Route and weather planning from New York City to the Bahamas via Norfolk, VA and ICW

East Coast

The plan is to leave on the first weather window from October 24th 2021 in order to go to Norfolk, VA and take the ICW.  The ICW, or intracoastal waterway, is a system of canals that allows boats to travel around the United States and parts of Canada internally.

My  goal is to stage Aeolus in Georgia for November, December and January , then continue to the Bahamas/Caribbean at the end of January or beginning of February.

I started planning the route several months ago. Most people that have done it suggest to go to from New York to Cape May, or even from New York to Norfolk, VA in one shot, and then take the ICW from there.

There are several options to stop midway if the weather turns. Below is the weather prediction for Sunday, October 24th, 2021 according to the PWE model. This is one week ahead of departure, the winds are around 10 to 15 knots with a wind direction of 331 degree, which is ok for my purpose. Obviously we will need to check additional weather models, closer to the departure date, things may change.

City Island to Atlantic Highland municipal anchorage. 37 miles or about 8 hours, maybe less if we go faster. We can either overnight at anchor or continue. Possibility to go on shore with dinghy or municipal launch. 

Atlantic Highland to Barnaget inlet

Atlantic Highlands to Barnegat Inlet  49 miles – 12.13 hours at 5 knots

This is more of a safety option in case of bad weather. And with really bad weather entry maybe difficult. I’m not planning on stopping here. For info see

barnaget to Atlantic city

Barnegat Inlet to Atlantic City – 8 hrs at 5knots 33.3 miles

This is also an optional stop, if weather is good best to continue. Some options for overnight include:
Coast Guard Station anchorage, Atlantic Coast Guard station rocking, Brigantine anchorage, Senator Farley State Marina, aka Golden Nugget Marina. Night in town playing roulette?

Atlantic City to Cape May

Atlantic City to Cape May – 8hrs at 5knots

This could be the only stop on the way to Norfolk to get some rest, a nice dinner and a shower. Several options to chose from 

Alternative Route – City Island to Cape May non stop

137.5 miles, 27 hours at 5knots.

From Cape May there are two possible routes to Norfolk VA, (the beginning of the ICW)

One route is inside and goes by Baltimore, Washington and the Chesapeake bay, the other route is outside and faster.

Cape May to Norfolk outside

Outside route from Cape May to Norfolk- 155 miles – 31 hours.

Cape May to Baltimore

Inside Route from  Cape May to Norfolk
via Baltimore
Cape May to Baltimore 137 nm 27 hours.

Several opportunities to stop midway.

Baltimore to Norfolk

Baltimore to Norfolk – 146 nm 27 hours – several opportunities to stop midway.

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