Sailing from Tampa to the Keys - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 07-05-2008 Thread Starter
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Sailing from Tampa to the Keys

I'm in the process of buying a boat in the Tampa area and want to get it to the Keys and points north on the east coast afterwards. I'm very concerned about sailing this area in Jul/Aug and was looking for some local knowledge regarding good anchorages and hurricane hiding holes. Would like to make most of the trip on the outside but keeping good hidey holes in mind on the way down.

Thanks!

Rick
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post #2 of 21 Old 07-07-2008
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crusing south from Tampa

There are lots of holes to hide in on the way down. I guess would be Venice, Charlotte Harbor, Ft. Myers, Naples and Marco Island. These are all on the intracoastal waterway and accessible from the gulf. After leaving Marco you can stop at Little Shark River (plenty deep and wide), next stop is Long Key or Marathon in the Keys both have good anchorages. Lastly island hop the rest of the way to Key West. Lots of places to lay over. Or you can sail straight to Key West in 30 hours if you do 5 knots. Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 21 Old 07-07-2008
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would help if you said what boat you had, as some hurricane holes are draft limited.

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post #4 of 21 Old 07-08-2008
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hurricane holes

Sorry, I have a 45' Gulfstar with a 5 1/2 ' draft.
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post #5 of 21 Old 07-08-2008
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You should have no worries getting down there as it is just a one night trip and forecasts give you plenty of warning these days. More worrisome is that once you are in the Keys...there is no safe harbor and you are exposed with nowhere to go and a draft that is limiting.
I would look for an absolutely clear Caribbean and South Atlantic and then book hard for 5 days or so to get to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale through the Hawk Channel before anything can develop to put you at risk in the keys. Note that the East Coast bridges close when a named storm approaches to allow evacuations so you need to have your spots picked out and be there well in advance of the storm.

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post #6 of 21 Old 07-08-2008 Thread Starter
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Sailindog, I'll be in a Morgan O/I 33 with a 4' draft. I'm starting to have second thoughts about spending much time in Key West.
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post #7 of 21 Old 07-08-2008
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I don't blame you, especially with how draconina they're getting about fining people who run aground. Easy to do...and now, very expensive to do.
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Sailindog, I'll be in a Morgan O/I 33 with a 4' draft. I'm starting to have second thoughts about spending much time in Key West.

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post #8 of 21 Old 07-08-2008
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Hmm, I was thinking of going down to Boot key harbor for the winter. That place seems like a decently protected harbor (though, perhaps, not in hurricane ). Or is it just an impression?
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post #9 of 21 Old 07-08-2008
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Hi lattitude chaser, I lived on my Cal 33 for a year between sunset Key and Christmas Island in Key West. I have made three trips across the Gulf, and a year trip through the Caribbean, South America and Cuba (back when you could). I have a lot of thoughts regarding Key West...First, it is harder to navigate around Key West than most people realize. There are only a few cuts and, now, few anchorages. There are irreverent currents around Key West, so I usually motor the last 10 miles. As for sailing in the summer...this is a fantastic time to sail! With the right weather, it is a beautiful sail from anywhere on the Gulf. I always! sail straight to KW, as taking the senic route is too hot and buggy and slow. I like the sail and I like the speed across the Gulf. There are very tall and not neccessarily marked navy towers out there, lots of fishing boats and thousands of crab pots to watch out for. I single-handed and therefor took a wide berth off shore and cut into KW about 50 miles off shore. I like to go under the 7 mile bridge and sleep at Honda State park (please write me about entering...kind of tricky, but a great resting and anchoring spot. From Honda, It takes a few hours to get to KW, but very protected and good aids to nav. with several bail-out places along the way. Water is free at KW, and dockage is reasonable at the city dock by Turtle Crawl if you call ahead. There can be severe weather at KW: I have seen a dozen water spouts at once, and really scary lightning. There can be quick winds to 45mph...however, NOAA is very accurate and gives plenty of warning all along both coasts. Write me if you have questions, All the best, Sailingvibe
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post #10 of 21 Old 07-08-2008
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Brak...definitely well protected for a winter mooring. Nothing down there is safe in a direct hit during hurricane season but from November to June it is a fine place to be!

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