SAIL the ICW

Weather Prediction on the ICW

17 Jul

As cruisers, we learn to predict the weather in our home waters with relative ease: it becomes instinctive. In the summer cruising grounds your radius from home port is likely to be only 100 miles. You will probably stay within your local seasonal weather pattern. Cruising the ICW is quite different. If you watch the local TV weather forecast in the morning, its afternoon predictions will be practically worthless as by afternoon you will be 50-60 miles away. This morning’s weather center forecast for tomorrow morning will be different from the forecast at tonight’s anchorage. In short, you will get ...

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Anchors and Anchoring along the ICW

9 Jul

Anchors– Anchor designs have evolved greatly over the centuries. The Danforth anchor was a breakthrough design in the early years of world war II: a lightweight anchor with superb holding capabilities. After the war, it became the standard anchor for small craft. Its one weakness is that the flukes may get jammed with a stone, stick, or quahog and it will not reset if a wind or current reversal pops the anchor out. The various plow and claw style anchors were developed to address that possible weakness. However, their ultimate holding power did not measure up to the light weight ...

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Summer is here. Time to test the systems.

2 Jul

As we move into the summer boating season, it is time for to start preparing your boat for a trip southbound along the ICW.  This trip is, for most first time ICW travelers, the longest  continuous voyage they have made on their boat.  While it is true that the  trip along the ICW is merely a series of day trips, and so is not that difficult, it is also 30 day trips strung together. This will push the boat the systems and the crew to new limits.

  • Your engine will be run about 200 hours in 30 travel days getting
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Chasing Spring

14 Jun

Chasing Spring, 40 miles per day

We left Stuart Florida in March to begin our run north to Annapolis. Stuart is at statute mile 990 on the ICW.  Annapolis is 141 miles beyond ICW “mile 0” in Portsmouth, VA.  We had 1131 miles to go. As we raised our anchor in Stuart, it was a delightful spring day.  It was sunny, temperature was in the mid-70s.  Nights had been cool but not cold.  We slept with the hatches open.  Ashore, azaleas were in full bloom, the cypress trees were light green with early leaves on every branch. Yellow pine pollen ...

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INDEX: Updates Northbound Along the ICW 2018

18 Apr

Known Trouble Spots Along the ICW

How to Access up-to-date Information on the ICW

The ICW North Bound Migration Begins

Updates: The ICW North Bound

Updates the ICW: Hell Gate

ICW: Ramshorn through Watts Cut

ICW: New Route for Dawho Creek

ICW: South Of McClellanville STM 430 To STM 435

Lockwoods Folly Inlet Crossing STM 320

Jacksonville St. Johns River Crossing STM 741

St Andrews Sound. STM 689

New River Inlet Crossing STM 247

Isle Of Palms STM 460

Mason Inlet Crossing  STM 280

Norfolk Southern RR Bridge On The Pasquotank River STM 48

Shallotte Inlet Crossing STM 330

Ramshorn

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Fort George River ICW crossing. STM735

18 Apr

Just north of  the St. Johns River at Jacksonville FL  is a new spot to keep clear of.  There is shoaling building in from the east at the mouth of Garden Creek.  We saw 7.2 feet at +3.8 feet of tide.  This shoal has 3.4 feet at low water.  Stay slightly to the red side of center and you’ll see 12 feet.  The shoal clearly shows in the Navionics Sonar Chart. Because we had  significant tidal help our track shows we intentionally crossed one of these shoals to confirm the depths shown on the Navionics Sonar Chart....

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Watts Cut STM 505 

18 Apr

We have been keeping an eye on Watts Cut for a couple of years.  There seems to be a shoal building. Half way between G137 and G 135 we saw depths which would work out to  6.3 feet MLLW.  There will be less water if you stray from center.   If your boat draws over 5.5 feet it would be wise to transit Watts Cut on a rising tide.

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Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff STM 518

18 Apr

Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff  between R 180 to R184 is shallow and narrow.  Our track through here was along the visual center of the cut.  On our track between R184 and G 181  the shallowest we noticed would be 6.1 feet MLLW.

This is significantly better than the 4.5 feet saw heading south, which tells us that that the track you take may yield quite different depths.  Recommend that you have some tidal help and transit on a rising tide. R172 to R 168 we stayed in visual center NOT chart center.  There is over 10 feet MLLW.

As you get ...

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Buttermilk Sound STM 659

18 Apr

Buttermilk Sound R208 There is a distinct shoal building into the ICW.  It is located about 400 feet SE of R208. At 31 8.744 N   and 081 20.984W.  It shows clearly on the Navionics Sonar Charts.  If you are using NOAA charts or other cartography, you might just put a warning waypoint on your charts. Being that it is on the red side of the channel this is more of a concern headed south when  you naturally stay closer to the red side of the ICW.

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Jekyll Creek STM 681.5

18 Apr

This has been a shoal area for several years.  But there is 9 feet of tide here so with a little planning it is easy to transit. Our observations, after a number of transits over  the past few years, is that if a tug and  barge goes through at near low tide, the channel is deeper.  This was the case in the spring of 2016, but it filled in again.  In November of 2017 the best water we could find was only  about 3.5 feet.  A barge went through in mid-February 2018 and our passage on March 19, 2018 showed  ...

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