Originally Posted by SteveinDE
Hello, I'm relativity new to the forum, I've been searching for the best route
south to the Bahamas
from the Chesapeake Bay
. Most people recommend the Intercoastal Waterway, but when I researched the ICW
most people claim it's a headache. I read an article from a sailing magazine who said he often used his motor
, waited for bridges, and consistently navigated shallow bottoms; what's the point? I have a 1968 CAL 28
, it has a 5 foot draft
, would I be better off sailing off the coast? Why do people use the ICW
if it's such a hassle? Does it offer any advantages over sailing off shore?
Well, if it were indeed "such a hassle", you'd think more folks would try to avoid that by hopping outside, no? But a comparatively small percentage of sailors actually bother to do so, and if a trip down the ICW will demonstrate nothing else, it will be to illustrate the low priority that actual Sailing
has for the majority of East coast
Having said that, many stretches of the Ditch can be wonderful, and afford decent opportunities to sail for those willing to make the effort. It's quite possible to have some great sailing between Currituck Sound and Oriental, for instance. Plenty of chances to do some sailing between Charleston and the Florida
line with favorable conditions, likewise in places like Mosquito Lagoon
and the Indian River if you're lucky...
Here's one guy's perspective on the trip, written with an eye towards making the best of sailing opportunities that might present themselves... It's 10 years old, however, dated in some respects. You don't even want to think about considering the run down outside to Oregon
Inlet nowadays, for example :-)
Sailing the Intracoastal Waterway | Cruising World
And if you do plan to do any stints outside, Steve Dodge's SOUTHEAST INLET CHARTBOOK is an excellent resource...
Inlet ChartBook: Southeastern United States - 3rd Ed.
Good luck, it's still a wonderful trip, no matter how you decide to do it...