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Old 05-05-2016, 07:35   #1
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Wilmington / Jacksonville to St. Simons Advice

Hello all-

I've been asked to help a friend deliver his newly acquired Beneteau 37 from Wilmington, NC to St. Simon's Island. This is a casual delivery for a friend, not for hire. He has very little sailing experience, I have a fair bit. We'll also have two crew aboard, one totally inexperienced and one with whom I've sailed several trips off the coast of SoCal.

I'm shooting to get my Captain's license this year. I've owned a boat and been sailing on Lake Lanier north of Atlanta for years. I have skippered a number of trips from Marina Del Rey and Newport Beach to Catalina (our most recent trip in a moderate Santa Ana with 25-30kts of breeze and 6-8' seas on the beam) have circumnavigated the island several times and have also double handed a Jeanneau 40 from Bermuda to Boston.

I'll be getting more info on the boat this week, including systems, sail inventory, condition, etc. The airdraft has plenty of margin to go ICW as a backup, but we'd prefer to get off shore a few miles and sail her down in open water.

Being more accustomed to the immediate drop into blue water in SoCal, my first cursory study of the charts makes the inner 10-20 miles look quite shoal ridden. It also looks like most of the reliable breeze runs from 180 to 360, with most easterlies being very light. I'm curious how far offshore we should stand out to be prudent without lengthening our trip too terribly much. I'm also trying to give us ample time for the trip with a bit of margin as I need to be home for my daughter's high school graduation.

Any wisdom would be greatly appreciated!

Fair Winds-

Chris
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Old 11-05-2016, 07:30   #2
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Re: Wilmington / Jacksonville to St. Simons Advice

Have done the trip several times both ways mostly to and from the Bahamas but occasionally Florida. However my only suggestion is do not go out of Masonboro Inlet but motor down and leave south of Cape Fear.
With a good weather window head straight to your destination.
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Old 11-05-2016, 08:05   #3
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Re: Wilmington / Jacksonville to St. Simons Advice

Thanks Caradow!

Actually, as with many sailing trips, the plan has changed a little. My friend didn't get the boat as far south as he had hoped. We'll be boarding at Dowry Creek on the Pungo river. I was hoping to sail down the Pamlico, straight through the sound and out at Ocracoke inlet, but that water looks super shallow and dicey. So the current plan is to sail down the ICW at Adams Creek into Morehead City / Beaufort and hit open water there.

A direct heading to St. Simons will put us clear of the shoals at Cape Fear, so we should be good, wind and weather permitting.

My two main questions are about currents and shipping lanes around Savannah. According to the USCG charts, we should stay out of the Gulf Stream. On a scale of 1-10, how essential would you say an AIS receiver is with two night watches in that area?

Thanks a million!

chris
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Old 11-05-2016, 08:08   #4
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Re: Wilmington / Jacksonville to St. Simons Advice

You have Radar? If so and it's just for this one trip, I'd forego the AIS

It would also depend to me on percent of moon illumination, if nearly a full moon and clear skies forecast, I'd be comfortable with just naked eye, dark night, over cast skies, I wouldn't

Fog this time of year I believe is extremely unlikely
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Old 11-05-2016, 08:28   #5
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Re: Wilmington / Jacksonville to St. Simons Advice

Thanks for that. Here's a rundown on boat / equipment which I just got yesterday:

1980 Beneteau First 35.
Yanmar 20 w/ 450 hrs. - Has just motored 200nm on ICW with no issues.
Dinghy and motor

Raymarine autopilot and depthsounder

>> No chart plotter or radar <<

I use iNav-X a lot, and just got SeaIQ, but have always had onboard chartplotters as a backup. We will have three iPads on hand with software, charts and routes for redundancy. In addition to handheld compass and four smart phones for GPS should we need it.

May 27-31 we should have a half-moon waning to quarter.

Owner is purchasing an EPIRB and handheld radio. Will probably buy an AIS receiver if I ask for one.

I will have three crew. One with moderate experience, two with little or none. We're planning a four on / four off watch schedule with myself or the more experienced crew on deck at all times.

In the event of a contingency, the biggest stretch of water we would need to cover will be 30-40 miles off of Myrtle Beach. The rest of the trip, we'll be in the 10-20 mile region, which seems pretty comfortable.

Do you think a life raft is necessary? Short of a fire or collision, I'm reasonably confident that we could nurse a stricken vessel to safe harbor if 40 miles is the most we'd have to cover.

Appreciate the advice!
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Old 11-05-2016, 09:49   #6
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Re: Wilmington / Jacksonville to St. Simons Advice

You have lots of electronics......does your ipad have GPS? thats all you need as far as "chartplotter" just download the Navionics program and you will be set. Its cheap.
Also download a program for the ICW it is a godsend if you get trapped there. The ICW can get confusing at times and that program for $9.00 is well worth it. its called on the water chart guides. On the Water ChartGuides | Home of On the Water ChartGuides Foundation
AIS and Radar is nice but not necessary.
Would suggest to get familiar with PassageWeather.com, good resource even has GS data.
I do not go offshore without a liferaft. After switching to a cat I did for a few years knowing that they "float" but they could still catch fire so I reluctantly bought one...you are not only responsible for yourself. They can be rented BTW. That you will have to decide. If the feces hit the whirling blades boats sink and they catch fire.....maybe a long swim.
Also check On the Water Chart Guides about the inlet.....especially if the weather turns sour.
There are times you will be out of cell phone range and sat phones can also be rented FWIW.
Enjoy and with a good weather window you can stay offshore the whole trip.
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Old 12-05-2016, 07:14   #7
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Re: Wilmington / Jacksonville to St. Simons Advice

i would not take that route..

every single sailor washed up on cape hatteras had said "i will be well cealr of the shoals"

the safest path is to go morehead city to wrightsville beach ..you can overnight at anchor there, then icw to southport NC then direct from there to st simons island.

ais is nice but certainly not essential... nor should you be worried about merchant traffic. keep a good watch, use your radar and steer clear of everything.



Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisarias View Post
Thanks Caradow!

Actually, as with many sailing trips, the plan has changed a little. My friend didn't get the boat as far south as he had hoped. We'll be boarding at Dowry Creek on the Pungo river. I was hoping to sail down the Pamlico, straight through the sound and out at Ocracoke inlet, but that water looks super shallow and dicey. So the current plan is to sail down the ICW at Adams Creek into Morehead City / Beaufort and hit open water there.

A direct heading to St. Simons will put us clear of the shoals at Cape Fear, so we should be good, wind and weather permitting.

My two main questions are about currents and shipping lanes around Savannah. According to the USCG charts, we should stay out of the Gulf Stream. On a scale of 1-10, how essential would you say an AIS receiver is with two night watches in that area?

Thanks a million!

chris
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Old 12-05-2016, 08:15   #8
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Re: Wilmington / Jacksonville to St. Simons Advice

Just thinking, a Radar reflector may be of more use than an AIS receiver?
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Old 12-05-2016, 10:11   #9
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Re: Wilmington / Jacksonville to St. Simons Advice

Ocracoke inlet is pretty dicey. I used to do it years ago but would not do it now unless I got to run it a few times with some locals. Beaufort inlet is very easy. Nice and wide, deep, and well marked.
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