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Old 02-05-2008, 13:36   #1
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New Smyrna to Deland via ICW and St Johns

OK- here's the situation. The wife and I are relatively new to boating after purchasing our first boat in 20 years last summer. We've done some day trips on the St Johns river last summer and found them not as problematic as a cruising guide led me to believe. Caution and a good dose of paranoia kept things uneventful. Boat handling skills came back quickly, so now...

This summer we're thinking of trying a week semi round trip from New Smyrna ICW, up to St Augustine, then to Jacksonville, down to Palatka and on to our waiting ground transportation in Deland, with overnights in these towns. Our boat is a 20' Regal bowrider. Yes, not a cruiser, but hopefully not dangerously dinky for the ICW?

We have charts and maps, a really cool Garmin 525 with the appropriate chips that was really helpful on the river, but what has me really freaked out are the hazard descriptions on the ICW in my cruising book and this and another website. On the river it was as simple as staying in the channel on the plotter and looking out for logs.

Now we could do several small day trips poking around the ICW and lower St Johns getting a feel for it, or we can jump in (hopefully not literally) and do this trip in one swoop. I remember feeling this way prior to our little St Johns trip and found that my fears were way overblown, but this trips involves estimated travel times and logistics, not to mention shoals and dredging!

Feedback? Suggestions? Warnings? Help!!!
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Old 02-05-2008, 13:45   #2
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OK- here's the situation. The wife and I are relatively new to boating after purchasing our first boat in 20 years last summer. We've done some day trips on the St Johns river last summer and found them not as problematic as a cruising guide led me to believe. Caution and a good dose of paranoia kept things uneventful. Boat handling skills came back quickly, so now...

This summer we're thinking of trying a week semi round trip from New Smyrna ICW, up to St Augustine, then to Jacksonville, down to Palatka and on to our waiting ground transportation in Deland, with overnights in these towns. Our boat is a 20' Regal bowrider. Yes, not a cruiser, but hopefully not dangerously dinky for the ICW?

We have charts and maps, a really cool Garmin 525 with the appropriate chips that was really helpful on the river, but what has me really freaked out are the hazard descriptions on the ICW in my cruising book and this and another website. On the river it was as simple as staying in the channel on the plotter and looking out for logs.

Now we could do several small day trips poking around the ICW and lower St Johns getting a feel for it, or we can jump in (hopefully not literally) and do this trip in one swoop. I remember feeling this way prior to our little St Johns trip and found that my fears were way overblown, but this trips involves estimated travel times and logistics, not to mention shoals and dredging!

Feedback? Suggestions? Warnings? Help!!!
You'll be in fine company. There are more 20' boats on the ICW waters than any other size boat. It's just a series of connected, sheltered bays and canals. Nothing to it.

The ICW hazzards are relatively few, and I'm assuming you don't draw much. Just stay between the poles (in the channel) and you can't go wrong.
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Old 15-05-2008, 14:58   #3
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Can anyone give me an estimated comfortable cruise time from St Augustine to Green Cove springs considering no wake zones etc? I can crunch the miles vs mph of say 25, but don't know how realistic my estimate would be.
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Old 15-05-2008, 18:01   #4
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Can anyone give me an estimated comfortable cruise time from St Augustine to Green Cove springs considering no wake zones etc? I can crunch the miles vs mph of say 25, but don't know how realistic my estimate would be.
Estimate using 10mph. There are plenty of no wake zones, plus, you may often have get off plane for courtesy reasons. You won't need to for cruising sailboats, since your boat displaces so little, but...

*kayakers
*water cops (it's crawling with them and they ambush you in New Smyrnia)
*small daysailer sailboats
*no wake zones
*going under bridges (usually no wake)
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Old 15-05-2008, 18:47   #5
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I'd have a certain amount of concern going through the Indian River. We were in a 37 foot cat and it got very rough in streaches. As a matter of fact, we met a boat coming south, they hailed us and told us to turn around, it was so rough. So, treat it like you would an offshore trip, do appropriate weather planning!
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Old 11-06-2008, 15:38   #6
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OK, the time is coming for our trip the first week in July. We've modified the itenerary to be St augustine to St Marys to Green Cove springs(south Jax on the St Johns) and then back to St A for the 4th, over a week. Yea, we're gonna burn some gas, which brings me to another noob question.....
Is there a "safer"/safest type of gas can that I could carry in the engine compartment- we do have plenty of space there on either side Our last outing on the river brought to our attention how non-linear the gas guage is, especially towards the end ( we put "43" gallons into a 42 gallon tank.... something fishy there...)
Thanks for any advice, other than careful planning-duh.
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Old 11-06-2008, 15:50   #7
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Your boat should be fine for this trip. With your draft if you stay anywhere in the channel you should be ok. Some shallow spots north of Nassau Sound once you get up nearer to Fernandina Beach but you should find at least five feet in these spots. There's only one long no wake zone north of St. Augustine after Pine Island. You are still biting off a lot for a week's cruise. I'm guessing but St. Augustine to St. Marys is about 100 miles. I'm used to sailboats maybe you can cover a lot more territory. If you're going that way you really should stop at Cumberland Island. That's one of our favourite spots. As for gas cans in the engine compartment I'd have second thoughts about that.
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Old 11-06-2008, 18:13   #8
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Vasco-Oh yea, Cumberland is on the list as a day trip while doing a couple overnights in St Marys. It is 65 statute miles +/- according to my maptech charts St A to St M, so if it's 10 mph avg, I'm good- thanks for the heads up on the speed zone-we're getting going early.
Unfortunately, the wifey and I have a bad habit of squeezing too much into a "vacation"- I could tell you of a England/Scotland/Wales and Ireland car trip in a long week that we did too, but thats another forum...
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