engine hard burning fuel fast and will still likely struggle to make 3-4kts over ground. Once you leave the kentucky lakes, there are no fuel stops until just short of St. Louis, so a lot of boats won't have enough range to make the trip.

Either go up and down the ICW or do the loop counter-clockwise.

9 months can be done but expect to be moving pretty much all the time. Typically the loop is done with a little over a year. That gives you extra time to slow down.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:28   #42
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Re: ICW Travel Time

There is a lot of talk about going up and down the Mississippi and the Looper's routes. I don't know that any Loopers go up and down the Mississippi except using the Upper Mississippi from about mile 180 to mile 0. None go to or from New Orleans. The typical route is down the river systems to Mobile, Al and if returning that direction, you would re-enter the river system at Mobile and connect back up to the Mississippi in Cairo, Il. Factor 50 miles a day unless your boat cannot maintain about 5 to 6 knots minimum. Going north on the river system can give you as little as a 1/2 knot of current against you or as much as 1 1/2 knots against you, depending on river flow. Heading south you will have those currents in your favor. The 180 mile section of the Mississippi can have 3 to 5 knots of south flowing currents. I do believe the longest stretch of waterway between fuel stops will be 250 to 300 miles. The thing no one will be able to answer is how long and for what reason you will encounter delays. Bridges close, Locks, you will transit many, have problems and sometimes you will wait 4 or 5 hours to Lock through waiting for the commercial guys. Sailing the Gulf of Mexico might require a few day or a couple of weeks to wait for a weather window. Crossing back and forth to the Bahamas will have the same risk. You might sit in one harbor in the Bahamas for a week or two waiting for the winds to lay down. Will your engine or any other system break down? So the answer to your question is, there is no answer. You might as well ask, how long is a piece of string. Can it be done in your time frame, probably. Will you be able to do it in your time frame, probably not. There are just too many variables as you have seen from some of the responses you get. You will also pretty much guarantee yourself little time to enjoy the trip. You said your heading down the east coast the end of August and plan to return before hurricane season. August is hurricane season and you will be traveling down the east coast right in the thick of the season. If you insist on this return by Spring of 2016, I would suggest a less ambitious plan. Chuck
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Old 05-09-2014, 10:32   #43
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Re: ICW Travel Time

First rule of an enjoyable trip is to have plenty of time. Calculate the time you need and double it to enjoy it. This is also a safety issue. Most people who get in trouble on a sailboat were trying to keep to a schedule despite less than ideal weather.

I personally know six guys who sold their boat because their wife decided they didn't like cruising. In each case, the husband now admits that they didn't focus on keeping it enjoyable for their wife - too many ten hour days motoring, a scary seasick rough crossing, or sitting in the cockpit underway in a cold rain will drive many women off the boat. And before someone complains, I know two women who love tough offshore passages - ( on one trip I was curled up in my bunk seasick, while she was happily clipped in at the helm at 2AM in a driving rain - singing .)

If you must sail the BVI's, get an off season week's charter. It will probably cost you less than the cost of sailing your own boat there.

I can't advise you on the northern part, but a trip down the ICW and a month or two in the Bahamas is a great trip and a reasonable first adventure.

The best way my wife and I have found to enjoy the ICW is to plan 100 miles every three days (two days of 50 miles and one day off to explore a town, wait out a rainy day, and provision).

There are only two potentially dangerous areas - NYC to Cape May and crossing to the Bahamas. To be conservative, assume that you will have to wait a week for good weather at each one. Don't think about going in less than perfect weather.

I would also consider making it a two year trip instead of a one year trip. Skip one Canadian summer. It will make Canada seem all the more enjoyable the next year.
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Old 05-09-2014, 10:47   #44
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Re: ICW Travel Time

another idea might be to travel south on the ICW to the chesapeake and see which way the wind blows from there. maybe you can make it to charleston or st. augustine. another option is crossing over the okeechobee waterway in florida. tie the boat up somewhere .. take some time off and come back later to continue your journey
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Old 05-09-2014, 11:23   #45
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Re: ICW Travel Time

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another idea might be to travel south on the ICW to the chesapeake and see which way the wind blows from there. maybe you can make it to charleston or st. augustine. another option is crossing over the okeechobee waterway in florida. tie the boat up somewhere .. take some time off and come back later to continue your journey
The AICW starts at Norfolk, Mile 0 is at the Hospital anchorage in Portsmouth across from Norfolk. So you're already at the bottom of the Chesapeake before the AICW starts. Many folks go south in the AICW to Beaufort, NC. Then they head out into the Atlantic. This way you avoid Cape Hatteras.
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