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Old 28-01-2013, 12:27   #1
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Advice, resources for trip from Cape Canaveral to Panama City, FL

If purchase goes through, we will soon be the new owners of our first sailboat, a Bruce Roberts 38. We will be bringing her to our home base
of Panama City, FL the first weeks of March. Any resources, threads, advice and reccommendations would be most appreciated, as we have not been through any of these waters yet. (We have limited sailing experience, and we have our ASA certs. 101,103,and 104). Thanks!
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Old 28-01-2013, 12:39   #2
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pirate Re: Advice, resources for trip from Cape Canaveral to Panama City, FL

Bobnval... congratulations on the Bruce Roberts...
and while I'm at it...
Welcome to CF... happy sailing..
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Old 28-01-2013, 12:47   #3
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Re: Advice, resources for trip from Cape Canaveral to Panama City, FL

Stay out of the ICW near Clear Water FL except at High tide. I had a six foot draft and I ran aground six times one day. I ended up aground in the channel at the lowest low tide of when I was there. Most people I have read suggest sailing out side as the water is pretty thin out pretty far.

OTH the sailing was lovely in the bays.

I did enjoy staying at Clear Water Municipal marina. It had nice facilities.

The ICW also offers the joys of waiting for the draw bridges to raise. So if you don't want that, sail outside.
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Old 28-01-2013, 12:52   #4
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Re: Advice, resources for trip from Cape Canaveral to Panama City, FL

Lots of previous discussion on this. The forum search tool will give you lots of information.

Two options.

1. Inside IE down the ICW.

pros: protected water, can do in most any weather, easy to stop at marinas overnight.

cons: have to pay close attention to navigation, some places the channel is narrow so a moments inattention could put you aground, lots of opening bridges to deal with (some close morning/evening rush hour), not going against the Gulf Stream, you will have to motor most of the way with certain very limited exceptions.

2. Outside IE in the ocean.

pros: easier navigation, no bridges, less traffic, get there faster, probably get to sail instead of motor, shorter distance than inside.

cons: have to navigate in and out the inlets, no place to stop until you reach the next inlet, Gulf Stream current against you, weather dependent

Or you can do some of both as your inclination and weather permit.
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Old 28-01-2013, 13:03   #5
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Re: Advice, resources for trip from Cape Canaveral to Panama City, FL

Also consider cutting across Lake Okeechobee, depending on your draft. Check this website for information...

Hmm. Well, I just went to double-check the US Army Corps of Engineers website on Lake Okeechobee and it's not working. Looks like they are updating their site, and have some bad links at this point.

So, instead of going to the authority, you'll have to check secondary sites. This one has a lot of information about Okeechobee as well as all of Florida... Cruiser's Net Check the menu on the right side of the screen that links to information for specific areas.
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Old 28-01-2013, 14:05   #6
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Re: Advice, resources for trip from Cape Canaveral to Panama City, FL

There has been plenty of water (actually too much) in the Okeechobee Waterway, but you are limited by 49 feet of clearance, which I'm guessing you're over. There's many cruising guides (hint) and online resources to help plan the voyage. WIth your draft (6 ft.?), you might want to take the Hawk Channel through the Keys...not a problem otherwise. Good luck with the purchase and hope you can take your time and have some fun on your trip!
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Old 29-01-2013, 09:23   #7
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Re: Advice, resources for trip from Cape Canaveral to Panama City, FL

Duh. Good point. Mast clearance is just as important as draft when considering the shortcut across Lake Okeechobee.
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Old 29-01-2013, 15:13   #8
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Re: Advice, resources for trip from Cape Canaveral to Panama City, FL

Thank you for the information, it is much appreciated. Our draft is 5 ft. and mast height is 52 ft. It looks like the water level is up in L. Okeechobee, so draft should be
ok, but am pretty leery about some of the bridges. We know we would have to have
help under the railway bridge. Will keep researching.
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Old 30-01-2013, 06:28   #9
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Re: Advice, resources for trip from Cape Canaveral to Panama City, FL

Point of reference, to get a 52' mast to fit under a 49' bridge, you need to heel the boat over just a hair less than 20 degrees. Not really too bad. A lot of boats heel that much under normal sailing conditions.

Of course, does the 52' include VHF antenna, wind indicator, or anything else that would protrude above the masthead?
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