D33: New Smyrna Beach to Cape Canaveral 12/3/2019

Getting out of bed early was a challenge this Tuesday because the temperature was 43 degrees. Not what we came to Florida for. We kicked on the generator to warm up a bit while we ate breakfast.

After consuming sufficient coffee, I pulled up the anchor, which came up surprisingly clean, and headed south at 0730. The sky was clear and the day was cold. A trimaran had just passed while I was hoisting anchor, but we caught up to it and passed her quickly.

At first we were not moving as fast as we had hoped and started to wonder if we could make it to Canaveral. I had used the Automatic routing feature in Navionics to estimate my time to arrival, but I think the ICW presents too many twists and turns for it to fully work it out. Once I started getting concerned about making our destination, I performed a manual calculation from the electronic charts and realized we could make all the bridges if we could maintain a 7 knot speed.

After a few hours of running at 6.5 knots, the wind kicked up and the current turned, so we were speeding along at range of 7.5 – 8.5 knots. We knew we had to go through several on-demand bridges and one scheduled bridge, but all around the Kennedy Space Center, the bridges have curfews at rush hour. We had to get to the SR-3 draw bridge before 3 pm, which is the bridge of the Canaveral barge canal prior to the locks.

After pushing through Mosquito Lagoon, we turned through the Haul-Over Canal, which included the Allenhurst Bascule bridge. I called on channel 9 and he said bring it on. I will open as you get close. I never had to slow down. This was the beginning of a great day.

After the Haul-Over Canal, we headed west into Indian River and turned south down the channel to Titusville. With Genoa pulling hard, we were running over 8 knots most of the time and screaming through multiple high rise bridges. We made Titusville by 1133, NASA Causeway Bridge by 12:18 (this bridge also had a curfew from 3 pm to 6 pm), the canal causeway lift bridge for SR-3 at 1330 and we entered the Canaveral lock at 1400. It was one of those days when everything came together. We passed through the final set of bridges over SR 401 and were docked at Port Canaveral Yacht Club (PCYC) by 1430.

New Smyrna to Port Canaveral

I cannot say enough about how nice the dockmasters, Saundra and Mike, were at PCYC. They called me while I was in Mosquito Lagoon wondering if I would make it and when I might arrive. They wanted to be sure that I was aware of the bridge schedules. I was, but they took the extra step of calling the bridge tenders and lock operators to make sure there were no unusual schedules or shut downs. They greeted us when we arrived, helped us dock, and even picked up a few items at the grocery store during their own personal trip. The docks are fixed, which may be a problem for some, but all of the other facilities were great.

In the chart below, you see our track coming from the ICW (from the left)  through the barge canal and bridge.  Where it seems to cross land, that is the location of the PCYC and where I walked across the street.  The track to the right, show our path to the ocean and turning south.  

Port Canaveral and the Canal

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