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Old 01-01-2012, 20:38   #1
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Typical N to S ICW trip.

I am thinking of heading South next fall and am curious about what a typical trip down the ICW from New England would entail. We draw 5 ft and have a 54 ft air draft. Where do sailboats typically enter the ICW when heading down from New England? Is Barnegat Bay an option or do we have to enter further down? What are some typical stopping off points? What are some things we should consider when taking that route? Should we plan on heading outside if we want to get any where?

I did go sailing in Boston today, it was 55 degrees! But let's face it the typical New England winter sucks and I want to get the hell out of here!
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Old 01-01-2012, 21:01   #2
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

Cape May is the first possible stop for a sailboat to stay on the ICW. The New Jersey Component of the ICW is either too shallow or blocked by a bridge to allow sailboats of your draft to pass. However,you can day trip down the Jersey shore with stops in Manasquan, Barnegat(with local knowledge), Absecon and Cape May.
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Old 01-01-2012, 21:10   #3
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

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Cape May is the first possible stop for a sailboat to stay on the ICW. The New Jersey Component of the ICW is either too shallow or blocked by a bridge to allow sailboats of your draft to pass. However,you can day trip down the Jersey shore with stops in Manasquan, Barnegat(with local knowledge), Absecon and Cape May.
Cape May huh? And what head up Delaware Bay to the Ches Del Canal?
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Old 01-01-2012, 21:15   #4
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

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Cape May huh? And what head up Delaware Bay to the Ches Del Canal?
Yep, unless you want to go offshore and sail down to Norfolk. Norfolk is where the ICW actually starts.
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Old 01-01-2012, 21:19   #5
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

Considering the prevailing winds are SW and the outside of the DelMarva penisula has very few harbors of refuge it seems to be the best and easiest way up the Delaware thru the Canal and down the Chesapeake Bay. The Delaware is a boring run but the Chesapeake is worth visiting on your way south. Most insurance coverages don't allow a trip further south before 11/1 without a steep increase in cost, so staging in the southern Chesapeake is the what is usually done to get ahead of the cold weather.
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Old 01-01-2012, 22:16   #6
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

I have a very similar boat, 5'2" draft, 52' vertical. When I made the trip from CT to FL I picked a weather window and went outside from NYC to Delaware Bay, about 24 hours depending on winds where you leave from in NY.

Wanted to get south and the trip up Delaware Bay, across the canal and back down the Chesapeake added a lot of extra distance so did another overnight outside from Delaware to Norfolk. Left Lewes Delaware at first light and made it past the bridges in Norfolk before they closed for afternoon rush hour the next afternoon.

From there you are in the ICW and have lots and lots of places to anchor or marinas pretty much all the way to FL.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:52   #7
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

Each of the above are excellent ideas. I would recommend cruising the Chesapeake if you are not in too much a hurry...there's so many places you can visit, and lots to see and do. And if you can, try to take your time through the "inner banks" of NC, too.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:35   #8
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

The Delaware Bay will be the worst part of the trip. It depends on how much time you want to spend. I moved a powerboat from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale and a sailboat from Annapolis to Fort Lauderdale this Fall - inside on the powerboat, outside on the sailboat. It took twice as long on the powerboat at 17 knots than the sailboat at 8 knots as we stopped overnight on the powerboat and only stopped once in Fernadina on the sailboat. I find the ICW booring as I've done it many times before but the scenery can be nice. If you are in no hurry, the ICW can be a nice trip in the Fall. You will be mostly motoring once you get to Norfolk.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:33   #9
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

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I would recommend cruising the Chesapeake if you are not in too much a hurry...there's so many places you can visit, and lots to see and do. And if you can, try to take your time through the "inner banks" of NC, too.
Absolutely. If I had not been under a time constraint I would have cruised the Chesapeake and dawdled a lot more through NC. We anchored one night right off the ICW in NC where I could not hear a single sound of civilization. No distant highway noise or sirens, not even an airplane overhead. Did not think that sort of isolation existed east of the Mississippi.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:56   #10
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

If you are going outside to Norfolk, Ocean City MD is a good stopping point. It's about 80 to 90 miles from Cape Charles (North side of Chesapeake bay entrance), deep water inlet with a descent anchorage less than 1/2 mile from the inlet, and there are several good marinas if you need fuel, water or boat parts. South of Ocean City, the inlets in Virginia are more challenging with shallow water and many miles of winding channel to get to facilities.
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Old 03-01-2012, 00:17   #11
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Re: Typical N to S ICW trip.

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If you are going outside to Norfolk, Ocean City MD is a good stopping point. It's about 80 to 90 miles from Cape Charles (North side of Chesapeake bay entrance), deep water inlet with a descent anchorage less than 1/2 mile from the inlet, and there are several good marinas if you need fuel, water or boat parts. South of Ocean City, the inlets in Virginia are more challenging with shallow water and many miles of winding channel to get to facilities.
Yeah what's between Ocean City and Norfolk? Nothing really.
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