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Old 07-11-2009, 08:31   #1
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Boston to Florida

Next fall I would like to take my Catalina 350 from Boston to Miami for the winter season. I will need to make the trip over 3 or 4 long weekends. Any suggestions for routing and timing? Cheers Phil

(PS: Ideally would like to take her to the virgin islands for winter but dont yet have sufficient bluewater experience. Instead I can take a leisurely trip down the east coast in close reach of ports until arrival in florida).

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Old 07-11-2009, 08:48   #2
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Originally Posted by prairiephil View Post
I will need to make the trip over 304 long weekends. Any suggestions for routing and timing?
You better start now as you will be a bit old by the time you get there.

I don't know either place. But: go out, turn right, sail till Coast Guard asks if you are going to Cuba, turn right again.

OK bed time for me

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:47   #3
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Interesting situation you have here. Sailing down the east coast on the installment plan.

Here are our suggestions. Keep in mind, this is the way we would do it and not everyone sails / travels the same way. In addition, we're going to assume the object is to get to places you've never seen from the water as soon as possible and overnight sailings are not out of the question.

Our first leg would be from Boston to one of the several nice anchorages on Long Island such as Port Washington, Oyster Bay, etc. Some excellent anchorages and marinas in this area, well protected and a safe place to leave the boat.

Next leg would be to just get through New York. Several marinas in NYC, all expensive. Our favorite is the 79th St Marina on the Hudson River. Pick up a mooring ball and it's cheap. Call ahead to get status on availability.

Next Leg would be from NYC to Cape May New Jersey. The anchorage is in front of the Coast Guard base. Fairly protected but not great. Marinas in the area and you should be able to secure dockage for the week. I'd call ahead and book the dockage. This leg will be on the outside so weather is going to be a factor.

Leg 4 would be from Cape May to the Chesapeake. Again on the outside. We prefer this to going up the Delaware River and then down the inside of the "Chessie".
If you prefer, the "Inside" route through the Chesapeake is fine but I can assure you that you will be seduced by the many stops, anchorages, and places of interest. We spent an entire summer there and didn't see a fraction of it. Fair warning is given,,,, the Chessie is very cool and you may run out of time before you're ready to move on.

Leg 5 would be another long one as we prefer to sail outside instead of the ICW. For us it would be from the Chessie to Moorehead City N.C. Choosing your weather here is crucial. Both Cape Hattaras and Cape Lookout can be very nasty when the wind and seas are up. Moorehead City / Beaufort offer several marinas and prices are much more reasonable that back north. In addition, it's a good place for most supplies, repairs etc.

Leg 6 is from Beaufort N.C. to Charleston S.C. Charleston is one of our favorite stops. We sometimes pass on some of the others but never on Charleston. Good marinas, good food, good bars, and great people.

Leg 7 Charleston to St. Augustine Fla. This is a bit of a reach but we like St. Augustine. Plenty of marinas in the area and the city is cool to visit. If this leg proves to be too much, Brunswick Ga is a good altenative. Not much here. A good marina but that's about it. At night the bugs will eat you alive so make sure the A/C is working.

From here on down, it's just a matter of how far you want to make your legs and how fast you want to get to Miami. Keep in mind that not all inlets are recommended for first time visitors.
From St. Augie south, we would suggest the following;
Port Canaveral (Cape Canaveral)
Fort Pierce
Lake Worth (West Palm Beach)
Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale)

In all cases, given that you just want to travel on the weekends, we suggest you book your dockage ahead of time. Many of these places are favorites of ours and to just drop in and then leave is a sin to us. Many have some really cool things to see and do so you might want to figure that into your planning.

If you've never been to Miami on a boat,,, let me tell you, it's a circus. Nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live here. Never the less, it is one of the three places on the east coast that we would prefer to have work done aboard GAME PLAN. The other two being Annapolis and Newport. Anything you need for the boat is available in these three places.

As for Miami itself, lots to see and do. Several marinas, our favorite is Dinner Key. Anchorages galore and the upper Keys are just a day sail away.

Hope this helps,

Roger & Aleida
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:02   #4
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Sailor954 has it right...I did the trip last fall. 1050 miles if you are a bird and my log shows a total of 1700 miles from Provincetown MA to Dinner Key Miami. Lots of ups and downs in NY, Delaware and Chesapeake.

It will take a lot longer than 4 long weekends unless you move 24/7 and sail in any weather. There are also some interesting segments like 'Hell's Gate' and the Jersey shore that require a modicum of skill and knowledge.

Sailor's scheme is basically 8 legs...7 + the Florida coast. That is a minimum of 8 weekends providing the weather is good and you don't break down like the rest of us!
It really is a 3-4 week trip.

Good luck

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
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Old 08-11-2009, 17:48   #5
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Just made a slightly shorter trip. CT River to FL/GA border, about 400 nm shorter than the trip you propose. We made three overnight legs outside, the rest of the trip in the ICW. Most days we were up about dawn and set out right after breakfast, stopped about dusk. Took us 14 days to do the trip. To make Boston to Miami in a few long weekends means you'll have to go 24/7 to get even close. Not really practical inside so you will have to go offshore but then you will be depending on good weather.

Tight schedule, maybe too tight depending on how long you can make a long weekend.
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 08-11-2009, 18:21   #6
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I left Morehead City at about 0400 on the morning of the 27th and arrived at the sea bouy at St Augustine at 0600 on the 30th. That included a bunch of motor sailing as I had a three day weather window. I did one detour into Georgetown SC for fuel, but should have gone to Charleston instead. Georgetown is way up the bay and in the wrong direction, probably added 3 hours to the trip. You can do Morehead to St.Augustine in a long weekend if you have the weather with you. I chose to go inside at Masonboro and back out at the cape fear river. I do not like crossing Frying Pan Shoals at night especially if the wind is against the stream. When heading south I stay relatively close to the coast to avoid the gulf stream and to get a small boost from the counter current that runs along the coast. It's not nearly as strong as the stream but it beats going against the current. My cat cruises at 7-8.5 while motoring/motorsailing. You may be a bit slower.
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Old 09-11-2009, 03:11   #7
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Thanks all for your responses. I realize I did not estimate the time needed and estimated using ideal conditions speed etc. My goal was to use long weekends (the installment plan) so that I could still keep employed then fly down for weekends thereafter to enjoy the warmer climate and sail rather than deal with the pleasures of a Boston winter. I will take your comments in consideration and come up with a more flexible and realistic plan. Cheers Phil

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