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Old 04-07-2010, 10:03   #1
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Jacksonville to Norfolk

As part of my 2000 mile voyage from the Big Bend area on the west coast of FL to Long Island, I'm getting ready to do the Jacksonville FL to Pamlico Sound leg.

I did most of the FL west coast off shore, then did the Okeechobee waterway, and then the ICW up to Jacksonville, so I've had experience both offshore and in the ICW.

Unfortunately, I'm single-handing, so it's hard for me to do more than a 24 hr stint offshore. I'm tough, but after 24 hours, I like to get a bit of sleep :-) I can do about 75 miles offshore in 24 hours, assuming 10 knots of fair wind.

What are the best legs between Jacksonville and Pamlico Sound to do offshore in a small sailboat? I'm looking for good inlets 50-100 miles apart, I guess.

Ideas? Anything I should worry about in this area?

Thanks in advance: John
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:25   #2
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If you can manage to stay outside past Georgia you'll save a lot of time. The ICW in GA follows natural river channels and is not very good for making time. One of the issues is that the water is shallow far off shore on a lot of the GA inlets. I suggest you try Sapelo Sound. Be warned that the tidal range in GA can be 13 feet so you need to be careful where you anchor. I also means that the tidal currents are quite strong. You probably want to plan to arrive on an incoming tide and depart on an outgoing or it can be a long slow slog through those inlets. The entrance at Sapelo has deep water closer to shore than the other GA inlets and makes it a bit easier. It's about 68 NM from Jax so that should work for you. Next I suggest Charleston. It's a deep inlet and an easy entrance with good facilities. If the weather doesn't cooperate the entrance to the ICW is pretty close to the inlet and will let you duck inside if you need to. The ICW between Charleston and Georgetown is pretty straight so works pretty well. Georgetown is the next inlet north of Charleston and would make for a short day on the outside. You can anchor up not too far inside the inlet at Georgetown. Don't go all the way up to Georgetown though unless you're planning to do the next leg inside. Between Georgetown and Cape Fear I can't reccomend any of the inlets for a sailboat, but Georgetown to Cape fear is a pretty easy shot. I would go in Cape Fear and out of Masonboro inlet. From Masonboro the next inlet I would suggest is Beaufort.

The longest leg I have suggested is the Sapelo-Charleston leg, right at 100 miles. If that seems too much I have gone into Port Royal sound which is about half way but the entrance channel starts pretty far off shore so it's a long trip in and out. The ICW route between Port Royal and Charleston is about 75 miles so once you get inside you might want to stay there to charleston.

Have a good trip
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:03   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Bill View Post
If you can manage to stay outside past Georgia you'll save a lot of time. The ICW in GA follows natural river channels and is not very good for making time. One of the issues is that the water is shallow far off shore on a lot of the GA inlets. I suggest you try Sapelo Sound. Be warned that the tidal range in GA can be 13 feet so you need to be careful where you anchor. I also means that the tidal currents are quite strong. You probably want to plan to arrive on an incoming tide and depart on an outgoing or it can be a long slow slog through those inlets. The entrance at Sapelo has deep water closer to shore than the other GA inlets and makes it a bit easier. It's about 68 NM from Jax so that should work for you. Next I suggest Charleston. It's a deep inlet and an easy entrance with good facilities. If the weather doesn't cooperate the entrance to the ICW is pretty close to the inlet and will let you duck inside if you need to. The ICW between Charleston and Georgetown is pretty straight so works pretty well. Georgetown is the next inlet north of Charleston and would make for a short day on the outside. You can anchor up not too far inside the inlet at Georgetown. Don't go all the way up to Georgetown though unless you're planning to do the next leg inside. Between Georgetown and Cape Fear I can't reccomend any of the inlets for a sailboat, but Georgetown to Cape fear is a pretty easy shot. I would go in Cape Fear and out of Masonboro inlet. From Masonboro the next inlet I would suggest is Beaufort.

The longest leg I have suggested is the Sapelo-Charleston leg, right at 100 miles. If that seems too much I have gone into Port Royal sound which is about half way but the entrance channel starts pretty far off shore so it's a long trip in and out. The ICW route between Port Royal and Charleston is about 75 miles so once you get inside you might want to stay there to charleston.

Have a good trip
Just the kind of local knowledge I was looking for. Thanks!

13' tides? Yikes. Thanks for the warning. I've already had a taste of some nasty current in the ICW just south of Jacksonville. At least a 5 knot current in my little anchorage. Luckily the holding ground was good and I had plenty of anchor line out.

I was VERY careful not to fall overboard, though!

-- John
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