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Old 22-03-2012, 16:23   #1
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From Crystal River to Miami, Fl

To you all:
I just bought a very used Bristol 27 by Crystal River(NW Florida coast) and I need to sail to Miami(SE Florida coast). It happens that I just moved to USA and know almost nothing about local geography/nautical aspects of this route. I just started picking up some charts and available cruising guides I may come across. I would like advise from people who have done it before. The boat is 4 feet draft. Some questions:with this draft could I go comfortably through Fort Myers-Okeechobee-Indiantown?. Can that route be sailed or is to be mostly motored? If not using the waterway, where down the peninsula should/could I go through the keys? to turn up to miami?. In the west side what is the typical behaviour of the wind/sea for this time of the year?. Since the boat is old and I know little about it I would like to play more safely by making the trip in short runs and having anchorages/docking at near distances. As a preliminary step I will try to replace some standing rigging since it may have been without replacement the entire life of the boat. Good engine, healthy seacocks, sails are quite ok, etc. Please comment of the routes mentioned.
Many thanks in advance.
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Old 22-03-2012, 17:42   #2
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Re: FROM CRYSTAL RIVER TO MIAMI FL

Lived in SW FL for about 5 years -- great cruising ground. A bit shallow up there around Crystal River, but once you get down to Tarpon Springs and south 4' draft will get you into most places.

If you have the time, I suggest taking the full route all the way down the SW coast and through the Keys. Out to the Dry Tortugas if you can -- a very unique place -- anywhere

Lots of stops along the way: Tarpons Springs, Egmont Key, Tampa/St. Pete, Manatee River, Venice, Naples, Pine Island Sound, Marco Island, Ten Thousand Islands... There are many options for stopping for the night, so you can do the whole SW coast as a series of easy day sails. A bit longer of course to get out to the DT's and to Key West.

Never got around to doing the Okeechobee route by water, but the drive I did many times and it is not so interesting (at least not the second time).

The prevailing E-NE winds make the run south along the SW coast quite easy, but as your come around the SW tip of Florida you will find yourself face-to-face with these same winds.

With 4' draft you can take the "inside" route through the keys....easier if going east bound because the prevailing winds.

Claiborne Young has a good series of guides for FL.


Enjoy!
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Old 22-03-2012, 18:10   #3
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Re: FROM CRYSTAL RIVER TO MIAMI FL

You can also transit through Lake Okechobe. Port St Lucy to Ft Meyers. Minimum clearance at Port Mayaka is 49 feet. There used to be a guy there who would place water barrels on deck to tip your mast if it was close. You will motor the canal mostly unless the wind is favorable. Make sure you are content with the motor. GO on line and get SeaClear (freeware) and NOAA free raster charts. Add a BU-353 GPS antenna to your laptop and you will have the latest accurate NOAA charts. Also consult Googel Earth for points of interest, details and anchorages. I would not venture far off shore until you were comfortable with the boat & no surprises.
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Old 22-03-2012, 18:42   #4
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Re: From Crystal River to Miami, Fl

You can make the trip on the Okeechobee waterway with your draft and mast height. It is a very nice and sometimes beautiful trip that lets you see some of old Florida that many people never see (like the Calosahatchee river as you get closer to the lake), and it is a lot shorter than going down and around.
Yes, you will probably motor a lot, but you may end up motoring more going the other way!
Brian
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Old 22-03-2012, 19:48   #5
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Re: From Crystal River to Miami, Fl

Google active captain & cruisersnet
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Old 31-03-2012, 14:17   #6
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Re: FROM CRYSTAL RIVER TO MIAMI FL

In the information I am browsing I see the keys area too shallow even for 4 feet draft. Also I do not have idea of depths around Cape Romano, Cape Sable and that inner area between the peninsula and the keys(Florida Bay). What I see easier but longer is continuing down to Dry Tortugas and then turning east between the keys and Cay Sal bank, then north to Miami, all that always in deeper "open waters", free from bridges, channels, reefs..etc. Is it possible to navigate through the keys, and even sail in some areas of that route?
To sail in deeper waters(strait of Florida) do I need to go behind Dry Tortugas and then turn east going east in my way to Miami?
Please comment.
Thanks in advance,
Hernan
Apogee.


oee a paht through the keys and up to Miam. InsteadiiN THE INFORi
Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Lived in SW FL for about 5 years -- great cruising ground. A bit shallow up there around Crystal River, but once you get down to Tarpon Springs and south 4' draft will get you into most places.

If you have the time, I suggest taking the full route all the way down the SW coast and through the Keys. Out to the Dry Tortugas if you can -- a very unique place -- anywhere

Lots of stops along the way: Tarpons Springs, Egmont Key, Tampa/St. Pete, Manatee River, Venice, Naples, Pine Island Sound, Marco Island, Ten Thousand Islands... There are many options for stopping for the night, so you can do the whole SW coast as a series of easy day sails. A bit longer of course to get out to the DT's and to Key West.

Never got around to doing the Okeechobee route by water, but the drive I did many times and it is not so interesting (at least not the second time).

The prevailing E-NE winds make the run south along the SW coast quite easy, but as your come around the SW tip of Florida you will find yourself face-to-face with these same winds.

With 4' draft you can take the "inside" route through the keys....easier if going east bound because the prevailing winds.

Claiborne Young has a good series of guides for FL.


Enjoy!
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Old 31-03-2012, 14:45   #7
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Re: FROM CRYSTAL RIVER TO MIAMI FL

Quote:
Originally Posted by HPBristol 27 View Post
In the information I am browsing I see the keys area too shallow even for 4 feet draft. Also I do not have idea of depths around Cape Romano, Cape Sable and that inner area between the peninsula and the keys(Florida Bay). What I see easier but longer is continuing down to Dry Tortugas and then turning east between the keys and Cay Sal bank, then north to Miami, all that always in deeper "open waters", free from bridges, channels, reefs..etc. Is it possible to navigate through the keys, and even sail in some areas of that route?
To sail in deeper waters(strait of Florida) do I need to go behind Dry Tortugas and then turn east going east in my way to Miami?
Please comment.
Thanks in advance,
Hernan
Apogee.


oee a paht through the keys and up to Miam. InsteadiiN THE INFORi
I would strongly suggest that before you head out you invest in a current set of charts for the waters you plan to travel. There is just too much information to provide in a forum post that charts will answer in full. It would be foolish to try and do this trip without them. You will then have the answers in detail to the questions you just ask. Chuck
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:53   #8
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Re: FROM CRYSTAL RIVER TO MIAMI FL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterwayguy View Post
I would strongly suggest that before you head out you invest in a current set of charts for the waters you plan to travel. There is just too much information to provide in a forum post that charts will answer in full. It would be foolish to try and do this trip without them. You will then have the answers in detail to the questions you just ask. Chuck
Paper charts are great; however, you can have the entire set of NOAA up to date charts free any time you care to download them. THese are scans of the same paper charts (raster format) that you pay a bucket of boat-bucks for. View them using SeaClear or Open CPN; both are freeware. Add a 35 dollar BU-353 USB GPS antenna and you have both the charts and a plotter. Great to have a bsack-up and perfect for the planning you are doing.

I also recommend a hand held GPS. I have a Garmin OREGON that came fully loaded with detailed charts (same NOAA charts) that we bought for less han 300 dollars at year end clearance. I keep this on deck & clipped to my PFD. Its way easier than a paper chart on deck.

There is a lot of shallow water in the keys and Florida Bay. Plan to run in daylight. Get the charts and you can find a way to navigate this area. There are sail boats here. 4 feet should be OK if you are careful of your rout and tides. As a note on this, there are also a lot of power boats here with deep draft as well. You will find the channels well marked and you can navigate through the keys but you will have to go a bit south to find an opening or high bridge. Bascule between Windley Key and Plantation. You could get to the Gulf side by way of Biscayne Bay and the Card Sound Bridge but you will be running a channel under motor from time to time.
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Old 19-04-2012, 18:30   #9
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Re: From Crystal River to Miami, Fl

Quote:
Originally Posted by amarinesurveyor View Post
You can make the trip on the Okeechobee waterway with your draft and mast height. It is a very nice and sometimes beautiful trip that lets you see some of old Florida that many people never see (like the Calosahatchee river as you get closer to the lake), and it is a lot shorter than going down and around.
Yes, you will probably motor a lot, but you may end up motoring more going the other way!
Brian
I made the above run, going the other way about 10 years ago when the water level in the lake was very low. I sailed a 31 blue water full keel boat. I have to agree with Brian, you are going to motor, so why not take the shorter trip, that actually is interesting. The Calosh river is quite beautiful, with numerous small marinas to stop at. I pulled 5 feet 2 inches on my draft and made it with only one very minor grounding at the west end of the lake. Until you are quite comfortable with your boat, I would take the inside route.

Seaclear is a good system, however I am more patial to Open PCN. Either way, the charts are free if you want to download each one, or just pay 15.oo on ebay and someone will sell you a DVD with all the charts already downloaded. I used this system on a old laptop, a cheap GPS mouse receiver, and a very old Paper Chart booklet. No problems.

Good luck

jsb
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Old 25-04-2012, 10:24   #10
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Re: From Crystal River to Miami, Fl

Just my two cents but I started visiting the keys in 1954 as a 9 year old kid with my Dad. He moved to Key Vaca in the late 1960s and I spend lots of time on both power boats and sail boats. I have seen lots of first time visitors have problems with the tides and currents which can be quite strong, especially if there is a wind blowing the water out of the Gulf of Mexico on an outgoing tide and the Gulf Stream is running strong quickly carrying the water North.

I agree you need good charts, but also watch out for the tides. My advice would be to take the shorter route through the canal/lake. Much less worry about the teething problems almost anyone has with a new boat.
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Old 25-04-2012, 10:52   #11
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Re: From Crystal River to Miami, Fl

just sent you a PM
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Old 25-04-2012, 13:01   #12
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Re: From Crystal River to Miami, Fl

A word of caution using Lake Okeechobee right now. The Lake levels are really down and the Franklin and St. Lucie locks are opening every two hours from 7 AM to 7 PM. If the Lake levels keep dropping the locks will go to three times a day and then twice a day. Chuck

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
Lake Okeechobee and Navigation Depth Report
Data Ending 2400 hours 24 APR 2012
Today's Lake Okeechobee Stage = 11.77 (Feet-NGVD29)
Today's Route 1 Navigational Depth 5.71 Feet
Today's Route 2 Navigational Depth 3.91 Feet
Bridge Clearance = -NR- Feet S-308
Tailwater Elevation = -NR- (Feet-NGVD29)
Report Generated 25APR2012 @ 14:41 ** Preliminary Data - Subject to Revision **
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Old 25-04-2012, 21:29   #13
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Re: From Crystal River to Miami, Fl

Quote:
Originally Posted by HPBristol 27 View Post
To you all:
I just bought a very used Bristol 27 by Crystal River(NW Florida coast) and I need to sail to Miami(SE Florida coast). It happens that I just moved to USA and know almost nothing about local geography/nautical aspects of this route. I just started picking up some charts and available cruising guides I may come across. I would like advise from people who have done it before. The boat is 4 feet draft. Some questions:with this draft could I go comfortably through Fort Myers-Okeechobee-Indiantown?. Can that route be sailed or is to be mostly motored? If not using the waterway, where down the peninsula should/could I go through the keys? to turn up to miami?. In the west side what is the typical behaviour of the wind/sea for this time of the year?. Since the boat is old and I know little about it I would like to play more safely by making the trip in short runs and having anchorages/docking at near distances. As a preliminary step I will try to replace some standing rigging since it may have been without replacement the entire life of the boat. Good engine, healthy seacocks, sails are quite ok, etc. Please comment of the routes mentioned.
Many thanks in advance.
I would be concerned with the depth in the lake considering the drought we are having. I would go around, you don't have to sail to the Tortugas, but due south from Tampa Bay to the sea buoy at Key West, then up Hawk Channel or outside the reefs in Florida Strait. Tampa Bay to Key west is a straight shot of about 40 hours of sailing. You can anchor easily at Little Pine Key, or Vaca key, and further NE at Largo. There is a marked channel through Florida Bay, but I've never ventured there.

Fair winds,
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