Connecticut to Florida

Our annual 1,400 nautical mile trip from Deep River, CT to Fort Pierce, FL went fairly smoothly.  One minor, but annoying issue can be, well … other boaters.  Some years we’ve unfortunately been caught in heavy packs of boats (especially at opening bridges with our prior sailing catamaran).  Tempers flare, people are rude on the VHF radio, boats yell at other boats who “cut in line”, give lectures on “proper seamanship”, sailboats yell at powerboats who (in their mind) didn’t give them a “slow pass” & then the Coast Guard yells to those boats that “Channel 16 is the calling & International Distress Frequency – move your idle & passing traffic to another channel as channel 16 is blah, blah, blah”.  Not very relaxing…

This year started with a “oh, here we go again” moment between 2 trawlers while we were anchored at Atlantic Highland, NJ awaiting a window to head offshore down the NJ coast.  While resting up we heard repeated, loud 5 short air horn blasts – the danger signal when collision is imminent or there is a serious concern for another boats intentions.  Needless to say, we bolted up to see what maritime disaster was about to unfold.  Oh, just one of the two trawlers traveling thru the anchorage at idle speed apparently didn’t like that the other was heading towards “his” spot to anchor!


Fortunately, this did not foretell our trip.  In fact, it was the easiest & most peaceful trip south yet!!  Due to us being a little early, we got ahead of the crowds, while bad weather behind us delayed others.  There were many days of only a few passings making a much, much more enjoyable & stress free trip.  Lots of time to enjoy the scenery! 

But you can never relax too much – though I suppose the machine guns on the escort boats would have gotten our attention.  Yes, we were that close as we realized a minute later when the sub’s monster wake reached us & a few things crashed about our cabin.  I considered yelling at them on the VHF radio, as some sailboats do, for not giving us a “slow pass”, but I thought better of it…






To keep life interesting, every year there is a hurricane or tropical storm close enough to get our attention.  This year it was Hurricane Michael passing inshore of our Moorehead City, NC location, so no serious concerns for us, but we did head to a very secure marina, Moorehead City Yacht Basin.  At first I was a little perturbed that the dockmaster put us in an odd, far-in slip against the bulkhead.  In the end, we were thankful, tucked in nice & comfy with the wind right off the bulkhead behind us.  You can’t tell from the photo, but the wind further out in the marina was gusting up to 52 knots with occasional sheets of water flying across.  Just to be on the safe side, we took all normal precautions, doubling up lines, taking down our canvas top, etc.  which ended up being unnecessary, but we didn’t mind!


We arrived at the Fort Pierce City Marina a day early for our 2 month reservation.  Originally we were planning on having new cushions & a full canvas enclosure made for our flybridge.  We “chickened out” on the enclosure, but went ahead with the new cushions which are a huge improvement over our 12-year old original ones.

Hey! Who stuck in this donut picture!

It was great that Benj could fly down for a few days!

It was bad that the Fort Pierce City Marina was performing major dredging during our time there – I’m not sure my hearing will ever be the same (the dredge spent days right next to us).  Not very restful either – the dredging took a break for the holidays, but the construction equipment on the nearby spoil islands worked (& beeped) 7-days-a-week, including Christmas Day!

Lots of various maintenance projects & lots of stocking up for the Bahamas in January!  Can’t wait to get the hell out of there!


7 thoughts on “Connecticut to Florida

  1. Hi there. Have an opportunity on a rare find, sailboat, in CT. Would need to sail it down to Tampa Bay, Florida. No real experience to speak of. How difficult is this trip, for a newbie? Would a sailboat with a 6 foot draft be able to head south via river ways and avoid offshore? I know trucking it would probably be better, but that’s not an option. How many weeks to you think it will take to make this journey? 32 foot sailboat.


    • The trip down to FL is mostly the ICW from Norfolk VA to Miami.
      You will need to be offshore along the NJ coast and can go up Delaware Bay and down Chesapeake Bay, or remain offshore and enter back in by Norfolk.
      Highly recommend Bob423 Cruising Guide and joining his FB group for timing updates and track info. In many stretches you will need to be mindful of the tide state.
      I’d figure at least six weeks to get into FL, depends on weather and how many miles you travel each day.
      If you are prepared and have up to date electronic charts it’s doable. Also suggest you have crew – one person to assist. You can switch them out if one can’t travel the entire trip.
      Best of luck and be safe!


  2. When did you arrive in Fort Pierce, since you are there for 2 months, unless you change your Marina for peace of space?

    From where do you plan crossing the Gulf Stream ? From the south I presume…

    You could have a window which could be easier going with the current if you were more south, of course if a window opens…

    But you have more experience than I and you must have good reasons for staying up north Florida.


    • Ah yes Jean there are always so many factors! Nov 9 arrived Ft Pierce- great marina and we needed to have new cushions made and get lots of chores done. An excellent and huge Farmers Market is there every Saturday. Our son planned a visit right after Jan 1 so we planned to depart a couple of days after he flew back to VT, but an excellent crossing window opened up the very next day, so we made it happen! We can move at 13kts and we did that all day until sunset then slowed down over the Banks and so to approach New Providence around sunrise. Was the perfect decision and we enjoyed lovely days, with one exception, until today actually! tucked into Red Shanks!


  3. I enjoyed your story about this years trip south. I’m very interested in living the lifestyle that you guys are doing. I’ve been looking at various boats for years and the PDQ34’s have been a top contender. I’ve also considered a sail cat and more recently the Fountaine Pajot Summerland 40 power cats have caught my attention. The burn a little more fuel that the PDQ’s but can still manage almost 9kt under 4gph. Not bad. Anyway I’m 54 with a sophomore in HS with college yet to go so I’m honestly about 7 years out on my dream still. I keep a boat in Beaufort, NC so maybe I’ll see you guys at the Beaufort docks one day. Safe travels.


    • Hi Jonathan Glad to have you along. We have friends who owned a Chris White Atlantic 42 when we met them, now own the FP Summerland 40 you are eyeing. If you begin leaning that way, we can put you in touch. We sure recall that long wait from dream to living it! Made so many lists, and in the end, we ducked out 4 years early. We can blame the cold, snowy weather; you can’t! Beaufort is a favorite stop and next Spring we’ll let you know when we’ll be there!


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