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post #11 of 27 Old 01-17-2017
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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

You should have a blast. We sailed our Tanzer 22 from Baltimore to St Augustine and the length of the Tennessee River two weeks at a time as vacation allowed. We visited and re-visited the Chesapeake Bay and the NC sounds. Most of the time was with my wife and two small daughters. It was always fun. We now have a 34' Pacific Seacraft and it has been down the east coast of the US to the Bahamas nine times so far. On one of those trips we turned right at St Lucie FL, took the canal to Ft Myers, then went to the Dry Tortugas, Key West, and back through the keys to Miami before heading on to the Bahamas. Were my wife and I still as young as we were, we'd do the trip on the Tanzer. Yes, its camping, but 2 ft board up draft gives you better places to anchor, more places to go, and an escape from the crowds.

Check out the photo in my wife's blog entry for June 6, 2015. Irish Eyes to the Bahamas It could be you.

Watch the weather. Don't get in a rush. Don't do anything stupid. Exploit your shallow draft. Have fun.
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post #12 of 27 Old 01-18-2017
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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

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Originally Posted by Marcin Wroclaw View Post
I have 2 - 3 weeks, Im flexible with time. Any sugestions?
Suggestions? Yes, go and do it, have fun. I'm just suggesting that you may be 3 days from Naples to Key West in a Catalina 22 with less than favorable winds. Prepare accordingly with food and water.
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post #13 of 27 Old 01-18-2017
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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

Launching in Biscayne (Crandon Marina?) and heading south to Key West from there will be a blast. No reason not to enjoy both the Atlantic and Florida Bay sides as you make that trip, just pick your side depending on weather.
Watch your charts. Listen to the weather forecasts. So many great little islands to explore, reefs to snorkel or dive, and back-country anchorages to enjoy. Do you use Active Captain? If not check it out for info on places to stop for a meal or fuel when you need them. I keep my boat in Key Largo so can give you some ideas for places to check out around there if you're interested.

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post #14 of 27 Old 01-18-2017
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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

Nothing to add, but that sounds like a blast. Here's to flexible schedules and simple boats like the C22!

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post #15 of 27 Old 01-18-2017
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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

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Launching in Biscayne (Crandon Marina?) and heading south to Key West from there will be a blast.
Crandon Park would be a good starting point. The marina staff is friendly, it is a safe place to leave your vehicle and trailer, and it has a bus stop. If you decided to make the trip one way from Miami to Key West (maybe bad weather for the return trip, or too much time loitering on the way down the keys), you could return to Crandon Marina by bus or rental car, get your vehicle and trailer, and retrieve your boat by road. It adds some flexibility to the trip.
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post #16 of 27 Old 01-18-2017
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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

My opinion only... Your mileage may vary.

Put in somewhere in the upper Biscane Bay and run down the gulf side at least as far as Marathon. Plenty of water for 5' draft or less but it does get a little tight between Ramshorn Cut and Cowpens. With the prevailing Northeasters this time of year, much more comfortable than Hawk Channel plus there are a LOT of anchorages. Most with good NE protection and many more where you can pick your side depending on winds at the time. Good start for a less than experienced sailor with a smallish boat. Plenty of places to make an early stop on short notice.

If Key West is a "have to" goal, you may wish to layup in the Marathon area and wait for a weather window to head the rest of the way West in Hawk channel. The inside route is do-able, and a lot of fun, but a long way around. Long day via Hawk channel with a South to SE wind but only about 50 miles. Remember, you are traveling East to West after the upper Keys, not North to South.

Good ride in a small boat with room to sail in all but a few spots. Water is thin (6-9) but with the exception of the well marked channels and cuts, it is consistant without the shifting bars you find further north. Made the trip twice in the last couple years. Both times on the bay side. 25' Coronado and 38' Morgan. 5 days playing in my little Coronado, 2 days on a delivery push with the Morgan. Both trips from Marine Stadium in Miami to Boot Key Harbor Marathon via the bay and Moser channel under the 7 Mile Bridge. Add another day in Hawk Channel to Key West.

Be aware, I have yet to find what I consider a "good" anchorage in Key West. Most are exposed in NE winds (prevailing in winter) with long wet dinghy rides to less than great dinghy docks. Tis the season... Reason lots of folks hit Marathon and take a $4.00 bus ride to play in Key West. Moorings are full in Boot Key, but still room in the anchorages and Sister Creek. 10 boats leaving today and tomorrow for passages to the Bahamas as well as Cuba and the Virgins.

Short answer, take the quiet route inside and enjoy the ride. The shot below is behind Channel Key (just north of Marathon) in December.

Enjoy and Good Luck
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"If the wind will not serve, lay to the oars"


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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

Thank you all for important information!!! What you all mean by saint 'weather window' ? What weather is optimum for us? What condition is dangerous, what waves and wind speed?
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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

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Do you use Active Captain?
Just installed, my nick name is MarcinS. Please let me know about good anchorages (with NE wind protection) on my way to Marathon. Thank you!
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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

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Crandon Park would be a good starting point. The marina staff is friendly, it is a safe place to leave your vehicle and trailer, and it has a bus stop. If you decided to make the trip one way from Miami to Key West (maybe bad weather for the return trip, or too much time loitering on the way down the keys), you could return to Crandon Marina by bus or rental car, get your vehicle and trailer, and retrieve your boat by road. It adds some flexibility to the trip.
This is great idea, sailing Key West and returning by bus! Thanks!!!!
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post #20 of 27 Old 01-19-2017
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Re: Sailing Key West on Catalina 22

"Weather Window" equals a period of favorable prevailing winds. Strong enough to sail by, but not blowing like stink. In the Keys in the winter expect a series of cold fronts pushing through with attending E-NE winds, 25-30 mph. These winds blowing against the Gulf Stream can produce some steep and uncomfortable seas. Even Hawk Channel which is sandwiched between the reef and the Keys can get pretty lumpy and no fun.

So far this year, we seem to be getting a typical weather pattern. Strong E-NE winds for 7-10 days, swinging around to the S and laying down for 3-4 days. These 3 or 4 day weather windows are when most folks make the run down the outside or head across the Gulf Stream. Last year we couldn't catch a break. Seemed like the Nor' Easters blew steady for months on end. Lot's of seasoned travlers spent the whole season in the Keys rather than their planned trips. Ah well, most dangerous things on a boat are a watch and a calendar. If you have any doubts as to you or your boats ability to handle upcoming weather, stay put for a bit.

Some Bayside anchorages with easy access, good holding and ok protection to the NE... Long Arsenicker Key, Tarpon Basin, Shell Key, Lignumvitae Key, Channel Key. Location and details are an excercise left to the student... Try Active Capt for aditional info and other folks opinions.

Bus ride from Key West to Miami. Key West Transit Lower Keys Shuttle (KW to Marathon) $4.00, Monroe Dade Shuttle (Marathon to FL City) $3.75, #38 Busway (Fl City to South Dade MetroRail) $3.50... Not a bad ride, and lots of views along the way.

"If the wind will not serve, lay to the oars"


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