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Old 22-05-2020, 11:37   #1
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Long Mast issue ICW - What do you guys do? Docking, etc

I know the logical answer is go outside into the ocean.


But I'm wondering about the bridge limitations how it applies to where you live, where you dock, and how you travel.


Pros and cons....local knowledge, etc...


Mainly US East Coast



I'm considering >Lagoon 450 and want to understand your experience.


Right now I'm in Stuart Fl and see no large masted vessels. Lots of fixed bridges...
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Old Today, 07:52   #2
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Re: Long Mast issue ICW - What do you guys do? Docking, etc

The logical answer is the one we used. We left Stuart and headed into the ocean. The only time we went inside was going into Winyah Bay to dodge weather. No bridges.



We bought our boat in Stuart, actually Port Salerno. While our mast is supposed to be ICW capable, the previous owner managed to hit at least one bridge wiping out the Windex and bending the lightening rod at the top of the mast He did use the ICW to get from Port Salerno to Riviera Beach for the survey and back.




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Old Today, 08:50   #3
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Re: Long Mast issue ICW - What do you guys do? Docking, etc

There are a couple of ICW bridges on the east coast of FL that are lower than typical ICW minimums (i.e. 64' or less). Sometimes you just have to go outside.
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Old Today, 09:39   #4
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Re: Long Mast issue ICW - What do you guys do? Docking, etc

I can't speak to the East Coast, but I can share a little bit about the Gulf Coast.

The highest fixed clearance in our area is about 73 ft. A standard Lagoon 450 has a 74 foot air draft if I recall correctly. Many in the area who purchased them had the mast chopped down to 70 feet or so fo that very reason. It does limit you to where and when you can go. My Saona has a reported air draft of 70'9" and if the tides are not low, I can curb feel with my VHF antennas on a couple of the bridges.
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Old Today, 09:59   #5
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Re: Long Mast issue ICW - What do you guys do? Docking, etc

If your mast height is anything above 65' then it is impractical to travel the ICW, , unless you are willing to wait, potentially for a week or more, for low water to allow clearance of various fixed bridges. Even at 65' there are a few bridges, two come to mind, that will often be impassible for long periods, providing only 64' of clearance most of the time.

When I say anything over 65', that is in the range of 65' to 67'. I think a Lagoon 450 is like 70' so just expect to never get under any 65' fixed bridge. Plan your inshore stops. Many, perhaps even most, good East Coast inlets have anchorages and marinas accessible without passing under a bridge, but you will be excluded from many more anchorages and marinas just beyond some 65' bridge.

From the practical standpoint of making the journey north/south up/down the East Coast the ICW is a nice option. Weather that would be very uncomfortable offshore is a non-event on all of the ICW other than some of the larger sounds. Still, it is easy enough to make the journey all on the outside with just a series of single day and single overnight sails. If you accept a moderate level of offshore sea state the time required is probably about the same on average with time spent waiting for acceptable weather offshore made up for by sailing offshore overnight. Most do not travel the ICW at night.
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Old Today, 10:28   #6
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Re: Long Mast issue ICW - What do you guys do? Docking, etc

I have a short mast, and bridges are no issue, but I’ll often go outside when headed North, cause you can really fly in the Gulfstream with 250 mile days possible with the 4 kt current.

I frequently see boats going very slow under a bridge cause they just barely clear, they wait for smooth water and can’t handle a wake, of course often other boats don’t know or care and don’t have the radio on.
I couldn’t handle the stress myself.
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