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Old 21-06-2024, 17:30   #1
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ICW North Carolina

We have a 39' Cal sailboat. 6.8 keel and 60' mast.
We are in Norfolk Virginia at mm 0. We started our trip in Boston, MA all on the outside until here.
We would like to continue from here in the ICW at least through N.C.

I have studied the charts etc. It looks like we would be fine to continue through N.C. this way but spoke to someone today who said he has a motor boat that he's taken on the ICW many times with a 4 foot draft and would not suggest we do this. Please help. I have constrictions from so many people. Yes, No, Yes, No.

Can someone please help. I really don't want to be on the outside of N.C. but I also don't want to cause any problems. Thank you, Pippins
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Old 21-06-2024, 17:50   #2
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Re: ICW North Carolina

You’ll have no problem. 60’ mast is easy. Your draft is a bit harder but once you get to Beaufort NC you have 4ft tides to work with.

Don’t feel embarrassed about doing the ICW instead of offshore. Unless you want to do overnights, you’ll probably get there quicker on the ICW since you can go everyday instead of waiting for weather windows. Punching into a south wind offshore is no fun.And because shallows extend far offshore in these waters you can spend half your day getting in and out the inlets to anchor. On the ICW the anchorages are going by all the time.

Do you have a tablet with Aquamap loaded? Load Bob423’s tracks and enable the USACE survey display. These show the shallow stretches you have to worry about. You’ll only have a couple of them a day. Schedule your day to not go through one within 2 hours of low tide and you’ll be fine.

In the ICW we plan for 100 miles every three days. Two days of 50 miles and a day off to provision, sight see , or read a book on a rainy day. Trying to go faster becomes a real grind.

We also found it helpful to have one person at the helm using the chartplotter zoomed in close to stay in the channel. The other acts as navigator with the tablet looking a mile or two ahead at what’s coming and dealing with passing boats. Switch roles every few hours.
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Old 21-06-2024, 18:07   #3
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Re: ICW North Carolina

This is very helpful. Thank you so much for your attention to detail. You said exactly what I thought but because the ICW is new to us I was beginning to feel very anxious. I really appreciate you responding so quickly.
Wish us luck. We will be on the ICW within 48 hours!

PS We don't have aquamap. I've never heard of that. I'll check Into it.
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Old 21-06-2024, 18:19   #4
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Re: ICW North Carolina

While we have no problems with depths with a 3.7' draft we rarely see depths under 8ft on the Virginia Cut. The Dismal Swamp would be harder. Our friends have done the Virginia Cut with their Alberg 37 and I think they are close to 7ft draft.

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Old 21-06-2024, 18:24   #5
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Re: ICW North Carolina

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Originally Posted by Pippins View Post
This is very helpful. Thank you so much for your attention to detail. You said exactly what I thought but because the ICW is new to us I was beginning to feel very anxious. I really appreciate you responding so quickly.
Wish us luck. We will be on the ICW within 48 hours!

PS We don't have aquamap. I've never heard of that. I'll check Into it.
I wouldn’t be without it on the ICW. @CarlF gave you great advice, and I suggest you follow all of it. Also, I highly recommend you join this group on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest changes and hazards/closures. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ICWCruisingGuide/ It’s a very active group.
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Old 21-06-2024, 18:26   #6
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Re: ICW North Carolina

Thank you for this information. We are starting to feel better much better about the ICW. We are not doing the Dismal Swamp. The more positive stories the better!
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Old 21-06-2024, 18:31   #7
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Re: ICW North Carolina

With long days in the summer you can make some good time. This time of year we go to Coinjock first (get the prime rib) and then to Belhaven. We stay in Belhaven a few days before moving down to Beaufort.

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Old 21-06-2024, 18:32   #8
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Re: ICW North Carolina

Sounds great!!!
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Old 21-06-2024, 18:34   #9
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Re: ICW North Carolina

I just joined the fb group. Thank you
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Old 21-06-2024, 18:47   #10
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Re: ICW North Carolina

Travelling the ICW, you are bound to run aground somewhere. Barge traffic may push you over, a moment of inattention at the wheel, etc, will get you in the mud.

I think it's imperative to monitor the tides each and every day.
If you know you are going to go thru' some tricky areas, at least do so on an incoming tide.

A 6.8' draft is going to be problematic, no two ways about it, to think otherwise would be foolish, sorry to say.

It's been a while since I did an ICW trip going north, but seem to recall a number of draw bridges that will require an opening. These often operate on a schedule.

The trick is to constantly look behind you to tell if you are still in the channel. This is especially true, if it's windy, as the wind can blow you out of the channel without you knowing it.

Try to plan each day's route, so you'll know where to stop for the night, take on fuel, etc. This may mean a short run on one day, and a long run on the next, etc.

Finally, best piece of advice I can give you. Be sure you are a member of BoatUS or Towboat, as these folks will come help you out of jamb if needed. Without that membership, you could find yourself in a heap of trouble.

While electronic charting is great, don't have your eyes glued to it. Keeping looking ahead, behind you, etc. Don't leave the helm unattended for a second.

Don't mean to throw a damper on your goals, but just giving you a realistic assessment, especially as you sound like a newbie to my ears. Nothing wrong with that, just be diligent..
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Old 21-06-2024, 19:00   #11
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Re: ICW North Carolina

Great advice all around. We have Towboat and have used them. They are fantastic.

We have been sailing for about 15 years. This is our 2nd sailboat. Although, we have always been in the North and never in the ICW. With that said.. we feel like beginners here lol. Thank you so much for your comments.
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Old 22-06-2024, 03:25   #12
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Re: ICW North Carolina

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Originally Posted by Pippins View Post
PS We don't have aquamap. I've never heard of that. I'll check Into it.

What they said.

I DO recommend you get AquaMap, and then do the in-app purchase to install the USACE survey data. Very useful.

Bob423's route is also interesting, but we've never had to worry much about replicating his exact path anywhere in NC. Might help you to have that loaded, too, though.

"Fly the route" in advance for each day's segment, plan your transit times through any of the shallower areas to coincide with mid-tide or higher (we prefer mid-tide rising, if given a choice).

Not too many shallow areas through NC, anyway. A slightly tricky place following the markers at the New River south of Onslow Beach Bridge... Otherwise, most of the shallows we've encountered were in SC and GA.

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Old 22-06-2024, 06:09   #13
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Re: ICW North Carolina

Once you hit Florida...if you plan on coming that far south, things change for the worse.
The ICW has several notable shallow areas
Further south are many bridges.

I have only done the ICW once going south in Florida, and swore to myself I'd rather stick red hot needles in my eyes than do it again.

I've run offshore Florida a gazillion times, and from my point of view, it's the only way to fly.
Short overnight hops are a piece of cake. J'ville to Cape Canaveral, CC to Ft. Pierce, Ft.P to WPB, etc. All deep water.
Presumbly you'll want to go to the B'mas. That's a short hop to the Abaco's.
This time of the year mostly very settled weather.
While hurricanes are always a concern, you'll get plenty of warning, giving you time to be elsewhere.
6'8" draft is doable in the B'mas, but you'll need to be selective of where you go.
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Old 22-06-2024, 07:17   #14
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Re: ICW North Carolina

Thank you MicHughV.
We were just thinking about doing the icw in NC. I really don't want red hot needles stuck in my eyes so will take your advice and stick to the outside in Florida lol.
We are taking the boat to the St John's River so the rest of your info is very helpful.
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Old 22-06-2024, 07:24   #15
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Re: ICW North Carolina

Again great info. I loaded AquaMap into my phone. I have a Note 3 so it acts like a tablet but I'm wondering if I need to use the computer instead? I could not find Bob423 so I'm thinking it's my phone. Thoughts? I really would rather not have to bring the lap top into the cockpit.
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