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Old 02-01-2014, 18:33   #1
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ICW in the Winter?

I just bought a boat (C&C 30) in Virginia and need to bring it down to Oriental NC. I'd like to bring her home before spring but I'm wondering if it's feasible to do so in the dead of winter without being too miserable.

I have a portable heater on board but it requires being tied to a dock. Otherwise no other heat is available on the boat except what the motor produces.

Has anyone else sailed an open cockpit vessel down the ICW in late January/February?
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Old 02-01-2014, 18:47   #2
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pirate Re: ICW in the winter?

Yup... its cold at night but just anchor up.. warm the cabin up cooking some hot food then dive under the duvet.. should be able to cover at least 40miles a day..
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Old 02-01-2014, 20:00   #3
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Re: ICW in the Winter?

It was cold about 3 weeks ago when we came down from Annapolis. Be aware that this is gale season on the Chesapeake, so be sure to pay close attention to the weather. Some parts of the bay ice up this time of year.

However, you will have your pick of the best anchorages with plenty of wind protection and wide open swing space.

Also, be aware that there is no water available at the docks this time of year.
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Old 02-01-2014, 22:23   #4
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Re: ICW in the Winter?

The Chesapeake is the only real problem. Once you get to Norfolk it's considerably warmer. The marinas will be running pretty normally. You can dock every night and run the heater if you don't mind the dockage fee. At smaller marinas you might find the overnight rate is very negotiable.

I'd get one of the oil filled heaters for the trip. The little fan ones are not meant to run steadily and can catch fire.

At anchor you could get one of these camp heaters and a bunch of the 1lb propane cans. These put out a lot of heat. Make sure there's some ventilation and pick up a carbon monoxide sensor at Home Depot. Don't run it when you're asleep.

Century 2317I 14 000 BTU Heater/Cooker: Camping : Walmart.com

The toughest cold will be underway in the cockpit. It's the wind chill. Dress for skiing - long underwear, facemask and goggles. Get those little chemical heat packs to put in gloves and boots. Does the boat have a dodger?

That said, most of the days will probably be quite pleasant and pretty. Certainly no crowds
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:50   #5
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Re: ICW in the Winter?

Thanks guys. I have plenty of cold weather gear so that won't be an issue. The boat has a dodger so that will help. I will likely dock every night instead of anchoring so I can run my power. I'll look for a good weather window and go from there. I'd like to get a buddy to sail with me but most of my friends don't have the flexible schedule I have so I may end up doing the trip alone.
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Old 04-01-2014, 16:25   #6
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Re: ICW in the Winter?

We've traveled the ICW from Maryland to Florida in the winter. In the open cockpit of our Tayana, it was totally miserable. In the trawler it was better but not what I'd call fun.
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Old 04-01-2014, 16:31   #7
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Re: ICW in the Winter?

In past years there's been ice at Great Bridge (just south of Norfolk) and this year is a doozer, notwithstanding global warming. So be prepared.
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Old 05-01-2014, 22:48   #8
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Re: ICW in the Winter?

If you're flexible you may find some good weather in February. You don't want to be on the water right now. If you're not protected from spray in this kind f weather you will quickly go from miserable to hypothermic
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