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Old 14-04-2013, 13:49   #1
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How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

About How long does it take the average cruiser to get from Chicago to Florida ( yes via boat, ha)

Was thinking erie canal and ICW, although maybe south from Chicago via Mississippi River is possible?

Considering escaping Michigan winter and setting up 'virtual office' aboard down south next year... Not sure I can handle another Michigan Winter.
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Old 14-04-2013, 13:53   #2
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

I don't have this experience, but I believe those that do "the Loop" usually take the Tom Bigbee off the Mississippi and come out at Mobile, Alabama. Someone here will have this answer.
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Old 14-04-2013, 14:19   #3
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When you say to cruise it, are you talking about a delivery trip where you put as many miles a day under the keel as possible, or a relaxing, take in the sites, cruise?

You can do the trip down rivers in roughly two weeks in delivery mode moving about 100 miles a day. I know from experience bringing my own boat from Chicago to Pensacola.

I'm helping my brother do this leg on his boat coming up in June. Chicago to St Petersburg is going to be 16 days underway, not counting days lost for mechanical repairs and waiting for a weather window at Carabelle before crossing the bend.

But that is delivery mode. Kentucky and Cumberland lakes are beautiful and you may want to plan spending some time exploring.

Later,
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Old 14-04-2013, 14:38   #4
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

The route is from Chicago via Illinois to St. Louis, Mississippi to Cairo, Ohio to Paducah, KY, Tennessee River to Tenn-Tom, then Mobile, then via panhandle or direct across Northern Gulf to Florida Gulf coast. You can go mast up if your height is less than 52 feet; higher than that and you will have to be mast down on a cradle from KY lake to Mobile. Past Mobile, there are some low bridges along the GICW, so to Pensacola is ok, then it's offshore.

Time is dependent on whether you are in a hurry or want to take a leisurely trip. From Kentucky Dam to Charlotte Harbor region would be about 15 days plus weather for an average trip. I haven't made the Chicago to Kentucky lake portion, but suspect 12 to 15 days would work for that. Someone who has actually mapped the entire trip,could give you better overall times. Some cruisers I know travel 30 miles per day, others 100. Me, I would average 60 to 75, so a lot of variation can be expected.

In the fall you can expect fog in the morning, so if you have to wait for it to lift, you could have a short day. With radar and AIS, and you are familiar with it and don't mind not seeing the banks, then you can go before daylight and until way after dark. Most won't push that hard so many variables determine your daily distance.

Trace out your route on Active Captain and look at the marinas, anchorages etc and start planning now. It is a fun trip, and an adventure into the past.
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Old 14-04-2013, 19:41   #5
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We made the Chicago to Mobile run in one month, including 5 lay days. This was in October, with shorter fall days. Only one of the 5 days was for rain, we had perfect weather. You don't want to be moving at night, so time of year, length of day will effect your travel time.
From Mobile you can use the GICW through the panhandle, though there are some 55'ish bridges that may require you to run outside. Once to Apalachicola, you will have an overnight in the gulf to the Clearwater/St. Petes area and weather can be difficult in the fall.
Allow a few days to step your mast in Mobile and 4 to 5 days to Clearwater plus weather. So Chicago to St. Pete's in a sailboat in the fall... roughly 6 weeks
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Old 17-04-2013, 06:41   #6
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

Neat trick for a virtual office, if you have a real office now with a "local" cell phone, is to change your office number to a trunk line to your cell phone.

This way you real office phone will go with you everywhere.
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Old 21-04-2013, 13:37   #7
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

How fast does your boat go?

It's about 1300 miles from Chicago to Mobile.

If you cruise at 25kts, you can make 200-300miles in a day. The exception being you have to add in time for locks, weather, fueling, etc...

On a fast boat, you could probably do it in a couple hard weeks if everything goes perfect. A month would be more realistic for a delivery run to account for various hold ups.

If you are actually cruising (highly suggested), I would bump that up to 2-4 months if you don't do side trips (again highly suggested).

If you are on a slow boat, the times are adjusted accordingly.
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Old 29-05-2013, 13:30   #8
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

How close can I get to Nashville on the way from Chicago to Mobile and is there somewhere nearby when I can leave the boat while I get my country music fix??

Otherwise, what are the highlights of the trip where I should spend some time?

Right now I'm planning on six weeks for the trip--from 10/1/13 to 11/15/13. We do about 7.5-8 knots through the water. I like to mix up anchoring in beautiful places with a bit of time in the bright lights, but the route looks pretty rural.
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Old 29-05-2013, 13:54   #9
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

Where ever you are Nashville is worth the trip!! Seriously, when on the Tennessee headed to the Tom, you should find a marina and make the hop over to Nashville. Depending on the marina location its an hour and a half (or so) drive.
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Old 29-05-2013, 21:13   #10
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

When you get just past Kentucky Dam at mile 24 on the Tennessee River there is a canal that connects the Tennessee River with the Cumberland River. I am at Lighthouse Landing Marina at mile 24 on the Tennessee. It is a sailboat marina with no fuel. I would recommend either Kentucky Dam Marina on the Tennessee just west of the dam or proceed through the canal to the Cumberland, turn left (north) for a mile to Green Turtle Bay Marina on the Cumberland for a stopover. The canal is at mile 32 on the Cumberland. We have a new marina in Clarksville (my hometown) at mile 127.3 on the Cumberland. From Clarksville to Nashville downtown is +/- 70 miles. There is a courtesy dock at the end of Broadway in downtown Nashville that is just a walk away from the Country Music Hall of Fame and some of the local country music spots like Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Ernest Tubb Record Shop, the old Ryman Auditorium where the Grand Old Opry started and other country music places. I haven't been to the courtesy dock and there have been reports of homeless people hanging around there, so I would check out Active Captain for reviews. There are a couple of small marinas before you get to Nashville, but I don't know anything about them either. They are a ways from downtown. I don't think there is a dock at Opryland, so you could get a cab to see the Grand old Opry. It is about 10 miles east of downtown Nashville.

If you come to Clarksville, you can get a rental car to Nashville. At Kentucky Dam Marina or Green Turtle Bay, you might get a car out of Paducah. From either of these two Marinas in Grand Rivers, KY it is about 2 1/4 hour drive to Nashville. From there south on the Tennessee River, there aren't good stopping points nearer to Nashville that I think you could get a car rental. Paducah doesn't have a marina, although a new one is planned, but not yet started. The next closest Marina to Nashville is Cuba Landing at mile 115 and on I-40. I don 't think they have car rentals nearby, but it is a nice marina to stay in. It is about 75 miles from Cuba Landing to downtown Nashville.
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Old 30-05-2013, 14:57   #11
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

Up the cumberland you can get right into Nashville but with only 6wks, you may not have enough time.

Obviously, Chicago is a fun stop.
Peroia is a fun stop.
You can't stop in St. Louis (all heavy commercial use) but Grafton just after leaving the Illinois River is a fun tourist town.
Once you get to the Tennesse River, it's all pretty rural till Mobile. Unlike the Erie Canal, the Tenn-Tom flooded out all the old towns along the river so there are relatviely few built right up to it. Great for getting away but not much in the way of bright lights.
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Old 31-05-2013, 08:45   #12
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

Quote:
Originally Posted by J Clark H356 View Post
When you get just past Kentucky Dam at mile 24 on the Tennessee River there is a canal that connects the Tennessee River with the Cumberland River. I am at Lighthouse Landing Marina at mile 24 on the Tennessee. It is a sailboat marina with no fuel. I would recommend either Kentucky Dam Marina on the Tennessee just west of the dam or proceed through the canal to the Cumberland, turn left (north) for a mile to Green Turtle Bay Marina on the Cumberland for a stopover. The canal is at mile 32 on the Cumberland. We have a new marina in Clarksville (my hometown) at mile 127.3 on the Cumberland. From Clarksville to Nashville downtown is +/- 70 miles. There is a courtesy dock at the end of Broadway in downtown Nashville that is just a walk away from the Country Music Hall of Fame and some of the local country music spots like Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Ernest Tubb Record Shop, the old Ryman Auditorium where the Grand Old Opry started and other country music places. I haven't been to the courtesy dock and there have been reports of homeless people hanging around there, so I would check out Active Captain for reviews. There are a couple of small marinas before you get to Nashville, but I don't know anything about them either. They are a ways from downtown. I don't think there is a dock at Opryland, so you could get a cab to see the Grand old Opry. It is about 10 miles east of downtown Nashville.

If you come to Clarksville, you can get a rental car to Nashville. At Kentucky Dam Marina or Green Turtle Bay, you might get a car out of Paducah. From either of these two Marinas in Grand Rivers, KY it is about 2 1/4 hour drive to Nashville. From there south on the Tennessee River, there aren't good stopping points nearer to Nashville that I think you could get a car rental. Paducah doesn't have a marina, although a new one is planned, but not yet started. The next closest Marina to Nashville is Cuba Landing at mile 115 and on I-40. I don 't think they have car rentals nearby, but it is a nice marina to stay in. It is about 75 miles from Cuba Landing to downtown Nashville.
Thanks for the great local knowledge! We have about 1200 mile range, so fuel stops don't need to be to frequent. I looked at ActiveCaptain, and think the courtesy dock in downtown Nashville sounds like a good destination, even though they do charge $1/ft/night. All the bridges look plenty high.
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Old 31-05-2013, 09:16   #13
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Re: How Long Sailing from Chicago to Florida?

It would only take THREE days! Start...I-80/94...I-65...I-24...I-75...I-95...and finally...US 1...Florida here I sail! Mauritz
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