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  #1  
Old 08-11-2008
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Southwest Florida charter

Anyone sail these waters? Charlotte Harbor, Gulf Islands, Ft Myers, Cabbage Key (Jimmy Buffet), etc. Cruising World gives the area high marks and there are several charter companies with a variety of sailboats. Hope to liveaboard someday, so we are chartering in different locations to check them out.
Deb
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Old 08-13-2008
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Chartering in SW Florida

I read in Cruising World that Yachting Vacations was rated number 1 for 6 or 7 years in a row. I have looked at their web site and they have a large selection of boats to choose from, mono hulls and cats alike. I am new to the area and from my experience it's pretty nice especially when you get out to the barrier islands. Google earth gives the best picture of the area. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-13-2008
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Originally Posted by nursinadream View Post
Anyone sail these waters? Charlotte Harbor, Gulf Islands, Ft Myers, Cabbage Key (Jimmy Buffet), etc. Cruising World gives the area high marks and there are several charter companies with a variety of sailboats. Hope to liveaboard someday, so we are chartering in different locations to check them out.
Deb
I sailed the west coast of Florida from Tampa Bay to Ft. Myers on vacation for many years, and loved the area. I usually found the sailing weather to be very nice around April-May. Some people are turned off by the amount of commercial activity, but I disagree. Every time you go, old restaurants have been remodeled and there are new restaurants to try, so that the area doesn't suffer from sameness. Nevertheless, there are still many isolated places to anchor and seldom-visited sandbars to explore. I always considered the Charlotte Harbor area to be the highlight of the trip, so I liked to start at Tampa Bay, cruise liesurely south to Captiva Island, and then sail back to Tampa Bay. On the return trip, I liked to stop at different places than on the trip south.
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Old 08-13-2008
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i took asa 103/104 from southwest fla charters and had an english capn as the instructor and he was EXCELLENT 9sorry about yelling but i would hire him in a minute - there were 2 of us (me and a girlfriend) and he treated us both equally and really taught us to sail - the boat was excellent and you can not beat the cruising grounds - got me prepared for my own boat
now i am a full time cruiser on a 40' jeanneau and currently in westport ct planning for the next week so to head north to the elizabeth isl (God willing) and then back to the long island sound -
you have picked a great place to cruise and i can recommend swfla yachts as a great place to charter and if you want some instruction check and see if the english guy is still there
chuck and svsoulmates
ki4sry
on the hook westbrook, ct
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Old 08-13-2008
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Is this the place you took your lesson from?

Florida Sailing Cruising and Trawler School Learn to sail vacations, boat handling lessons on sailboats, trawlers and powerboats.
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Old 08-13-2008
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I checked the above website it looks pretty impressive. I also looked at the boats that are available and that wasn't impressive, meager at best.
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Old 08-13-2008
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Thanks

Thanks to all for the replies. I will be booking a 6 day charter for November.
Deb
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Old 08-13-2008
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Deb,

The areas you listed are wonderful sailing grounds. Years ago I lived in Sarasota and we kept the boat in Boca Grande at the mouth of Charlotte Harbour. The pass can be fierce if you catch it with wind and tide running in opposite directions.

The Pine Island Sound area is fun to gunkhole around and the Gulf is great fun to go sailing in. Charlotte Harbour is big and there is plenty of water for good sailing.

There is a lot of skinny water so be sure to take along current charts and ask for some local knowledge, especially about any of the passes in that area.

A real treat is not far to the SSW - The Tortugas







Enjoy your charter........

Regards, John
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Old 08-14-2008
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Originally Posted by nursinadream View Post
Thanks to all for the replies. I will be booking a 6 day charter for November.
Deb
Go have fun with it!!

I lived there on our boat for some time and know the area very well. Just got back from there in January (as it so happens that is where Dad's boat was at too).

Water is very shallow in many areas and the ICW around Pine Island through to Ft. Myers (called the Miserable Mile) stinks. Other than that, you will enjoy it. GO check out Sanibel Island; anchor off of Useppa Island to go over to Cabbage Key for a $10 Cheeseburger. Charolotte Harbor is nice, but you gotta watch out for the crab traps which were plentiful in January. Other attractions would be Ft. Myers Beach. You can grab a mooring ball and everything is "dinkable". I can give you stores that are easily walkable via dink if you would like. Try the Beached Whale for a little more local environment. It is on FMB. In Charolote Harbor, go spend some money at Fisherman's Wharf. You will have to anchor WAY out from it, but you can sit at the bar and watch out over the bay. It is nice. Lots of shops there too. If you want to see how the other side lives, take a short hop down to Factory Bay in Naples. Downtown Naples, such as it is, is an intersting place to visit.

You might be able to hop down to the Key West/Marathon, but that will be a lot more time sailing and less time seeing the site. The Tortugas, one of my favorite places, is 121 miles from Ft. Myers. Absolutely a wonderful place to visit, but you would be hard pressed to make in the time alotted since it is 24 hours (and an offshore passage) there and back. You cannot (or should not) go in there at night. Many shipwrecks and even more reefs.

Watch out for the bridges going through Cape Coral. All are 55. There is probably not a lot you would want to see that way anyhow.

Take the camera. You will have more dolphin shots than film/card memory. If lucky, you will even see a Manatee. We saw several in January.

PM me with any questions. Have fun!!!!

- CD
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Old 11-19-2008
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yachting vacations

Quote:
Originally Posted by funsailthekeys View Post
I read in Cruising World that Yachting Vacations was rated number 1 for 6 or 7 years in a row. I have looked at their web site and they have a large selection of boats to choose from, mono hulls and cats alike. I am new to the area and from my experience it's pretty nice especially when you get out to the barrier islands. Google earth gives the best picture of the area. Hope this helps.
I have friends that have chartered with these guys and they had great things to say about them. I've also seen some of the boats, and they are beautiful.
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