1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: Homeward bound on the ICW

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Homeward bound on the ICW

Shrimpers in Fernandina Beach
I'm not out of Florida yet, but I can see Georgia from here in Fernandina Beach, so we're making progress! Besides, it's a sailboat, so slow is good!
Ran into some LiveBloggers here - Tammy and Bruce Swart, Charlie Freeman, John from Renaissance, a Westsail 32, Wolfgang, and Gary and his wife from Country Dancer, whom I last saw in the Middle River....busy spot.
Naturally, the weather has decided to go offside on me. No late afternoon storms for the past week, but they started today, now that I'm ready to run offshore. Go figure. 
I may start in the early mornings and do short hops up the coast - Fernandina Beach to St. Simons, St. Simons to St. Catherines, then Tybee Roads into Hilton Head, Hilton Head to Charleston, to Winyah Bay, then Little River Inlet, Southport, then back on to the ICW, getting in early and avoiding the fun offshore when the winds and waves kick up. Along with the miles saved by this route, I avoid the twists and turns of the GA and SC ICW, the more notorious shallow areas, and I get to anchor out every night, which Aduana will appreciate. It's actually a good route for a singlehander to make good time up the coast without exhausting him/herself. Mileages are manageable, yet you avoid the long days that the ICW entails.
The ICW Rally continues to grow, it's actually quite exciting, and the itinerary is getting more and more exciting. If you've been considering joining in, I suggest you do so soon, before enrolment is closed off. You can get details at the Facebook page.
I received a couple of interesting questions recently on the ICW - here's one, from Ruth, about dealing with your mast on the route south from the Great Lakes:

Is there a good company to step your mast along the way to do that who will also store the lumber?
Thanks again,

Hi Ruth - wonderful question - if you choose to step your mast yourselves at Castleton Boat Club, you can store your lumber there, and then pick it up again on your way north. Just mark it with your name and anticipated return date....you'll see that when you arrive there. I discuss this in a small way on my video about traveling the ICW, btw.

And another question, this one about coming south from New York - 

Hi Wally,

Do you have anything written down, or a chart marked, to indicate the route from New York Harbor to Norfolk?  I've purchased all of the charts, books, and videos I can lay my hands on about Norfolk to Miami, as well as the route from the Erie Canal to the New York Harbor, but haven't found anything that takes me from New York to Norfolk.  Even your Snowbirds Rally starts in Norfolk.  As first timers, we're unsure of where to even find this information.  You're it!  :-)
Is it an off shore passage around New Jersey?  Or, is there a route to get to the Delaware River from New York? And how long to get from Toronto to Norfolk?
I really appreciate your help.

Hi Ruth - the route south from New York is offshore, as the Jersey ICW is too shallow for cruising boats and has low bridges. Depending on your mast height (55') you can go through Cape May - over that height, you'll go round Cape May. From there, it's up the Delaware River to the C&D Canal, then into the Chesapeake. 
You can do the Jersey coast in four short hops - Manasquan, Barnegat, Atlantic City and then Cape May, or overnight it in one jump to Cape May. Leaving Cape May, leave about a half hour to an hour behind the low tide on the Delaware Bay side of Cape May and ride the tide up to the C&D - otherwise, it's a long SLOW slog up the river. If you get it right, you'll get a free ride all the way to Chesapeake City, where there are FREE docks!
It's shorter of course to run straight south to Norfolk, but that means missing the Chesapeake, Annapolis and the other neat places. There's really no place to put in on the Delmarva coast for a sailboat, so it's a straight run with no breaks. Some do it, most opt for the ease of the longer route.
Hope that helps..
Toronto to Norfolk - depends on how much of a rush you are in. Figure two days for mast up/down.  A day to get to Oswego, another five or six to Albany, three to NYC, three to Cape May, two more to Annapolis, and three more to Norfolk. That's anchoring out every night btw. So, three weeks. A delivery captain would do this in about a week, running 24 hours a day.