SeaKnots

Those of you who go up and down the east coast: ICW or offshore? Why?

I hope we get some interesting opinions here.

My preference is offshore for a number of reasons – a big one being that we have a 7’ draft. In ’06 we traveled the ICW from Norfolk to Lake Worth. It was interesting and I’m glad we did it but I don’t ever want to do it again. These days we use the ditch only between Norfolk and Morehead City because we want to avoid Cape Hatteras. But I think that with a good weather window I’d rather be outside for that area too.

I don’t like the bridges; I don’t like the few jerks who love to wake sailboats; I don’t like the short travel days in the fall; and I don’t like hitting bottom.

I like being able to go from Morehead City to Charleston in one overnight passage. I like being on the ocean.

So what’s your preference????

Mary

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That your website? http://www.transmarinepro.com/ ? Been poking around on it, looks like a lot of fun. So your going to the St. Pete boat show; I lived in St Pete for a bit, very nice place...wish I was down there right now but I'm stuck in Minnesota for now and it's snowing outside.

Mary - Looks like most people are saying that going Outside is much easier, but Inside should be done at least once.
Cameron - a suggestion for when your kids begin standing watch - try 2 hour watches. We did that with a crew of 4 and it worked well. Gives everyone 6 consecutive hours off watch - good for sleeping. And it would give the kids an easier intro to standing watch alone.

Mary
early in their watch training, a 3 hour watch, with an hour overlap on each end, ie:
Dad 6-9
son 8-11
mom 10-3
the child has an hour of backup with briefing and supervision to begin the watch, an hour of being "responsible", and an hour of backup with debriefing and supervision at the end of the watch.
Wow! I can't imagine doing the ICW from Florida to Long Island NONSTOP! I can't imagine doing the ICW at NIGHT.
quote: Where In The Hell Is Coinjock - Captains Cut Prime Rib!!!!)

end quote.

Coinjock is 6ish hr. @ 8kt south of the locks at Great Bridge. Watch for a few semi sub-merged logs/small trees in this treck! Good to do this durning daylight hours. Near no one goes it at night other then deliveries...

AYB, north of Coincock is 1/4nm before the locks at Great Bridge and there is as some know the free public dock across from the marina. Hang there on the 4 or 5 side tie public FIXED dock (no electricity, nor H2o). There are several family style eaterys (Mexican place was ok) and a good size grocery market, Banks, ABC booze, RX within 1 mile walking too!

Then head south 6ish hours and the Capt. prime rib is on the LEFT side marina heading South and the opposit sideon the RIGHT is where to stay as the cost is less and you just need to dinghy 300ft or so to the other side and eat.

LOL, too much info?!
One important factor in favor of the ICW is safety. Everyone seems to wary of Cape Hatteras but it isn't the only offshore danger. Strong northerly winds can create dangerous seas in, or near the Gulf Stream down the FL coast. The quandary is that the northerlies are favorable for sailing angle.
and it can be much cheaper on fuel
Mary,
Gee! The ICW sounds simply awful south of Moorehead. I'm trying to decide whether to go outside after Moorehead or to stay inside for a while - maybe down to Charleston. My boat draws 6-6 -- what do you think? And I'm leaving late on Dec 10th -- I know, I know..it's going to be cold with short days and many stops -- but then, I'm not spending time doing anything else...just cruising.
Bill
6.6!!!!!!!!!!! You're OUT!!!

LOL, outside that is :)
Last Dec @ that same time I was supose to do a delivery of a Swan64 from Baltimore Md. to West Indies. The Italian crew of 3 others just were not able to get it together and wanted to risk the Christmas winds so a capt. friend of mine that set it up said no go... they're just not planning it right. At that time I was managing a lovely Trumpy for 5 weeks and hanging at ABY on the ICW. at Great Bridge, Va. Long story... yah yah yea I know but the Swan drew 6.6 and no way could she come down south of there.

A friend with his Hans Christian telstar drew 8.4 and dreged da bottom of the ditch coming up after Oriental, NC.

I love the challenge of the chill being from the Cape Cod & Islands. So enjoy and know it's better weather ahead that will warm your knuckles and grins. Safe seas/)~
Mary,

I've done multiple trips up and down the East Coast, and finally did the ICW solo on my Allied Princess 36' Ketch. We didn't have much of a bottom problem,but did run more than a few times. It was actually behind Carolina Beach, rather than Georgia where I had the most problems tha were a surprise.

Two impressions that were a surprise are: how desolate the "ditch" is in many places (hope to never break down back there); and the distances that almost equire constant hand steering. The town were cute and the people most helpful along the way just as he ags report.

The rule of thumb is for every day offshoreyou do 3 in the "ditch", and those who think they will do the ditch at night are sadly mistaken. It simply isn't marked that well with lighted aid, and you have to seriously consider the tugs w/ barges! The other misconception is that you will actually sail much in the ICW.

If you want to sail go outside, but be sure of your weather. It's like going outside fromCape May NJ to the Chesapeake. You can do it in approx 20 hours with the right wind and water, but IF you are outside there is no place to duck in. So get a decent weather window.

Perhaps too long a response, but I hope it helps the discussion.

Capt Tom Blue
S/V Cayo Mio
Have done a round trip Newport-Miami offshore 6 times now...mast is too tall for the ICW. Much faster outside, just need to monitor the weather; can always bail out in many places if necessary - Cape May, Norfolk, Beaufort, Cape Fear, Hilton Head, Jacksonville, etc. Going south, leave New England after a front moves through to get Northerly windes; head for Hatteras, if weather is ok, go around; otherwise go into Norfolk/Hampton and wait for 1 1/2 day weather window around to Beaufort area; then stay inside the Gulf Stream at the 100' depth contour to get a little favorable counter current all the way to Miami. Typical trip 7-9 days.

Going North, ride the Gulf Stream at 9-10 kts from Miami to Hatteras on a beam reach most of the way, then rhumb line to New England with prevailing SW winds. Have done it in as little as 6 1/2 days. A lot of shipping around major ports to watch out for, but otherwise a great trip - good fishing, dolphins, etc.
I have a 48" sail 63 1/2 to top of instruments and 6 1/2 ft draft.

I have taken every segment of the trip from Norfolk to Fort Lauderdale both on the inside and the outside. Only one time has a bridge presented a problem on the ICW (leap tide). And as for depth, just stay in the channel.

Leaving from Easthampton Long Island, I usually go outside to Cape May, outside to Norfolk, inside to Beaufort NC,
outside to Masonboro, inside to Southport, outside to Charleston, outside to Fernandina Beach, outside to St Augustine,
and outside to Lake Worth Inlet. My reason for all the stops is I love to eat. I know where the restaurants are. But
weather is really the only determinant that needs to be considered by each sailor moving north and south.

Dick
SV Happy Valley

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