What do you think?

Alright – I know we don’t have many followers because quite frankly we’re not actually out there sailing yet.  At least not cruising anyway.

But for those who do read here, or see this message, I’d like to ask your advice.  Before I ask the question, let me give you some back ground.

 

We have been diligently looking for the “right boat for the right voyage”, a phrase used by our instructor years ago.  He would tell us that we needed to find the right boat for the voyage we intended to make and obviously this is good advice.  We bought our first two boats in Colorado for lake sailing – one was a dinghy and the other was our Macgregor Venture 25 with a swing keel.  Both were perfect for what we wanted to do.  Both have been sold since we thought we’d have been out of here by now.

When we found the boat we believe is the right one for our next voyage – through the Caribbean, we looked for a blue water capable boat that would be safe, comfortable, allow the two of us to sail the boat without extra crew and yet, allow us to take on 2-3 more crew for extended trips (and vacations for some of them, we were obviously thinking of our children and some friends to fill those slots).

So the boat had to be able to cross oceans and still go to the Caribbean, eventually to the Mediterranean and points north (England, Ireland, Scotland, France and Spain to name a few).  We found the boat in New York state.  Not precisely where I wanted to look (I was sticking to the Gulf Coast and Florida, my wife found THE boat in New York).

Her almost immediate suggestion was, “Since the boat is in New York, it’s common sense to consider sailing to Ireland…”

My first thought was “Yeah, that’s true.”  My second thought was “Oh, we’re not ready for that”.  I am not confident enough to attempt such a thing right off.  Not without plenty of experience on the boat.  While I am confident we CAN do it safely, it’s still going to be quite a learning curve to jump off the face of the world and into the Deep Blue North Atlantic, dodging icebergs, whales and the Roaring Forties.

A friend (and an author) Matt Bracken suggested the ICW to me.  I’ve been reading up on it, but it wasn’t precisely my idea of setting sail to the Caribbean either.

However, in looking at this I am beginning to think that this would be “smooth sailing” for us to both break in the two of us to the boat, and do our shake down cruise doing short Atlantic stints instead of trying to do it all at once.

So – the question, or request for advice is simple.

If you have already “done” the ICW, what are your thoughts of going North to South along the course and what do you think about this idea?

Thanks in advance if you comment.

Rick

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2 thoughts on “What do you think?

  1. Hi Rick!

    We have done the ICW from Virginia to Florida 18 times! New York past New Jersey can be a sailing event but most of the ICW is more motoring along. There are lots of anchorages and cool little places to see. Certainly a great way to meet new friends and learn from their experiences. The tides can be as high as 8 feet so it makes it a different experience than lake sailing. The Bahamas are fun and certainly a great jumping off place to start your Caribbean adventures. Since most of them are leeward you can sail most of the time. The only hassle is crossing the gulf stream. You have to wait for a good weather window. No North in the component, etc. We are hanging out here in Miami waiting to cross hopefully on Monday.

    There is so much to learn on a new boat. I would certainly take some time to know her well before you start doing a jump from a new boat in New York to Ireland!

    There’s lots to learn about the systems of a new to you boat, along with provisioning, safety equipment, spare parts and many more.

    Sounds like you are excited about your new future. Wish you luck and safety!

    • Hi Cathie! Thanks very much for the comments. The boat will be “New to Us” but the systems are similar to those we’ve used before (chart plotters, navigation equipment, autopilot, radios, etc). The wife and I have been to the Bahamas, BVI, Jamaica and some of the other islands sailing and visiting. We have not crossed the Gulf Stream yet but will soon enough. We’re still novices in our opinion (we have a few hundred sailing miles, not thousands like many). I remember the tides in the Bahamas (Marsh Harbor mostly) being rather sweeping (3-5 feet) and making it difficult to get off the boat at low tide. TH ladder was about 8 feet long though down the side of the dock!

      The ICW is something we considered originally when we first started this adventure six years ago, but sort of threw out because we don’t want to motor most of the way. Spending money on diesel fuel was something we didn’t want to do (We could do the same thing in an RV for instance and felt it not… quite right somehow.)

      Now the ICW is back to the forefront and obviously something many people recommend, something we don’t really want to pass up. I’m not sure this boat is quite right for that journey either. But – when it comes down to is to make the best of what we’ll have and use to do what we want.

      Thanks!

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