Made the same trip last Sept, Essex CT to Jacksonville
FL. Trip basically breaks down into three parts
. We anchored out almost every night and had no problem finding safe, comfortable spots all the way.
From CT you can go outside Long Island
or down LI Sound and through the East Rive. I chose the East River route
since I had never done it and thought it would be fun to sail through NYC
. If you haven't done this route the main concern is the tidal currents through Hell Gate. We sailed down the Sound and anchored just north of the city to start early and catch the ebb down the rive.. We anchored next to the Throg's Neck Bridge just because that's were we were when it got late but there are plenty of other spots to anchor.
From NY Harbor you have to go outside anyway to the Manasquan inlet to start the NJ section of the ICW
. There are a couple of low bridges on this section so we had to go outside. It was an easy overnight sail from NY to Delaware Bay. We fueled up in Lewes DE, a very nice little town and anchored near the mouth of the bay to get an early start the next morning. You can go up the bay to the Chesapeake - Delaware Canal if you like but we chose outside again as it was shorter and I had limited time off work for the trip.
Again an easy overnight sail from DE to Chesapeake. We reached Norfolk in time to get through the city and past the bridges before they closed for afternoon rush hour. A few miles south on the ICW is a lock with free tie ups to the docks next door. Grocery stores and restaurants in easy walking distance.
From there we followed the ICW, leaving in the morning and anchoring
off the channel each night until the Little River inlet SC. From their to FL we went with one overnight and two day sails
. Would have stayed in the ICW if I had more time. Problem is the southern section has a lot of shoaling that you have to cross at high tide unless you have a really shallow draft
so you can lose a lot of time waiting tides.
I highly recommend getting a couple of guide books
are excellent for planning stops, finding local resources like groceries, cheapest diesel
, etc. They do also list good anchoring
spots but most nights we picked our own based on where we were when we were ready to stop.
Good luck on the trip. It will be a lot of fun. Feel free to ask more details if you like.