The Plan

We’ve been talking about retirement and going and cruising for a long time and it’s finally becoming a reality. Phebe and I have both retired from our jobs and we’re getting ready to set off. Our starting point is Clinton, Montana, where Noodin is sitting in our back yard. We have a trucking company contracted to haul her to Bayfield, Wisconsin in the middle of May. From there, we plan on traveling to the Bahamas and hopefully being there for Christmas 2016. Rough sketches of our planned route are shown below along with descriptions.

Leg 1 – Great Lakes and Erie Canal

We plan to set out from Bayfield, Wisconsin around July 1st and sail the Canadian shore of Lake Superior on our way through the Great Lakes. Time permitting, we’d love to check out the North Channel of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. It’s going to be a case of so much to see and so little time, so who knows. The tentative plan is to be at the start of the Erie Canal around Labor Day and on to New York City by mid-September or so.

Great Lakes & Erie Canal - Approximately 1,500 miles

Great Lakes & Erie Canal – Approximately 1,500 miles

Leg 2 – New York City to Virginia Beach

This will be our first taste of ocean sailing as we sail from New York City to the southern end of Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Bay is where we plan on hanging out for a bit if we feel that we need to wait to make sure that hurricanes are no longer a threat. There’s lots to see and do around Chesapeake Bay so it won’t be a hardship if we have to kill some time.

New York City to Virginia Beach - Approximately 450 Miles

New York City to Virginia Beach – Approximately 450 Miles

Leg 3 – Virginia Beach to Beaufort, North Carolina

After Virginia beach it’s time to get back in a ditch and spend some time in the intra-coastal waterway. We’ll probably start off in the Dismal Swamp Canal before hitting the ICW proper but either way it’s a ditch. We plan on staying in protected waters until we get south of Cape Hatteras which gets us to Beaufort, North Carolina.

Virginia Beach to Beaufort, NC - Approximately 250 miles

Virginia Beach to Beaufort, NC – Approximately 250 miles

Leg 4 – Beaufort, North Carolina to Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Bahamas

We hope to get out of the ditch at Beaufort and head offshore to the Abacos. This will depend on weather and our comfort level heading offshore for an extended passage. If we aren’t comfortable heading offshore, we’ll stay in the ICW until we reach the Miami area and then make our crossing.

Beaufort, NC to Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Bahamas

Beaufort, NC to Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Bahamas – Approximately 800 miles

Leg 5 and beyond – Marsh Harbour to ?????

The semi-firm plans end at Marsh Harbour. We tentatively plan on exploring the Bahamas until we need to leave in June or so to find a safer place for hurricane season. We’ve talked about a number of alternatives but it’s too early to know what we’ll decide.