Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 27-01-2013, 21:23   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 34
ICW Question

I have read many articles on getting from New England to Florida via the ICW. In a lot of those stories, the photo accompaniment shows the sailboat under power---actually almost invariably. If I'm heading doing the ICW is most of the trip under power? It seems like the Virginia, NC and SC Portions consist of a lot of rivers with bridges and other issues that make sailing more hassle than practical.

Also---is there any one cruising guide to the ICW that is better than another?

Thank you in advance.
__________________

__________________
Current Vessel O'Day Mariner
Homeport Chatham, Ma
USCG 100 Ton Coastwise
Jaspell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 05:27   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Stuck on an island in Florida
Posts: 264
Re: ICW Question

I have sailed a catalina 22 in the ICW in northeast Fl. I have also motored it. It is much easier to not use the sails.

limitations with draft on most boats, channel not very wide, makes for some fast and frequent tacks.

In some places the intracoastal is barely yards across and 8' at its deepest (10 miles or so south of St. Johns river)
__________________

__________________
Miniyot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 05:43   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29° 49.16’ N 82° 25.82’ W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,388
Re: ICW Question

Well, like Miniyot says, generally easier to motor it. I've spent a lot of time on various sections of the ICW in FL and GA but only made the whole trip from RI to FL once. Since I had limited time off work I had to make the most of each day so motored almost the whole trip.

If you have plenty of time and are willing to wait for the weather I think you could sail a lot of it but many parts of the ICW are miles inland and the winds can be light or non-existant and fairly fickle due to the influence of trees and landscape in general. Miniyot also makes a good point about the channels. In places it's not very wide and is a long straight ditch for miles and miles. If the wind was just right you could sail these sections but would be no place to tack.

However, you don't have to stay inside. I made several legs in the ocean on my trip and had reasonable sailing then. You do know that from New England you will be sailing in the ocean at least until you reach Delaware Bay, unless you have a motor boat with low clearance?
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 05:45   #4
Registered User
 
Fishspearit's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 576
Re: ICW Question

There are plenty of areas you can sail, but the vast majority is motoring. I'm most familiar with the Chesapeake Bay and South, and the good sailing areas are the Bay, through a large part of N.C along the sounds and rivers, a few areas in S.C., and then through the Melbourne area in FL. There are a lot of reasons why it's difficult to sail the ICW, including narrow channels, lots of turns, lots of boat traffic in those narrow channels, bridges, wind reduced by trees and buildings along the shore, and the wind will always be on your nose no matter which direction you are going. However, if you've got roller furling and you don't mind rolling the sail in and out every 5-15 minutes you can motorsail quite a bit of it.
__________________
www.LionfishHunting.com
Fishspearit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 09:11   #5
Sponsoring Vendor

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Heathsville, VA
Boat: Gemini 105Mc 34'
Posts: 1,459
Re: ICW Question

Plan on motoring most of the ICW from Norfolk to Miami, although many sections allow for a bit of sailing if the conditions are right (NC, SC, GA sounds). Unless you have a partner who likes to do overnights, there aren't many practical sections to "go outside" until you get to Florida. Stay tuned on the NJ ICW as it is currently impassible; however, taking the ocean inlet to inlet each day has always been an easier way to travel that section anyway, because of frequent shoaling, low bridges, and the fact that anchorages and marinas are convenient just inside.

As far as the best cruising guides? Well, I'm a bit biased, but feel free to check ours out, and email me if you have any specific questions I can answer.
Waterway Guide is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 09:46   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29° 49.16’ N 82° 25.82’ W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,388
Re: ICW Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterway Guide View Post
Plan on motoring most of the ICW from Norfolk to Miami, although many sections allow for a bit of sailing if the conditions are right (NC, SC, GA sounds). Unless you have a partner who likes to do overnights, there aren't many practical sections to "go outside" until you get to Florida. Stay tuned on the NJ ICW as it is currently impassible; however, taking the ocean inlet to inlet each day has always been an easier way to travel that section anyway, because of frequent shoaling, low bridges, and the fact that anchorages and marinas are convenient just inside.

As far as the best cruising guides? Well, I'm a bit biased, but feel free to check ours out, and email me if you have any specific questions I can answer.
Well maybe I can offer an unbiased recommendation for the Waterway Guide. That's the one I used for my ICW south and it stayed in the cockpit for a majority of the trip.

On the NJ section of the waterway I think there are a one or two fixed bridges with just a 30' vertical clearance so most of NJ is not even a consideration, even before Sandy and shoaling issues.

I did several sections on the outside but I did have very good weather for it. In fact maybe too good since I had to motor most of the time even on the outside legs. We did an overnight from NY to Delaware Bay, anchored there and left early the next morning for another offshore overnight to Norfolk. From there we stayed inside until the SC border and went outside from Little River to Charleston, then outside from Charleston to Brunswick GA. That worked well for us and saved a couple of days on the trip.

One problem going outside, at some ports/inlets you will add a lot of miles going in and out the channel so lose a lot of the benefit to bypassing some of the bridges and such.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 10:19   #7
Registered User
 
Auspicious's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Chesapeake Bay
Boat: HR 40
Posts: 1,793
Send a message via Skype™ to Auspicious
Re: ICW Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaspell View Post
I have read many articles on getting from New England to Florida via the ICW. In a lot of those stories, the photo accompaniment shows the sailboat under power---actually almost invariably. If I'm heading doing the ICW is most of the trip under power? It seems like the Virginia, NC and SC Portions consist of a lot of rivers with bridges and other issues that make sailing more hassle than practical.
From anywhere North to Cape May/Cape Henlopen you'll be outside. Not a big deal -- 30 - 40 hours from Newport to Henlopen.

You can sail up the Delaware Bay but most people motor.

The C&D canal prohibits sailing. You must motor.

You can sail down the Chesapeake Bay.

The overwhelming majority of the ICW is motoring. There are a few small bays and rivers with enough depth to sail in but they are the exception. Bridges prohibit sailing through.

If you are a dedicated sailor you can run down the 70' line (ish) and make Newport to FL in a week.
__________________
S/V Auspicious
AuspiciousWorks
Beware cut and paste sailors
Auspicious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 10:49   #8
Marine Service Provider
 
boatpoker's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario or Bahamas
Boat: Benford 38 Fantail Cruiser
Posts: 2,593
Re: ICW Question

We have made the run from Toronto to the Bahamas and have conducted informal surveys of Canadian sailors. We have found that the sailors who did not keep a log "sailed all the time" , those that did keep a log averaged 6-12hrs sailing between Lake Ontario and the Bahamas. If you are considering the trip, Primer For First Timers on The ICW may help.
__________________
That hysterical laughter you hear as you sail a way in your "new" boat ..... is the seller.
boatpoker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 17:27   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: ICW Question

I have made the trip from New England to Florida and further south many times (both ways). I usually plan on a lot of sailing from New England to Norfolk, and then a lot of motoring from Norfolk down the ICW. But, it always depends on the wind and weather. One year I probably sailed half way to Florida on the ICW because we had relentless north winds, up to gale force at times, and we could sail right down the ICW faster than we could motor. Of course, you do need the engine on for opening bridges, so I usually keep it ticking over most of the time unless I'm on a long stretch between bridges. The northern stretches of the ICW, the first 200 miles, include Albemarle Sound and the Alligator River, the Pungo River and Pamlico Sound, and the Neuse River, which often have good sailing, particularly in north winds. However, I would say that most sailors motor most of the time when inside between Norfolk and Miami. There are numerous inlets along the coast that can be used to pop outside, and I often do so if the weather cooperates. For example, a nice run is offshore from Southport/Cape Fear down to Charleston, the St. Mary's River, or even the St. John's River. In a northwest breeze you can stick in close enough to the coast, following the charts carefully to avoid various hazards and shoals, to not be in water that is too rough. Again, if you want to sail, choose your weather to go outside, but stay inside if conditions aren't favorable.
__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 19:31   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 34
Re: ICW Question

So by math, allow about a month from New England to Florida? Kettlewell, in your experience what are the best months to leave New England southbound? November after hurricane season or earlier and just watch the weather? And when to come back?

Thank you all for your help, and boatpoker, I have book marked your Primer. It looks great.
__________________
Current Vessel O'Day Mariner
Homeport Chatham, Ma
USCG 100 Ton Coastwise
Jaspell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2013, 20:18   #11
Registered User

Join Date: May 2008
Location: daytona beach florida
Boat: csy 37
Posts: 2,844
Images: 1
Re: ICW Question

and when you get to west palm beach, go outside. the stretch from west palm to miami is littered with drawbridges. no fun unless you really want to see some ostentatious waterside homes....
__________________
onestepcsy37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 11:16   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2
Re: ICW Question

On the subject of ICW bridges - is there a minimum clearance? If my mast is 29' AWL, will I have to have bridges open for me? My mast is in a tabernacle, so it can be lowered, so, if what everyone says is true about motoring being better than sailing, would it be best to just lower the mast at the outset?
__________________
Wheatear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 11:28   #13
cruiser

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Key West FL - Burlington VT
Boat: O'day 32 CC Ketch
Posts: 493
Re: ICW Question

29' is higher than many of the bridges. If its not to hard to step/unstep you could leave it up and wait for the bridges up north. Then drop it when you get to upper florida. As you get closer to miami bridges become very commen, sometimes 5 in 7 miles, and some that are 13-15 feet.
__________________
RabidRabbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 11:29   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: ICW Question

Quote:
So by math, allow about a month from New England to Florida? Kettlewell, in your experience what are the best months to leave New England southbound?
My ideal schedule is to leave from around Block Island the second half of September, go offshore down to Cape May, then up the Delaware, and down the Chesapeake to spend about a week doing the Annapolis boat show. Plan on being in the ICW around Halloween and then make St. Mary's Georgia for the big Thanksgiving potluck. Then do the coast of Florida lat November into December. This allows enough time to relax, wait out bad weather, visit interesting places, and also keeps you just ahead of winter most of the way. If you wait until November to leave it is too cold. Hurricanes can and do change your plans.

Quote:
would it be best to just lower the mast at the outset?
There is no minimum bridge height, and lots of variation. Opening bridges is part of the fun of the trip--you finally get your tax dollars worth from the government back. I would leave the mast up.
__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 11:29   #15
Sponsoring Vendor

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Heathsville, VA
Boat: Gemini 105Mc 34'
Posts: 1,459
Re: ICW Question

Welcome aboard the CF, Wheatear! You would need openings for the vast majority of the bridges (less than a dozen are between 30' and 65'), and some are so low that lowering your mast per tabernacle will not be enough to get under without an opening; however, openings are rarely much of a hassle. Even in South Florida where there's a bridge every mile or so, the openings are timed pretty well...just time at the right pace and you'll have little problem. Each of our trips, out of the nearly 80 bridges that needed to be opened, we'd have an extended wait (30-60 minutes) maybe 3 or 4 times.
Waterway Guide is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
icw

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:12.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.