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Old 14-11-2017, 20:14   #1
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Another ICW vs Ocean Question

Heading to Miami from Chesapeake March 2018
No urgency to get to Miami
53' Hatteras Motor Yacht
Draft 6'

I am comfortable to 4' waves.
I am concerned about ICW unknown depth changes

Advice ?

Thank you
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Old 14-11-2017, 20:33   #2
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

If your boat is well found and well maintained, either one is a good alternative.

The ICW lets you (mostly) ignore the weather, but you have to watch for shallow spots. A weather window is needed for your offshore route, but you can run fast enough and get into most inlets if things go bad.

I am sure you will get answers here recommending both routes... so you will still have to make your own choice.
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Old 14-11-2017, 22:45   #3
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

Let the prevailing conditions guide what you do. There are some great little jaunts on the outside. Activecaptian.com is your best friend for the ICW to avoid the shallow bits. There are also other good sources of info for up to date reports and nav issues. Waterway guide is another good one.

Have fun!
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Old 14-11-2017, 22:50   #4
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

Whats ICW Guys ?
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Old 14-11-2017, 23:41   #5
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

What speed do you want to run at? Fast = outside, slow = inside.
What is your range?
Do you want to run at night?
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Old 15-11-2017, 06:01   #6
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

AICW = Atlantic IntraCoastal Waterway (US East Coast).
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Old 15-11-2017, 07:10   #7
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernPride View Post
Heading to Miami from Chesapeake March 2018
No urgency to get to Miami
53' Hatteras Motor Yacht
Draft 6'

I am comfortable to 4' waves.
I am concerned about ICW unknown depth changes

Advice ?

Thank you
Watch your depth gauge and go slow enough to be able to act based on it
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Old 15-11-2017, 07:25   #8
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

The AICW has beautiful scenery and lots of nice towns to visit along the way. Restaurants, historic buildings, museums, etc. The ocean has - the ocean.

There are just a few shallow areas along the AICW and you can plan so you go through at something other than low tide.

As above, when you get to the shallow spots, slow down and watch the depth sounder. The bottom is mostly soft mud so if you're not going 20 knots you can just back off if you actually hit bottom.

I've travelled the AICW several times with no issues.
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Old 15-11-2017, 09:09   #9
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

Did a delivery from Annapolis, MD to Brunswick, GA a couple years ago and we went down the outside with a brief stint through about 25 miles of the ICW around Wilmington, NC & Cape Fear. Wonderful trip. Took us 5 days in a 40 ft catamaran and we had a dolphin escort for the entire last day of the trip.

Based on what I've heard from other ICW travelers, make sure you have good towing insurance as the odds are you will need it sooner or later and it's a lot cheaper than a single tow.

Have fun!
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Old 15-11-2017, 09:16   #10
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

The ICW avoids the gulf stream current which runs quite strong from Hatteras south for quite a while. But 6' draft is getting up there. I say pick a good weather window and go outside until N. Carolina.
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Old 15-11-2017, 09:29   #11
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

Two choices:
1. Take a winding narrow shallow crowded path with many bridges, (a number of which you will need to stop and wait for), much traffic, varying currents, where you have to hand steer 95% of the time, someone has to be on the helm every second of the trip, navigation is nearly impossible at night. Some parts scenic, some boring. But you do not need to pay attention to the weather.

2. Go offshore, set the autopilot, set the fishing rods, rest easy and enjoy the trip. But you do need to pay attention to the weather.

Just depends on what you are up for. Many people fear being outside away from an inlet until they actually get offshore and find it is beautiful out there. A headwind can make it uncomfortable though. If you can get a westerly or northerly breeze and stay inside the stream, the ride is nice and the fishing usually great.

You might wish to try both. Run outside for a bit, come in an inlet and cruise the ICW for a bit. See which suits you.

Have a good trip.

M
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Old 15-11-2017, 10:03   #12
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

Power boat = no sailing, so if mechanical problems occur (I know, that never happens except at the dock) you now must wait on SeaTow
If you are in the ICW, toss out the anchor and they will be there pretty quick, or just power up the zodiac and head for the parts store.

If you are offshore and drifting north ( or east, or south), local SeaTow may not be equipped to both find AND tow you back to a decent inlet.

I prefer to follow the ICW (except from Charleston to Jax).
Plus we always take a dinghy large enough to transport a bicycle.

I can usually find a marine dealer or NAPA store within one day to make my repairs. In the Atlantic, I am still drifting.

It all depends upon whether you want the journey or the destination.
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Old 15-11-2017, 10:16   #13
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

Are there sections of the ICW that will take an air draft of 78'? We plan to travel down from Maine in a 49' Cat. Water draft is not an issue, just air draft.

Gary
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Old 15-11-2017, 10:38   #14
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernPride View Post
Heading to Miami from Chesapeake March 2018
No urgency to get to Miami
53' Hatteras Motor Yacht
Draft 6'

I am comfortable to 4' waves.
I am concerned about ICW unknown depth changes

Advice ?

Thank you
I brought my Nordhavn 46 down from Long Island. 6ft draft. Had active stabilizers. When outside, ran 24hrs a day. One night, we had water over the bow against the pilot house windows. The captain came up to see what was happened. I was the one who had to calm him down. The Nordhavn is built to take rough weather and the active stabilizers added to the pleasure.

I think we had 2 nights in the ICW.

I'll never use that captain again. I'd go to bed, he'd get drunk and pee over the side. If he had gone over I would have never found him the next day and I told him so. But he was the believer captain and did not listen to the owner.
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Old 15-11-2017, 10:46   #15
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Re: Another ICW vs Ocean Question

My two cents are:

Go ICW through Pamlico, not outside, to Beaufort.
Beaufort to Masonboro Inlet, go outside
Masonboro Inlet to Cape Fear river - ICW
Cape Fear to Georgetown - outside
Georgetown to Charleston - outside
Charleston to Hilton Head - either way. ICW has some pretty spots, the distance is about equal, and pretty light traffic.
Hilton Head to Brunswick, GA - outside (you draw 6 feet - GA is a real challenge)
Brunswick to St Johns River - outside.

All the above can be done in day runs, even though you may have to start at 3:30AM some days, like HHI to Brunswick. From St Johns south, with a 6 foot keel, you have to go all the way to Canaveral to be safe, and depending on your speed, that may be a 24 hour trip. So you may prefer ICW.

Canaveral to Fort Pierce - outside unless it's blowing hard from the east. Entering Ft Pierce Inlet with a big following sea sucks, in my opinion.

All of the outside stuff depends on weather of course. I ran outside from Cape Fear to Georgetown one time, with beautiful weather and dolphins following. The next morning I woke up and it was blowing 25 knots at Georgetown next to the bridge 7 miles inland from the Atlantic. No way I was going outside, even though that was the plan. Did ICW, and only ran aground once (I draw 5'6"). But if I could have planned with the tides, I could have done it without touching - just didn't work in my schedule.

Enjoy your trip.
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