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Old 08-08-2004, 09:03   #1
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EAST COAST MARINAS- Jax to Charleston

Hi There-

I'm looking for a Marina between Jacksonville and Charleston with good ocean access to put our CSY 33. We are currently in St. Simons/Brunswick at Golden Isles Marina and with the currents/inlet/our cruise speed about 4 knots- it takes us about 3 hours to clear the inlet. I'm looking for something a little quicker to get in and out.

FYI:

Golden Isles Marina:
The floating docks are nice and the staff very helpfull. We are currently paying about $11/ft with electric metered and cable/wireless internet available. The facilites are decent, but they are in the midst of a major renovation and it appears that things have fallen to the wayside in expectation of the renovation ahead. The pool is closed as well. The have a little oyster bar at the marina- Brogens Raw bar that is nice for a beer or a bowl of chowder. The little marine store is reasonably priced all things considered and suprisingly well stocked with a small inventory of most things we needed. Security to the docks is good with an electric combination at the main gate to the docks. The location is right smack in the middle between Brunswick and St. Simons- an excellent location if you know anyone that lives on St. Simons Island.
The Brunswick Channel is long and fairly narrow with breakwater on both sides coming in the channel. Trawlers are plentiful coming in and out of the channel. Motoring in at 3.5 knots it took us almost 4 hours from the time we hit the outer marker to tying up at the fuel dock. The current runs fast at the 3rd and 4th hour of the tide making docking a right nasty challenge. We opted for a space along a pier versus a slip for our heavy CSY 33 with a 11'4" beam and 27hp engine. Getting in and out of the marina is best on the tides in slackwater. Be prepared with lots of fenders and fend-off-ers because the marina is always pretty well crowded (often with very expensive boats). There are a lot of sailboats in the marina, but it is ideal for motor boats who can zip out of the inlet at 10kn plus for a day of deep sea fishing.

Brunswick City Marina:
This Marina does not have the amenities of the Golden Isles Marina, but the rates start at $7.50/ft. The biggest drawback is the even greater distance from the inlet. Draft is not a problem through the channel to the marina. Security can be a concern as it would be anywhere with no locked gates to the docks. The marina has ample parking and adequate restrooms. It is located just to the west of historic main street which is seeing a lovely revitalization along main street. There is seperate haul out and dry storage facility further inside the marina inlet. Dollar for dollar the marina is a bargain, but the biggest drawback being the ability to get back to the ocean quickly.

If anyone has suggestions of their favorite marinas in this section of the East Coast, I appreciate the feedback.

Thanks,

jcmcdowell
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Old 08-08-2004, 11:42   #2
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Just south of Saint Simons, near Fernandina Beach, Florida there are three options...

Saint Marys, GA is a small town near the Saint Marys Inlet. It is probably a two hour trip from the dock to the jetties. There is no security other than a dockmaster during the day, but problems there are few and far between. There are also no amenities other than the quaint and quiet downtown. Last I checked it was only 6.50/ft plus electricity. Thats a bargain these days. The cuurents can be swift.

Further south and a little closer to the ocean is the Fernandina City Marina. It is a classic example of poor planning. They recently spent three million dollars on new docks and pilings. But, 80% of the slips are in the mud at all but high tide. The current is also swift and turning room tight. They do have good deep water space as well, but it's reserved for transients. For a "mud slip" I think they wanted $6-7/ft. The only good thing is it's location to the victorian down town and all of the activity there.

Even further south is the Amelia Island Yacht Basin. They have good deep slips with decent rest rooms. They are located in a well protected basin the reduces chop and eliminates the current to nil. there is a small working yard there, but not much else. It is a short 1-2 mile drive to most anything you might want. It is probably not much shorter to the jetties than you are now.

A couple of notes on the area...

The sound is fun for daysailing on its own and we love going to cumberland island for a day of exploring the ruins and wildlife. There is a new West Marine being built in Fernandina about 2 miles from the AIYB. This is a popular vacation area, and having a boat to stay on for visiting the beaches or festivals is a bonus.

Jacksonville doesn't have any marines close to the inlet. But, the sailing on the Saint Johns River is quite good on its own and there are a couple of marinas that are right off the river.

Woody
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Old 08-08-2004, 17:49   #3
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I forgot to mention that the AIYB is $10/ft for an annual contract.
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Old 15-08-2004, 18:56   #4
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My brother in in Charleston

He keeps his boat at the Cooper River Marina. I have been there a few times. It is nice--the shower rooms etc could be upgraded, and that is in the works. The docks are excellent with easy access to Charleston Harbor and the ocean. There seems to be a nice group of people on the docks.
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Old 17-08-2004, 19:09   #5
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Tiger Point

Golden Isles may be one of the better spots! The only one better I can think of is Tiger Point Marina in Fernandina. Kept my boat there (on the hard) for a couple of off seasons. Very nice, no restaurant or fancy facilities but good water, floating docks and only an hour from the ocean (at four knots) and an hour from Cumberland ( one of my favourite spots on the east coast). They don't have too many slips so it might be a problem getting in. Right now I'm up the river (Ortega River) but I only store the boat there.

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Old 18-08-2004, 07:13   #6
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I had forgot to mention Tiger Point in my list of local marinas. They have very limited space, although they might find room for a 33 footer if you hit it right. They also seem to get occasional fallout from coal boilers at the Pulp Mill that is next door. The current really rips through there as it comes out of Egans creek. I have had fun playing in the rips and the mouth of the creek in my kayak. It is very close to the inlet and a pretty setting.

Woody
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Old 18-08-2004, 14:02   #7
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St. Mary's marina?? Sailing in Brunswick Sound?

Hi There-

Thanks for the great information on the marinas. I checked into Fernandina and Tiger- both booked; or in the $13/ft rate.

What is the name of the marina in St. Mary's?? I will give them a call.

Anyone know much about sailing in the brunswick channel sound with a 5-6 ft draft. I wondering if we can get out and daysail from St. Simons Marina.

Thanks for the feedback,

Jerry McDowell, s/v Whisky Charlie (CSY 33)
(formerly Silent Wanderer)
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Old 18-08-2004, 15:26   #8
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Lots of water

There's lots of water in that area. You have gone through the shallowest patch - the range into Golden Isles - there's only 5 ft there at low water. The other shallow bit is the ICW stretch at Jekyll Island - again only 5 ft. at low. The worst patch is north of the old marina. Large car carriers go into Brunswick and with the new high bridge it's not a problem . You'll see the shrimpers all over there and they draw 5 - 6 ft.

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Old 18-08-2004, 15:48   #9
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What is the name of the marina in St. Mary's?? I will give them a call.
Lang's Marina, 100 E Saint Marys St St Marys GA 31558 (912) 882-4452

Map

I would call the Amelia Island Yacht Basin as well.

Amelia Island Yacht Basin, 251 Creek Side Drive Fernandina Beach FL 32034 (904) 277-4615

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Old 21-08-2004, 08:14   #10
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Marinas info...

Thanks for all the info-

I called Langs and they sound interesting. I think I will visit them in a few weeks to check out the marina.

The September Cruising World has an interesting article on the ICW as well- beyond that this forum has been the mosst informative information I could get without actually sailing the coast.

jcmcdowell s/v Whisky Charlie
CSY 33
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Old 29-09-2004, 13:01   #11
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St. Mary's- LANGS MARINA is wrecked!

FYI-

From Frances and Jeanne; Langs Marina at St. Marys lost the pilings and 6 sailboats were holed and sank from floating concrete docks sections. Several more boats were damaged.

I went down between Frances and Jeanne and really liked historic St. Marys, but the "marina" was in bad shape.

Maybe with the insurance money they will be able to do a better job. Until then- I'm staying in Brunswick/St. Simons area.

jcmcdowell
CSY 33
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Old 29-09-2004, 13:19   #12
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Ouch!

I had heard rumers of some problems over there. I'll bet most the damage was at the west side. They are quite exposed over there. I would have chosen the East side if we had kept our boat there. I am in Chattanooga, TN this week for my wife to under go surgery. I boarded up the house and put extra lines on the boat before leaving. I checked with another owner at the AIYB and he said all is well and that it was not as bed as when Francis went by.

Woody
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Old 16-12-2006, 08:03   #13
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The Best Marina No Longer

Ortega River Boat Yard in Jax was the best Marina ever but now the great is late. She is being converted to condos. But 3 years ago she was prime with good services, good people, and lots of advantages.
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