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Old 20-05-2011, 06:26   #1
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Tampa to Key West

Leaving in a week, Really excited!!! A few questions for you who have done this run several times before.

How far off shore from Ft myers to Marco should I stay to avoid The majority of Crab traps?

I know in our area off Pasco there are several lines of them some very close, some 12-13 miles out.

How is boat traffic at night are there large shrimping fleets or any especially high traffic areas to watch for, if night sailing?

We are going to time it to arrive at the NW channel during the day

Thanks for any and all input!
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Old 20-05-2011, 06:36   #2
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Re: Tampa to Key West

Late April we sailed Key West to Boca Grande Pass - Charlotte Harbor. We just sailed the rhumb line from the NW Channel to Boca Grande. There were some crab pots, but not many. We had a couple shrimpers overnight, but not an alarming number. When we went down, we hugged the coast from Ft Myers to Marco/Indian Key/Little Shark River/Marathon and there were far more crabpots that way than coming back directly from the NW Channel. As you indicate, they are unpredictable in location, but the rhumb line from Tampa would most likely have less than hugging the coast. Or you could hug the coast to Boca Grande Channel and then take the rhumb line.

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Old 20-05-2011, 06:41   #3
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Re: Tampa to Key West

Crab season is over May 15th, (theoretically) the traps are gone!!

But in season, I've seen them out as far as 30 miles.

Shrimpers are normally farther out than the Tampa-Key West rhumb line. They are out in deeper water. But you won't have any problem seeing them at night, they're lit up like a cruise ship! The problem will be (without radar/arpa), guessing their course so you can dodge them.
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Old 20-05-2011, 07:13   #4
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Re: Tampa to Key West

Great thanks for the advice and information! Anything else I should look out for, unlit radio towers etc?
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Old 20-05-2011, 07:25   #5
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Re: Tampa to Key West

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Great thanks for the advice and information! Anything else I should look out for, unlit radio towers etc?
I was past the outer towers (closer to Dry Tortugas) a few weeks ago at night and their lights are working. The marker-marker rhumb line takes you within 4 miles of the one towers, if the light isn't working, pay close attention. The charts are accurate as to their location. Do you have radar? They show up a long ways off on radar (~15 miles with my scanner which is ~25' off the water).
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Old 20-05-2011, 07:56   #6
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Re: Tampa to Key West

No radar,
Also if the weather window is good for a few days in DT then we will do that and try to leave KW early enough to get into DT during daylight.
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Old 20-05-2011, 08:02   #7
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Re: Tampa to Key West

We went 40 miles offshore and still saw crap traps, that was in January of this year. We did the overnight straight from Sanibel down to Key West, lucky for us the wind was good and we were able to sail... we have a full keel so under sail we dont even think about those nasty buggers
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Old 20-05-2011, 08:16   #8
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Re: Tampa to Key West

Someone help a new sailor understand what to do if I snatch a pot off the seabed. I have dodged dozens offshore from St Pete in the last few months.
I didn't see any during a full moon sail a couple of days ago in the bay off Gulfport, so maybe the problem is gone for this year.

I'm a fin keel, skeg hung hull. Assuming the line simply drapes around the keel and isn't tangled in the prop, can I maneuver in such a way as to release the problem? Wishful thinking?

Or is it usually necessary to heave to (given the sea room) and untangle or cut the gear free? Drop anchor to resolve the issue?

Please forgive me butting it here.
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Old 20-05-2011, 08:46   #9
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Re: Tampa to Key West

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Someone help a new sailor understand what to do if I snatch a pot off the seabed. I have dodged dozens offshore from St Pete in the last few months.
I didn't see any during a full moon sail a couple of days ago in the bay off Gulfport, so maybe the problem is gone for this year.

I'm a fin keel, skeg hung hull. Assuming the line simply drapes around the keel and isn't tangled in the prop, can I maneuver in such a way as to release the problem? Wishful thinking?

Or is it usually necessary to heave to (given the sea room) and untangle or cut the gear free? Drop anchor to resolve the issue?

Please forgive me butting it here.
I have a shoal keel, saildrive (fixed props), and spade rudder. I've never snagged one on the keel or rudder, always on a prop. I've never snagged one while the prop is stopped (in gear while sailing). IMO, the pot is probably heavy enough to pull the float around *almost* anything that simply catches the line. The problem comes when the line gets wrapped (more than a 1/2 wrap) around something then pulls the float up tight. Or if it were to get caught between the hull and rudder (or stabilizer on a trawler). In a couple of cases I remember being able to grab the trailing line at the transom and cut the heavy pot loose, then the float/remaining line worked itself out. But, I've also stopped the boat, got in the water with snorkel and was able to cut things off (actually, this is a good job for visiting 'crew'!). Obviously, that was relatively calm water.

One time on a friend's power boat, we simply came to a dead stop, put the transmission in reverse and clean the prop off.
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Old 20-05-2011, 09:42   #10
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Re: Tampa to Key West

We snagged a crab trap that the float got caught in the prop shaft jamming itself between the prop and the back of the keel. I had to jump in and free it in 50 degree water and 2-3 ft waves.
Not fun.
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Old 25-05-2011, 11:46   #11
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Re: Tampa to Key West

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Originally Posted by Dulcesuenos View Post
No radar,
Also if the weather window is good for a few days in DT then we will do that and try to leave KW early enough to get into DT during daylight.
KW to Ft Jeff is ~70 miles or so. Why not sail from Tampa to DT, then back in to KW? A night in the Marquesas is always nice too. Gimme a holler when you get to KW!
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Old 25-05-2011, 12:48   #12
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Re: Tampa to Key West

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KW to Ft Jeff is ~70 miles or so. Why not sail from Tampa to DT, then back in to KW? A night in the Marquesas is always nice too. Gimme a holler when you get to KW!
IMO, going the other way is easier. This time of year the wind is mostly got an east component to it and sailing from DT to KW puts it on the nose. I've done it both ways and it works better for me to hit KW first, then DT.
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:48   #13
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Re: Tampa to Key West

True-that DotDun.. The trades ARE Easterlies. Because of the Marquesas, I find it no problem to make the East bound trip in 2 long tacks... but my boat points a lot higher than most. Nonetheless a good thing to point out to the OP!
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Old 26-05-2011, 05:59   #14
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Re: Tampa to Key West

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True-that DotDun.. The trades ARE Easterlies. Because of the Marquesas, I find it no problem to make the East bound trip in 2 long tacks... but my boat points a lot higher than most. Nonetheless a good thing to point out to the OP!
Most of the research I did led me to choose KW first, plus being our first big adventure wanted to play it safe closer to shore, and "shake out" any bugs we havent discovered over the last year of getting her ready.
Also she doesnt point all the incredibly well. Not terribly bad just not that great lol. Though could be my lack of trimming expertise as well not the old girls fault.

So excited, T minus 2 days aways. We will post photos of the trip !
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