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Old 05-07-2016, 16:51   #16
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

dont limit yourself to exactly 3 nm. if it feels better at 5 , go there.
i prefer more than 10, due to rebound chop. feel it and figger it.
plans are made to be unused.
i used to travel in a 25 coronado to catalina and back with a loonatic friend-- we had fun. sometimes our misadventure was fun and easy and sometimes we got some excitement in. preplan emergency just in case stops. ye know **** happens. always.
the best way to avoid that is to preplan. when ye are ready for it, it doesnt happen.
funny how that works.

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Old 06-07-2016, 08:12   #17
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

Land effect will be magnified at that distance. Also it seems there's more to hit than if you went a little further out. Not much difference in 3 nm and 10 nm for your Intentions.

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Old 06-07-2016, 08:24   #18
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

Originally Posted by SoundWave View Post
What's wrong with hugging the coastline, besides making it a longer trip?
Because that's where there are more things to hit and be hit by (other boats). Other than that the main problem to me for when I want to just be cruising and relaxing is that you have less sea room to chose a good point of sail and then kick back before having to change course.
stop blowing smoke up my rear, blow it at the sails instead
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:49   #19
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

You would be better off to get one more person so you can rotate the watch and everyone gets a good rest from time to time. Your lives may depend upon judgement
And if your impaired your judgement is the first thing to go! We have done it and were happiest when we were 30-40 miles off-shore. It took us 21 days in our 37' ketch! That was from Saybrook CT. To Ft. Pierce FL.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:25   #20
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

40' contour line sailing might be rather bouncy. Might be more comfy and safe offshore. Shifting shoals, floating trees, night runners, and so forth will require someone always alert at the helm. Off shore you do not need to be so vigilant. ,
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:26   #21
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

I think Dockhead has the best take on this plan. Inshore waters are going to be choppy and adverse currents frequent. Lot's more boat traffic, too. And many of the inlets you think you will be dashing in and out of will not be possible unless you hit them at the right tide. And some of them are not as nice in person as they look on the charts.
For instance, Jupiter inlet is surrounded by shifting sand bars and notorious standing waves. St. Lucie and Ft Pierce average 2-4 kit currents and can hit 5, 6 and even 7 knots! Also buoy and entrance lights can be difficult to pick out against coastal background lighting at night. You are far more likely to come to grief trying to negotiate a nasty inlet than just sailing along with the current in the stream.
Once in the stream, the seas tend to smooth out into longer swells that are far more comfortable. And in a 30 footer, the Gulf Stream current may add 50% or more to your speed over ground!
I would rather sail up the ICW than do what you are planning. At least there, you can pull over and park whenever you feel like it. Although the stretch from Miami to Jupiter is a royal PIA.
The worst thing about the Gulf Stream is the very steep waves pushed up by northerly winds; something you won't likely encounter in the summer. Summer thunder storms tend to pass quickly. You'll be running/reaching most of the time. And with no tropical storm activity around, the weather should be nearly perfect. Once you hit the Stream, you might do the whole trip on starboard tack and barely touch your sails!
The only real concern will be the freighters. But they are big and usually well lit. You may encounter a few commercial fishing boats, long liners and such. But AIS is your best defense against them. Worth its weight in gold. Way better than radar for traffic avoidance.
It is possible to get freakish bad weather this time of year. Weird line squals from the west. But you'll be far safer offshore than in tight, crowded shallow water. It can be a difficult mindset to adjust to. But in deep draft sailing craft, the danger is the land. Especially the lee shore you are planning to work up for weeks. In and out of unknown inlets, dodging shoals currents and traffic....
The Stream is close off Miami. Head out there and take a look at it. See what you think.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:43   #22
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

Originally Posted by SoundWave View Post
Others have mentioned these in past threads, the thought scares me.
Please forgive me for asking, these buoys are CHARTED, just not lit, correct?

I have no desire to play boat-pachinko if I can help it...
The R buoys are charted but not lit. But then again it depends on the last chart update and the last artificial reef marked. I would agree with those advocating farther off shore.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:01   #23
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

You have received a lot of good advice. Just do some pre planning. You do understand that you will be spending far more time going in and out of inlets than you will sailing north. Also inlets with a foul tide, or an outgoing tide against a seabreeze, can be dangerous in an underpowered boat. It could be a pleasant calm sail offshore and absolute misery in the inlet!
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:12   #24
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

If you're in no hurry then work up to it.

Do short hops during daylight hours. When you tire of that, you can work up your adventure and do one overnight. If the current or weather is beating you, turn back. And don't be too proud to use the intercoastal.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:33   #25
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

I'll just add that 3 NM off shore doesn't seem that far of when you get out there. Our first time out I remember hitting the 3 NM line, turning around and thinking "wow, we're still really close to land." You'll learn a ton just by going out there.
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Old 06-07-2016, 12:24   #26
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

i would suggest to make a beeline for Southport NC and then go inside to wrightsville beach.. then its a day to beaufort NC.

personally i stay clear of the coast of GA as best i can
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Old 06-07-2016, 13:24   #27
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

I just made the same trip, and remember that coming out of Hilton Head and going toward Charleston, there was a lot of floating crap in the water--sea grass and bits of wood that probably came down the rivers and moved out with the tide. We moved out a few more miles and avoided most of it.
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Old 06-07-2016, 14:04   #28
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

I'm with Mystic 38, to a degree. If you are a great student of weather, by all means, point yourself at the Cape Fear entrance and cruise!

However, you need five days of good weather to do that, and if you have not cruised much, it might be hard for you to work through weather forecasts to determine when to leave.

Your idea of cruising along the coast can work, but it is important to plan for the inlets, not for the time. From Miami, the next easy inlet is Lake Worth. It's an easy cruise if you leave Miami around 6AM or 7AM. You have the Gulf Stream with you all the way, 3 miles out or 6 or 10. It will give you a nice ride about 5 miles out, and that should be comfortable for you if you were careful about the weather. When you look at the weather, think about how you will feel if, instead of 20 knots max, it is gusting 25 all day. Remember the rule about no northerly in the Gulf Stream, because a day run at 3-10 miles offshore from Miami to Palm Beach (Lake Worth inlet) will put you in the Gulf Stream all day. It's wonderful in the right conditions, so watch for 15 or so from SE to SW.
If your run takes longer than planned, entering the Lake Worth inlet is fine at all hours. It is very well lit. You do not want to enter on an ebb tide against easterly winds, which is part of the reason I emphasized a southerly component for your passage.

You can sit tight in Lake Worth until you are ready to make the next segment. You don't want to do Jupiter or St. Lucie inlets. Period. So head for Canaveral. That inlet, too, is big, well lit, and you can anchor west of the lock, which only goes up or down about 6 inches. If weather traps you, run farther west to the ICW.

At Canaveral, if you depart outside, bound northward, you need more than 24 hours to get anywhere you want to go. First, Canaveral is a storm problem, always. Activity in the Gulf flows eastward across the peninsula at the latitude of Canaveral frequently. You don't want to be caught in a line, or two, of thunderstorms off Canaveral at sunset. The day will come when you can choose whether to weave your way north anyway, but this trip is not when you want to do that. This is a good place to think about making an overnight to Jacksonville, to Fernandina Beach or to St. Marys. After Canaveral, Ponce De Leon and St. Augustine inlets are not for the faint of heart and the inexperienced.

Both the Jacksonville and St. Marys inlets are well lit, but you need to have good weather for 48 hours to be sure you will get in and get comfortable without issues. We found ourselves sitting beside the St. Marys channel waiting out a line of thunderstorms the last time we entered there.

Once inside at St. Marys, you can anchor at Cumberland Island if you want to be close to the exit, but even that location is pretty far inside. St. Marys and Fernandina are both even farther.

Another choice, if you want to go farther north, is Brunswick. It is easy in, easy out, well lit, and a great marina, but you are extending the passage.

From St. Marys or Brunswick, (which, by the way, is a NW-SE channel outbound, meaning that on a northbound passage, you travel 2 hours or more in that channel before you get back to the latitude at which you started) you can go to Charleston in 24 hours, but it isn't a hop. There are other inlets, but the journey in and back out is long, just like Charleston. Furthermore, along the Georgia and South Carolina coast is a current NE-SW, running against you if you are northbound. If you go out far enough to miss it, your only sane choice is to point at Cape Fear entrance. It is less than 48 hours, depending on conditions, but you need to check the weather carefully and be sure you don't run out of good weather before you get inside to Southport.

From Southport, you will want to follow the Cape Fear River and the ICW to Wrightsville Beach, where you will be happy to rest until you are ready to make the short day run from Masonboro Inlet to Beaufort Inlet. It is counterproductive to leave the Cape Fear inlet bound north.

You could plan a non-stop run from Miami to Beaufort, too, but as I said earlier, that will take about six good days, and you need both confidence in your understanding of weather forecasts and a good knowledge of your options if you do need to head to shore at any point along the way. On that run, it will be most of a day before you can get inside. It is important to recognize that running in is not just whipping off the interstate to a convenience store. For long runs like that, you need a good meal plan that is comfortable for the cook and pleasing for the crew. You need a plan for unexpected weather--food, clothing, gear, and so forth. If you have never done it, just plan and think smart. Everybody who is experienced once did it for the first time, and lived to tell the story.

Always, Always, Always, check your weather before you head out. Recognize that the National Weather Service has a scientific view of weather. They tend to predict the best possible conditions based on all the options. If you download the PassageWeather app, or go to Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather, you can see a slightly more sailing oriented prediction. I find that they tend to err on the side of telling you more of the undesirable possibilities. I also use the National Buoy Database before I depart any location, because that is my eye on the sky far out at sea. There are many other weather apps that I am not qualified to discuss. I am sharing what works for me.

We have never left Miami and cruised to Cape Fear, but we have left Lake Worth inlet and cruised to Cape Fear or to Beaufort Inlet several times. I love that run, but I repeat that it takes close attention to weather. The real challenge is Canaveral, then Cape Fear itself, and finally the Georgia/South Carolina coast, where little storms sometimes blossom into big ones rather quickly. Weather. Weather. Weather. If I wanted to go Miami to Cape Fear non-stop, I would want to think that I had six days of good weather, and be prepared to live with only four, just in case things changed dramatically. Our mantra is, choose the best weather you can find, and live with whatever comes. The boat will make it if you never give up on her.

Whether you take it in small bites or make the long leap, you will have a wonderful experience. Wishing you well.

Katherine Harms
S/V No Boundaries
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Old 06-07-2016, 15:15   #29
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

Watch for outgoing tides at some of the inlets, you can sail for hrs and make zero headway while trying to enter against the tide and flow, tacking back and forth, electronics read zero headway while the knot log says you're doing 6 or more knots, tacking practice.
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Old 06-07-2016, 15:37   #30
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Re: Anything wrong with shore-hugging?

Originally Posted by qatharms View Post
I'm with Mystic 38, to a degree. If you are a great student of weather, by all means, point yourself at the Cape Fear entrance and cruise!
Whether you take it in small bites or make the long leap, you will have a wonderful experience. Wishing you well.

Katherine Harms
S/V No Boundaries
You have provided an excellent analysis of the SE Coast run, Well Done!!

To the OP, Chris Parker provides daily, (ex Sundays) detailed Weather and routing info for the above as well as other regions. Highly Recommended!


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