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Old 30-11-2010, 12:43   #1
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Beaufort --> St Augustine


We are at this moment tied up at the NC visitor center on the dismal swamp canal. We'd planned to take the ICW to FL. The ICW is lovely but my boat finds it claustrophobic. She's 23 ft wide and, has once screw, and does not turn on a dime.

We're considering a passage from Beaufort NC to N FL. Given the mileage it seems a 2 to 3 day offshore trip. We plan to leave with no less than a 4 day weather window with winds from the NW. We have a coastal pilot and charts. Are we missing anything that should make us hesitate ?


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Old 30-11-2010, 13:01   #2
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Location: Potomac Shores, VA USA
Boat: Formosa 51 Aft Cockpit Ketch - "Beausoleil"
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Just did Beaufort, NC to Brunwick, GA last week. Last year we went straight from Beaufort all the way to Marathon, FL.

Assuming your boat's seaworthy and you're capable, pick a window and go.

Cap'n Jon (KB1HTW)
S/V Beausoleil -1979 Formosa 51 Ketch
"If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there." - Captain Ron
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Old 30-11-2010, 13:26   #3

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Suncat, check the gulf stream charts along with your weather window. Staying out of the stream will give you a significant speed advantage and probably a smoother ride.
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Old 30-11-2010, 14:14   #4

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Your furthest point offshore to avoid will be Frying Pan Shoals. Find the Frying Pan Shoals Slue on the charts. It's quite easy and wide enough to get through. We did it in the dark last week going overnight from Beaufort south.

I consider radar important for any passage like this but that might be because I'm a wimp. We run radar all the time while underway offshore. You didn't mention if you have it or not.

After Frying Pan Shoals you can get closer to the coast to lessen the effects of the Gulf Stream. With nice weather, it's a great trip. We usually stay 6-10 miles offshore.

Keep a list of bail out points - Masonboro inlet, Cape Fear River, Winyah Bay inlet, Charleston inlet, Port Royal Sound, Saint Simons Sound, Savannah River inlet, Amelia River inlet, and St Johns River inlet all all safe, all weather, entry points - even in darkness. Almost all have good anchorages or close marinas once you're out of the inlet.

Heading into the Amelia River and turning north to Cumberland Island, Georgia is a treat. It's a national park and a wonderful place to catch up on some rest and enjoy yourself.
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