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Old 07-29-2018, 08:47 AM   #1
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City: Pine Knoll Shores, NC
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Hilton Head in Winter?

I am seeking input from anyone who has wintered in Hilton Head.

We want to escape the cold of NC (I know, really? Sounds silly) and think that a short journey to HH would be enough to gain more days of temperate climate during Jan/Feb versus the full trek to FL.

Plus, this gives us the option to drive back home if needed, to NC during the excursion

Any thoughts or experiences welcomed!


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Old 07-29-2018, 09:04 AM   #2
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As you can see I keep my boat on HH. Iím at Skull Creek Marina. The marina is actually right on the ICW just off Port Royal sound.
Easy access to Beaufort or Savannah by boat or car and lots of short close by overnight anchorages.
Not much more can be said of Hilton Head, pretty fab place with restaurants and golf galore beautiful setting and scenery very different from Myrtle Beach area. Iím not sure there is actually much difference in temps from NC but perhaps the proximity to the sounds and ocean moderate temps somewhat. We donít ďwinterizeĒ on HH even though last winter we actually had some very cold temps it was not really long enough to cause winterization.

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Old 07-29-2018, 10:16 AM   #3
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I also kept my boat in Skull Creek on Hilton Head. We could usually sail a couple of weekends in Jan, less in Feb. We also lived in Oriental, NC snd sailing opportunites were less in those months than HH.

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Old 07-29-2018, 10:56 AM   #4
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You will find coastal temps to have very little variation during cold front snaps from Morehead City, NC to Cape Canaveral FL. The first point of significant change is near Vero Beach.

The ocean tends to keep the temps within 10 to 15 degrees until the Gulf Stream is almost right on the beach where temps jump up again.

Of course this is a gross generalization, but after on winter in Savannah, we pushed south to Central Florida to be in shorts and T shirts. For jeans and spring jackets....pretty much anyplace south of Wilmington, NC does the trick, except for a few days and a few more nights a winter.
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:11 AM   #5
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We stayed in Charleston over last winter.. which was unusually cold for the whole east coast, I think. It was OK. Always warmed than Annapolis, ranging from a few degrees to sometimes 20 degrees. Don't know that it was any warmed than most of coastal NC, though.

You can look at averages, online, for various places. That's only one data point, though, and a given place in a given year may or may not follow averages.

South River, Chesapeake Bay
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:16 AM   #6
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If I was on Hilton Head, I would boat year round. The average December and January high is around 60 degrees and that's very good weather for enjoying a boat. This past winter was exceptionally cold so highs in December and January were as follows:

70's 6 days
60's 19 days
50's 18 days
40's 13 days
30's 6 days

That's a bad winter and still 2 out of 3 days in December and January were in the 50's or higher. Really the one bad spell was the last week of December and first week of January. I compare it to Charlotte, NC where we boated year round but often had January's with virtually no decent days.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:19 PM   #7
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We've wintered over at Shelter Cove Harbor on Hilton Head several times. We never winterized. I did have a licensed captain to check on the boat in our absence.
Don on Moonstruck
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When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:40 AM   #8
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From the "sometimes you can run but you can't hide department"... The first time we wanted to eliminate the horrid winterization process from our lives in the northeast, we moved out boat down to Wrightsville Beach for the winter. That was the winter of the polar vortex a handful of years ago. Used the boat exactly once (but it stayed in the water which was comparatively awesome).

This past year was the first time we were able to head south for the winter and stay on board. We stopped for December in Beaufort, SC and as has been discussed here already, it was a mostly cold month. Did not expect to be wearing hats and gloves in SC! We left Beaufort and passed through Hilton Head at the end of the month on a 35 degree day with a very slippery deck to negotiate.

Then there was New Year's week in Savannah...

That is something I thought I'd never see. And of course it happened the first year we set out to escape the cold! Having said all that, I agree that Hilton Head would be a terrific area to winter with some great marina choices. And we can't possibly have weather like that two years in a row, can we??!!
-The M/Y OLOH Crew
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:14 PM   #9
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We have our boat in Shelter Cove Marina year round. Take it out for service in Jan for a couple of weeks. One of the best things about Shelter Cove is proximity to great shopping and restocking plus a 1st choice on the old active captain.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:52 PM   #10
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There is very little improvement in winter temperature between Hilton Head and eastern NC. Less snow, yes. We did a lot of winter boating out of Morehead City after we stopped cruising full time.

I agree with the comment you don't really get into a noticeably better climazone until you get to central FL.

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Old 07-30-2018, 06:06 PM   #11
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One of the considerations for how far south you go depends on whether you want an occasional, an average, or an almost always tolerable temperature. If you expect it to be temperature friendly whenever you want to go to your boat, go further south. When the wife and I were shopping for the southern command, we wanted shorts and tee shirts as the norm with few exceptions during the winter. North of Jacksonville, you get real winter periodically.

For most cities, Wikipedia usually has temperature ranges and precipitation averages by month.

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I want to spend some time, Not come and go in a heated rush.....
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