Charleston SC to Stuart FL in a Beneteau Swift Trawler42
Who Dat! We are aboard a Beneteau Swift Trawler 42 helping the owners relocate from Charleston to Stuart, FL as the Saints go marching in to victory as SUPERBOWL winners!
OK, so these snowbirds are a few months behind the fall schedule but that’s not stopping us from having a great trip south. Jacque and Tricia ask us to help them learn about both the ICW and their new boat while we travel from CHILLY Charleston to sunny Stuart, FL. We get to Charleston before the owners arrive, ready to prepare this trawler for our trip. With 4 INCHES of freezing rain, the wind is a steady 30 knots gusting upwards of 50 knots. Due to the nasty winter weather from Texas to the Northeast their flight from Louisiana was cancelled so we postpone our trip one more day in hopes that all will settle before we start our trek south.
We all manage to dry out the next morning, tightly bundled against the cold in the enclosed flybridge of the swift trawler. As the sun gets higher the four of us are now toasty warm flying down the ICW to a small but wonderful marina in Hilton Head, SC. At 20 knots, next we zoom across the state line into Georgia and start our evasive actions during low tide to avoid the mud flats. Fortunately we won’t have actual hard sand bars until we arrive in Florida.
It’s Superbowl Sunday and our priority is a stop in Jekyll Island to get a good spot on a dock where the CATV actually works. Tricia pulls out long sleeved Saints T-shirts for us and Alyse adds black and gold beads all around to complete the look letting all the other boaters know we are from Louisiana…as if DESIRE, New Orleans LA on the transom didn’t give it away. Later than cruisers usually stay awake, we second line up and down the docks celebrating victory. The Saints are Superbowl Champions- 31 to 17!
Monday we get back to the task at hand and take off for Florida, passing the Submarine base in Kings Bay, GA and then crossing into Florida at Fernandina Beach. More tricky maneuvers bringing the boat down to hull speed at low tide as we cross the St. Johns River near JAX, open the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine and dock just at dusk in Daytona. Guess why the marinas in Daytona are full? It is the start of NASCAR race week and the Daytona 500! The megayachts surround us.
Tuesday we blast off again trying to find the sunshine and warmth of south FL and arrive in Stuart at the Harborage Yacht Club and Marina at dusk. Yes this is a fast boat when you need to get somewhere quick and we make a 500 mile ICW trip in four days, Charleston to Stuart.
Wednesday was a day off for the owners and as krewe we can go to our land house to relax and recoup from the trip. But we return on Thursday to do some anchor practice and launch the new dinghy, actions we chose not to attempt in the frigid North. This is why snowbirds come to south Florida, much better boating weather all year round. We cruised leisurely to Pecks Lake on the ICW to continue the training. After running through the anchoring and dinghy launch drills a few times we aim for the beach, tie the dinghy to the trees and cut through the dunes over to the ocean. More important activities await: beachcombing!