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Old 21-10-2013, 19:47   #1
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ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Hey Guys (gals),

I'm new here..... I recently picked up a 44' Sea Ray Sundancer and she's now in Annapolis MD.

Since the season is ending I thought of my two options...Winterize or move her south.

So I got this great idea to head down to the Keys for an adventure. Now she is pretty ready, but me... not so sure.

I'll be single handing, unless I find a mate at the last minute, and I just decided to glance at the charts... ( I figured it was time..haha).

I had no idea how tight the ICW is....How narrow and shallow most of it is. It seems you can't even pull off the channel in many spots to leave the helm. Am I missing something or would you agree? Maybe this "no shoes, easy going thoughts" of single handing isn't so wise.

I'd really appreciate your opinions and experience.

BTW- She has a 14' beam and draws 3.5'

Aloha
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Old 21-10-2013, 19:57   #2
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Try Primer for First Timers on the ICW. it ain't that hard.
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Old 21-10-2013, 20:32   #3
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Far be it from me to be prejudiced but -
Amongst my circle of friends, Sea Rays are generally acknowledged to be the worst offenders in terms of throwing humongous wakes when passing slower, smaller vessels. The Sea Ray company brags about offering a school for purchasers of their boats, but most of the sailors I know think that they don't bother to tell their customers that the throttle works both ways.

If you're going to take that boat down the ICW, please get some instruction from somebody knowledgeable about how to arrange overtaking another vessel without undue disturbance.

This is probably a good time to remind people on slower boats (hello sailors!) that if you will slow down to idle speed, or even stop, it will allow faster power boats to slow down and overtake you with minimal wake. That assumes they know what they are doing. Monitor ch. 16 because the professional captains and talented amateurs will call you requesting that scenario.
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Old 21-10-2013, 22:42   #4
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Boatpoker, thanks for the link....

I just finished reading it and I found it easy going and refreshingly straight forward. Yet, it still didn't tackle the issue of single handing and "pulling off the channel".

Mike, I have 6 posts to your 1272..... and I have to say, that was not the warmest welcome I've received in a forum. You need to expand your circle of friends.... Sea Ray is the largest boat builder in the US and they build power boats, so yes, there are going to be inconsiderate / inexperienced captains piloting them. But, I've been on the water a long time. Started in Sunfishes then to Hobies...Became a windsurfing instructor, lifeguard, rescue diver cert., sailing vessels 50'+, and numerous M/Vs.....Let me tell you, Sea Ray Corp. and Sea Ray owners have earned my respect for their helpfulness and seamanship. They are a fine group that I'm proud to be a part of...

On the other side of the bias coin, I can tell you numerous sailboats with clueless captains near Annapolis. In fact, I came into my channel the other day with a nice sailboat behind me. When I backed down to "no wake" speed of 5 kts guess who comes up on my port side with a nice wake... That same sailboat in a hurry rocking my passengers and the moored boats. He smiled and waived as he passed and it was probably one of a handful of times I didn't wave back to a fellow boater.

I have no bias towards boats, in fact I plan on adding to my fleet next year with a 45' s/v. I enjoy just being on the water no matter the vessel... It's the captain that makes his mark and you are making yours....and yes, I know what a "slow pass" is....
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Old 22-10-2013, 00:43   #5
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Hello Boat Guy... as this appears to be your inaugural trip down the ICW do try to pick up a partner -- not just for the convenience of being able to use the head at will but also to share the trip experience! Soloists miss out on that "did you see the XYZ over by marker 16?" stuff though I do add that sort of thing to the Log Book.

OR you could plan short days (not likely as the weather is getting colder.
OR you could have your boat trucked south.

OR you could spend the winter north and take your time in the springtime exploring your area before heading south.

For me, I like those two and three hour days and a "big trip" would be 20 miles in a day, but then again, I'm just meandering along the coast with no real destination and no urge to prove myself. If the forecast doesn't say Smooth or light chop, I relax, putter around the boat, and wait for perfection. It isn't a race you know.

As for advice from an internet stranger:
#1) If you're dead set on cruising this winter have her trucked south
or
#2) Store her ashore winterized until next season.

Boating isn't about rushing hither and yon. It's enjoying the journey too -- not simply the destination. At least that's the way it is for me!

Good luck and be safe.
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Old 22-10-2013, 06:14   #6
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

per your question, on most of the ICW with your draft, you should be able to ease out of the channel for a break. But you may be waked by other Sea Rays We have anchored out of the channel many times for a quick rest/lunch. Some places like South Carolina, and Georgia, have some areas that could be problematic. At least if/when you go aground it is usually mud and you are a power boat, so you should be able to get free. One thing I would not do is; use the ICW without unlimited towing policy!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 22-10-2013, 07:04   #7
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Great advice, and I agree.....

I've considered putting her on a truck. But, I don't know the costs. My guess is it would be pretty expensive to truck her with a 14' beam. I guess one option would be to truck her to GA and put her in where it's warmer. But, I do like adventures and I feel I'd miss out a bit. I don't like the idea of waiting another season as life sometimes gets in the way of plans.... In other words, it's never the perfect time... You just have to "go" and "do"... Can't wait 'til tomorrow!

Haha...Waked by other Sea Rays! I love it..... That would be the least of my probs .... I would just wake him back at the next mile marker! Haha...( No I wouldn't)



Though, I realize the trip down might be faster than the trip back. If it's cold, I'll be in a bit of a hurry to get to t-shirt weather. When I come back in the spring, I can just go slow and see things. At least that's my thought......

I have unlimited tow with BoatsUs and I really like the Lagoon. I kept going back to the 450 at the Annapolis show. She's not an ICW boat though....
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Old 22-10-2013, 07:26   #8
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Boat Guy -
Sorry if I offended you, it's just that the tone of your first post made me think you were a total novice. Had I thought you were experienced I probably would not have posted.
Doesn't change my opinions though, I came by them from first hand experience. You noticed, I hope, that I also critiqued slower boaters about how to make a passing situation easier?
Regardless, enjoy your trip.
P.S. Might want to pick up a copy of Skipper Bob's Anchorages. On the internet Active Captain is very helpful.
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Old 22-10-2013, 07:33   #9
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Yes, I noticed you critiqued everyone....haha...

I'm just more of an inclusive guy than an exclusive. I'm a bit of an anomaly appreciating the aspects of both sail and power. Each has their mission....each has their place...each has my respect...

I wouldn't think to try and change your opinion....no worries...

Just tell me where you'll be so I can be sure to wake you.... If you have experience with Sea Rays the least I could do is be consistent!

Aloha
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Old 22-10-2013, 07:55   #10
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Hi Boat Guy and welcome to the forum. My current boat is a sailboat but have owned a Searay in the past. OK, I confess, the Searay was only 18' but I did own a 36' twin diesel Pacemaker and could throw a wake with the best of them.


I've been boating up and down the ICW for almost 40 years but only bits and pieces of it. 2009 was the first time I made the trip all the way down the east coast and it was great. With 3.5' draft you should not have a problem except possibly a couple of spots in GA at very low tide. As Jusdreaming said, that should also allow you to pull over almost anywhere. There are certainly some exceptions. I have seen places where there is a dredged channel that drops to inches just outside the markers but that isn't too common and usually not far to a spot that will give you more room.

Singlehanded would be a bit more work. Do you have an autopilot? That could help but there are several sections where the channel is too narrow to safely use the AP so you could spend a lot of time steering. But with the speed potential if you can open it up in the areas where it's allowed you could make the trip pretty quickly.

If you decide to do it definitely pick up a couple of guides. The Waterway Guide and Skipper Bob's are what I used and was happy with them.
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Old 22-10-2013, 08:42   #11
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Thanks Mac...

I've heard that the ICW hasn't been kept up in the last 10 years. So there are more shoaling and issues. Though, it's nice to learn about your experience.

I do have autopilot but haven't tested it with my new plotter yet.

Pearson makes a great boat. I'm a big fan of Shaw.... I've eyed the 530 many times....

I know there are a few different routes. Is one quicker than the other? It looks like passing in these channels would be tight. Esp. if I'm on plane... (see above...haha)

I like the allure and the feeling of single handing. But, maybe I'll have to find an adventurer on this one....

This trip is done so often, is there a site where people share routes to import into your chart plotter?
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Old 22-10-2013, 08:54   #12
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

As far as different routes, the only options I know are Dismal Swamp or not and inside vs outside at various points. Other than these it's just follow the magenta line on your chart plotter BUT!!

There are three web sites that I know that report status of the ICW like bridge closures, areas of shoaling and other hazards.

Waterway Cruising Guide | Home There is a forum member from the Waterway Guide who posts updates here when he gets them.

Cruiser's Net

https://activecaptain.com/X.php

The outside vs inside is something I do on the fly based on winds and weather and the section of ICW ahead. If it's a twisty, turny section that is longer or one with bad shoaling or lots of opening bridges to slow me down and if weather allows and if there are easy in/out spots and I'm in a hurry then I will go outside for a leg.
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Old 22-10-2013, 09:02   #13
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

That makes sense.... I have active captain on my IPad. It seems like a wealth of info.

"Follow the magenta line".... got it.
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Old 22-10-2013, 09:48   #14
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Re: ICW Single handing - M/V Advice and thoughts for first timer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boat Guy View Post

"Follow the magenta line".... got it.
Bad idea and bad advise. The magenta line on many charts has not been updated since the 1930's. There are several areas along the ICW that will put you hard aground following "the magenta line". You need to follow the channel and navigate with your eyeballs. Your SeaRay will have some very, very expensive repair bills the first time you run hard aground and bend those exposed props and rudders. We did a post on navigating the ICW on our blog, The Trawler Beach House: Navigating The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway . Chuck
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Old 22-10-2013, 10:25   #15
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OK Boat Guy. You have the word, now throw off those dock lines and head South, if only for those of us who are stuck up North this year.
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