Over the first part of September, 2013, there has been an interesting discussion on the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association Forum (http://www.greatloop.org/) as to the usability of Wassau Sound Inlet, which pierces the northeastern Georgia coastline a few miles south of the Savannah River inlet. From the AICW, the most practical approach to this seaward cut, is to leave the Waterway at marker #40, southeast of the Waterway – Herb River intersection (just a short hop south of Thunderbolt, GA), and then follow the wide but scantily marked Wilmington River channel to Wassau Sound, and eventually to this sound’s inlet.
Personally, I wouldn’t think about attempting this passage without a well functioning chart plotter aboard, outfitted with the latest charts, and, even then, only with light winds and good weather in the offing!
My real question is, does anyone use or are the inlets between Thunderbolt and Brunswick usable for a 5 ft draft? Assuming a calm day.
I see many are marked by buoys, but does that mean that you can follow the charts and not have a problem ? I would like to run out of Delegal Creek and run to St Simons.
I realize St Simons entrance is not a problem as it is a shipping channel.
Bob and Libby
I used Wassaw Sound inlet last about two years ago. Beyond G9 and R10, I had trouble finding the movable marks over the bar to R2. Latest chart shows the channel bending quite sharply to the south and that is how I recall we found the movable marks. Take it slow in good visibility at half tide or higher the first time.
There is plenty of water once you know where the channel really is. My first time through in a sail boat 10 years ago didn’t work out so well, spent about four hours at the bottom of the tide cycle with our keel on the bottom.
Olivia, To get the latest information you might contact Sea Tow or TowboatUS for that area. The buoys are constantly being moved because of shoaling and if there are steep seas running, they are hard to find because they are spaced far apart and get lost in the troughs of the swells. The inlet should only be used in calm conditions.
Last year, after Hurricane Sandy had passed the area, I was helping a friend move his 48ft Island Packet (5ft draft) south to Miami and we used, with no issues, Wassau inlet. We had spent the night in Thunderbolt. The marks are far apart but a chart plotter helped keep us oriented. Wind was 15/20 WSW with a good 4-5ft chop once we were away from the inlet. Tide had just ebbed at Thunderbolt and current was light and with us as we came down the river, and while a bit confused, there were no standing or breaking waves at the inlet. The inlet was no issue for our offshore capable boat. If you look at the mast heights of the really big sailing yachts in maintenance at Thunderbolt then Wilmington River/Wassau inlet is most likely what they use as they can’t get under the 65ft bridge just to the north and have drafts not appropriate for the ICW travel to the south.
My name is Kevin Quinn. I keep my boats on the Wilmington River and I am out on the Wassaw Sound every week. I have a USCG Masters License with a Sail Endorsement. I would be glad to help anyone wanting to make this passage down the Wilmington, through the Wassaw sound and out the inlet. I will help you on the phone, Email or on board. 912-355-0737