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Old 10-15-2009, 03:42 AM   #1
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Another newbie question. Lets say i want to sail from Texas to Maine. Where can I obtain information on places that I can safely and legally drop anchor and spend the night as well as full service marinas to resupply and refuel. Also, are there pubs available that define the best times of the year to take a route or the times when you absoluletly shouldn't. Thanks.
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:27 AM   #2
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Another newbie question. Lets say i want to sail from Texas to Maine. Where can I obtain information on places that I can safely and legally drop anchor and spend the night as well as full service marinas to resupply and refuel. Also, are there pubs available that define the best times of the year to take a route or the times when you absoluletly shouldn't. Thanks.
Best time of the year to start is now!!! If you sail over to Panama City you can leave behind the next cold front and it will take you down to south Florida. You can anchor almost anywhere that is out of the channel on the ICW. But you should wait until spring to start the trip north on the east coast of Fl. The big questions is what boat do you have and what is the draft and height of the mast? Do you plan to go by way of the ICW or outside? I have made most of the trip and will give you more info if you contact me at trc1029@yahoo.com.

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Old 11-06-2009, 01:47 AM   #3
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Best time of the year to start is now!!! If you sail over to Panama City you can leave behind the next cold front and it will take you down to south Florida. You can anchor almost anywhere that is out of the channel on the ICW. But you should wait until spring to start the trip north on the east coast of Fl. The big questions is what boat do you have and what is the draft and height of the mast? Do you plan to go by way of the ICW or outside? I have made most of the trip and will give you more info if you contact me at trc1029@yahoo.com.

Sailorman14
A sail north on the East coast of the USA is not be most pleasant sail, however, it can and has been done.

If you can use the ICW, do it. I personally have never done it.

The major obstacle is the Gulf Stream. When it is running take it as far north as you can.

Be prepared. Learn how to heave to, you may have to.

Be prepared. Northers can build up a rough and choppy sea. There are Cruiser Guides for this sail

although generally they are for sailing south, just back track them.

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A sail north on the East coast of the USA is not be most pleasant sail, however, it can and has been done.

If you can use the ICW, do it. I personally have never done it.

The major obstacle is the Gulf Stream. When it is running take it as far north as you can.

Be prepared. Learn how to heave to, you may have to.

Be prepared. Northers can build up a rough and choppy sea. There are Cruiser Guides for this sail

although generally they are for sailing south, just back track them.
Add to my previous. Sell your boat. Go to Maine, purchase a new one and

sail back to Texas. This is not a ridiculous as it sounds.

Dont fall in love with a boat you cant eat it.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:45 AM   #4
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This question has lots of answers, I'll try to give you a few.

There are plenty of cruising guides and guides to marinas and facilities along the ICW. For some times of the year, the ICW is the way to travel, though it can be restricting and annoying in places.

If you can sail up the east coast, do so. The Gulf Stream, dangerous in a norther, is a great boost when the wind is coming from any other direction. During the biannual snowbird migrations you might want to avoid the ICW and sail from harbor to harbor to avoid the silliness that the ICW becomes. Powerboats zooming by, sometimes being dangerously inconsiderate. Sailboats behaving foolishly and sometimes dangerously inconsiderate. Yes, the annoyances of boat behavior on the ICW is a hobbyhorse of mine.

Your charts can show you places to anchor - reasonable depth, shelter from the prevailing winds, out of marked channels.

If you identify towns near where you think you'd like to anchor, look them up on the internet - you'll usually find enough information to decide if you'd like to stop there.

The Cruising WIKI here has some information about the US, but it will continue to grow as people put in their information. I should be more active on the Wiki than I have been, and will try to enter more when we're back on the boat after the holidays.

Your level of experience has much to do with whether an apparent anchorage will work for you. Wind direction and tidal currents have a lot to do with whether an anchorage will be great, just barely good enough, or not so great; with experience it becomes easier to judge from the chart which it will be.

Tools to help you.

Sailing up the east coast. As I said, you want to avoid northers at all costs, whether going north or south, because of what it does to the Gulf Stream. Listen to NOAA weather on your VHF radio every morning - it will give local conditions and offshore conditions for that area. For a good visual idea of what is going on over a period of 3 to 5 days, you can download GRIB files - my most important resource for deciding when to venture offshore. You can download the software for obtaining them on the internet from GRIB US

It takes some time to get a feel for what you are seeing, and how well you can trust it. When I first learned of it I downloaded a local GRIB file every day and just compared what I saw with what we encountered. And when weathered in, I would download a GRIB file morning and evening if possible until I was sure of a weather window for us to make a passage. No weather forecasting source is infallible, but for the short term, most are pretty good. Keep in mind that GRIB files are essentially raw data that you have to interpret for yourself. Take the time to practice getting and interpreting the information so that when you really need it you will be reasonably confident of your information.

A few of my favorite stops on the ICW: Savannah, Georgia. Charleston, SC (such a lovely old southern city). Chesapeake Bay.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:09 AM   #5
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The Waterway Guide books have just about everything you need to know. http://www.waterwayguide.com/

I've done this trip over 35 times. The best way to go is sail down the west coast of Florida, cut inside of the keys and up into Biscayne Bay. (Miami) Then head offshore and catch the Stream all the way up to Beaufort, NC. If weather blows up beforehand you can always enter the ICW and head up the ditch, it just takes much much longer because you have to stop for bridges, deal with idiot traffic, and stop at night most of the time because you will just run aground in the dark. Plus, the canals, especially the Low Country in Georgia, are very meandering and cover WAY more mileage. Beaufort is a great town and very boat friendly with a great marina, and wild horses running around on the islands right off of the marina. Charleston is also a great place to stop in at about halfway, or enter the ICW.

At Beaufort you enter the ICW so that you pass inside of Cape Hatteras. It is not called the graveyard of ships for no reason. If your mast is over 65 feet you will have to go outside the whole way. It is ALWAYS blowing at least a gale off of Hatteras, but on the inside you can run up Pamlico Sound sailing at a great pace in protected waters as it is blowing like snot outside.

Stop in the River Forest Manor before you enter the Alligator-Pungo canal, they have a great smorgasbord. Don't miss it.

Coinjock is another cool place to stop. Depends on your boatspeed.

When you reach Virginia you can stay in the main channel or choose to enter the Dismal Swamp Canal, which is really awesome but they have not been dredging it for years and last I heard was down to five foot controlling depth, but it is worth the detour if you have a shoal draft. These canals were surveyed by George Washington.

This will bring you to Norfolk VA. Nice marinas here and of course huge Navy base.

After Norfolk you can either run back outside the rest of the way, catching the Stream again. Depends on your rush, the quickest is to get in the Stream in Miami and ride it the entire way, made Miami to Boston in six days in a forty footer. However you will see NONE of the sights on the way. On the other hand, made Norfolk to Ft Lauderdale in over a MONTH on the ICW the whole way in a 37 footer.

If its still blowing outside, head up the Chesapeake, thru the Chesapeake Delaware canal, and down Delaware Bay to Cape May, NJ. The Jersey shore MUST be run outside. There is an inside waterway but it has lots of shoals and low bridges and is only for small boats. Wait for good weather at Cape May to run up to NYC, or break outwards towards Nantucket if you want to skip Long Island Sound and Buzzard's Bay. I would recommend entering NY harbor, its beautiful, and a cool ride up the East River, through Hell's Gate and the Throg's Neck and into LI Sound. Nice run up the Sound, and then you can head out towards Block Island, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket and round Cape Cod, or up Buzzard's Bay and through the Cape Cod Canal cuts off a couple hundred miles. This brings you to Boston and then you are almost at the border of Maine, which gives you another thousand miles of coastline.

Anyway, buy the Waterway Guides, they are great to read for planning as well as using them underway. Also get a copy of Eldridge Tide and Pilot book, has tides and currents for the whole East Coast and tons of other great info.

http://www.robertwhite.com/cgi-local/shop....nav_bar=weather

Also the Coast Pilot is a useful book to have:

http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/nsd/cpdownload.htm

It's a fantastic trip and there are lots of boats doing it all the time. Usually running SOUTH at this time of year and up North in the spring.
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Old 11-25-2009, 09:49 AM   #6
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Totemthepole,

Thanks very much for an excellent post - really up to date info!!

Love your user name - can't decide if you have Polish blood or native American.

We must anchor or wikify the info - so many times similar questions are posted.

thanks again

Richard
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