Let’s not kid ourselves—the ICW transit can be a long, lonely and sometimes daunting slog. Commercial traffic, strong currents, shifting shoal spots and lifting bridges—help! That’s why we came up with the idea for a Snowbird Rally down the ICW, to help make the ICW an experience you’ll look back on with a grin on your face. Last year’s event was a rousing success, and this year’s will be even better. You’ll learn new skills, hone your existing ones, and come away with a group of new friends and some lasting memories.
Ably led by On the Water ChartGuides authors Mark and Diana Doyle, with Tom Hale, former Technical VP of the American Boat and Yacht Council, providing technical support, the Snowbird Rally departs Hampton, Virginia on Friday, October 23, and winds up in St Augustine, Florida, on Tuesday, December 1.
The event will actually kick off with our annual Secrets of the ICW Seminar on Sunday, October 11 at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, to which all Rally entrants receive free registration. Then we’ll meet up in Hampton on October 18 for the famed Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous (also free registration to Rallyers), which will really set the scene for the adventure ahead. Following that, we’ll get together for two days of boat inspections, socializing and the first of seven formal briefings you’ll receive along the way.
Once the Rally is under way, crews will enjoy regular navigational, weather and safety briefings, along with mechanical and electrical troubleshooting and advice, parties, potluck dinners and shoreside outings, all the while getting star treatment at marinas and towns along the way. You’ll enjoy docking and fuel discounts, and assistance and guidance from on-the-spot harbor hosts. Don’t worry about those notorious ICW trouble spots—you’ll be getting lead-boat guidance through those.
The schedule has been tailored to keep long motoring days to a minimum and allow plenty of time to explore the attractive stopovers along the way. We—I say we because a crew of SAIL editors will also be joining in this adventure—will pass through the fabled Dismal Swamp Canal to historic Oriental, NC, and spend time in Charleston and Beaufort, SC, and Savannah, Jekyll Island and St Mary’s in Georgia.
At the end of the journey you may be wondering what to do next, so SAIL will host a one-day Sailing South Seminar in St. Augustine with expert advice on sailing to the Bahamas, Cuba, Caribbean, and Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas.
Space is limited, so sign up now!
Registration has opened for the 2015 SAIL Snowbird Rally down the Intracoastal Waterway.