1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: Exciting Times - the Snowbird Rally south from SAIL!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Exciting Times - the Snowbird Rally south from SAIL!

Wow - great news! As I've mentioned previously, SAIL Magazine is sponsoring a rally for new ICW
cruisers this fall which I'll be leading. The purpose of this rally is to provide a sense of safety and security for the new cruisers, introduce them to the ICW and the cruising life in a fun and friendly fashion. We've got a couple of great gigs planned - an all day seminar in Annapolis, plus parties and potlucks along the way and a wrap up party here in Miami where I am currently, at No Name Harbour in Baggs State Park.
Just today, I participated in a video conference call with one of the cities along the route. They are EXCITED that we're coming and they're rolling out the red carpet in a HUGE way.
We're talking parties, transportation, tours of the city, VIP dockage....all this and more in an historic town I consider to have the nicest waterfront on the ICW. We're talking Low Country hospitality here folks....more details as plans are firmed up, but if you, or friends, are thinking of going south this coming fall, check out the details at the above page, or join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SailMagICWRally This is going to be a fun, and historic, trip south.
The recent post answering some ICW questions was VERY well received - thank you everyone. With that in mind, I'm going to answer a couple of more questions on the ICW that I've received - and again, feel free to use the contact form at the lower right corner to send me your questions. I'll get to them as quickly as I possibly can.

Question from Debbie...
We are currently docked in cape may at canyon marina under engine repair it should be fixed by this weekend . We want to continue on to Chesapeake bay through the CD canal then on to the ICW to warmer climates is this doable this time of year or are we kidding ourselves ? We are on a 35 ft C&C. We left Halifax N.S. to Maine and did the US coast until engine problems plagued us in NewJersey :(

Hi Debbie - I thought I'd left the Chesapeake late a few times but you win that one! People do this trip at any time of the year and you'll see people sailing on the Chesapeake all year long. I've done the bottom third of the Chesapeake as late as February myself. Just watch the weather for any northers, more for the cold than anything else. This year has been really brutal weatherwise - as I'm sure you know, it's worse than anything we've seen in years - so duck into cover when you have to, travel when you can. With any luck, you'll catch a break and be able to get down the Chesapeake without any weather issues. There are lots of good anchorages on the Chesapeake, you can manage it in three long days, four reasonable, or one long overnighter if you feel up to it. The good news is, once you're at Norfolk and on the ICW, the ocean mitigates the temperatures and it's likely to be 5 - 10 degrees F warmer.
Heading up the Delaware, catch the flood tide leaving Cape May about a half hour after slack low and ride it up to the C&D - try not to do this with a north wind - it'll be cold and likely rough. Been there, done it in mid December, don't recommend it.
Don't know what you have for heat onboard, I suggest you purchase a Mr. Buddy - see http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mr.-Heater-Portable-Buddy-Heater/5712813 - use it until you go to bed, it'll warm the cabin up nicely. Don't use it overnight however, since you don't want to risk CO poisoning.
Please email me with any other questions you have, or if you need any advice re anchorages, etc. as you go. Let's make this trip a bit easier on you than it has been so far!
oh - Chesapeake City, at the end of the C&D has a free dock with power, so if you can leave Cape May early enough with the tide, you'll have a nice dock to tie up to. Annapolis is an easy day after that.
Good luck, please keep in touch with your progress, you can friend me at wally moran on Facebook if you wish.
Question from Murray
We are currently outfitting our hunter 45ds for a cruise to the bahamas, caribean... My question is on the ground tackle that we would need. The dealer gave ua a delta anchor with 20 ft of chain. I am thinking on adding a cqr with 200 ft. Do i need j2 anchors both with 200 ft of chain? Wont that be heavy? What are your recomendations

Hi Murray - nice boat! What size CQR? I'd suggest a 45, and the 200 feet of chain sized to the boat is a good choice. You might want to consider another 100 - 150 feet of three strand in addition to that. While this is a lot of line for the Bahamas, there will be anchorages in the Caribbean where you'll need more rode. The chain of course means that coral can't cut through. Be sure you have a snubber also. 
Check with your West Marine catalogue for the appropriate chain and rope size for your boat's weight, or Calder's cruising guide.
I have 75 feet of chain plus 150 feet of rope on a 34 foot boat with a 35 pound CQR and I'm going to add another 75 feet of chain. You might consider keeping the Delta if it's appropriately sized and put it on 100 feet of chain with another 100 feet of three strand. 
If you decide to bring a third anchor, give a Danforth style some thought - there are some anchorages where it will be the only thing that will hold. Just don't trust them anyplace where the currents swing you around, they can foul too easily in those conditions.
Yes, this will all be fairly heavy, but when the winds kick up, you won't mind, believe me. I dragged the other night in a blow, and the only reason I did was because I had too little rode out. I reanchored with 135 feet in 10 feet of water and had no problems.
You'll rarely need the extra anchor - but should you lose your primary, having that chain on the secondary will be very useful. 
Lastly, I'm hearing very good things about the new anchors available - Rocna and so on. You might want to take a look at them before making any final decision. Keep in mind, when it comes to anchors, everyone has a favourite - you'll get lots of advice. Just remember - weight is the key.