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Old 08-07-2008, 20:12   #1
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Northeastern Florida day sailing

We are planning to move to Palm Coast, Florida in the near future. We presently sail in L.I. Sound, out of Norwalk,Ct. We have had many wonderful hours sailing around, anchoring in a nice spot, enjoying dinner, staying the night. Sometimes, when we have to be home the next day, we come home rather than stay over. The thing is, we can go to many different towns and anchorages within a day's sail.
When we get to Florida, it SEEMS that the only real option we have is to travel up the Intracoastal to St. Augustine. I'm sure there must be a few places to anchor up there, and from there we figure we can enter the Atlantic. It seems that it would mostly be motoring. Where else is there to sail for a nice dinner on the boat? I've seen sailboats in the area, so I know some people must be doing it. Can anyone share some favorite locations? Are there some places on the barrier islands off Jacksonville?
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Old 09-07-2008, 02:59   #2
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Lots of excellent aerial photos of the ICW & Ocean Inlets at :
Aerial Photography of the United States and Caribbean by Aerials Only featuring Florida

Some AICW Anchorages From North to South:
Courtesy of Tom Doves on-line AICW Anchorage Guide
Tom Dove Home Page

MILE 765, FL - PINE ISLAND
Enter at G "25" and anchor in 10' - 12' in good holding. Attractive and convenient anchorage in the bight with some wind protection from trees. Narrow sections call for two anchors. (Crescendo, Freedom)

MILE 778, FL - ST. AUGUSTINE
Be careful near the inlet, where currents are strong, and be sure to pass R "60" on the inlet side of the channel. The town is hospitable, touristy and plenty of fun with many restaurants and lots to see (especially the Lightner Museum and the Castillo de San Marcos) within walking distance of the waterfront. Exposed anchorage on either side of the Bridge of Lions. There seem to be more anchoring problems on the North side of the Bridge of Lions than the South side where holding appears to be better. In moderate north winds on the north side of the bridge, boats circle their anchors wildly on the ebb tide. Leave plenty of room. Municipal marina easily accommodated boats with 5-6 foot drafts (2001) and the 1999 hurricane-damaged docks have been rebuilt. You can have dinghy access to the marina from the anchorage for $6 per day. Motel available. (Crescendo, Freedom, Narnia, Grey Panther, Mielle, Jule III, Nina, Butter)

Mile 785.2, FL - MATANZAS RIVER
Anchor just south of marker "38" in bight of deep water. Good if wind is across the current. (Nina)

MILE 792, FL - MATANZAS RIVER NAVIGATION NOTE
Probably the trickiest place on the Waterway, where strong currents shift the channel faster than the Coast Guard can move the markers. Get local advice from St. Augustine Sea Tow on VHF; just ask "How is Matanzas?" and they'll brief you. (Crescendo)
NAVIGATION NOTE 2002 - All Florida inlets (Matanzas, Ponce) were well marked with can buoys. We called TOWBOAT/US for updates beforehand. (Spice)

MILE 796, FL - MARINELAND
Sad to say, Florida's original "Lookit the fish" attraction is closed, along with its marina. (Mielle)

MILE 809, FL - OLD CEMENT PLANT
Turn west between G11 and G13. A great spot, especially in bad weather, but do not block the Sea Ray docks. No less than 8 ft depth all the way in at low water. Not particularly beauteous but we saw herons and other shore birds . (Almada, Luv It)

MILE 829, FL - DAYTONA BEACH
There's a new restaurant at Halifax Harbor, and a West Marine store. Seven Seas Marina has a little restaurant where cruisers gather for breakfast and lunch, but beware the cross currents there. Anchorage on either side of the old (now gone) Seabreeze bridge. One more bridge is permanently open, so there are now only 2 bridges in Daytona Beach, not 4. You can ride the local buses for 10 cents on Sundays. Motel available. Walk 2-3 blocks North From Halifax Harbor for Stavros, a great Greek pizza restaurant. (Crescendo, Freedom, Rosalieann, Epic VI, Butter, Dory)

MILE 829-830, FL - DAYTONA BEACH
Several anchorages are here. Dinghies can land at a park on the west shore just north of Memorial bridge, at the boat ramp just south of Daytona Boatworks, or at the ramp under the east side of the new Seabreeze bridge After turning west at daymark #44, travel mid way to the west shore and then north between Markers #40 and #42 off the little park adjacent to Waste Treatment Plant (no smell). The location provides good holding and is comfortably out of the channel. (Epic VI, Nina)
NAVIGATION NOTE 2002: we saw 7 feet of water in the ICW near the Ponce inlet. (Spice)

MILE 842.2, ROCKHOUSE CREEK
Turn east between R10 and R12 and find sandy beaches (to take your dog ashore) and 10-14 feet of water. There is very little boat traffic here. It is part of the Ponce de Leon Inlet, which is too shallow for deep draft boats. We "sniffed" out the entrance and found plenty of water (4 1/2 foot draft) at the northern end of the entrance. The anchorage was superb! Near USCG station, and they indicated that it was not uncommon to inspect boats anchored here. (Luv It, Cavalier, Thru The Years)
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Old 09-07-2008, 05:24   #3
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Craigo,
From Palm Coast you have north to St. Augustine or south to Daytona. Both cities have inlets to the ocean and both inlets have shifting sands. Other than ocean sailing, the St. Johns River south of Orange Park is a nice place to sail. The river is wide. Just like other rivers, you need to pick your spot to sail. I have anchored just north of Marineland near the fort. Stay to the north bank for deeper water. Seems to be the place for weekend boat owners to anchor. The marine patrol will stop at your boat and check for fishing licenses and types of fish caught. You need to be legal. The marine patrol officers do have the power to ticket and arrest. A marine patrol officer spoke at a function I attended. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:03   #4
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There's really no day sailing from Palm Coast. Most of the sailboats there are being stored in the water. In the past I've stored my boat there. Your best bet is to keep your boat in St. Augustine if you want to day sail and then you'd most likely sail out in the ocean and back. The two spots in east coast Florida (not counting the keys) where day sailing is good are Fernandina Beach and Biscayne Bay in Miami .. one in the northernmost part of the state and the other way south. Nothing much in between except going out into the ocean wherever there's an inlet. One other spot where they day sail a lot is in the Indian River area, wide and deep enough in most spots, lots of anchorages though most of them are near bridges for protection.
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:14   #5
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I am on the St. John's, and you can surely sail here. There are many small anchorages all along the river. The water it's self is not pretty, but at least you are sailing. If your desire is sailing on the ocean. Then anywhere near an inlet will accomplish that for you....BEST WISHES in sorting it all out...........
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:23   #6
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I didn't include the St. Johns River because it takes so long to get up there past Main St. Bridge to where the sailing is. To me that's always been inland Florida and not coastal. Does anyone sail in the section from Mayport to Main St?
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:52   #7
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Vasco,
The current is pretty fast in that area of the St. Johns. Yes, it takes time to get south of Orange Park but the river widens and the current is not as swift. The St. Johns flows north toward the ocean. There are a number of sailing clubs and marinas on the St. Johns.
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:51   #8
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scallywag,

Yeah, I kept my boat in the Ortega River one summer. What surprised me there was that it was so hot nobody sailed much in the middle of summer but there's tons of spots to anchor and it's fairly wide up there. Also it's nice to tie up at the free dock just past the Main St. bridge where Hooters is.
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:58   #9
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palm coast is pretty much land locked. you can go up or down the ditch. the st. johns river is a wonderful place to polish your sailing skills or just anchor out and have a few beers. there is usually a 10 or 12 knot sea breeze that comes in on summer evenings for several hours.
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Old 09-07-2008, 11:00   #10
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If your stick is over 45 feet you are limited to the Shands Bridge at the end of Green Cove Springs. I have only been able to sail from Jax to Mayport, or the reverse 2 times out of 10. The wind seems to follow the river there. There's lots of sailing going on betwen I-95, and the Shands Bridge.......................
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Old 09-07-2008, 11:10   #11
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I hear they're going to build a hi-rise bridge where Shands Bridge is. Then we sailboats might be able to do the loop on the St. Johns River that the trawlers do.
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Old 09-07-2008, 11:41   #12
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I have heard talk about a new bridge, but haven't seen a surveyor yet? Hopefully by the time it's built I am living on the Gulf of Davao, and not Green Cove Springs.....lolololol
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