Passage to sea from northern Florida Keys advise - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-10-2010
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Passage to sea from northern Florida Keys advise

I just purchased a 35 Morgan sloop mark 2. Itís a centerboard, 4ft 6 draft. Itís currently located in Manatee Bay Key Largo. While I have years of experience piloting the area in a 17- Boston Whaler, I have no experience, piloting a sailboat, in these waters.

My question is Iím bringing my new boat home to St Augustine the end of July, and thus I need to get offshore to bluewater.

Some have suggested Angelfish Creek and other say use Biscayne Cannel, and still others have said to travel on north to Miamiís main channel.

So my question to you is which passage to sea do you normally use.

Many thanks
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Old 07-10-2010
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channel 5 is easy, just do it during the day.
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Old 07-10-2010
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The question is, what is your level of experience sailing? If you are relatively new to the process, it might be wise to stay in the relatively more sheltered waters of Barnes Sound and Key Biscayne at least until you have a feel for the boat. Then head out Government Cut and blow up the Stream. If you have relatively more experience, go for Angle Fish Creek. Personally I feel better in deep water and would get into the Stream ASAP. The late afternoon weather can be a bit challenging at this time of year, however, and some of the squalls pretty spectacular, and if you and the yacht are not prepared to deal with that, going inside would be wiser.

FWIW...
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Old 07-10-2010
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Bear in mind that you don't have to go offshore at all if you don't want to, the whole trip can be done via the ICW. This may be the best bet if you are by yourself and want to anchor every night, although the boats/bridges in the Miami /Lauderdale area are a royal PITA.
I swore a blood oath I would never go through that area again on the weekend.
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Old 07-10-2010
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Southwind, I'd suggest making a cheap simple black and white photocopy of the charts in the areas you are concerned with. Then take a magic marker or highlighter and mark the bounds of the safe channel/passage you are considering, allowing for the charted depth AND any tidal difference for extreme low water and whatever you consider your own safety margin, i.e. for a 4'7" draft you might want to stay in more than 6' of water. Or, some folks would be happy in 5' with one eye on the tide.

I find that highlighting on the chart makes it much clearer to see how much trouble it will or won't be to keep water under the keel, I'm betting you'll pick one route as a fast no-brainer compared to the others when you do it that way.
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Old 07-10-2010
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FSMike
wife gets seasick, will head down to Miami in a few weeks via the ICW.
question is , can we get down to Key Largo, ocean side - Rodrigese Key on the inside down Biscayne bay into Largo Sound. There looks tobe cuts along the way but we do draw 5 1/2 feet.
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Old 07-11-2010
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Thanks for the responses.

Angle Fish Creek looks like the way to go, and Iíll probably stop at The Ocean Reef Club to fuel up, and do a last minute check over before heading to sea.

But if the weather is ruff, Iíll take your advice and stay in Key Biscayne overnight and then go out Government cut, in the morning.

My other concern is with the narrow channel of Angle Fish and the possibilities of tide ripping through there, the little 27 horse power diesel may be challenged.

Does anyone know what the tide can be like there?

Many thanks
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Old 07-11-2010
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The currents in Angel Fish Creek can be reasonably strong so you'll need to time your passage. I suspect the Harbor Master at the Ocean Reef Club should be able to advise you and I would give him a call beforehand. Unfortunately, we do not have current charts for the area so that's about all we can offer. Good luck.
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Old 07-11-2010
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chuckg5 -
I dunno. Thinking back, I've only crossed over at the 7 Mile Bridge, Channel 5, and just south of Key Biscayne. I don't even have a chart here to look at. Anybody else?

P.S. Hawk Channel will usually be considerably calmer than the ocean out side the reef. Typically if the forecast is for 3-5 foot seas outside the reef, inside the reef will be more like 1-3 feet.
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Last edited by FSMike; 07-11-2010 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 07-11-2010
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Last time I transited Angelfish, the current was about 3 knots and the limiting depth was about 4 feet. North to Gov't Cut is where I would go.
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