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Old 10-07-2014, 15:27   #1
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Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

Hi everyone,

My wife and I are trying to determine our schedule for making the trip down the east coast to florida and then onto the Caribbean. The boat will be in a marina on the delaware river. We are going to be provisioning and making last minute preparations out of our home city of Philadelphia this summer.

My question is,
When is the most desirable time to head south? We are invited to a close family friends wedding November 17th but feel that if we delay too long then it will possibly be really cold when we set sail.

Obviously we want to avoid leaving too early during hurricane season but not too late where the weather is frigid.

Has anyone made this journey around that time?

Thanks
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Old 10-07-2014, 15:48   #2
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

I'm sure you will get lots of good suggestions for doing this run, but I just wanted to mention that if you have insurance, they might have some restrictions on where you must be at certain times of the year.

Also, FL may not be the best place to head to the Caribbean depending on how you planned to get there.

Mark
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Old 10-07-2014, 16:01   #3
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I'm sure you will get lots of good suggestions for doing this run, but I just wanted to mention that if you have insurance, they might have some restrictions on where you must be at certain times of the year.

Also, FL may not be the best place to head to the Caribbean depending on how you planned to get there.

Mark

Sums it all up but if you do not have insurance restrictions I would start from the Delaware River in mid or late September. It starts to get cold once you get into October. ICW or outside?
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Old 10-07-2014, 16:15   #4
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

As Mark Twain said "everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it".

It is really impossible to answer your question. A early cold front could make it chilly when ever you leave. On the other hand you could get favorable weather and make an outside run for a few days and leave very late.

I don't trust the weather predictions for next week, less yet next fall.

But it would help if you provided a few more details about how fast you are planning on traveling.
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Old 10-07-2014, 18:01   #5
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

I did this exact trip two years ago.
Left Riverside NJ late September.
Delaware River
DC Canal
Chesapeake
ICW (Norfolk to Beaufort) via the Virgina Cut
Outside to Cape Canaveral

I never make a date when I have to arrive, makes for bad decisions
We had a 6 day layover in Beaufort waiting for weather
After getting the stuffing kicked out of us on the Albermarle Sound
You are going to have some exposure to Hurricane season because it takes
At least 7 or 8 days to cover the ICW.
I would not go outside and round Cape Hatteras that time of the year.
PM me if you want more details of the trip
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Old 10-07-2014, 18:06   #6
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

I plan on head to the delaware canals then down the chesapeke while following the icw down. I don't feel comfortable going to far out yet so kinda want to stick close to land.
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Old 10-07-2014, 18:21   #7
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

If I remember right theory says you want to leave on the cusp of the end of Hurricane season and before the winter gales start. We left in October when there was ice on the dock in the am at times. Actually we left Norfolk within a day of the cruisers rally that used to leave there for Bermuda... when was that?
The problem with using average years for predictions is it doesn't necessarily apply to you! We got badly hammered south of Hatteras. Our 47 footer was taking green water over most the boat. So bad that normally watertight hatches ( the offshore ones with a dog on each side) were streaming water inside the boat.
Personally I would watch the weather forecast, there are a lot of intervals with nothing forming way down in the southern ocean. Even if forming down there... it would be a week and a half before it came up. That's enough interval to be inside somewhere even if it did happen to form into something.... which most don't. In the winter, you're pretty much guaranteed some heavy weather often. JMHO
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:27   #8
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

I've left Philly in October and December to go south. Last time was December 6, just got snow at the marina- yeah it was cold until I got to the lock at dismal swamp. had the whole bay, ICW to myself, was even the only boat in Elizabeth City. So it can be done late-

I like leaving in late October- especially if your only doing the ICW and not off shore, crowds are a lot less.




Where is your boat in Philly? I'm a live aboard at Pier 3.
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:35   #9
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

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Originally Posted by Bluemansailor View Post
I've left Philly in October and December to go south. Last time was December 6, just got snow at the marina- yeah it was cold until I got to the lock at dismal swamp. had the whole bay, ICW to myself, was even the only boat in Elizabeth City. So it can be done late-

I like leaving in late October- especially if your only doing the ICW and not off shore, crowds are a lot less.




Where is your boat in Philly? I'm a live aboard at Pier 3.

Thanks so much blue man for your response. Including pictures and real world experience is why I come onto these forum's, instead of just hearing opinions from people
Also, your at pier 3, sweet! My boat will be either there or at Morgans pier. I learned to sail at the liberty sailing school. So I would definitely like to get in touch with you when the boat arrives.

Thanks!
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:05   #10
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

I've done the trip in September, October and November.It is anyone's guess as to what weather you will hit. Could be perfect and crisp or really cold. However you are likely to have winds abaft the beam. Why not leave mid October and slowly get the boat to Annapolis or Norfolk or a smaller, out of the way and less expensive marina and leave her there until after the Nov 17 wedding? You can enjoy the Chesapeake at its best, enter the ICW fairly far south as weather stay reasonable in protected ICW. Hard to inlet hop going south due to Gulf Stream in some areas.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:36   #11
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

We left the mid chesapeake on December 6th this last year and by that time most of the dockside water was being turned off in the marinas and many of the diesel stops were being shut down. Ice was starting to stay for the day in some marinas.

It was also freakin' cold! I say be in upper South Carolina no later than mid to late November.
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Old 13-07-2014, 05:36   #12
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Re: Trying to figure out the right time to sail south from Philadelphia

Thanks for the help guys! I have a good idea at least of what to expect.
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