Fabrik...My wife and I made the trip last year in mid-December. The ICW can be thought of as a "school". Your mind and sight must be focused on markers, currents, depths, channels, and traffic 100% of the time. Speaking from experience, not thinking for just a moment can cause a grounding. While exiting the ICW at Wrightsville Beach, I nearly took the wrong side of a buoy, not realizing it was an inlet and the marker colors reversed. When the water
began disappearing, I did a panic reverse stop and my wife called for local information
. Waiting for bridge openings while contending with current
, shallow water
, and impatient power boaters can be a white knuckle experience also. What I'm telling you is the ICW can be quite challenging if you are a relatively new sailor.
When the weather was good, we went outside...what a difference! Sailing actually became fun. However as others have mentioned, weather fronts can change quickly. We had 5-6 foot waves breaking at an angle to our stern while coming in at Georgetown
. It was a "pucker-factor" of 8 for what seemed at least a half hour until I cleared the deteriorated rock jetty. Fortunately that occurred on the return trip when our boat handling skills were slightly improved.
The difficulty for a new sailor is obtaining experience without having an accident
. But, you can not gain experience without being exposed to a variety of circumstances that can be quite intimidating. Books
can't cover these things...the only other way is having an experienced person at your side to alert you before the situation becomes a crisis. My recommendation is practice, practice, practice.
Stay alert, be safe, and have some fun, too.