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Old 15-11-2013, 17:21   #1
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Cape Fear River to Charleston suggestions

We are planning an overnight from the Cape Fear River to Charleston (weather permitting) late next week, and would appreciate advice with anyone expierienced with sailing this leg. I'm guessing a falling tide wouldn't be the best time to exit the Cape Fear. Other than that, all suggestions would be welcome. Sailing info, including ideal distance off the coast, estimated time (I average around 6 knots), currents, etc. I would also like to continue (after a few days in Charleston) with an offshore route from Charleston to Fernandina Beach, so info on that leg would also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Will
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Old 15-11-2013, 19:01   #2
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We just sailed Charleston to Brunswick. Thought about going to directly to Fernandina but liked the idea of reducing the two night sail to a one night sail.

The Charleston anchorage is awful. Suspect holding. Lots of junk of the bottom. Lots of current. Do not anchor in the north end of the anchorage. If you can afford to avoid it, it is one of the few places I would recommend a marina.

A series of fast systems seem to be moving the area. Probably typical of this time of year. We took the tail of end of one. Winds were light but sea state still pretty unconfortable. Another system worked itself up shortly after we arrived in Brunswick. Passageweather.com GFS and NAM models did a good job of predicting.

Do not cut the channel as you are exiting Charleston. The breakwater is partially submerged.

We saw a lot fishing vessells working close to shore. Doesn't seem to make sense to stay anywhere near the shore. We stayed about three to twenty miles off shore.

Be ready to encounter lots of traffic around Savannah. We passed through there at about 3am and there were ships lined up to go in.

Lots of buoys out there. Make sure you know where they are so you do not run into them.

Good luck!
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Old 15-11-2013, 20:31   #3
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Re: Cape Fear River to Charleston suggestions

shanedennis,
Appreciate the feedback. What was your total time, and how much pure sailing were you able to do?

Cheers,
Will
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Old 15-11-2013, 23:06   #4
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Hi will, it's a great overnight sail. You can ride the falling tide out the mouth if the cape fear as long as the wind is not against it and conditions are moderate. Presumably you'll catch a northerly forecast anyway.

Give yourself some sea room coming into Chas harbor as in leaving, as shanedennis mentioned, basically from sea buoy to sea buoy. No chart in front of me here on my iPhone so I can't remember exact distances. In general, leaving early from cape fear gives you much of the following day to make your destination in daylight. It is a long way to charleston from the sea buoy. Chas maritime center puts you close to town and a grocery store.

Same thing heading south, leave early and I think you can make St. Mary's but cutting it close with short days. Can always come in St. Simons but it is not much further to St. Mary's. if conditions and experience allow, you can leave charleston in the early am in the dark, giving you more of a buffer to make landfall before dark.

Cumberland island is a favorite place of ours. Enjoy anchoring in the Cumberland sound.

Have a great trip-
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Old 16-11-2013, 04:42   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westsailwill View Post
shanedennis,
Appreciate the feedback. What was your total time, and how much pure sailing were you able to do?

Cheers,
Will
Total time was about 30 hours. We left in the morning with NE 15kts then around nightfall the wind swung north and became light. Sailing became difficult because we still had pretty good seas from the northeast and we had light winds almost directly behind us. We turned on the Yanny and motored the rest of the way. Two other sailboats of simalar size (we are a 34 footer) that left Charleston at the same time pulled into Savannah instead. I knew another system was coming through and did not want to get stuck on the ICW again so we pushed through to Brunswick. We had planned to make it to Fernandina. Stopping early was a good move because the anticipated weather system came early. We might have been waiting off Fernandina in 20+kts until mornig.
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Old 16-11-2013, 17:05   #6
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Re: Cape Fear River to Charleston suggestions

Thanks all for the great advice on the Charleston/Ferandina leg. Approximately how long should I expect to spend on the Cape Fear/Charleston route? Also, are there any unusual condition that I should be aware of on either one of these legs?
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Old 16-11-2013, 20:21   #7
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Just talked to a couple who came down from Beaufort. They were feeling beaten up, difficult sailing conditions because they, like us, waited for a cold front to weaken and then sailed with a worked up seas from the NE in light N/NW breezes.

Can someone with more experience on the Atlantic coast comment? Is there a better strategy at this time of the year? One more question. Does the OP need to be concerned by the low shown on the National Hurricane Center website?
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