Sailing from Tampa to Key West - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-11-2013 Thread Starter
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Sailing from Tampa to Key West

I am planning a late October sail from Tampa to Key West with stops in Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Marco Island etc. My boat is a 1989 Hunter30 in good shape. Any suggestions other than be weather wise and avoid Fanatsy Fest in Key West?
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-11-2013
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Re: Sailing from Tampa to Key West

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I am planning a late October sail from Tampa to Key West with stops in Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Marco Island etc. My boat is a 1989 Hunter30 in good shape. Any suggestions other than be weather wise and avoid Fanatsy Fest in Key West?
Assuming you intend to travel in the Gulf as much as possible, it might be wise to spend your first night at DeSoto Point on the Manatee River, or behind Jewfish Key near the Logboat Key Pass bridge, and then make your next stop at Venice rather than attempting to negotiate Big Pass into Sarasota. Time your departure from Venice to hit Boca Grande at slack water flood and then swing south and turn into Pelican Bay for the night or continue on a little further to Cabbage Key. From either you can travel inside to/through the Sanibel Bridge and make it to Naples pretty easily in a day as you can from Naples to Marco Island. From Marco I'd go straight to Key West but it's a long haul tho' quite straight forward. If it's too much for you, you could stop at the Little Shark River although, even in October, it will be terribly buggy and likely quite an uncomfortable stay and will add quite some distance to your trip. Frankly, yo might do just as well to skip Naples and Marco Island and sail direct from Boca Grande to KW which is not a bad haul and you'd get it over with in 30 hours or so.

FWIW...

"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-11-2013
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Re: Sailing from Tampa to Key West

Keep the water outside the boat and the people inside the boat. Oh, and don't hit anything.

Have lots of fun.
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Re: Sailing from Tampa to Key West

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you'd get it over with in 30 hours or so.
Get it over with? What's it? The sailing part?
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-11-2013
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Need any crew? Lol. That trip is on my list, but not with my current boat. Curious as to how long the total trip is. I would be leaving from Apollo Beach.

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post #6 of 10 Old 09-11-2013
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Re: Sailing from Tampa to Key West

Hy Lite has given you good advise regarding the Sarasota Pass unless you have local knowledge of where it happens to be shoaling; which seems to be arbitrary. Venice would be an excellent choice but it does have a little current. I'm considering a trip from the opposite direction and Venice is my stopover point. Do try to make the passes before dark and make sure your charts are updated and you check for the notice to mariners for latest info.
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Re: Sailing from Tampa to Key West

I went through the Big (?) Sarasota Pass at low tide in a Catalina 30 with 4 foot draft. We asked the Boat US captain who was docked at Marina Jacks for some local knowledge. He warned us not to rely on the markers out at the entrance, and to keep going for another 1/2 mile at least before turning. The houses were so close to us in the Pass I thought we'd able to reach out and shake hands with the people, but there was enough water in the very narrow channel. We didn't hit, but we went slow and kept a good watch. It depends on your draft and the tide. Sarasota Bay is great, you could go down the ICW after you leave the Manatee River, motor to Marina Jack's, then motor out through the Pass. I'm planning this trip myself this fall, maybe Thanksgiving, my current boat is a C&C 32, with 5 - 8 draft, so the we might pass the Pass. We'll see...there is a lot of good stuff online about this trip, a lot of people do it from Tampa Bay area.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-13-2013
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Re: Sailing from Tampa to Key West

You are going to LOVE Key West- have a blast!
Happy Hour Happy Hour Happy Hour!!

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post #9 of 10 Old 09-14-2013
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Re: Sailing from Tampa to Key West

Did a good part of that pass this spring and if you have the time, there are great places along the way to drop anchor. Gordons pass has a nice anchorage if you want to see how the other half live. Marco island is a good place if you need any supplies then from there there are some remote beaches that you can find sea shells and Sandy point is a good anchorage that has good wind protection. Being late in the year with shorter day light time you can drop down to or thru 7 mile bridge and hit Boot key where I'm sure you would still find a lot going on. then on to Key West.

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I am the Capt of my ship but sometimes I think I had more fun just being the cabin boy.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-14-2013
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Re: Sailing from Tampa to Key West

I just did that trip and do it often. I seriously suggest that you leave Marco in the late after noon so to arrive at the entrance to the North West Channel in mid morning. It's a nice over night passage. You don't want to hit that channel at night. It's intimidating even to me who runs through it all the time. all the channel Markers get lost in the lights from town. Many people leave Marco in the early morning and hit the channel right at sun set and have a @#!*% of a time finding there way around in the harbour in the dark. I know the harbour like my pocket but if you don't know it it's a little difficult. The bright lights of town ruin night vision. Just my two cents worth. I would pull into the town fuel dock in Key West Bight first and figure out where I'm going to go from there. They have the big pilings painted red just in side the jetty and it's an easy dock to pull up to. They also accept the payment for the dinghy dock if you'll be anchoring out or they have transient slips available. I would anchor up off Flemming key if thats what your planning to do. The further to the N.E. up the key you go the nicer it is. That depends on how good your dinghy is.

" Some are boat wise and some are other wise"

Last edited by Capt.aaron; 09-14-2013 at 10:01 AM.
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