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Southern Spars

Sailing South - the First Timer’s Guide to the ICW

by Wally Moran on 2 Apr 2011
Wally Moran . ..
Sailing south to the islands, the dream of every sailor. But how to do it, that’s the question. What difficulties lie between the challenging waters of the Great Lakes and those idyllic tropical islands?

That’s a question that cruiser and boating writer Wally Moran has answered for thousands of boaters who have attended his seminars over the past several years at the Toronto and Port Credit boat shows, and in seminars at West Marine stores.


Moran, who is known to many boaters as a regular contributor to SAIL Magazine and a Cruising Editor for the Waterway Guide, has now released his highly acclaimed seminar as a downloadable HD video through TheSailingChannel, along with with PDF study materials and electronic NOAA charts of the entire trip along the US coast, plus Great Lakes waters, the Erie Canal and the Hudson River.

‘Sailing South- the First Timer’s Guide to the ICW’ describes the trip south from the Great Lakes through the Erie Canal, down the Hudson River, along the New Jersey coast and up the Delaware River to the Chesapeake Bay and then down to mile 1095 of the ICW, at Miami, FL.

Moran assures his audiences that the trip is not as difficult as they’ve been told and that if they have experience in Georgian Bay’s 30,000 Islands, Lake Huron’s North Channel, or the Thousand Islands, they’ve already handled far more challenging passages than they will find while heading south.

'By the time you’ve reached mile zero at Norfolk VA from Georgian Bay, you’ve already covered a greater distance than the 1095 mile ICW,' he tells his audience. 'And,' he reassures them, 'if you’ve sailed Georgian Bay’s small craft route, the North Channel or the Thousand Islands, you don’t need to be sitting here. Nothing on the ICW is tougher than those areas.'

Given that Moran has done the trip 15 times, he speaks with considerable authority on the topic. Among the many issues discussed are what NOT to bring along, provisioning, dealing with large vessel traffic, passage techniques, shoaling on the ICW, handling currents and inlets, navigation, weather, communications and how to pass or be passed in the narrow ICW. Chartlets of problem areas are included in the package.



Moran developed the Sailing South seminar after having written articles on the ICW for SAIL Magazine and Waterway Guide. Recognizing his experience, other cruisers contacted him for information on how to do the trip, including his list of ‘free’ docks along the ICW. Moran also offers email assistance to any questions about the trip that purchasers might have, since as he notes in his seminar, it’s impossible to cover all the possible questions in an hour seminar.

For those wanting a copy of the seminar, it is available via download at www.thesailingchannel.tv/icw for $12.99.
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