1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: ICW Questions - and Answers

Thursday, May 8, 2014

ICW Questions - and Answers

I'm sure you've noticed that annoying little question box that pops up in the lower right hand corner of the page, right? Well, it's garnered a lot of response and some GREAT questions about the ICW - things I've never perceived as an issue - but that, for some, are actually of great concern.
So, let's take a look at some ICW questions and answers - and if you have a question of your own, just grab that little box and send it to me!

An interesting question I've never been asked...

Message - If my Nonsuch 30 is registered in Canada, what do I need to do with my tender (2 horse power) to cruise the ICW to Florida?

Response - GREAT question, I've never been asked that one previously. As long as you are legal in Canada, you're legal with your dinghy wherever you go. A lot of Florida water cops don't know this however, and you'll have to explain it to them (slowly!). I had an officer on the Chesapeake Bay ten years ago insist I MUST get a Maryland registration for my dinghy since I didn't have a Canadian one. I simply told him 'fine', since it was the weekend and I was leaving the area before the offices re-opened. Most of them aren't that stupid. They DO have guns though....
Be patient... but seriously, you don't have to do a thing. Some people put their boat registration number on their dinghy, which isn't strictly legal - I haven't and don't recommend it.
(Note to American boaters - you may face tax issues if your boat is in Florida or other states for too long a time. The subject is too complex to get into here, I'll save it for a later discussion after further research).

New, and nervous, cruiser...

Message - would 75 feet of galvanized chain plus 150 feet of half inch rope,pulled up by hand do.with a cqr anchor. i do have an old dingy inflatable avon type with soft bottom and motor.will these do in the bahamas.the thout of doing the erie canal single handed is bad enough.
i do wear a safty harness all the time,so i em some what safty conius. bad speller 
thanks for any help

Response - Hi David - spelling isn't counted, lol! the chain and rode will be fine for your boat....an old dinghy takes a lot of abuse on these trips, if you can upgrade there, you should. Nothing more frustrating than an old dink that is starting to leak air or water, keep in mind, it's your ONLY transportation to shore. fyi, the Erie Canal is very easy once you get the hang of it, I've singlehanded it half a dozen times with no problems. The lockmasters will work with you to make it simple.

This is probably the most common ICW question I get...

Message - Wally, my draft is 6' 9", can I get down the ICW?

Response - Hi Wayne - you're pushing the limit, but yes - at certain of the inlets, and places such as Little Mud River and Jekyll Creek, you'll absolutely HAVE to go through at half tide rising, which will give you a minimum of an extra 4 feet of water. I don't suppose I have to tell you to be sure to get Boat US for towing insurance with that draft? Even though it's easily do-able - even some good sized cruise ships do the ditch - as a first timer, you'll likely go aground at least once with that draft. No shame in that though, we all go aground there eventually, and it's only sand anyway...

How do we keep in touch while on the ICW? 

Message - Communications on boat. to and from other vessels and land via internet.

Response - Hi Tex - that's a fairly complex question and I'm not a techhead but there are three or four basic methods. First, there's your smartphone. If you have data, you can also set the phone up as a hotspot for your computer. Next, there's the wifi from whatever marina you are at. They all have wifi, so if you're at a dock, you're good. If you're anchored out, you can often pick up a wifi signal and use it - although many now require passwords. You can improve your range and signal using an antennae - I use a wirie, but there are quite a few different models about - expect to pay about $250 for one of these. I'm online with mine now to the city of Miami Beach wifi signal, which is only marginal without the antenna.
You can also purchase a mifi, which is a unit that gives you a wireless hotspot on your boat. You can secure that signal with encryption, by the way.
Hope this helps - the thing about this aspect of cruising is that it's constantly changing - today's answer is not much good by the week after next. I'm going to have a webinar on this topic featuring an expert at a future date, so stay tuned.

...and what would a post like this be without the mandatory anchor question???

Message - 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

Response - 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. 
(note please, this was written before I got my Mantus anchor)

So, what's YOUR question - ask away. I'll answer as quickly as possible.