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Old 10-10-2009, 13:25   #1
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Cape May to Myrtle Beach Navigation Suggestions

Hi Everyone,

I have a 57' Carver Voyager and plan to move the boat south for the winter. I'm currently in Cape May NJ destined for Myrtle Beach SC in the coming weeks. The marina I am heading to is Grande Dunes on the ICW. This will be my first trip south of Cape May and am looking for advice from anyone who has made this run on course options, best ports to rest each night, contingencies for weather, etc.

I cruise at approximately 22 knots and am hoping with good weather to run 10 hours each day. In talking with people, I understand that there are a few ways to go and want to consider all options for a safe and enjoyable trip.

Ideally I would like to run at cruising speeds as much of the time as possible and avoid too many slow areas, however also don't want to get beat up the entire trip by running outside.

Please let me know what your suggestions are in as much detail as possible! Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2009, 14:08   #2
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Hi,

Just made the trip but in a sailboat cruising 6-7 kts. Except for a couple of days when we went outside (better winds or to avoid a really convoluted section of the ICW and save some time), we also planned about 10 hrs/day. I just checked the Skipper Bob marina and anchorage guide each night and picked the best based on our estimated stopping point for the night.

Check the bridge schedules carefully as many spots they only open on the hour or half hour and lots are closed during morning and afternoon rush hour, typically 6-9 am and 4-6 pm. They hold those schedules exactly. We got to one about 4 minutes after the hour and had to wait 56 mins for the next opening. Skipper Bob has a book for that also.

Have a good trip
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Old 11-10-2009, 17:35   #3
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I've plotted the first two days of the trip. Day 1 the plan to go from Cape May stopping at Rudee Inlet (Virginia Beach) for the night running entirely outside.

Day 2 will be from Rudee Inlet to Beaufort Inlet. My concern on Day 2 is running outside around the outer banks. Has anyone done this? The ICW looks very dangerous and I'm concerned with my 6' draft on a good stretch of it, yet if the wind is kicking a bit am not sure what kind of ride I'll get around the point.

What are your suggestions on this leg? Safe running outside from Rudee to Beaufort, or don't even think about it?
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Old 11-10-2009, 18:41   #4
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I just made that section in a boat with 5' 8" and had no problems at all (as long as we stayed in the channel but that's another story). I would not call that section of the ICW dangerous at all but there are several places where you do have to pay attention and stay in the channel. Don't have the guides at hand but think there was one or two spots where there was some shoaling around the edge of the channel.

Also, the section around Hatteras will save you a bit of distance as it cuts off that corner.

Go to Skipper Bob's website and you will find up to the date info on any problem sections.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:46   #5
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Hi Steve,

Was reading too fast and didn't look at the first part of your question closely. I took the outside from Delaware Bay (we stopped on the other side at Lewes DE, really nice, friendly town), anchored in the harbor of refuge at the edge of the bay and went outside. We went overnight and all the way to Norfolk. That route is a lot shorter than going up DE Bay to the canal, crossing to the Chesapeake and all the way back down to Norfolk. Of course the weather has to be considered and was actually a little too calm on our trip and we motor-sailed all night.

I like the inside from Norfolk to at least Pamlico/Cape Fear as it is shorter than outside, a beautiful trip through some of the most unspoiled, undeveloped part of the ICW and 6' should not be a problem as long as you follow the guides and markers and stay in the channel. Plus you avoid Hatteras, the deadly "Graveyard of the Atlantic".

You probably wouldn't end up in the graveyard but I hear it can get a bit bumpy going around. Have only done it once myself and caught an Oct storm that made it a very exciting ride.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:01   #6
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The outside from Hatteras to Beaufort is deceiving. The gulf stream runs very close to shore so give your self plenty of time. Of course at your speed this might not be an issue! The problem I had was the (sail) boat was surfing along nicely but going very slow over ground. You cant go in too far to get out of the stream due to the shoals that extend well out in a few places. It took me too long and I had to spend another night at sea... and it was a very uncomfortable one! In retrospect I should have just trusted the Radar/GPS and went in in the dark...
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Old 12-10-2009, 14:36   #7
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Skipmac,

Thanks for all of your advise so far! Running inside from Norfolk to Cape Fear, how much of it is slow running vs. cruising speed? I understand that the physical distance is much shorter, however how many bridges and/or locks are there to contend with causing this leg to take considerably longer than running outside? Can this still be done in a day? In two days?
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