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Old 20-11-2016, 10:43   #1
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Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

Hello, I am looking at buying a boat in Jacksonville and sailing her to Tennessee. Could some of you give me info on making that trip, such as mileage and best route.

Thank you !
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Old 20-11-2016, 11:06   #2
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

Off shore or ditch where there's a choice? How tall a mast? Assuming under 55', south by ditch or hops to Stuart, Fl, through the Okeechobee Waterway (that's the 55' limit) to Ft. Myers, out at Sanibel Island or north in the ditch to Clearwater. There you have a required offshore to Carrabelle before you can pick up the ditch again. Then it's over to Mobile Bay, up the north end to the Tombigbee River, leave it at the Tennessee - Tombigbee waterway which takes you up to the Tennessee River close to Muscle Shoals, Ala. Then it's east or west depending on where in Tennessee you're headed. If east, you arrive at our starting point, Nickajack Lake near Chattanooga. If you have more specific questions, just ask. It's a run we've made in the opposite direction, and we're based in Carrabelle.
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Old 20-11-2016, 11:19   #3
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

Aside from the usual charts, get yourself a paper planning chart - small scale, fits on a table, shows you the entire east or west coasts of Florida and on to Mobile. Figure how far you want to go per day; measure distances with you dividers, look for inlets, plot courses, and generally mark it up. Get a cruising guide to the Tennessee-Tombigbee (sorry, I sold mine) and maybe ones for the ditch as well. Gradually you'll come to a plan, and it will suit you, not someone else. If you're new to this game, get some offshore legs in before you do the Clearwater-Carrabelle run - it's at least overnight unless you're planning on a fast power boat.
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Old 20-11-2016, 11:25   #4
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

By the way, welcome to the forum. Don't be afraid to contribute. If you say something stupid, someone will point it out, and you can learn that way, too. Sometimes threads become arguments between experts.
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Old 20-11-2016, 11:28   #5
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

This is the first time I've done four in a row. I just re-read your title - Watts Bar marina is in Nickajack Lake; that's where we launched after building the boat on top of the Cumberland Plateau.
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Old 20-11-2016, 11:35   #6
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

Thank you much sir, I see that I have already made on mistake. By "sailing" . I will be bring a power boat back, so I didn't mean sailing, sailing. Either way sailing or motoring is better than a day in the office! I have made the trip from Utica up, but never been in the big water so I thought i'd better ask the experts. Thank you!
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Old 20-11-2016, 15:37   #7
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
Watts Bar marina is in Nickajack Lake
??

We kept our Tanzer 22 (sailboat) on Watts Bar Lake at Thief Neck Marina for two years and later took it down the Tennessee River to the Ohio River. The Tennessee River is easy. The locks at the dams are the only exciting parts. Just read a little about them, and you will have no problems. The Corps of Engineers charts are on the internet. Get them then pick up a guidebook to tell you what you will be seeing. You will be all right.
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Old 20-11-2016, 16:17   #8
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

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Off shore or ditch where there's a choice? How tall a mast? Assuming under 55', south by ditch or hops to Stuart, Fl, through the Okeechobee Waterway (that's the 55' limit) to Ft. Myers.
===

Actually the Okeechobee mast limit is 49 ft unless you hire someone to incline your boat under the 49 ft railroad bridge at Port Mayaca.
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Old 20-11-2016, 16:25   #9
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Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

I suggest you don't try the TennTom portion until late April or early May. I came back up from Florida in March 2014 and have since looked at March conditions and it is usually flooded. There is a lot of current and it is slow going. My Hunter 356 at times was going 2.9 knots over the ground. A small boat like the Tanzer would barely be moving against that kind of current. It can also get cold. We have a generator we run full time for heating and cooling a and a full enclosure in the cockpit. One morning in mid March leaving Midway Marina, it was 27 degrees. We had ice on the inside of the Bimini, but our interior was 72 degrees and very comfortable. Without a generator and heating/cooling system, you will be very uncomfortable in that kind of weather.


Unless you have a very long time to bring the boat up to Tennessee, you might consider trucking it or buying a trailer and hauling it yourself. It is a long trip for a boat with limited cruising capabilities. It took us a month to come from Punta Gorda given the weather Windows you will need to make the Gulf Crossing.

Get a chart plotter app like INavx, Navionics or both and start studying the route. There are mike markers on the iCW and the GICW and the TennTom and Tennessee River. They are in statue miles. Your limiting mast height in the GICW from Carrabelle to Mobile is 49 feet or you will have to go outside. The TennTom is 52 feet - less if there is flooding. You should also get a food app for Active Captain. I use the Garmin app and only use it for the Active Captain interface.

It will be a great adventure if you get the right setup for the boat and have the correct clothing and can spare the time.
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Old 20-11-2016, 17:28   #10
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Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

I made the mistake of thinking you were in a Tanzer 22 sailboat. Other than the mast and perhaps the speed, my comments should still apply to your situation. If you have a cruising powerboat, then you can stay comfortable inside in any kind of weather.

Active Captain has all the good anchorages and marina's located. I have a spreadsheet on the TennTom you are welcome to have that has most of them and all the marinas and locks by mile marker from Mobile to Pickwick.

If you come up the TennTom in any kind of boat in March and it is flooding, you have a lot off current and have to dodge trees and other floating debris. Not good for a faster boat and props.
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Old 21-11-2016, 05:35   #11
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

Mark, could you describe your boat? More specific advice might be forthcoming if we had a notion of speed, seaworthiness, and trailerability. Also, since you are taking it to an inland site, what is your goal in making the initial trip? Do you want offshore experience, would it just be fun? Do you have the time? Time of year is an issue that changes with the boat as well. Crew? Experience? Height? The taller the boat, the more bridges you have to wait for.
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Old 21-11-2016, 05:59   #12
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

Welcome to CF Mark !

I'm with the rest of us here...

What's the boat !?!?!
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Old 21-11-2016, 11:56   #13
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

I think they're having problems with the Okeechobee Waterway since Hermine. You might want to check on that before you try to head through. If you've got time you ought to check out the Keys on your way.
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Old 21-11-2016, 12:07   #14
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

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I think they're having problems with the Okeechobee Waterway since Hermine. You might want to check on that before you try to head through. If you've got time you ought to check out the Keys on your way.
===

The Okeechobee Waterway is just fine as long as your air draft is under 49 ft. We went through mid-October, the week after the hurricane, and had no problems at all. It's at least 150 NM shorter than going through the Keys, and with less exposure to adverse weather risk.
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Old 21-11-2016, 18:12   #15
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Re: Jacksonville Fl to Watts Bar TN

Hermine went way north of Okeechobee. Matthew added enough water that they had to increase the release, but this morning's Florida emergency management briefing only said that it's 0.1 feet above normal for this time of year.
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