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Old 07-09-2008, 08:35   #1
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Stuart, FL to Hilton Head, SC--October--ICW or offshore?

Good day! My husband and I will be sailing from Stuart, FL to Hilton Head during the beginning of October. We are fairly experienced sailors, but we have a new boat. We are debating whether to take the ICW or go offshore. Pros and cons?? Thanks! Also, I know October may not be the best time for such a trip, but we don't have much of a choice
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:12   #2
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Assuming decent weather you can make a lot better time outside and get help from the Stream as well. You can harbor hop and duck inside when the forcast looks iffy since you'll be pretty close inshore anyway. The main issue it seems to me is your confidence in your new boat. The biggest concern to me would be the engine/fuel system having a bunch of gunk in it and shutting down in the offshore chop. A good tank cleaning, fuel polishing and extra filters will reduce that worry...as would a TowBoatUS membership!
The Hilton head approaches are a bit tricky without curent local knowledge under sail so I'd recommend coming back inside above Hilton Head at Port Royal sound and then heading south though Bew-fort which is a nice town to stop at anyway. Don't know what draft you have but the ICW in GA is a major pain since it has been neglected for so long and is so very shoal in quit a few places that that you need to wait for tidal help.
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:22   #3
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Whether you go ICW or outside is a personal choice assuming your draft is not too deep and your mast is not too high. Also it depends on how much time you have for the trip. Going outside is a lot easier as you don't have to watch the depth sounder every minute and you can put her on autopilot. The main factor on an outside passage is weather. Personally I go outside on this leg when I take it but that's usually in May or June when the winds are more favourable. If you want an interesting, scenic trip the ICW is the way to go. If you want to get to Hilton Head asap, go outside. Of course there is the middle ground approach which is to take a trip up to the St. Mary's river in the ICW and then a short hop outside, skipping Georgia to Hilton Head. This might be the best approach as it will give you a few days in relatively safe waters to get to know your new boat.
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