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Old 08-23-2008
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Gulf Cruise

Hi all, I just bought a Prairie 32 in the Palm Harbor FL region. I have to sail her south to Venice. Does anyone out there know of any good anchorages on the way? I figure 3 days which means 2 nights on the hook but am not sure where to drop it mainly the first night. Thanks in advance, Tom
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Old 08-23-2008
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Anchorage on the west coast

I have not had to stay here but they claim it has good holding and fair protection, That's DeSoto Point at the mouth of the Manatee River. Should be about 40 to 45 nm from your start.

Put in a http: in front for a link to the details, //flseagrant.ifas.ufl.edu/anchorage/anchorage_site_detail.php?site=DeSoto%20Point/Emerson%20Point

The Florida University site has anchorages on our west coast south of the Tampa Bay entrance. //flseagrant.ifas.ufl.edu/anchorage/anchorage_sites_map.htm

Hope it helps.
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Old 08-23-2008
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If you post a bit more info about your boat it would be easier to suggest a spot or two. Your draft would be helpful to know.

You might also want to look at Pass-a-Grille Channel on the north side of Tampa Bay for options. Assuming you pop into the gulf at the Clearwater Pass, Pass-a-Grille Channel is about a 30 NM day down the coast. Assuming you draw around 4 1/2' you should be able to find an anchorage up in behind Shell Key in that channel.

Make sure you have your fresh charts....

Good Luck, John
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Last edited by Whampoa; 08-24-2008 at 10:56 AM. Reason: Correction - Ref. to Sand Key Changed to Shell Key
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Old 08-23-2008
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Thanks for the answers. The draft is 4'6", a full keel with a cutaway forefoot. Pass -a -grill sounds good. Would anyone know if Hurricane Channel [north of clearwater] is passable? Tom
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aimnpray,

We were down that stretch of the ICW last year but didn't attempt Hurricane Pass. The captain I was with, sails those waters on a regular basis and felt Hurricane was too thin for us at a 4 ' draft. Your best bet is to ask around the local marinas there or call the local Coast Guard station. You can also call TowBoat US or SeaTow whichever is in the area and ask for some local knowledge of that pass. Clearwater is only about 6 nm south and the ICW is well marked and a piece of cake to get out Clearwater Pass so why risk it.

I assume you know as well that Longboat Pass is the next inlet south of Tampa Bay that is reasonably accessible to you wth your draft. Both Big Pass and New Pass in Sarasota are questionable and require fresh local knowledge. They manage the markers but they are uncharted as they change so frequently. Be sure to ask around before you try either of them.

You should be able to make Venice on Day 2 if you get off early and get a good breeze right . It's a sweet cruise down that stretch of beach.

Have a great sail down the coast.

Regards, John
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Last edited by Whampoa; 08-24-2008 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 08-24-2008
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Thanks John, I will use Clearwater Pass for sure. I think I'll wait a few days for this south wind to shift. I looked at my chart and found Pass-a -Grill but didn't locate Sand key. Thanks again for the info. Tom
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Tom,

My error, I should have said Shell Key not Sand Key. I have edited the earlier post. Memory ..........

Follow your chart up into Pass-A-Grille Channel (North Channel) and you should note the small key to starboard when entering once you are well east in the channel. The current chart shows a Shell Key Shoal....Shell Key is the small sand island SW of Pass-A-Grille and WNW of Cabbage Key. Should be reasonable water to anchor up back in there for you...



Good luck with your trip.

Regards, John
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Last edited by Whampoa; 08-24-2008 at 11:22 AM.
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Longboat Key, look for Moors Crab House or Mar-Vista Rest. Come in at Longboat Pass, turn starboard onto ICW, (mid tide is best) pass 1st island on starboard, on south point of 1st island turn to starboard. Once pass south point of island look straight ahead and you will see Moors Crab House. You can anchor or tie up to Moors dock (free).
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Get a copy of "Cruising Guide to Western Florida" by Claiborne S. young. I have sailed from Dunedin to Moors in one day. Next day from Moors to the Crow's Nest. Just 1 over night at Moors.
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Old 08-24-2008
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Thanks everyone, I now have several choices depending on mother nature and good or bad luck. This is a great forum. Tom
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