Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bridges on the ICW

It is difficult for most sailboats to make more than 50 miles a day on parts of the ICW. As you can imagine there are numerous bridges connecting the outer islands with the mainland. As most were built in the 1930s -1950s they tend to be the swing variety. They open on the hour and sometimes the half hour and stick tightly to the schedule.

Just as you leave South Carolina heading North at Sunset Beach there is a floating bridge that opens on the hour. The main span is on pontoons and every hour if there is boat traffic they swing this bridge open. It will be gone in a year as they are building a new concrete bridge next to it.

The new bridges are concrete permanent fixtures with a 65 ft clearance. It is spooky going under them around high tide it looks as though the top of the mast is going to strike. Le Chat Beaute, like many cats, is 62 ft above water at the top of the mast. Add 2 ft for antenna and lights and it becomes close.

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