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Old 10-08-2009, 08:41   #1
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ICW

who has ever done the Inner coastal waterway and is it worth doing for once?

We are from Europe and feel this might be a way to see America from the boat and then get on with sailing the Carib.

Eric
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:53   #2
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Yes.

If you give some people ice cream, they will eat it and complain that the cold of it hurts their teeth.

I have sent time from Annapolis,MD to Lake Worth, FL and can heartily recommend the trip. South of Lake Worth Florida you start getting into lots and lots of bridges (as often as 1 per km.) We did not choose to go south from Lake Worth so it worked out well to skip it.

The Chesapeake to Beaufort, NC is some of the best of it. In making deliveries in the past I saw the slower progress as an enemy (as many do).

If you were to take the trip and plan to enjoy it, you would certainly have little trouble. Much to see and do, and many great anchorages and shore stops to make.

My wife and I would sometimes go as little as 6km a day, we would set out in the morning and stop whenever a place interested us.

If you would like to read about our trip, here is a link to it.

I see in your signature you sold a 44' boat. I would recommend you look for something smaller to cruise the ICW with. You will not need so much room, my wife and dog and I found our Pearson Ariel to be just about right. The less draft you carry the easier your trip will be.

Some will not sail on the ICW, they will tell you not to sail either. THere is no reason not to sail, we often spent days without starting the motor, or only did so to humor the errant bridge tender. We often saw boats (usually large boats) with the wind off their quarter, and miles of streight water who would not even unfurl a bit of jib to help them along.... sad.

Quote:
is it worth doing for once?
I think your attitude will answer this question for you. If you allow someone to talk you out of it, maybe it would not have been right for you anyway.

Fair Winds,
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:08   #3
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It is a great way to see much of Colonial America. There's history all along the ICW. There are some "rules" for doing it, though. Mast height must be lower than 65 feet. There are numerous shallow spots where draft more than 5 feet can become tricky (wait for tide), but these are well known and avoidable. You can't do a lot of sailing on the ICW, so it is 90% motoring. There are lots of cruising guides for it.

Well worth doing, especially if you like the history.

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Old 10-08-2009, 09:11   #4
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The AICW is a wonderful way of seeing the eastern States. Many good spots to anchor and many nice towns, big and small to visit. See the contrast from quiet rural areas to mega-mansions in Florida. Little towns like Beaufort SC and big towns like Charleston. See the might of the US Navy in Norfolk and the nuclear submarines at Kings Bay in the St. Marys River. Lots of wildlife too, eagles and all types of birds and, if you're lucky, the odd big cat and wild horses at Cumberland Island,GA. The trip must be done at a leisurely pace to be fully appreciated.

Not to be missed, Charleston and Savannah (a short bus ride from Isle of Hope), Cumberland Island, and Miami and Biscayne Bay. You will marvel at the contrast and what this great ditch has to offer.
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:13   #5
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Lightbulb Oh yea...

For specific information on 'trouble spots' this is a good reference.

Cruiser’s Net | ICW Problem Areas
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:22   #6
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great to read all this ; thanks

*would 2 months be enough to go from New York area out of Florida / usa? This as we Europeans get only visas for 3 months max and the boat need to be organized/prepared first
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:27   #7
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It can be done in two months but three is better. If you're starting from NY you'll also have to spend some time in Chesapeake. Ideally start in September in NY and get to Miami in December.
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:36   #8
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I did the ICW from south of Hatteras to Ft Lauderdale with 6'4" draft. It wasnt too bad, bumped a few times. I just paid attention well. (also had 71 ft mast! that was the scary part!)
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:45   #9
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Rick is right -- 3 months makes for a nice trip, 2 is pushing it. There are a number of places where you can go outside and make some distance without necessarily missing much. (I imagine we all have our preferences for places to miss, my personal ones are the Myrtle Beach area and the Georgia swamps -- I don't care to see either of them again.)

Cheechako -- 71 ft? I bet that was scary! Did you lean her over a lot?

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Old 10-08-2009, 09:54   #10
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There are many ICW cruising guides and chartbooks to help you plan your trip. Just do a little Googling. Look for Claiborne Young and Skipper Bob, in particular.
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:00   #11
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The bridges are required to be 71 right? I'm hoping I'm remembering this right. At any rate, I was exactly what the bridges are required to be, + 3 ft for the VHF antenna. However some of the bridges are noted to be a foot short etc. I tried to watch the (minimal) tide changes and go through when I could, it was a little nerve racking to be sure. The first one was south of Wrightsville beach, I think it was called Crab Cut. I approached the bridge slowly, about 100 ft from the bridge I realized the current was running gangbusters.... toward the bridge!..... I put her in reverse to slow down ,but that just turned the boat sideways, so under the bridge we went.... sideways... the VHF antenna plinked its way along the girders and we made it through at about 5 knots! I preferred to open the 21 bridges from Lake Worth to Ft Lauderdale to that! They are timed pretty well....
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:10   #12
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No, the standard height is 65, but there are a few that aren't quite that.

RE: Crab Cut -- Oh, my gosh. Pucker time, for sure.

We had the same experience on the L Worth to Ft. Lauderdale leg. It was blowing quite hard outside, so my wife did the research on those bridges. Figured that if we kept an average of 6.5 knots, we'd pretty much be cruising right along. She was right. I think we ended up waiting no more than a 5 minutes for one or two, but otherwise it wasn't a hassle.

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Old 10-08-2009, 10:13   #13
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I stand corrected, it's been 10 years. 65 ft! I liked the ICW though and plan on doing at least portions again soon (without a mast!) As mentioned , a lot of history along the way.
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