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Old 04-26-2013
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east coast icw

Hi All,

Need some experienced salts to comment.
Am planning a voyage from Biscayne Bay (picking up newly purchased a Hunter 27 with an 8HP Diesel) to Stuart via the IWC and thru the OWW
on to Ft. Meyers and from there on to Sarasota via the GCICW. Anyone have any experience in these waters? Especially with an 8HP one banger. Will I be underpowered or have control problems in any of these areas?
Would appreciate any advice or related experience. Am planning this trip June/July.

Thanks ,
Dennis
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Old 04-27-2013
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Re: east coast icw

There has been a lot of commentary about those waters you could probably find with a search. One question - why don't you just go down to Marathon and head north? Seems like it would be quicker and simpler.
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: east coast icw

From Biscayne Bay to Stuart, you won't really have a "problem", per say, but unless you have the winds and/or currents with you, it will be a very slow go with an 8hp engine. My son followed me in his boat, that had a 9hp outboard on it, down the ICW from Little River, SC to Stuart, where he turned off on the slacker's cut (OWW) to get across to Ft. Myers, and he had a heck of a time keeping up with me and I'm NOT a fast boat @ all. On the days that we had strong headwinds, we learned just to take an extra day wherever we were and not to try to rush it because when we did, we ended up traveling at about 2-3 knots average, unless we got lucky and the currents were with us, in which case we sped up to about a maximum of 3-4 in a headwind. With winds and currents in our favor, just sailing we could maintain about 5 and 6-7 if motorsailing. So, my advice would be to monitor the weather forecasts, especially wind direction/speed and try to travel when you have the winds with you. I would also monitor the tides/currents and try to time it so they also were in my favor because that's the only way to really make any significant time. Day after day of traveling at 2-3 knots can be very frustrating, especially if you have only a certain amount of time to take this trip in. If you are on a tight schedule, you may want to consider a higher horsepower engine or either realize that if the weather doesn't cooperate, you may not get as far as you would like to in the amount of time that you have allotted and make a back up plan for where you can leave the boat temporarily if you're not able to get it all the way to Ft. Myers in one outing. Do you have unlimited time in which to get the boat to Ft. Myers? If you do, then it's not really a problem. Once you're on the OWW, horsepower is somewhat important because wind can be blocked by various things on either side. Like I said, it really all depends if you are in a hurry or not. If not, just relax and enjoy the ride, slow as it may be. You will get there, even with an 8hp engine. It will just take a while.

Last edited by sailor wench; 04-28-2013 at 02:45 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: east coast icw

Also, you may want to look @ the other route available to you on the map and see if it is shorter. You can go South, thru the keys, and up the West Coast of Florida. I've actually taken this route myself. I was in Miami and decided, for me, it was best to take this route because of the height of my mast. If you are too tall, you can't fit under the one bridge on the OWW and the people at the bridge have a method of attaching weight to the top of your mast and leaning your boat over enough so that you can get under the bridge. There is a charge for this, of course, and I think it is around $100 or more. I didn't want my boat subjected to their method, so I went thru the keys, to Marathon, via the 7 mile bridge, and up the West Coast of Florida. There is one place (Cape Romono, I think) where you have to be many miles off shore to clear the shoals (around 10, I think) but I went thru the area with 20 knot winds and didn't have a problem. Other than that area, you can stay pretty close to shore all the way to Ft. Myers. I haven't traveled any farther North than that on the West Coast of Florida, sorry, but I'm sure someone else here can advise you on that part of the trip. Hope some of this helps you.
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: east coast icw

Here is the Okeechobee Waterway bridge info, says lowest fixed bridge is 54 ft. Others are 'opening' bridges. Okeechobee Waterway Bridges, Clearances, Schedules and Restrictions Since the boat is new to you, you may feel and actually be safer on Okee--waterway. Your sailing experience and the mechanical/seaworthy condition of the boat may play a part of decision. Of course hurricane season will be in effect. Is the Diesel a Yanmar or a Renault ? If this is your 1st test for the sailboat do what you are most comfortable with. ...Many times you will find other boats going on same trip who want to travel with you. (that time of year may not have much wind)...Hunter 27 and the Renault RC8D engine - SailboatOwners.com Renault info
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: east coast icw

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidney777 View Post
Here is the Okeechobee Waterway bridge info, says lowest fixed bridge is 54 ft. Others are 'opening' bridges. Okeechobee Waterway Bridges, Clearances, Schedules and Restrictions Since the boat is new to you, you may feel and actually be safer on Okee--waterway. Your sailing experience and the mechanical/seaworthy condition of the boat may play a part of decision. Of course hurricane season will be in effect. Is the Diesel a Yanmar or a Renault ? If this is your 1st test for the sailboat do what you are most comfortable with. ...Many times you will find other boats going on same trip who want to travel with you. (that time of year may not have much wind)...Hunter 27 and the Renault RC8D engine - SailboatOwners.com Renault info
The railroad lift bridge just east of Port Mayaca lock is 49 feet.
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: east coast icw

Quote:
Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
There has been a lot of commentary about those waters you could probably find with a search. One question - why don't you just go down to Marathon and head north? Seems like it would be quicker and simpler.
Absolutely... From Biscayne Bay, down around through the Keys and Florida Bay seems to me a no-brainer...

Gonna be shorter, for one thing... And, you might actually be able to SAIL most of the way...

A 27' Hunter would be an ideal boat for going down the back side of the Keys, which I think is a wonderful trip... No need to go as far as Marathon, cut across Florida Bay via the Yacht Channel, just past Lower Matecumbe...

The Okeechobee Waterway can be a fun trip as well, but is far better done in a powerboat... For this one, I'd definitely go down and around - given reasonable weather, of course...
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: east coast icw

Motoring from Miami to Stuart and then across Florida to Ft Myers with an 8HP (or any other HP)? I'd rather have a needle stuck into my eye. Sail man sail! You'll have a lovely trip inside the Keys and then up the west coast of Florida to you destination.
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: east coast icw

Quote:
A 27' Hunter would be an ideal boat for going down the back side of the Keys, which I think is a wonderful trip... No need to go as far as Marathon, cut across Florida Bay via the Yacht Channel, just past Lower Matecumbe...
I've done this trip both on the Okeechobee and via the Keys - the above comment is the way to do it. Controlling depths are found just west of Islamorada, at a little over five feet- and I may have been on the edge of the channel since depths are shown greater than that. Make sure you stop at Little Shark River, wonderful anchorage.
The Okeechobee is alright, esp with a boat that size, but given you're in Biscayne Bay, why would you want to do that to yourself?
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Re: east coast icw

If you do decide to go the Okeechobee route then you will see a different side of Florida than the coastal areas present. Motoring the canals is a treat. Dozens of Florida's waterbirds... storks, herons, cormorants, anhingas and osprey plus an abundance of gators especially between Moore Haven and Roland Martin's laid back marina. Lots of cattle grazing right down to the water's edge typify the rural nature of much of the route. There are several marinas along the way if you need service or a nights dockage. There are also a few park areas with limited, inexpensive dockage as well. One marina that stood out in my mind was the Rialto Harbor marina some 20 miles east of Fort Myers. It is located in a oxbow on the Caloosahatchee and is worth a stop. The Legacy Harbor marina in Fort Myers is super nice and is within a short walk of the Ford-Edison Museum grounds. Enjoy the trip, whichever way you choose.
(ps. from one of the slackers)
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