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Old 18-08-2016, 11:15   #1
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Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

My wife and I are about to close on our new (old) boat, a 1974 Olympic Adventure. Please read below and let me know if you think my plan is crazy or OK?

She's currently in Annapolis and we'd like to take it south around the first two weeks of October, to get out of the freezing temps, get it closer to home (we live in Houston), and gain some experience. I'm reasonably experienced having spent a great deal of time on my dad's sailboats from the age of 6 (I'm 31 now), but never offshore.

From what I can tell most folks will take ICW from Norfolk to Beaufort NC, then hop outside to Masonboro, then to Georgetown. I'm pretty confident we can handle an open water passage as long as we wait for the weather. After that people's plans tend to vary a lot, do people generally skip the Georgia ICW? Would it be unreasonable to attempt an overnight sail after Georgetown or Charleston?

I could just be naive, but we're pretty confident we can handle this trip. Since this is our first big trip, and a new-to-us boat, is it prudent to take on captain or crew?
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Old 18-08-2016, 12:06   #2
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

Survey first, purchase second, repairs third, adventure forth.
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Old 18-08-2016, 12:29   #3
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

Survey: done
Purchase: tomorrow
Repairs: she's in pretty good shape already, only minor things showed on survey.
Adventure: ready!
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Old 18-08-2016, 13:03   #4
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

I've done the Chesapeake to JAX trip a number of times, and I think you've got the basic idea down. I usually went outside from Beaufort to Cape Fear rather than Masonboro. Wrightsville Beach is a nice stop if you are going down the AICW from Beaufort, but I'd prefer to get a little further down the coast. Wrightsville is a nice anchorage if you need wait out a weather system and don't want to do so feeding a marina's meter.
Also Georgetown is long way up Winyah Bay from the ocean, another place I'd stop if staying on the AICW, but I would take the hop from Cape Fear or Masonboro to Charleston. Then a longer hop to the St. Marys or St. John Rivers.
All of those stops are good places to hold up waiting on weather, and offer the option of using the AICW if the weather doesn't cooperate.

John
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Old 18-08-2016, 13:17   #5
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingunity View Post
Survey: done
Purchase: tomorrow
Repairs: she's in pretty good shape already, only minor things showed on survey.
Adventure: ready!
Define minor?
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Old 18-08-2016, 13:23   #6
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

Well, the boat's capable, and if you're going to get back to Houston you're going to have to do some off shore. You're a might tall for the Okeechobee Waterway, you do not want to do the 29 lift bridges on the ICW between Lake Worth and Miami, and you're very marginal on draft for getting through the keys without taking Hawk Channel down to Key West. Then you're necessarily off shore from Key west to Sanibel Island, and again from Clearwater to our base, Carrabelle. The Georgia ICW is rather pretty and not full of bridges if you want a stretch inside. I suggest you get your sailing (and your particular boat sailing) straightened out in the Chesapeake and the Albemare (Don't want to do off shore around Hatteras as your first!) and then consider short hops first from Beaufort as you suggest. Night is different from day, someone has to stand watch, and for two people in a substantial boat can be very tiring. A 1974 may not have the conveniences of modern models. Roller anything, or is it changing jibs while wrapped around the pulpit? How are you on chart work and pilotage? What does the nav and communication suite look like? Chartplotter? AIS? Radar?

By the way -- Go For It!!!
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Old 19-08-2016, 08:58   #7
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

Wrightsville a nice stop, then Hilton Head, then long jump to Jacksonville. Fuel, spare raycors and be able to change and bleed in all conditions (a manifold with two best). New boat to you is likely old fuel as well. Shaking her up will put it into action :-)

Spare alternator belts and impellers, take the time to change all before going and ensure all tools are onhand (I keep the alternator wrenches together in tool bag ready to go and they have come in handy)

Just did this trip a few months ago solo. Well traveled patch and good place to stretch your legs. Again, know your engine well.

Enjoy!
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Old 19-08-2016, 09:23   #8
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

ICW is actually a nice trip for the most part. If you go outside, keep checking the weather. Cape Fear is really to be feared. Need to keep well offshore to avoid shifting shoals.
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Old 19-08-2016, 09:26   #9
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

Our preferred route has been inside to Beaufort/Morehead (consider Morehead City Yacht Basin for a marina), outside to Masonboro Inlet(85 mile run, consider Seapath, beautiful Western, wetland exposure), then down ICW and Cape Fear (only with outgoing tide in River) to Southport, then one overnight outside to Charleston if wind is not SW (130 mile run counting inlets). Going around Frying Pan Shoals to come in at Cape Fear Inlet instead of Masonboro is a long haul in.
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Old 19-08-2016, 09:58   #10
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

I think that two people in an unfamiliar 47' boat calls for a conservative approach. I agree that it would make sense to spend additional time in the Chesapeake (can Beverly very beautiful during September and October) as a shakedown cruise, trying to hit Norfolk by October 15.

I have only done this trip once, but unless your schedule (or mast height) demands it, I do not think there is any particular need to make big hops offshore, particularly if you are not fully familiar with all the many critical systems on your large, old boat, and have only the two of you to react to unforeseen things -- and there will be unforeseen things! We thought all of the low country was beautiful and well worth a leisurely trip, and the Georgia sea islands are spectacular.

My $.02

Art Watson
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Old 19-08-2016, 10:57   #11
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

Is this your boat?

1974 Olympic Adventure Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

I've seen GROMIT up close, if so, nice boat!

As has been said - you are a month away from great sailing and weather for a couple of months on the bay and can hide in case of a big storm too. Lots of folks head out after the Fall Annapolis sailboat show. It's when we plan to leave next year.(2017)

I have had several in person reports discuss major shoaling inside the ditch, like average tide of 3 feet in parts of dismal swamp. Our slip neighbor across the pier just came up in a Sea Ray40 and said he touched bottom a few times. Not sure if he stayed in mid channel or drifted so hard to say. Look before you go for sure.

Too many folks I have met have said they are not looking forward to going south because of the poor condition of the ICW from VA to SC. It's a concern of ours for next year and we are highly considering going the route of the 1500 or some variation. Worth a thought.
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Old 19-08-2016, 16:05   #12
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

At 62' tall, she can do the ICW except the leg into Miami.

She is to tall for the Okeechobee waterway.

She can do the Florida Bay route from Marithin west.

Offshore vs I C W is taste and weather dependent.

If you go inside from Norfolk it Beaufirt, use ICW route 2 visa Dismal Swamp. -- beautiful.
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Old 19-08-2016, 18:06   #13
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

Thanks for the replies everyone! I feel she's too deep for the dismal swamp.

We are definitely going to take it conservatively, I want to get it as far south as Jacksonville if we can, but if not that is OK, we'll stop where we stop!

I might have a crew member coming, we'll see how that turns out...
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Old 19-08-2016, 19:13   #14
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

I just did the trip from Annapolis to Charleston three weeks ago, and have done the whole trip you are talking about many times.

Watch the weather closely. Only go outside with a clear forecast and a gentle wind behind you or on your beam. You can make it in rougher weather, but you'll be happier if you don't.

The more times I do that trip, the more I appreciate the beauty of the Chesapeake and the ICW. Take your time. Stop and smell the roses. Run aground if you must, and wait for the tide to take you off.

I used to say the SC and GA parts of the ICW are the most beautiful. I don't know now. If you slow down, stop trying to get somewhere, and appreciate what you're doing, it's all a blessing.

If you can sort of hold yourself to running 6-7 hours a day, it's a much nicer trip.

Stuff will break. You will run aground. You will get lost. You will be scared. It's o.k. Just keep working through it and appreciate the beautiful opportunity you've got.

And be sure to stop at Thoroughfare Creek off the Wadmalaw River in SC and Cumberland Island National Park in Georgia.

Active Captain (you can get it on your computer, your cell phone, even your chart plotter nowadays) is great for finding anchorages and navigating through shallow spots on the ICW.

Enjoy! You'll meet a lot of nice people making the same trip that time of year. Buddy boat with someone who's done it before.
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Old 20-08-2016, 06:43   #15
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Re: Chesapeake to Jacksonville for a first timer

Thinking about it- you're doing a fair amount inside in sections of the ICW that shoal, and you're deep draft, and you don't have an all-powerful engine to get you off a soft grounding. Consider a subscription to TowboatUS - one grounding and it's paid for itself.
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