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Old 09-23-2013, 11:56 PM   #1
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Heading to SC for the Winter

Greetings to all.

First post on this forum. We're a crew of 4 cruising mostly in between NJ and New England during the summer season. This year we decided to extend our season and avoid winterizing hassle by taking our boat to Myrtle Beach, SC.

I was hoping to get some advice on things that are not obvious for someone who's doing the trip for the first time.

After preliminary review of the charts and a cruising guide I have a draft of the following plan (providing that the weather cooperates):

Day 1. Cover NJ coast and do overnight in Cape May (open ocean run).
Day 2. Cape May to Norfolk (open ocean run).
Day 3. Norfolk to Manteo (via Virgina Cut).
Day 4. Manteo to Oriental.
Day 5. Oriental to Wrightsville.
Day 6. Wrightsville to Myrtle Beach.

I'm planning to do a mixed cruise (planing speed and displacement speed). Does this plan looks too aggressive?

It's very likely that I will do most of the legs single handed. Are there any parts of the trip that might be a problem for a single handed captain? The one section that comes to mind is the lock in the VA Cut. Is there a strong current in that lock or I should be able to tie off the stern cleat and run to secure the bow with no issues? We've done few locks during our cruising on the East Coast, but I had my full crew, so securing the boat was not an issue.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Alex.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:50 AM   #2
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Alex,
The first thought that comes to mind is why skip all of the great destinations you will pass by? Second what is the speed of your vessel? Third there is no current in the lock and passing through could not be easier. The lift is anywhere from zero to three feet. If you are to take the Virginia cut then you need to study the bridges and their opening times as well as opening restrictions during rush hour. It will take you considerably longer then you think to make the northern sections of that day. I just made the trip north from Marathon to Maine this spring solo in our 48 footer and if you are prepared it is a breeze.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:22 AM   #3
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Alex,
The first thought that comes to mind is why skip all of the great destinations you will pass by? ...
Since we're on a tight schedule, the kids are in school and I think that most likely I'll be doing the trip solo, so I was looking at it as just a delivery trip. We mostly planned on doing the stops and take it slower on the way back North in spring (perhaps during spring break).

The way our schedule looks at the moment, is that I can have my crew meet me at Wrightsville and we'll finish the trip together up until Myrtle Beach.

What are the places you think I shouldn't skip, even though I'll be solo?

Also, I've heard too many stories how shallow the AICW is, so I figured if the weather allows I'll try to pick up deeper body of water (Ocean or Sounds) for the delivery trip.

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...Second what is the speed of your vessel?....
Cruising planing speed is around 21-22kts. Displacement speed is 7.5kts.

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Third there is no current in the lock and passing through could not be easier. The lift is anywhere from zero to three feet. ...
It sounds like as long as it's not blowing hard I should be able to manage alone just fine.

In general, I perfectly understand that the biggest dictator will the weather and I have to be flexible. For this reason I'd like to have Plan A, B and C.

Do you think I'm over thinking the ICW situation and it's fine as long as you're in the channel (I draw 4')? I'm looking at ActiveCaptain and see too many spots reported in some sections. I just hope that not too many of the shallow spots are still not reported.

Since I have planing vessel that can run at faster cruise I figured that I'll be able to mix up my cruising mode, save fuel and go slow and when I need to make up time I'll step on it.

I'm open for recommendations, so if you see something in my approach that doesn't make sense or could be altered, please let me know.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:16 AM   #4
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yes your run as a delivery sounds just fine....you may be able to adjust around Norfolk and skip Manteo and press on to Oriental if you can get past Norfolk a bit further and make locks/bridges earlier.

way to much to type...I have made the trip many times as a deliver capt at around 20-23 knots....if you have pre-departure questions or even during the trip...call me at 609-780-2728..especially around happy hour 5-6pm as I'm "happy" to discuss it...
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:14 AM   #5
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yes your run as a delivery sounds just fine....you may be able to adjust around Norfolk and skip Manteo and press on to Oriental if you can get past Norfolk a bit further and make locks/bridges earlier.

way to much to type...I have made the trip many times as a deliver capt at around 20-23 knots....if you have pre-departure questions or even during the trip...call me at 609-780-2728..especially around happy hour 5-6pm as I'm "happy" to discuss it...
That's great, thank you.

I highly doubt that I can get past Norfolk as this would be the longest day from Cape May (~140NM), unless I stop at Ocean City, MD. But, I don't think I'll be happy with only 40NM run. If the weather allows I'd like to do CM to Norfolk in one day, b/c I know that I may be delayed later on.

If I was to go passed the Norfolk, what would be the next preferred port you had in mind?
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:23 AM   #6
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yes your run as a delivery sounds just fine....you may be able to adjust around Norfolk and skip Manteo and press on to Oriental if you can get past Norfolk a bit further and make locks/bridges earlier.
I agree to skip Manteo. It is a good cruising stop, but much shallow water and tricky getting in and out as the channel south is shoally and has a couple of confusing intersections.

If the weather is good you can zip down through Croaton and Pamlico Sounds by passing Belhaven and Hobucken. This should make a shorter day to Oriental. Moonstruck has made it from Morehead City to Norfolk in one day using this route. We cruise about 5 knots faster.
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:29 AM   #7
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That's great, thank you.

I highly doubt that I can get past Norfolk as this would be the longest day from Cape May (~140NM), unless I stop at Ocean City, MD. But, I don't think I'll be happy with only 40NM run. If the weather allows I'd like to do CM to Norfolk in one day, b/c I know that I may be delayed later on.

If I was to go passed the Norfolk, what would be the next preferred port you had in mind?
there are stops all along the way up to Great Bridge...so then it's a foot race if you made time to stop in Coinjock or if you didn't make it that far in great bridge....making bridges is the trick...don't know your restrictions and there are endless possibilities...that's why a 1/2 hour phonecon is like 2 years of emails/posts.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:40 PM   #8
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I agree to skip Manteo. It is a good cruising stop, but much shallow water and tricky getting in and out as the channel south is shoally and has a couple of confusing intersections.

If the weather is good you can zip down through Croaton and Pamlico Sounds by passing Belhaven and Hobucken. This should make a shorter day to Oriental. Moonstruck has made it from Morehead City to Norfolk in one day using this route. We cruise about 5 knots faster.
Thanks for the tip. I'll cross off the Manteo from Plan A. Shallow channels is what I wish to avoid the most. However, looking at this more realistically and considering mixing cruise speed I don't want to push over 150NM in a single day. This is why distance wise, I thought that Manteo was a good stop. I was thinking that if I cover 85NM or per day after Norfolk it's conservative enough and will allow for some bad weather day or two. Thus, if I'm stock due to a storm I'll push it the following day. But, if all goes as planned I thought that covering just under 100NM is a good day.

After reading and reviewing the route, it seams like it'll take a while to get passed Norfolk and VA Cut, due to the bridges and the lock. That's why I thought that planning to cover around 75NM (originally to Manteo) was reasonable.

What would you recommend as a good stop if I was to keep it around 85NM per day after Norfolk?
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:43 PM   #9
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there are stops all along the way up to Great Bridge...so then it's a foot race if you made time to stop in Coinjock or if you didn't make it that far in great bridge....making bridges is the trick...don't know your restrictions and there are endless possibilities...that's why a 1/2 hour phonecon is like 2 years of emails/posts.

I got you. I'll follow up with a phone call.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:01 PM   #10
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Thanks for the tip. I'll cross off the Manteo from Plan A. Shallow channels is what I wish to avoid the most. However, looking at this more realistically and considering mixing cruise speed I don't want to push over 150NM in a single day. This is why distance wise, I thought that Manteo was a good stop. I was thinking that if I cover 85NM or per day after Norfolk it's conservative enough and will allow for some bad weather day or two. Thus, if I'm stock due to a storm I'll push it the following day. But, if all goes as planned I thought that covering just under 100NM is a good day.

After reading and reviewing the route, it seams like it'll take a while to get passed Norfolk and VA Cut, due to the bridges and the lock. That's why I thought that planning to cover around 75NM (originally to Manteo) was reasonable.

What would you recommend as a good stop if I was to keep it around 85NM per day after Norfolk?
Belhaven at about mile mark 135 is certainly doable for you. We have done it from Norfolk in a 16-17 knot cruise boat. Other than that Coinjock would be a short day for you. No way to avoid the shallow waters of Currituck Sound. You could also stop near the bridge across the Alligator River. There are several places to anchor once out of the canals.

If you want to save some time, you can go offshore at Beaufort Inlet at Morehead City to Masonboro Inlet at Wrightsville Beach. Weather permitting both are decent inlets. Forget New River Inlet.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F View Post
Greetings to all.

First post on this forum. We're a crew of 4 cruising mostly in between NJ and New England during the summer season. This year we decided to extend our season and avoid winterizing hassle by taking our boat to Myrtle Beach, SC.

I was hoping to get some advice on things that are not obvious for someone who's doing the trip for the first time.

After preliminary review of the charts and a cruising guide I have a draft of the following plan (providing that the weather cooperates):

Day 1. Cover NJ coast and do overnight in Cape May (open ocean run).
Day 2. Cape May to Norfolk (open ocean run).
Day 3. Norfolk to Manteo (via Virgina Cut).
Day 4. Manteo to Oriental.
Day 5. Oriental to Wrightsville.
Day 6. Wrightsville to Myrtle Beach.

I'm planning to do a mixed cruise (planing speed and displacement speed). Does this plan looks too aggressive?

It's very likely that I will do most of the legs single handed. Are there any parts of the trip that might be a problem for a single handed captain? The one section that comes to mind is the lock in the VA Cut. Is there a strong current in that lock or I should be able to tie off the stern cleat and run to secure the bow with no issues? We've done few locks during our cruising on the East Coast, but I had my full crew, so securing the boat was not an issue.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Alex.
Ck out Charleston's city marina winter special, Much nicer city with many boaterhb resources. About 100 more miles.
Just a thought. Good luck. Randal
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:59 PM   #12
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Belhaven at about mile mark 135 is certainly doable for you. We have done it from Norfolk in a 16-17 knot cruise boat. Other than that Coinjock would be a short day for you. No way to avoid the shallow waters of Currituck Sound. You could also stop near the bridge across the Alligator River. There are several places to anchor once out of the canals....
I assume that you're suggesting to head for Alligator River as this is the only way that (from what I see) make sense to stop over at Belhaven. If I go via the Croatan and Pamlico Sounds it puts me about 25NM away from Belhaven. Did I understand you correctly?

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....If you want to save some time, you can go offshore at Beaufort Inlet at Morehead City to Masonboro Inlet at Wrightsville Beach. Weather permitting both are decent inlets. Forget New River Inlet.
This is exactly what I was thinking. From Oriental head to Beaufort Inlet via Adams Creek and then jump in to the Masonboro Inlet at Wrightsville Beach.

The question is, how would you go from Wrightsville to the Little River Inlet, go on the open or via ICW?
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:37 PM   #13
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Stop! My head is going to explode! I've never heard of so many alternatives for a boat going in one direction! Here's what we have in Southern Cal. Going from San Diego to Newport Beach.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:56 PM   #14
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Stop! My head is going to explode! I've never heard of so many alternatives for a boat going in one direction! Here's what we have in Southern Cal. Going from San Diego to Newport Beach.


The advantages of this run is that you have tons of options. Of course I can jump out on the open and do the ~700NM run in 3+ days burning a lot of fuel. But, where's the guaranty that I'll have the November weather cooperating with me? In addition, I don't mind running on the open by myself (I've done it before), but doing this for days and days might get boring. This is where mixing the trip between ICW and Ocean makes it a lot more fun.

I like diversification, I like having the option offered here on the East Coast.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:01 PM   #15
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The advantages of this run is that you have tons of options. This is where mixing the trip between ICW and Ocean makes it a lot more fun.

I like diversification, I like having the option offered here on the East Coast.
Of course I was just kidding but in all honesty, I can see where my SoCal run might be a tad more relaxing and more wildlife viewing than yours. (Deep water all the way.)
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:02 PM   #16
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Ck out Charleston's city marina winter special, Much nicer city with many boaterhb resources. About 100 more miles.
Just a thought. Good luck. Randal
Thanks Randal. Yes, I've heard a lot about Charleston and our friends stayed there over the winter two years ago. Our goal at the moment is to find decent place as close to possible to home (NJ) to minimize the driving distance. With very busy day to day schedule every 100 miles add up. So, between the closer distance, area in general and attractive slip cost we picked Myrtle Beach this time leaving places like Charleston as one of the cruising destinations.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:05 PM   #17
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Of course I was just kidding but in all honesty, I can see where my SoCal run might be a tad more relaxing and more wildlife viewing than yours. (Deep water all the way.)
That's one of the reasons we spend most of the summer (especially after Sandy) in New England waters. No issues with depth and a lot more destinations.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:47 PM   #18
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The question is, how would you go from Wrightsville to the Little River Inlet, go on the open or via ICW?

You have to go well offshore to get around Frying Pan Shoals. I don't think the offshore run would save you much time to Little River Inlet. Be careful of the buoy color change upon entering the Cape Fear River below Snows Cut. They change back again as you re-enter the ICW channel at South Port. Not far from there to Myrtle Beach.
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:41 PM   #19
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I would stay in the Pamlico vs Belhaven. Distance is nearly identical and it's wide open kicked back cruising. I like Manteo a lot and skinny water is a non issue as the Elizabeth II replica ship draws over 10'. Frankly 4' of draft means skinny water is a non issue for you. On the leg your describing Beaufort would be my must stop. Frying Pan Shoals has a marked cut through much closer to shore then folks realize. Zoom in on the charts and you will see it. At your speeds I would stay outside and pop in at Ocean City and/or Ocracoke and/or Beaufort and skip the rest. Norfolk and it's bridges and distance inside is going to add nearly a day to your trip. Offshore is much easier when short handed as you can set the AP and use the head etc. Offshore you can run 24/7 with 20 cat naps if you slow to displacement speeds for the nap.
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:49 PM   #20
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You have to go well offshore to get around Frying Pan Shoals. I don't think the offshore run would save you much time to Little River Inlet. Be careful of the buoy color change upon entering the Cape Fear River below Snows Cut. They change back again as you re-enter the ICW channel at South Port. Not far from there to Myrtle Beach.
Can you please clarify regarding the markers change. As I'm heading South (using returning to FL rule) I'll be keeping the REDs on my stbd side. Does the same apply within the Snow Cut up until I reach the R"164"? Does this change now to a regular channel where I need to keep REDs on my port until I get to RN"2" in Southport?
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