This is the second annual Savannah to Charleston Rally for Classic
Boats. Our fleet will range in size from a 22 foot Marshall Cat to a 15 foot
Melonseed Skiff and will include Herreshoff 12.5s (16 feet LOA), a Cape Dory
Typhoon (19 feet LOA, and a Marshall Cat 18. By “classic” for purposes of this
event we mean boats that were designed before 1970 and were intended to be
cruising, training, or working boats rather than around-the-buoys racing craft.
Most of the participating boats are of modern production and may use modern
materials, such as fiberglass, but they have the hull lines, full-length shallow
keels and rigs of boats popular in a by-gone era. This is not intended to be a
hard and fast exclusionary definition; rather, this is an attempt to define the
general spirit of the fleet. On the ICW, as a practical matter, boats drawing
more than three feet in depth can have problems in certain places at low tide
due to silting. This limitation alone suggests that this would not be a
practical journey for larger craft with deep, high aspect ratio, keels.
In this adventure, which is on the IntraCoastal Waterway
(ICW), tidal currents play an important role. Most of the
way, tidal currents run 2 to 4
kts in speed. The adventure schedule is timed
to take maximum advantage of tides running favorable directions. On a typical
day we will be heading, essentially, inland, or up a river, with the morning
incoming tide, and then use the out flowing afternoon tide as we turn in the
direction of our destination in the afternoon.
We will be dependent on the kind and generous hospitality of
the Savannah Yacht Club for launching and Carolina Yacht Club in Charleston for hauling
out. There may be charges for using these facilities that will need to sent, by
the clubs, to the participant’s home yacht club. Participants not having
billing support from their home yacht club may use another participant’s
facility with an agreement to reimburse. There will also be charges at the
marinas for nightly tie-ups ranging from $20 to $50. Each participant will plan
and provide for daily provisions of water, lunch, and snacks.
At the center of the rally is the
Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club (BYSC). Many of the participants will sail down
to the southern tip of Parris Island to rendezvous with the participants
starting in Savannah at about 3:30 Saturday afternoon, April 29, and the fleet
will sail back to Beaufort together, docking at BYSC for the night.
Participants will be shuttled across the Beaufort
River to the Carriage Court dock (895 Ribaut Road) where they will be given
a cocktail reception starting at 6 PM
and going until about 8 PM.
Shuttle service will be provided by Joe Bennett in his Hinckley
The following day, Sunday, is Classic Boat Day at BYSC, and
our fleet is the focus of attention. This is a day for R&R (repairs and
recuperation) but is also a day when participants can expand the appreciation
of classic boats to the rest of the BYSC membership. In addition, BYSC will be
having its usual Spring Series races in club fleets, but they will also give
us, as participants, our own start for a race around the buoys. I think you’ll
find this fun and rewarding.
Weather can alter our plans. Although the end of April and
early May are typically wonderful times to be sailing in this territory, there
can be occasional thunderstorms and frontal-related high winds. Each
participant will make his own decision each day whether to sail, and the
organizers do not take responsibility for these individual decisions. Those not
sailing on a particular day (and this might mean the entire fleet) may have to
reach the day’s destination by hauling out and trailering to it. Boats too big
to trailer may use their engines to reach the destination. To get a feel for
the likely weather conditions, go to www.weather.com
and click on the zip code 29902 for Beaufort. Use the 10-day (outlook) option.
Each morning will start with a Participants’ Meeting during
which the weather and the course and the plans for the day will be discussed.
Following this meeting, we will rig up and prepare to start. The exact timing
of the start will be determined by the wind and tidal conditions. If the wind
is strong we can start a bit later than shown on the schedule. The key will be
timing the start to hit the daily tidal changes at the proper time. The smaller
boats may depart ahead of the larger or faster ones so that all will reach the
tide breaks at about the same time.
Contact among the participants will be by VHF radio.
Navigation will be by chart or GPS or both, and compass, and each participant
is expected to have appropriate navigational aids and the skills to use them.
In addition, the following safety equipment should be on board:
paddle, oar, or other means to propel the boat other than sail or engine
jacket for each person on board
throwable floatation cushion or ring kept in the cockpit for use in the
event of a Man Overboard (MOB) incident
functional water pump
suitable anchor with chain and rode totaling at least 100 feet
noise maker or fog horn that can be heard from a long distance
Each participant must know the height of the rig on his
boat. There are two low bridges (one near Savannah and one near Charleston)
that could be require the bridge to open for boats having rigs over 21 feet
high. Participants need to be knowledgeable about bridge opening protocol.
At the end of this adventure (Wednesday, May 3, we will have
a “Victory Celebration” in Charleston
as a “Dutch treat” event. Time and location to be announced.
But if you are a participant for only part of the way, please plan to come to Charleston for this
celebration. Plan to spend the night there so you can relax and enjoy the party
without having to worry about a long drive home. Most of us will haul out
Thursday, May 4.
Following is the day-by-day detail.
Thursday, April 27: Meet at Savannah Yacht Club to rig up
and launch and check out equipment and systems.
Friday, April 28:
Participants’ Meeting at SYC at 8:30.
Depart docks at 9 AM. About 2 nautical miles (nm) to Thunderbolt
Bridge on the Wilmington River.
High tide at Thunderbolt
Bridge is at 9:45 AM. After Thunderbolt
Bridge, pass Bonaventure
Cemetery (on port side) made famous by
the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. After Thunderbolt Bridge,
another 2 nm gets us to Vornado
Bridge with a 21 foot
vertical clearance at high tide. Another 4 nm get us to the Savannah
River. In the approach, stay right and look for new Coast Guard
red buoys indicating silting on the left. Cross the Savannah River and enter
Fields Cut, going another 3 NM to Walls Cut which will take us, with an adverse
tide, to New River. Go up the Ramshorn Creek.
Another 3 MN gets us to the Cooper River, with Daufuskie Island
on the right. On Cooper
River, go 3.5 miles to
Calibogue Sound. Cross the Sound 1 nm to Harbour Town.
We will announce our arrival by VHF, and Harbour Town
will send out a tender to guide us to our overnight tie-up. Total distance
about 18.5 NM.
Saturday, April 29:
Participants’ Meeting at Harbour
Town docks at 7:30 AM. Depart dock at 8 AM to take advantage of the last if
the incoming tide. High tide is at 9:13.
We will sail along Hilton Head’s west coast 8 NM to Skull Creek Marina. We will
await there until the proper time to cross the Port Royal Sound. Port Royal
Sound is open to the Atlantic Ocean and can
particularly choppy in a southeast wind with an outgoing tide. Our objective is
to rendezvous with the Beaufort boats at 3:30
PM at the south end of Parris Island.
It is 2 NM from Skull Creek Marina to Port Royal Sound and 3.3 NM across the
Sound to the tip end of Parris Island. We will
give wide berth to the south tip of Parris Island
as it is deceptively shallow near the tip. From the tip end of Parris Island it is 7.4 NM to BYSC (total for the day 20.7
NM). De-rig and come across the river, dressed as you are, to the Carriage Court dock
(895 Ribaut Road),
in Joe’s Hinckley. The Carriage Court residents will be dressed
in their classic yachting attire. Party until about 8 PM. Your ground crew can
meet you there and are fully invited to be part of the fun times.
Sunday, April 30:
This is a lay day in the adventure. At BSYC it is Classic Boat Day. Some of us
may have to use the morning to retrieve our trailers from Savannah.
There is a West Marine in town on Ribaut Road for equipment and repair
materials if needed. Around noon
we’ll all plan to meet at the club. Members there may be interested in your
boat, You are invited to take an active interest in
expanding the appreciation of classic boats if you wish, but this is not
required. Our “fleet” will be given a start in the around-the-buoys race in the
afternoon. This is not a serious race for us but could be a good opportunity to
sharpen your skills at starting, boat handling, and competing in a pack. Sunday
night the boats may be kept at the BYSC dock.
Monday, May 1:
Participants’ Meeting at 9:30 AM
at BYSC. Departure from the dock at 10 AM. We will sail with the incoming
tide about 9 NM to the Brickyards, where the Beaufort
River meets the Coosaw River.
High tide at the Brickyards is 12:33
PM. With the ebbing tide we will sail down the Coosaw 9.5 NM to the
Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff. Taking the A-C cutoff, we will sail 1.4 NM to Rock Creek
and then another 1 NM on Rock Creek when it again becomes the A-C cutoff for
another 1.5 NM to reach the Ashepoo
River. We sail 1.5 miles
on the Ashepoo River
to Fenwick Cut, and we take the 0.3 NM Fenwick Cut to the South Edisto
River. On the Edisto we go right, with the outflowing tide 4.5 NM to
Big Bay Creek. Giving plenty of room to the shoals on the left, we come around
and go about 0.5 NM up Big Boy Creek to the Edisto Marina. Low tide at Edisto
Marina is 5:28 PM. Total
distance for the day is about 32 NM.
Tuesday, May 2:
Participant’s Meeting at Edisto Marina dock, 8:30 AM. Depart dock at 9 AM. Low tide here has happened at 6:15 AM, so we may need to motor down to the
0.5 NM to the South
We will sail back to Fenwick Cut (about 4.5 NM) but stay on the South Edisto another 6 NM to Watt Cut. Watt Cutt is about
4 NM, leading to the Dawho
River. This will be a
total 15 NM to this point, and high tide here is at 1:40 PM. On the Dawho we will sail 2.3 NM to
the North Edisto, turn right, and sail with
the ebbing tide 4.5 NM to Bohicket Creek. As with the Edisto Marina, we need to
swing wide to the right before turning up to the left into the creek. It is
about 3.5 NM up Bohicket Creek to the Marina.
As low tide is 6:24 PM we
will be sailing against the tide on this last leg to the Marina. Use motors if needed. Total distance
for the day is 25.3 NM.
Wednesday, May 3:
Participants’ Meeting 8:30 AM.
Depart the dock at about 9 AM.
Low tide was at 7:22 AM, so
we will do the first 3.5 NM down Bohicket Creek in an adverse tide. It is
likely we will use our motors for this initial stretch. When we reach the North
Edisto we will hoist sail with the incoming tide and sail the 4.5 NM back to
the Dawho, but we will stay on the North Edisto until it feeds into the Stono River.
From where we pass the Dawho, we sail 13 NM, passing Church flats where there
is a tide break, to the John
This is a low bridge. Last year our H-12 passed under it with no problem. Boats
with rigs taller than 16 feet might have to get the bridge to open. The bridge
operator might open it on request, or he might make you wait until his required
times which are every twenty minutes starting on the
top of the hour. High tide here is at 2:59
PM. From the bridge, another 7 NM gets us to the famous Elliott Cut
(known locally as “Wapoo Cut” because it feeds into the Wapoo River).
This is probably the narrowest place we will encounter on this trip, and the
tide rips along at about 4 kts. Fortunately the tide will be with us and will
take us rapidly the 2.8 NM to the Ashley
River and the entrance to Charleston Harbor. We will sail 3 NM around the
south end of Charleston, off the “Battery”, and
up the Cooper River along East Bay Street to Carolina Yacht Club.
ETA is about 4 PM. Total distance 34 NM. We will de-rig, but unless you have
persuaded your ground crew to bring your trailer up from Beaufort, you’ll leave
your boat in the water overnight and haul out the next day. We will have a celebratory
dinner in Charleston
Wednesday evening at a place to be announced, Dutch treat.