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Destination Kingsley, Northeast Florida More than just a stopover! By Captain Frederick A. Braman, USN (ret) Photos by Trevor Rhody


ike most sailing cruisers, I have many favorite destinations. I also have favorite en route anchorages used in getting there. There are a few great places that can be both. The Fort George River is regarded as a nice stopover by most, but for me, it’s both stopover and destination and is often the place that I want to go. The still-elegant Kingsley Plantation lords over the best spot on the river to drop the hook. If you like walks in the woods, good fishing, miles of marsh with plenty of varmints, acres of low tide sand bar beaches, and a history that you can still see and touch, you will also like Kingsley, now part of the National Park Service’s Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve. Located just off the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) about four miles north of northern Florida’s St. Johns River, the Rhombus and Moondara anchored directly in front of the mansion. Fort George River is the best stopover anchorage on the stretch can see the sand bars) and rising (in case you get too close of the ICW between Fernandina Beach and St Augustine. It to one) tide. If you draw no more than five feet or so, you is listed in most of the anchorage books, and if you pass by can enter at almost any time. in the early spring and late fall, you will usually spot an Follow the same path on the way out. Boats that run anchor light or three. I also use Kingsley as a stopover, aground cut too close to Green #73 while arriving from the except that my stops are usually at least a couple of days. south or while intending to head south upon departure. More than once, a Kingsley stopover was so pleasant that I Even when just transiting the ICW, don’t go near Green 73! discarded my intended destination and just stayed. This Moondara and Rhombus entered as described, never seeing October trip, however, was just to be a stopover, as I less that 7 feet on a mid-tide. Keeping close to the southern showed off Kingsley as a future destination to my friend, shore, we passed between Green #3 and the south shore, Trevor Rhody, on his Hunter 29, Moondara, as he followed and proceeded to pass the Park Service visitors’ dock to me on Rhombus, my Catalina 30. We were traveling to starboard. The deepest water is close to the dock. We would Fernandina Beach to pick up my wife and grandchildren, later visit it by dinghy, tying up on the inside of the floating and Trevor’s daughter, for a trip farther north. portion of the dock to escape the frequent wake from passThe Fort George River is entered only from Sisters ing boats. Don’t expect a no-wake zone anywhere along the Creek, at the AICW waterway (Mile Marker 735), which Fort George River! connects Nassau Sound to the north, and the St. Johns River, The preferred anchorage for sailboats is just past the a few miles to the south. The intended destination, the front of the white plantation house and Green Marker #5. If anchorage dominated by the plantation, is visible from you go a hundred yards or so past Green 5, the river widens miles away, especially if approaching from the north. a bit, where you will find yourself out of direct view from NOAA Chart 11489 of the AICW shows a fairly easy and the mansion grounds, where it’s a little more private. The relatively deep entry. It is easy, but not so deep. On this day, river carries 9-feet-plus at low tide well east of Green 5, so Moondara and Rhombus are arriving from the south, but there is plenty of room to anchor several single-file boats. entry into the Fort George River is about the same— There is a swift current, but holding in the sand bottom is whether north or southbound. With a tidal range of over excellent. Drop the hook in the river’s center. The best profive feet, my favorite time to enter is on a fairly low (so you tection is when winds are anywhere from the south, but

News & Views for Southern Sailors


December 2013


Southwinds Dec 2013

Southwinds Dec 2013