Just came back from the Offshore Powerboat Races in Sanibel to Charlotte Harbor last week. Keep in mind that there is a huge sandbar on the North side of the channel coming into Charlotte harbor. You must go out into the Gulf about 3 miles before you can get around it. However, you can slip by it at the entrance if you stay about 75 feet from the beach. If you do not know the area, it is good to have someone guide you in. I strongly suggest that you take the ICW and practice sailing in local areas until you know the water.