Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-11-2014, 20:29   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Living aboard and cruising
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 276
Images: 1
Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

We are getting ready to do the run from Hilton Head to Florida via the Atlantic. Never did this before. What routes work? How far off shore is best? How long does it typically take? General advice???

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
Smooth seas never made an experienced sailor.

Bill
CaptainBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2014, 20:58   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Not much routing to it. Personal preference if you want to save a few miles but be farther offshore then leave SC and head towards FL. If you like being closer in so it's easier to stop if you decide then hug the coast.

Around Palm Beach the Gulf Stream is close in so hug the coast.

How long will it take? Well the simple answer is distance divided by boat speed modified by weather conditions. This time of year the fronts are starting to blast in from the north so you should keep a close watch on the weather. Might be a good reason to follow the coast instead of cutting straight across. You do not want to be in the Gulf Stream when a norther hits.
__________________

__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2014, 22:24   #3
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Bill,
As Skip has pointed out, it's pretty straight forward...
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainBW View Post
We are getting ready to do the run from Hilton Head to Florida via the Atlantic. Never did this before. What routes work? How far off shore is best? How long does it typically take? General advice???
1) In general you want to be far enough offshore that you avoid "day-sailors" and misc. coastal traffic....BUT, not so far off that you end up bucking the Gulf Stream...

2) For Hilton Head / Savannah areas....head out, roughly SE, a half dozen miles or so, until you're in 40' - 50' of clear water, and head South...(Just about Due South, for about 175 nm)
Head south, staying in about 40' - 50' of water, until you're about 10 - 15 miles east of Daytona Beach / Ponce Inlet...

Then head a bit SSE, for a point about 3 miles off Cape Canaveral.....
Then turn a bit, and head for a point about 3 miles off Ft. Pierce Inlet....
You'll start to get into water a bit shallower...as you get farther along this route...but saying 2 - 3 miles off will keep you clear of shoals/shallow water...

Once you get near Vero Beach / Ft. Pierce areas, the Gulf Stream gets pretty close to the coast, and as you get to Jupiter and West Pam Beach (Lake Worth Inlet), and Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), you will need to hug the coast quite close (about 1 mile off, at most) in order to avoid adverse current....(if you get out too far, you'll be bucking the Stream...)

Remember the main axis of the Stream along the S. FL coast, is typically 20 - 25 miles wide....and the actual "walls" are farther away than that...so best to hug the coast by the time you're nearing 27* N...


Here are the Gulf Stream locations, from earlier this week....(updated every few days, and broadcast 24/7 on NOAA Weather Radio...)
Quote:
THE APPROXIMATE LOCATION OF THE WEST WALL OF THE GULF STREAM BASED ON THE REAL TIME OCEAN FORECAST SYSTEM FROM MONDAY NOVEMBER 3RD.
43 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF PONCE INLET.
29 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF PORT CANAVERAL.
25 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF SEBASTIAN INLET.
15 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF FORT PIERCE INLET.
10 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF SAINT LUCIE INLET.
6 NAUTICAL MILES NORTH NORTHEAST OF JUPITER INLET.
5 NAUTICAL MILES NORTHEAST OF LAKE WORTH.
5 NAUTICAL MILES EAST SOUTHEAST OF PORT EVERGLADES.
5 NAUTICAL MILES SOUTH SOUTHEAST OF FOWEY ROCKS.
I have seen it as close as 1 mile off Fowey, Port Everglades, and Lake Worth....and as close as 2.5 miles off Jupiter and St. Lucie, and 3 miles off Ft. Pierce....
And, as far off as 12 miles off Port Evergaldes, 10 miles off Lake worth and Jupiter, etc...

So, it DOES move around quite a bit....

As for decent ports/inlets....if you're inexperienced, stay with the bigger/commercial ports/inlets (such as Ft. Pierce, Lake Worth, Port Everglades, etc...)

Be aware that recent dredging has made the St. Lucie Inlet very nice and easy (but still, like many of the smaller inlets, not advisable at night without local knowledge/experience...)


I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2014, 19:30   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Living aboard and cruising
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 276
Images: 1
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

You all rock! Thanks for the information!
__________________
Smooth seas never made an experienced sailor.

Bill
CaptainBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2014, 04:47   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Hi Bill,

Just did a quick look a the weather and looks pretty good for the next few days so if you're heading south soon this might be a good time. There is a strong front coming but so far doesn't look like it will hit the SE coast for several days if at all.

DISCLAIMER. Check local conditions and forecasts yourself carefully before departing to confirm this.

And to kind of reiterate, if you want you can cut off the big bend into the GA coast to save some distance but as you get further south the Gulf Stream is closer to the coast. If you look at the data posted by John you can see how close in it gets when you reach south FL. Even if you don't have a north wind against the current making for rough conditions you would be fighting 1-2 kts pushing you in the wrong direction.

Safe sailing.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2014, 15:31   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Living aboard and cruising
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 276
Images: 1
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Looks like we need to come it to Jacksonville for business reasons. How would that affect the route you outlined John? Seems like it might be best to stay closer to shore???
__________________
Smooth seas never made an experienced sailor.

Bill
CaptainBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2014, 17:36   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainBW View Post
Looks like we need to come it to Jacksonville for business reasons. How would that affect the route you outlined John? Seems like it might be best to stay closer to shore???
From Hilton Head to Jacksonville the rhumb line course would take you close to the coast. However, several spots on the GA coast, usually south of where a sound opens out to the ocean, there are shoals that extend a few miles offshore.

You can follow the coast but not too closely. Check your charts and make sure you keep in deep water. Also there are a few unlighted buoys offshore along along this route that you need to watch for. Would be very unlikely to hit one but they're not small and if the night is dark it could happen.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2014, 17:56   #8
Registered User
 
jstevens's Avatar

Join Date: May 2006
Location: On board Sarah, currently lying in Jacksonville, FL
Boat: Pearson, 424, 42', Sarah
Posts: 582
Images: 4
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

CaptBW,
My recommendation would be to sail the rhumb line from the sea bouy off the Port Royal Sound Channel direct to the Sea Bouy off the St. John River. That will keep you well west of the GS.
Are you going all the way up the St. John to Jacksonville? If so you may want to time the current in the St. John. The ebb off Mayport can exceed 3 kts. If you can catch the flood you should be able to get to JAX in less than 4 hours.
Again if you are going to JAX be aware that the FECRR bridge across the St. John just above downtown JAX is undergoing repairs and has a very limited opening schedule for the next few weeks.
__________________
jstevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2014, 11:18   #9
Registered User
 
cheoah's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: North Carolina, USA
Boat: Moccasins and pony
Posts: 996
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
You can follow the coast but not too closely. Check your charts and make sure you keep in deep water. Also there are a few unlighted buoys offshore along along this route that you need to watch for. Would be very unlikely to hit one but they're not small and if the night is dark it could happen.

It's an important point. Never navigate directly to these buoys with your chartplotter. Particularly at night. Unlikely collision, but very possible if you were to put dutiful crew at the helm.

Not sure if it's been said, but be careful at the inlets. Depending on conditions, sometimes the right thing to,do is kill time along the way,or lie offshore, even though the inclination is to rush to tie up,or drop the hook. Just be careful in contrary current and wind. It can seem perfectly moderate inside or out, but some inlets will take you for a ride.

We are careful to,batten things down from the time we weigh anchor to go,offshore, to the time we drop anchor again, just to avoid things getting tossed.

Have a great time. Lovely time to be on the water down there.


Sent from my iSomething using tapatalk
__________________
cheoah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2014, 19:19   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Living aboard and cruising
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 276
Images: 1
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Thanks everyone for the feedback!
__________________
Smooth seas never made an experienced sailor.

Bill
CaptainBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-11-2014, 14:54   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Living aboard and cruising
Boat: Island Packet 40
Posts: 276
Images: 1
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

We had an unexpected delay in our departure from Port Royal and we will be leaving after the first weather window in the 2nd week of December. In looking more closely at the charts I noticed quite a few fish haven areas round the St Marys and St John river inlets. Are these problematic enough to keep further out? Are the nets deep enough not to worry about them?

First time for us in these areas so trying to gauge the possible obstructions.
__________________
Smooth seas never made an experienced sailor.

Bill
CaptainBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-11-2014, 15:04   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainBW View Post
We had an unexpected delay in our departure from Port Royal and we will be leaving after the first weather window in the 2nd week of December. In looking more closely at the charts I noticed quite a few fish haven areas round the St Marys and St John river inlets. Are these problematic enough to keep further out? Are the nets deep enough not to worry about them?

First time for us in these areas so trying to gauge the possible obstructions.

I always avoided them so not certain but I think they are deep enough to sail over. What worried me the most were the unlit buoys.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-11-2014, 16:52   #13
Registered User
 
jstevens's Avatar

Join Date: May 2006
Location: On board Sarah, currently lying in Jacksonville, FL
Boat: Pearson, 424, 42', Sarah
Posts: 582
Images: 4
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Like Skipmac I also avoid these areas or cautiously cross them in daylight. I don't really know what structure (other than the charted buoys) are associated with the Fish Havens, as I've never seen anything on the surface or on the depth sounder when transiting them.
Still best give them some respect.

John
__________________
jstevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-2014, 10:20   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

OK, figured I should learn something about fish havens other than they are areas I always avoided on principal.

Had (incorrectly it seems) assumed they had something to do with commercial fish farming or something like that. Duh!

Instead they are a kind of artificial reef which might contain old car bodies, concrete, construction debris or whatever to create a habitat or a haven for fish. The main obstruction would be for commercial fishermen dragging nets that could be hung up on the stuff on the bottom.

From what I can tell there should be adequate water in a fish haven for sailboats safely pass over with plenty of room and then some.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-2014, 10:46   #15
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Outside route from Hilton Head to Florida

Sorry, I've been away from this discussion....
Skip, you are 100% correct...
And, on my charts (US NOAA and DMA charts), the authorized minimum depth of each haven is listed on the chart....and is typically only 1 - 2 fathoms above the sea bed in that area...although artificial reefs constructed from scraped ships can be higher...


Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Instead they are a kind of artificial reef which might contain old car bodies, concrete, construction debris or whatever to create a habitat or a haven for fish. The main obstruction would be for commercial fishermen dragging nets that could be hung up on the stuff on the bottom.

From what I can tell there should be adequate water in a fish haven for sailboats safely pass over with plenty of room and then some.
But...

But, there is a minor reason to avoid some of these areas....and that is, during nice weather many of these havens attack pleasure-boat fisherman who are more concerned with their fishfinders and rod/reels/bait, etc. than they are in keeping watch for other boats....
So, while the "depth" is of little concern sometimes other boats on/near these fish havens might give reason to avoid...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________

__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
florida, head, route

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hello from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina KentSidel Meets & Greets 3 22-06-2010 15:04
Anchorages Between Hilton Head and Charleston stacy Atlantic & the Caribbean 0 21-03-2010 16:16
Suitable Cat Marinas at Hilton Head ? stacy Multihull Sailboats 3 08-03-2010 13:31
Stuart, FL to Hilton Head, SC--October--ICW or offshore? msfranny Atlantic & the Caribbean 2 07-09-2008 09:22
BVI to Hilton Head, SC S/V Mother Ocean Multihull Sailboats 1 01-04-2006 13:42



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:50.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.