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Old 21-09-2010, 13:49   #1
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ICW in a Grady-White 330 Express

I'm hoping to leave from New Haven, CT on or around the 28th of October to bring my boat down to Islamorada, FL.
My wife and I have never made this trip, and we are interested in any feedback. We hope to make the southern voyage as quickly as we can, then take our time coming back in June.
Thanks to all in advance!
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Old 21-09-2010, 16:15   #2
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Nice boat, Fun Trip, Great Destination....what's the float plan? What's your GPH. and range. specs say 350 gallons of fuel...The New Jersey Coast is about 130 miles + or -
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Old 21-09-2010, 16:37   #3
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Are you planning on staying at marinas or anchor out ? Is that a gas or diesel boat? cost for fuel will be substanial but you know that You will have a fun trip You should not have the usual depth problems sailboats are concerned with The are many slow speed zones that will concern you But if the weather allows you could go offshore but the icw will b more fun except maybe Georgia Get The ICW guide and a anchorage and marina guide
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Old 22-09-2010, 20:24   #4
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Yes, be aware when estimating passage times in the ICW (especially south of Sebastian Inlet, FL ), that there are some idle speed zones and many slow speed/minimum wake zones that can stretch for miles. We used to make the trip from Melbourne to Islamorada every year in a 25' Roballo and jumped outside whenever seas were 3 foot or less.

Also if you do go inside try to hit south florida during the week instead of the weekend.
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Old 23-09-2010, 03:45   #5
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I delivered a Chaparral 350 Signature from Occoquan VA to Haverstraw NY, which is as close to your boat as I have any experience with; the Chaparral is a bit longer and a good bit heavier with twin Volvo 8.1s.

The trip is quite doable and likely to be fun. The NJ coast will be the longest bit, particularly if the weather gets nasty. You should be able to make Atlantic Highlands at Sandy Hook to Cape May in one longish day if the seas aren't up too much. Have a chart book that covers all the NJ inlets and read up on each before you leave Sandy Hook. If you find that the day is just too long or you're getting pounded you'll want to have your options already in mind. Cape May to Baltimore or Annapolis is a quite easy day. From Annapolis to Norfolk is a day. From there down the ICW you start hitting no-wake zones.

I haven't run the ICW on a power boat, so I'm extrapolating from my sail experience. On sailboats I try to carry enough fuel to only have to stop every third or fourth day since time in and out of marinas has such a big impact on miles made good. I expect that the time isn't as much a factor for you, and that you can't carry that much fuel anyway. If you are comfortable anchoring for the night you could stop for fuel midday (and maybe have a lunch break at the same time). That would let you start earlier in the morning (right after first light) and run later in the evening (picking your anchorage for the night to arrive shortly before sunset). If fuel consumption allows that will really help with progress - an extra two or three hours a day adds up fast, even on a sailboat at 6 kts.

I really like the Kettlewell's Chartbook for the ICW (in addition to any electronics you may have). The references are good and the ability to get a bigger picture of what is in front of you is very helpful. The Skipper Bob guide to Marinas is a good supplement and not terribly expensive. If I had to pick one it would be Kettlewell, but I also carry the Skipper Bob Anchorages book (more valuable to me than the Marina book).

Find a way to keep your VHF on so you can really HEAR the traffic, even on plane. Dual watch on 16 and 13 will help you a lot. The sailboats and big commercial traffic talk to the bridges on 13 (is it a different channel in FL? It will be in the chartbook) and keeping track of them will warn of what is ahead.

Please, with all due respect, read up on slow passes. You have no idea how much that is appreciated. Also, if you don't slow down enough to stop plowing you actually generate more wake than if you stayed on plane. Of course in an overtaking scenario if the sailboat in front of you doesn't slow down a bit it's hard for a polite slow pass, isn't it? We all have to work together.

On your slow trip home try the Dismal Swamp Canal instead of the Virginia Cut. It's lovely. The visitor's center is worth a stop - we really enjoyed it.
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Old 23-09-2010, 06:01   #6
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I have transited the ICW several times in both power and sail boats and it is an interesting trip. Considering your boat, which is just as comfortable in the ocean as in inland waters, I would stay outside as much as possible, especially since you are planning a leisurely return in the spring. The trip down the New Jersey coast is not daunting and I have done it in open boats with no difficulty. If the weather is good, continue down the coast to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and enter the ICW directly. The trip from there south is quite pleasant and relatively quick until you get to Georgia. The ICW from there to Florida is worth going outside for a quick hop to Fernandina, Florida. The trip through Florida is wrought with slow zones that become increasingly annoying. Another trip outside, especially as you approach central Florida will hasten your passage. When you pass Miami, you have a choice to take Hawk Channel or the inside route which is a continuation of the ICW. I have always opted for the deeper water on the outside route (it is inside the reef) down Hawk Channel to make better time.

Look at www.cruisernet.net for complete information concerning the specifics of each section of the ditch by state.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:06   #7
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So, whats the realistic time for Annapolis to Palm beach with a 31ft sailboat 6knot cruising speed?
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:49   #8
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New Haven Ct. Were I was born and raised and learned to sail. All the advise is good so far. I would like to point out that the ICW in Georgia is in bad shape and I would not try it. Lots of spots to run aground. I would go outside from So Carolina and try to go as far south as I could. With that said, the ICW thru No. Florida is very pretty and there are some very nice anchorages. You do need to keep the radio on and listen for special reports about the conditions on the ICW, at low tide, there are places that are 3 feet or less and the channel shifts around. Matanzas inlet is very bad, with the ICW moving around with the tide, no problem if you have a high tide.
I would use the Cruisers net for updated info.. Once you get to Jupiter you may want to go outside to Miami, I would not go on the ICW south of Lake Worth. The bridges and the traffic is horrible! I agree with not doing any traveling on the weekends south of Jupiter, there is too much money and to little common sense south of there, you will be dodging jerks who shouldn't even own a boat all day long.
Skipper Bob is the guide for anchorages. Take a look at ActiveCaptain and have some good paper charts and guide books. All bridges use channel 9 in Florida.
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:54   #9
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I would give myself 10 day to make the trip from Annapolis to Lake Worth (Palm Beach). I would really take more time because there are some great spots along the way.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:13   #10
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It took me 9 days..to go from Annapolis to Jacksonville...if I recall. And that was pushing hard the whole time! some 12-13 hours days... it included an overnight from Annapolis to Norfolk and a 36 hour ocean run from the Cape Fear to the St Johns River.

10 days on the ICW in a sailboat?...I was thinking more like 3 weeks or more, unless you want to do some long stretches in the ocean.
I've never done the whole ICW...so I'll defer to those that have.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:47   #11
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I don't recall the question from sailornick saying anything about the ICW. In fact, all it asked was how long from Annapolis to Palm beach. My answer was as nondiscript as the question. And quite accurate. There is no question that the trip can be made in 10 days some inside (ICW) and an overnighter (outside). I have done the trip from St. Marys inlet (Georgia/Florida line) to Lake Worth entirely on the ICW and it takes 6 long days. Day one: St. Marys to St Augustine, Day two: St. Augustine to Daytona or New Smyrna Inlet (If lucky), Day 3: New Smyrna Inlet to Titusville or Cocoa Village (My home port) Day 4: Cocoa to Pine Island or Vero Beach (if lucky) Day 5: Vero Beach to Lake Worth. The 6th day is if you aren't good at timing your bridge openings, using the tides to your advantage or you don't want to do 12 hour days. Add your 36 hours (which is to Jacksonville, which is further south than St. Marys) and you have the trip done in less than 10 days. 3 weeks would be good for some sight seeing and taking it easy along the way.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:06   #12
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Sorry
I only took into consideration your 36 hours from Cape Fear, So instead of the 7.5 days I stated, it would be all of the 10 days and I would go outside and skip the ICW.
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