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Old 01-10-2009, 10:30   #1
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South from Norfolk to FL, Going Outside - Advice?


We're taking our 44' cat (66' mast) down to FL this November -- any insights on how to break up the trip into a few legs? Going outside to Charleston? Other inlet? Would probably want to keep boat at marina for the work week, so advice there would be appreciated! Boat is rigged for round-the-world, so all set on offshore gear.



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Old 01-10-2009, 11:19   #2
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66' OUCH!

I would say Norfolk to Beaufort or maybe even Charleston (both Class A inlets) and then Charleston to either the St. John's or Lake Worth. A lot depends on wx (of course) and your crew.

Another alternative is to play the tides and take the ICW down to Beaufort, NC, then hop out from there. There are a couple of bridges where you will squeak through, but it can definitely be done. The advantage of the ICW route is you can avoid getting around Cape Hatteras & potential storminess, etc., but again that is pretty obvious.

Fair Winds,

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Old 01-10-2009, 17:30   #3
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I'd say you would need to be lucky to go Norfolk to Beaufort inside unless your 66 ft has a little safety factor in it. I've got a little more than 64 and sweat it under several bridges. Pungo ferry for one, although you could go the Dismal Swamp canal (unless rains raise the water under the one fixed bridge over it). And you certainly wouldn't want to go down the Alligator River, etc. Can't remember bridge clearance the other way around by Manteo, but you could play the lunar tide there, I assume. And if you made it that far, you could exit Ocracoke and thereby miss Hatteras

The easy answer is look where the big boat ports are: Beaufort/Morehead City, Wilmington NC, (or separately, Masonboro Inlet. Not sure you could then go inside to Wilmington and avoid a long way around Cape Fear, but you probably could play the tide.)Georgetown, CharlestonSC, Savannah, Mayport FL and Palm Beach. Also St Augustine, Ft Pierce (I think). Maybe Stuart FL ? I'm too lazy tolook for my books right now.

Somewhere I have a publication by the Dodge family about east coast inlets. You should look for a copy to help you get in when you need to.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:17   #4
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Done it 3 times now and another one starting in November, we draw 7'6" and a 66' mast so have an extra problem over your cat as far as the ICW is concerned. Pretty easy trip though and you get more time in the sun than by following the slower the ICW route!

We do it in 4 legs, each one can be done with only 1 night at sea with a sunrise start and sunset arrival on a boat your size and speed.

1. Norfolk - Cape Lookout the anchorage in the bight is superb, and no messing around getting in and out of Beaufort, which saves you time. I personally think that Lookout Bight is one of the nicest anchorages on the east coast.

2. Cape Lookout - Charleston we anchor off the marina and spend some days enjoying the town

3. Charleston - St Mary's River anchoring at Cumberland Island and enjoying exploring.

4. St Mary's to Lake Worth - this latter leg is the longest and we did arrive in the dark but a failry easy entry so no hassles. It can be reduced into shorter legs although finding anchorages that don't involve going under bridges is hard. St Augustine can be done and a night in the marina at Canaveral is another idea.

We rode the cold fronts in 2007 on our way south getting good sailing but being very cold, I am very tempted to just cough up for the diesel and motor south in the warmer spells this year! The other issue with the norther tactic is that the wind dies off before you arrive at your destination so you still motor more than you would like but as by then it is warm and sunny you don't mind too much.

We took a while to realise that with modern GPS you can get close enough to Hatteras to miss the Gulf Stream and also that even if you end up in it a NW wind is blowing at right angles to the NE flowing current there rather than against it. This was great relief as it is a long way down to Hatteras from Norfolk and by the time we arrived we had an unforecast 30+ knots and were braced for a fairly unpleasant rounding, but by passing close to the lighthouse we had calm seas and no counter current.

We had spent a whole summer with everyone we met going oooohhh, outside round Hatteras, how scary and generally getting us nervous about the whole thing and it weighed very heavily on our minds. It's a great trip in the modern age of nav aids, relax and enjoy it, don't be gung ho, don't cut the corner, do take some hot pies and soup with you!
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Old 29-10-2013, 15:14   #5
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Re: South from Norfolk to FL, Going Outside - Advice?

Thanks for the Itinerary . Will be going that way from Atlantic city mid nov. Will be on a 393 beneteau . What are the estimated time frames and speeds for your trip?
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