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Old 02-07-2015, 15:47   #1
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Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

We need to relocate our 43' ketch from Galveston to The Chesapeake Bay later this summer. We've not made this passage and are looking for tips, advice, and planning suggestions. We will probably marina hop, as we have plenty of time. If you've got experience with this passage, particularly during that time of the year, we'd appreciate hearing about it.
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Old 04-07-2015, 06:36   #2
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

Are you ok with overnight passages?


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Old 04-07-2015, 07:12   #3
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

We do overnight passages when we have to, but since there are just two of us, we like to minimize them if we're not in a rush. In this case, we have plenty of time, so we will try to reduce overnights and enjoy ourselves.
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Old 05-07-2015, 08:47   #4
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

I am not familiar with the panhandle leg of the trip. But you can certainly day hop most of the way from Tarpon Springs. Some of our favorite places along the way include Marathon, Miami Beach, Ft Pierce, Vero Beach, St Augustine, Beaufort SC, Charleston, Southport NC, Portsmouth VA. PM me if you have more specific questions. To expound on the entire route would take pages of posts.


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Old 05-07-2015, 09:11   #5
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

Great. Thank you. Two questions: (1) Should we stay off shore around Cape Hatteras or go through the Pamlico Sound and the ICW? Is there a wind and sea state transition point where you would choose one over the other? (2) Do you have any experience with tidal currents? Will they help us or hinder us as we head north?
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:26   #6
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

For a nice relaxing trip I would do the ICW the whole long way. And take your time.
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Old 05-07-2015, 15:00   #7
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

The trip around Hatteras would save you time and take advantage of the Gulf Stream current. In fact, the fastest sailing can be done off the coast of Florida, Georgia, etc. in the Stream. Now the bad news. August is the very height of the hurricane season. If your main mast is short enough (being a ketch it should be), I would definitely go behind Hatteras on the Intracoastal Waterway. You can get a storm come up quickly before you make to the mouth of the Chesapeake.
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Old 05-07-2015, 16:42   #8
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

Cape Hatteras is known as "the graveyard of the Atlantic" for good reason.
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Old 05-07-2015, 19:31   #9
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

The Texas and Gulf Coast ICW is extremely difficult for a variety of reasons--tugboats, desolation, lack of facilities, long distances between places to anchor or tie up, poor facilities...etc etc. The ICW from Lauderdale to Norfolk is 1065 miles and you can really only go safely in daylight but there are plenty of facilities and it is generally easy--if you pay attention. Offshore in the Keys is easy in the Hawk Channel carrying 12 feet. From Key Largo up the coast you can zip along with the stream. There are many very good inlets. Florida ICW can be slow due to bridges, Manatee zones, traffic etc so try offshore. Even if there is a hurricane warning, the extra added speed in the Stream can move you out ahead of any projected path. Hatteras is recommended only with a good weather window. September and October in the Chesapeake is the best time. Study and learn about the stream and follow the maps and read your thermometer. Maybe keep the boat in Florida over the winter and head north in April.????
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:56   #10
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Annapolis View Post
The Texas and Gulf Coast ICW is extremely difficult for a variety of reasons--tugboats, desolation, lack of facilities, long distances between places to anchor or tie up, poor facilities...etc etc. The ICW from Lauderdale to Norfolk is 1065 miles and you can really only go safely in daylight but there are plenty of facilities and it is generally easy--if you pay attention. Offshore in the Keys is easy in the Hawk Channel carrying 12 feet. From Key Largo up the coast you can zip along with the stream. There are many very good inlets. Florida ICW can be slow due to bridges, Manatee zones, traffic etc so try offshore. Even if there is a hurricane warning, the extra added speed in the Stream can move you out ahead of any projected path. Hatteras is recommended only with a good weather window. September and October in the Chesapeake is the best time. Study and learn about the stream and follow the maps and read your thermometer. Maybe keep the boat in Florida over the winter and head north in April.????
We've done the Gulf ICW several times. While there are indeed remote areas from Galveston to Mobile, this is far from true for the rest of the GIWW, Alabama and Florida are some of the most developed areas you will encounter but you will still find some very beautiful places to visit. Anchorages abound from Galveston to the Florida Keys and in our Atlantic ICW anchorage guide we have over 500 anchorages and free dock. Our Gulf coast guide only covers from Mobile to Cape sable. There are many commercial vessels along the Gulf coast until you reach the Florida Panhandle, but they are not an issue and the Captains are very professional, considerate and friendly. They have never been an issue for us. Keep in mind that we have transited on both our trawler and our sailboat which has a foot draft. You will be anchoring most of the time between Galveston and Mobile, but there are facilities. True, fuel docks are sparse, but there are enough to easily make the transit without running out. You will not encounter the shoaling and crowded waterways that are a constant issue along the Atlantic ICW. We love the Gulf IWW for all of those reasons. Chuck
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Old 06-07-2015, 14:14   #11
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

I have no experience with the north coast of the Gulf of Mexico , but can comment on the rest.
I would suggest using the ICW to bypass Cape Hatteras unless you are really confident in the weather forecast. The trip inside can be really enjoyable, you might plan on making about 50 Mi/day.

The Chesapeake can be very uncomfortable in August, when hot , humid and windless. Perhaps think about going up to long Island sound for more comfortable cruising.
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Old 06-07-2015, 15:07   #12
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

I would also stay inside to traverse the outer banks. Those waters can get very rough in a hurry. But that is probably the only section that I would recommend against outside passages.

As for tidal currents, in the ICW for the most part it is too difficult to predict. With all of the inlets that affect you, the push and pull is hard to figure. That being said, if you catch the tides early in Georgetown SC, you can ride the tide all the way to Myrtle Beach. If you do outside runs, make sure you consider tides and winds coming into the inlets. Some, like Government Cut can get pretty rough with wind opposing tide. Follow your cruising guide advice on the inlets. For outside runs, the Gulf Stream can help you going north, as the other posts have stated.
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Old 06-07-2015, 15:33   #13
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

Very helpful. Thanks. It is likely we will continue all the way to Rhode Island. (Long story: has to do with a job delay, and plans for a major refit.) We have not sailed north of Chesapeake Bay. How would you go from Hampton Roads to RI at that time of year: out at Cape Charles, or through the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays and into the Atlantic at Cape May?
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Old 06-07-2015, 16:12   #14
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

I have crewed on a 38' sailboat in late summer from Mobjack Bay on lower Chesapeake around the Delmarva penninsula into Delaware Bay, C&D canal and back to where we started. Most of it was motoring. Anchored off Cape Charles near some deliberately sunk ship hulks the first night, then out under the bridge and around to Ocean City Maryland where we anchored for the 2nd night. From there we sailed around into Delaware Bay and anchored again somewhere before the C&D canal; Cape May would be a much shorter trip.
I have sailed the leg from Cape May to Newport on a 50' Dehler in good weather if I remember correctly in about 24 - 30 hours but that was with 3 crew plus captain. Two handed in a 38' Endeavour we made it from Block Island to Cape May in October with almost no wind in 36 hours. BI to Newport is a daysail.
Some grist for the mill! Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy.
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Old 07-07-2015, 14:15   #15
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Re: Need advice for August passage from Galveston to Chesapeake Bay

I think you could save 2 days by going outside from Cape Charles to Cape May. If the weather looks good, but going through the C&D canal is an easy trip, not to forget that Annapolis and Baltimore inner harbor are great stopovers.
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