Saturday, October 29, 2011

Titusville Opens Mooring Field

Titusville has now opened a mooring field. The field has 50 moorings, with 25 each on the north and south sides of the channel into the Titusville Marina. The field, according to local sailors, is clearly marked with yellow buoys. The $15 daily fee includes restrooms and showers, laundry, pumpout, dingy dockage and vehicle parking. 

Titusville Marina advises us that anchoring will be allowed to the north and south of the boundaries marking the mooring field. Depths are from 5 - 6 feet according to the marina, with some deeper sections. Dinghy dockage when anchoring is $5 daily.
First Timers' Guide has requested a map showing the mooring field which we will post as soon as we receive it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Write on the Water

For those interested in some interesting reading from other boating writers, check out Write on the Water.
It features a variety of interesting topics, plus my own latest piece, Icons and Irony, in which I speak about meeting some of my own personal icons at the 2011 Annapolis Sailboat Show - Lynn and Larry Pardey among them - and what being an icon is all about - at least, in my opinion.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Town Creek, Beaufort NC - problem.

October 16, 2011 New ICW cruiser Greg Lebreton and family on Off 2 C report a possible obstruction in Town Creek, Beaufort NC - they found themselves hung up in 13 feet of water with 6.5 foot draft, but were able to get off with a bit of effort. The lat/long is N34.43.476 W7639848 - we advise boaters in this area to proceed with caution as this is directly in front of Town Creek. Greg further reports that the anchorage as reported in Skipper Bob was fine. Any cruisers with further information or updates are encouraged to post the information here for our fellow cruisers.

South from Beaufort NC to Southport

Mile 229, at Caspar's Marina

Many people are unsure of where they can safely and comfortably anchor when they head south from Beaufort NC. Here's the scoop! Your first viable anchorage is at mile 229 - at Caspars Marina - when you come in, make sure you aim for red 46C, then turn in to the channel to starboard. Don't come in too close to red 2. Holding is ok, but be sure you set the anchor well here, there's a lot of current. You might want to stay at Caspars for the night, up to you. Nice marina, GREAT showers.
Next anchorage is Mile Hammock, at 244.5. This is within the military range, no going ashore, there will likely be a number of boats in here but lots of room. Good protection. Let the anchor settle here for a while before you back down on it, the bottom is a bit silty. There is an anchorage at 264.5, well off the ICW, I've never used it. Word is, it's shoal.

Wrightsville B
I go on through to Wrightsville beach from one of the previous two locations. Keep in mind, the bridge schedules here are difficult -note the openings and try to get your timing right or expect to wait for quite some time at each one. Get fuel at Seapath Marina, they'll permit you the use of the loaner car for groceries, etc. There is a West Marine close by, and a handy propane refill place. If you need propane, this is as easy as it gets until Florida. You can anchor out opposite the Seapath docks, or go around to the anchorage by the bridge. If you do, stay well clear of the green marks, tends to be shallow.

Southport, Cape Fear River

When you head for Southport from Wrightsville Beach - make sure you come to the Cape Fear river at about an hour AFTER high tide at Southport. That way, you get to ride the tide downriver and make good time. Snow's Cut will be against you because it empties via Carolina Cut, but it's only a mile. In Southport, you can tie up to the docks at the restaurants for free, provided you eat there. The anchorage is small and shoals at about 5 feet, although there has been talk of dredging it, so tie up and relax. Southport is very pretty and worth exploring. NAPA nearby if you need marine parts.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Florida Anchoring Law Changes

That's right. Florida is AGAIN changing its anchoring regulations, only this time it's being set up as a 'Pilot Program' wherein five locations with mooring fields can set up regulations unique to their city. Some of the proposed regulations include a ten day anchoring limit in St. Augustine. For more details, click through to Anchors Away Free xml sitemap generator

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Erie Canal to open for two weeks.

The Erie Canal will reopen to commercial and recreational traffic for a two-week navigation period starting Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24 and will close on Dec. 8 to allow vessels caught in the system by Hurricane Irene and subsequent flooding, to reach their destinations. Parts of the canal have been closed since major flooding overwhelmed locks between Fort Plain and Schenectady. Steel uprights that hold dam gates in place were twisted and displaced, and lock and power houses were swept away in the flooding. Machinery used to operate the locks and dams were flooded and, at three locations, flood waters carved new channels for the Mohawk River around the lock and dam structures. In addition to lock and dam repairs, the canal will also be dredged where fill deposited during the flooding has blocked the river. Gov. Cuomo has requested that Canada extend the season for the Chambly Canal which connects Canada to Lake Champlain. Normally the Chambly Canal season would end Oct. 10. For more information, visit

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Unexpected exposure!

I received some good news this week, I've been accepted as a regular contributor to Write on the Water, starting October 9. This is a rather unique blog comprised of authors who sail. Or perhaps they are sailors who write - there's some confusion amongst several of them as to which they are. Regardless of which description fits, this is one of the most popular online blogs for sailors, because sailors are readers as a rule,  and quite literate. Just look at the number of sailing blogs, websites, magazines and books out there concerned with this sport. And every other sailor I know has tried or is thinking of trying their hand at, submitting a story to one of the sailing magazines for publication. So - which am I you ask - a sailor who writes, or a writer who sails? As I think about it, I realize I'm not really sure. Perhaps I'll side with Christine Kling, who also posts on Write on the Water, and see how I feel from day to day - let the answer slide back and forth on the continuum between 100% writer and 100% sailor. Make sure you check out Write on the Water - click here on October 9 and see my first contribution, and of course, those of the other writers, which are quite, quite good.

Monday, September 26, 2011

In the Chesapeake...

I'm in Virginia at the moment, a small town up the Rappahannock called Urbanna. I'm on the hard, preparing to paint the boat before heading up to Annapolis and then south. (for details on the painting, see You Can Paint Your Boat)
Getting ready to haul for painting
The good part about this is that this year, I should be well south before it get cold. Mind you, I've said that before and been wrong! But we're gonna try....

For all of you heading south and looking for advice, feel free to contact me - after 17 trips on the ICW, I'm sure I can help you out. Don't forget, if it's your first trip, to consider buying my video download, Sailing South - First Timer's Guide to the ICW, at TheSailingChannel. You can watch the video trailer there for free.
Gypsy Wind and friends at the free dock in Oriental
Watch for me on the waterway - I'll be the bright red boat, Gypsy Wind.
And you can read my impressions on the ICW here, at SAIL Magazine

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Good news for those heading south....

The Champlain Canal has reopened for navigation this morning, September 14, as has the Troy Lock. The way south is now open once again. Mariners are advised that the Hudson River is choked with debris, mandating a good lookout, and a number of Hudson River marinas are shut down for repairs.
For those needing to step their mast, the Castleton Boat Club is operating, they survived Irene's visit with minimal problems. Their number is 518~732~7077, call ahead. They should also be able to provide you with good info about the balance of the trip south on the Hudson, and I'll file updates here as well.
Here is the advisory in full:



Chart 14786

Champlain Canal

September 12, 2011

Mariners are advised that the Champlain Canal will reopen to all navigation in its entirety at 7 AM on Wednesday, September 14, 2011, conditions permitting.

The Troy Federal Lock, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has reopened to all navigation.

For updates and information, please call 1-800-4CANAL4 or visit

See you in paradise folks.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Amazing Nova Scotia Lobster Cam!

Ever wondered what it was like to be a lobster? Probably not...but just in case, this video cam is located in Halifax Harbour, inside a lobster trap.
As you watch this cam, you'll see every possible sort of sea animal wandering in and out of view. It's simply fascinating, an amazing view of our underwater world. Check it out.

The Amazing Nova Scotia Lobstercam! 

Isn't this just amazing?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Disaster on the Erie Canal

If you're planning on coming south from the Great Lakes, think again. The Erie Canal is shut down for the season following Hurricane Irene. You have two ways to get south this year, three if you consider the St. Lawrence Seaway, which at this late date, I wouldn't advise.
One route is to head south into Lake Michigan and down the Tennessee-Tombigbee route into the Gulf of Mexico. You're on your own there, I've not done that route. Best bet for advice is the Loopers' association - - this group is mostly made up of trawler folk, and many of those are former sailors, so sailors will get some good advice here. Sailors will have the stick on the deck from Chicago almost all the way through to the Gulf.
Your shorter option is to head into Lake Ontario, if you aren't already there, head up to Montreal and south through Lake Champlain to the Hudson River. You'll enter the Champlain Locks section of the New York Canal system. Parts of the Champlain are closed - see below -  and, if you reach the Hudson much prior to September 20, you'll likely be held up by the Troy Lock, which is closed due to recent flooding from tropical storm Lee, which visited right after Irene's disastrous trip through New York.
Here is the current info on the Champlain Canal: 01:52:42PM 9/10/11
Mariners are advised that the Champlain Canal from Lock C-1 (Waterford) to Lock C-4 (Schagticoke/Hempstreet Park) remain closed due to high water levels until further notice. Locks C-5 through C-12 has been reopened.
For updates and information monitor 1-800-4CANAL4 and
Notice damaged railing. This is several stories up, that's how high the water was.
Check out photos of the damage on the Erie Canal from the site:  I've taken the liberty of using one of his photos here to show you just how severe the damage was.

For up to date information on the situation on the Erie and Champlain canals, I recommend you check - I post there regularly, so you'll find the same info as I put in here, but there are also updates from other cruisers which may be helpful to you.
Finally, you might just want to put your boat on a truck and ship it south to the Chesapeake and start having fun sooner! Nothing goes to windward like a Freightliner!
What would Wally do? Ok.....I'd get myself over to the Champlain Locks and find a place to wait it out there above the closed locks. If the locks aren't going to open again this season, (which is apparently not the case), hire a truck and get yourself onto the Hudson or further south to the Chesapeake Bay.
Keep in mind, the Hudson has a great deal of debris from the storm right now and that poses a danger to your vessel, particularly power boats.
Or, stay home and buy a new snow shovel and make plans for next year.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Welcome to Sailing South - the First Timers' Guide to the ICW

Hi everyone - you have probably seen me at one of the major boat shows in Toronto or Annapolis giving this seminar, or perhaps read my articles in SAIL or Waterway Guides, two of my more prominent publishing clients. Or you might have bought my dvd or download, from You can view the dvd trailer at the video link above.
The purpose of this blog is to give you more information, plus current updates, on the waters between the Great Lakes and Miami, including the Erie Canal, Hudson and Delaware rivers and Chesapeake Bay.
Also, I'm here to answer any questions you might have about the trip, or about cruising in general. There's a lot of information out there - but most of it is geared towards blue water sailing, not inland waters or coastal sailing. So, new cruisers such as yourself get confused by the advice they're given.
I'll tell you right up front, if I don't know the answer, I won't make one up - I'll find it out for you and blog it here. As well, since many of you will have experience with the ICW, you may well have answers that will help our away.
So, let's get to it.
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