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Old 04-02-2015, 10:48   #16
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

I'm with George in recommending you expand your experience with a short coastal cruise, if that interests you. You always have the option to stay in the ICW if the weather does not cooperate. I would recommend, as another posted, to go to Fernandina Beach and sit there for a day or so to evaluate the weather and your ambitions. If you can maintain 4 kts you should be able to make the outside trip from the St. Marys River to Charleston in 48 hours + or -. So finding a decent weather window is very doable. If you get bored or anxious outside you can always go inside at the Savannah River or Port Royal Sound.
You don't say whether you have an outboard or inboard engine on your Catalina. In either case I would take at least 18 hours of fuel with you in case you want jump back in and the wind does not cooperate. You'll want that much fuel, or more, if you stay inside.
Either way, outside or inside, I think you will find it a pleasant trip in April.

John
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:08   #17
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

I have to agree with George. Do something you haven't done before and you'll be happy. A couple hundred miles with 4 crew isn't wreckless and you'll feel like Lord Nelson when you make that landfall. Just make sure you have a comfortable weather window.

I've "motored" in powerboats and sailboats. Powerboats do it better. Sailboats under power for long periods is drudgery. 3 years ago, I did 36 hours under power on my 34' sloop coming down the Yucatan peninsula in a dead calm sea. It was awful. I'll read a book and wait for wind next time. I used to own a Catalina 25 which had an outboard auxillary. It wasn't enjoyable going any distance under power. I suspect your 27' would be similar. Even if you decide to go outside in short hops I think you will enjoy your trip more actually sailing a sailboat.
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:11   #18
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

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Originally Posted by Sands1019 View Post
Hi there,

We have to move our 27' Catalina from Jacksonville, FL to Charleston, SC this April. So far, our sailing experience has been day sailing on rivers. I'm looking for advice on whether to take the ICW or the Atlantic. We're allowing 10-14 days for this trip and plan to stop at marinas over night along the way.

We're planning on having 3-4 people total for the journey. Truthfully, I'm a little apprehensive doing such a long trip with what I feel is little experience, but my significant other is very excited about the prospect and eager to learn more. (I'm eager to learn more too, just a bit more cautious.)

Any and all tips are very welcome.
Inside if limited on experience and plan on marinas at night. Your time frame should give you plenty. Going outside and finding marinas your in and out time would eat you up.
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:14   #19
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

You said it your self you are aprehensive about going outside this is not the time to take chances, take the ICW and anchor out you will not be dissapointed. I have done this twice from Canada and am going down again this fall. My most enjoyable section was Georgia watching other sail boat masts twisting and turning as you travel. Lots of places to anchor, with a 9ft plus tide it makes form some interesting views.

Enjoy the trip

John
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:23   #20
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

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Originally Posted by Sands1019 View Post
Hi there,

We have to move our 27' Catalina from Jacksonville, FL to Charleston, SC this April. So far, our sailing experience has been day sailing on rivers. I'm looking for advice on whether to take the ICW or the Atlantic. We're allowing 10-14 days for this trip and plan to stop at marinas over night along the way.

We're planning on having 3-4 people total for the journey. Truthfully, I'm a little apprehensive doing such a long trip with what I feel is little experience, but my significant other is very excited about the prospect and eager to learn more. (I'm eager to learn more too, just a bit more cautious.)

Any and all tips are very welcome.
Hello,

Since you are both inexperienced boaters, I think that it wuld be more prudent to take the inside route during April which can get rough out in the Atlantic.
There's enough for you to learn inside the ICW. REMEMBER, GOOD SEAMANSHIP ISN'T DEAD YET!
Howard Rothstein - I speak from 73 years of experience.
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Old 04-02-2015, 15:20   #21
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

I did the trip in August of this year. Based on what you said I would do the ICW. There are some nice sounds you can sail on during your trip. Several miles off shore there are shoals along the GA coast that can cause you trouble.

Definitely get Active Captain and use it on your trip. It has the latest and best on the "cuts" that get really shallow at low water. Great times at St Simons/Brunswick, Isle of Hope (grew up there), Savannah and Beaufort. Very strong currents in some spots and check the bridge opening times. Look at Hells gate and Ossabaw Sound very carefully, the shoals change there ALL the time. Check your Boat US or Seatow for membership for the towing option.

You will have a big smile on your face.
Enjoy the trip and let us know how it went.
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:36   #22
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

I moved my Tartan30 with 2 kids and a Wife who was not able to help from the St. Johns River down near Green Point, and motored to St. Augustine for a few days. Then we jumped outside headed for St. Marys Inlet in GA. It was July, with the summer SW wind, and a following sea of 4-6 feet. Everyone got sick. I even got sick for the first time in my life.
An afternoon thunder storm maid it interesting as well.
The engine began to sputter while entering St. Mary's Inlet in the dark (scary) and then failed just past the Submarine base. We SAILED from there on the ICW all the way to Jeckyl Island. It was very difficult and we grounded several times due to no engine, no nav stuff, and while I had planned to go up river to the town of St. mary's to get fresh charts, the engine failure ruled that out. I used the Waterway Guide ony. After replacing the alternator at Jeckyl Island, about 30 minutes away from the dock it sputtered again. No engine, no nothing so we sailed again for a couple more days to the next marina where I hooked up the alternator wires the right way and recharged the batteries. We then motored on mostly and sailed often.
I can say now that I understand how my boat works, and I sailed lots of miles of twisty curvy switchy waterway. I feel like I am a much better sailor after that experience. With a 5 foot draft is is even more of a challenge between shallow depths, and swift tidal currents.
In my opinion you DO NOT want to be trying to run those unfamiliar inlets with limited experience, and a small boat. Save that stuff for later. Take the inside, have the tow Boat number, and never use it. you WILL run aground and you will then learn all the ways there oare to get off.
Sail as much as possible and hone your sailing skills. It will be slower, and a lot of work but it will pay off in the long run. When you get to Charleston you will have plenty of time to learn the skills of open ocean sailing.
As the Skipper, your FIRST responsibility is to the safety of the Crew and Vessel. Use good judgement, err on the safe side, and you will live to be an old Sailor. You will also have friends who want to ride on your boat again later. Enjoy!!!!!
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:45   #23
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

14 days, let the weather decide each day. You are going to take a lot of time going in and out, but you have 14 days, you need <20 miles per day. I might go off-shore until Hilton Head (good off-shore experience) then through Beaufort (must stop) and intercostal to the North Edisto ( I like that section, watch the depth around the North Edisto. Anchor in the Edisto @ "Steamboat". Then off-shore to Charleston. You should have a few days there before you run out of time.


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Old 16-02-2015, 12:19   #24
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

Thank you all for your opinions and experiences. This helps a lot. I also appreciate the local knowledge and information about the ICW and places to stay/anchor out, etc.

I'm definitely going to get a towing subscription and pick up a waterway guide. I didn't consider a SAT phone, but I'll look into that as well.

To answer a few questions: We are currently on Julington Creek right off of the St. John's River. Our engine is an inboard diesel and we do have a depth finder, VHF, and Garmin chart plotter.

I like the idea of taking the St. John's to the ocean, near Mayport, and then taking that up to Fernandina to the inside--potentially back to the ocean depending on the weather, etc.

I'm eager to learn more and gain more experience. I just want to do it in a way that doesn't jeopardize anyone's safety or our equipment/boat. :-)
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:21   #25
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

No to sound crass I don't think you have been listening. A sat. phone? With limited experience stay in the ICW and find a marina or anchorage. Get the experience when it is summer and you don't have time constraints.


Best of luck. I hope I don't need to hear the CG picked you out or worse, they didn't.
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:33   #26
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

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Originally Posted by George DuBose View Post
The best way to gain experience is to do something you haven't done before..............
No, the best way to gain experience is to do some study and research first so you'll know what to do in different situations. Perhaps do it with more experienced people. Then you do it.
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:47   #27
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

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Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
No to sound crass I don't think you have been listening. A sat. phone? With limited experience stay in the ICW and find a marina or anchorage. Get the experience when it is summer and you don't have time constraints.


Best of luck. I hope I don't need to hear the CG picked you out or worse, they didn't.
I'm honestly puzzled by this reply. I've read all of the advice given so far and plan on doing continued research. Nothing has been decided or set in stone yet. If anyone has any more suggestions or insights, I'd be happy to hear them.

I only mentioned the sat phone because someone upthread suggested it.
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Old 16-02-2015, 14:05   #28
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Re: Jacksonville to Charleston--Outside or Inside?

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Originally Posted by Sands1019 View Post
I'm honestly puzzled by this reply. I've read all of the advice given so far and plan on doing continued research. Nothing has been decided or set in stone yet. If anyone has any more suggestions or insights, I'd be happy to hear them.

I only mentioned the sat phone because someone upthread suggested it.
Just take it for what it is worth, or not. Anyone recommending a Sat phone, which implies way off shore is an idiot with your stated experience. Don't listen to," I have heard ".
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