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-   -   US East Coast Inlets: 6' Draft (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f19/us-east-coast-inlets-6-draft-43996.html)

pete33458 21-07-2010 06:53

US East Coast Inlets: 6' Draft
 
Hello all: about to embark on a CT-FL voyage, first time on a trip of this length (heck, at around 1200 nm, this is about a year's worth of sailing for me!). I've tried searching for answers to this question, and although I'm sure it's been addressed before, my searches never seem to get me to where I want to go (is there an "All Words" search option?). Anyway, the plan is to go primarily on the outside (weather permitting), but should the weather force us in, or should we need water, or solid ground, or a cheeseburger, I'd like to know what our options are along southern Long Island and the coastal regions south to Ft Lauderdale. I know what the Class A inlets are (at least south of Norfolk), but would be interested in your experience with other inlets that might be usable. Any other insights you might have would also be welcomed. Please, I already understand the dangers associated with hurricane season, we'll be watching as closely as possible and won't take chances with that.

Thanks very much for your input, as always. Best wishes, Pete

speedoo 21-07-2010 07:10

I think there are plenty of inlets that you could use, too many to try to list here. There are several stretches with no inlets for you, such as eastern LI south shore that I would consider easy to plan around. And there are longer stretches that you probably want to avoid by going inside, like Cape Hatteras.

You might want to consider some Maptech Cruising Guides fior the east coast, which provide basic navigation info, including advice on the inlets, as well as lots of info on marinas and local attractions, provisioning, etc. These are frequently available on ebay, and I believe there is one for the entire east coast.

And the other major consideration that you need to plan around is the north currents of the Gulf Stream.

svHyLyte 21-07-2010 07:25

For Virginia and south, check out Cruiser's Net . It would also be wise to obtain a copy of the US Coast Pilot--Atlantic Seaboard.

sck5 21-07-2010 07:41

this is what you need

Inlet ChartBook: Southeastern United States - 3rd Ed.

Mambo 21-07-2010 07:50

Activecaptain is a pretty good resource too. I would say that some (but definitely not all) of the inlets described there as requiring local knowledge can be navigated by first timers with good planning and maybe a conversation with someone with first hand knowledge. Check it out.

stacy 21-07-2010 08:20

we have found the Inlet chartbook helpful also but even more so we call the local tow boat companies and get the latest info about the inlet

Eric M 21-07-2010 08:51

A few you will pass in S. Georgia into Florida listed in order from North to South.
St. Marys River to Ferendina Beach, FL - Major shipping port - 40+ feet of water
Mayport, FL - Major shipping port - 40+ feet of water
St. Augustine, FL - Follow another larger boat and you will be fine, but expect ~10 feet of water at low tide.
All of the above 3 can be pretty interesting if the tide is against the ocean swell.
Ponce Inlet - I draw 4.5' and bumped several times once inside trying to go both north and south on the ICW
Skipping a few as I have not been thru them, but once you get down to West Palm Beach, the Lake worth inlet will also be no problem wtih 6' of draft, but again watch the tide against the ocean swell.
Good Luck,

--Eric

djmarchand 21-07-2010 09:21

It is really the wind against the outgoing tide that can be a problem. All of the east coast inlets that face due east have this problem. Waiting 4 hours can make a big difference.

One of the worst times I have ever had in boating was exiting Miami at Government Cut against a twenty knot wind and full ebb tide. The waves were steep and sharp and running 6-8 feet until I got outside far enough to turn 90 degrees and clear the entrance.

And the same thing happened the next day at Lake Worth Inlet.

David

s/v Beth 21-07-2010 10:44

When is the wind a problem- when it blows directly into the current or 90 degrees from it? We see this in the sound as well.

Vasco 21-07-2010 11:11

Quote:

Originally Posted by s/v Beth (Post 489024)
When is the wind a problem- when it blows directly into the current or 90 degrees from it? We see this in the sound as well.

If it's blowing hard from northeast to southeast and it's ebbing, the waves will stack up in most East Coast inlets. Makes for a hobby horse ride going out and going in you need good power to prevent broaching.

speedoo 21-07-2010 12:37

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vasco (Post 489042)
If it's blowing hard from northeast to southeast and it's ebbing, the waves will stack up in most East Coast inlets. Makes for a hobby horse ride going out and going in you need good power to prevent broaching.

Not sure it has to be blowing hard. Last time I went into Ft. Lauderdale, it was pretty tough, not much wind and I don't know what the tide was doing. But the waves in the channel were big enough to really bounce me around in a 32 ft. sailboat. So much so that I was lucky to get into the wake of a big commercial power vessel that smoothed things out for me.

svHyLyte 22-07-2010 06:01

It takes rather a long time for wind driven waves to calm after the wind has quit. Depending upon the wind's prior duration, several hours or even days. The inlets on the east coast of Florida--particularly Government Cut in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale--are famously rough with an out-bound tide and on-shore wind driven waves. While it can be unnerving, hugging either side of the channel, closer to the stone jetties, will give one somewhat less exposure to the waves than one experiences in mid-channel as the water flow near the edges is slower. It also pays to keep one's head on a swivel as heading into any of these inlets with a cruise or commercial ship beginning its way into the fairway can lead to some pretty exciting times as they move a heck of a lot faster than they appear to and generate some pretty spectacular bow waves when seen from the deck level of a sailboat. While the locals seem to handle these conditions with aplomb, for us it was pretty nerve racking until we had cleared the jetties.

FWIW...

AnchorageGuy 22-07-2010 06:25

Pete, To try and give you some answers, we traveled the east coast for decades with a 6 foot draft. The inlets we found safe and useful, keeping weather and conditions in mind, are from north to south, Atlantic City, Cape May, Chesapeake Bay, Beaufort, NC inlet, Masonboro Inlet, Cape Fear, Winyah Bay, Charleston, Port Royal, St. Mary's, St. Johns River, St. Augustine, Canaveral, Fort Pierce, Lake Worth, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Key Biscayne. I don't think I have forgotten any and we have not been any further north than New Jersey, yet. Chuck

Auspicious 22-07-2010 07:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Waterwayguy (Post 489463)
Atlantic City, Cape May, Chesapeake Bay, Beaufort, NC inlet, Masonboro Inlet, Cape Fear, Winyah Bay, Charleston, Port Royal, St. Mary's, St. Johns River, St. Augustine, Canaveral, Fort Pierce, Lake Worth, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Key Biscayne.

I can't speak to inlets south of Charleston (I'm usually way offshore by then). North of that I agree with Chuck except for Cape May. I find Cape Henlopen a much easier inlet than Cape May only five miles south and with a much easier entrance and exit.

YMMV.

Vasco 22-07-2010 08:02

The Cape May entrance is quite wide between the jetties. You can get great big rollers running in when the weather's not cooperating. I had to go full ahead on the engine to maintain steerage on the way in once. In the same storm another sailor was not so lucky. he was an experienced skipper and broached going into Barnegat. Unfortunately he drowned and his ketch was wrecked.


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