Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 27-05-2009, 17:07   #1
Registered User

Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5
Bareboat FL Keys - First Time

Hi Everyone,

New user here! First Post.

I am planning on taking my first bareboat charter in July. My idea is to do it around the Florida keys, since I have heard its relatively easy for a novice bareboater. I am hoping for a 4-5 trip.

I have some sailing experience, mostly from the lake, and some sailing on the ocean but not far from shore. I am planning on going with a few friends, one of whom has a little experience as well. The plan is to have 4 people on a 30-35' boat.

I wanted to get some opinions from all of you as to whether the keys are a good destination for a first time bareboater, and what sort of things I need to do to prepare for such a trip. Also, any recommendations for charter companies in the area would be helpful.

If the Keys are not considered to be a beginner friendly desitnation, are there any other suggestions? Preferebly within USA territory.

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
tintin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-05-2009, 19:18   #2
Registered User
 
mobetah's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Corpus Christi, TX (sometimes)
Boat: Endeavour40 - MOBETAH
Posts: 235
Although not in the USA ..... the Abacos in the Bahamas would be my first choice for a first charter (beautiful water, great sailing destinations within a few miles, resturants, bars ........damn, I want to go!) but would it require an airplane ride to get there. try: The Moorings (Abaco) - Yacht Charter Company Reviews - CharterExpert

Don't know where you are but the Apostile Islands in Wisconsin would be a good choice. nearby sailing destinations, resturants, bars, etc...... Although it is fresh, COLD water. try: Superior Charters :: Sail Lake Superior's Apostle Islands - Bayfield, WI

Good Luck & have fun wherever you go Bill A.
__________________

__________________
mobetah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-05-2009, 20:49   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,156
The Keys is great for many things but as a sailing location for a first time bare boater, it's not that great IMO. Bahamas or Virgin Islands in the Carib are much better.
__________________
speedoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-05-2009, 23:01   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
nautical62's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
Boat: Beneteau 32.5
Posts: 2,264
Images: 12
I agree to make the jump to the Bahamas or BVIs. I prefer the Bahamas, but the BVIs are exceptionally easy sailing.
__________________
nautical62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-05-2009, 05:40   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
osirissail's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: A real life Zombie from FL
Boat: Gulfstar 53 - Osiris
Posts: 5,416
Images: 2
I stopped sailing the Fla Keys after they have instituted all sorts of restrictions and regulations with up to US$50,000 fines for violating some of them. And they do not accept an excuse for "I just didn't know". With all the environmental and reef and grass protection regulations and anchoring restrictions there is very little fun left as you are always worrying or terrified of making a mistake.
That is why the Bahamas are a much better choice for a novice as others have mentioned above. At the closest you are only 45 nm from Miami to the Bahamas. The northern area of the Abacos are especially good for new cruisers as there are lots of wonderful islands to swim, snorkel and explore. The southern Bahamas are further away and require a much longer period of time to get to them and back. But they are also unique and have fantastic island experiences available.
But be sure if you choose the Bahamas to get the chartbooks called "The Explorer Charts". These books are available in most large chandleries or nautical book stores. They contain up to date charts and local information that is a "must" to have before venturing out.
__________________
osirissail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-05-2009, 05:48   #6
sitting on the dock of the bay

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,513
Images: 6
Send a message via Yahoo to gonesail
charlotte harbor in southwest florida has the clear water and sand beaches without the rock reefs. there are some nice islands and you can find blue water in the gulf. be sure to stop by cabbage key across from useppa island. also check out pelican bay at cayo costa.
__________________
gonesail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-05-2009, 16:06   #7
Registered User

Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5
Thanks for the replies everyone! It seems like the general consensus is to stay away from the FL keys as a novice destination.

I just spoke to a co-worker who said that Catalina Island on the west coast is a good cruising destination for beginners. Anyone has any suggestions about this? I checked it out in google maps and it looks very nice, and easy sailing as far as I can tell.

I know there is a section for the pacific coast on the forum, shall I post there about Catalina Island?

I am in Austin, TX so I am pretty much open to any destination because I have to fly no matter what. I was thinking the Keys because I used to live in ft. lauderdale.
__________________
tintin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-05-2009, 17:32   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,371
I dont think Catalina would compare with the diversity of things to do in the Bahamas at all.....
__________________
Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-05-2009, 16:36   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Jupiter FL
Boat: temporarily boatless...
Posts: 723
Let me start by saying I sail FL and specifically the upper/middle keys regularly, and despite the fact that any post about sailing the keys is immediately inundated with suggestions to go to the Bahamas instead, it's a great place to sail and we're lucky to have it.

Having said that, for a relative novice with no particular preference for location, there is no question in my mind that the BVI is the place to go. Sailing-oriented, lots of deep water everywhere, lots of moorings and anchorages, a great variety of destinations, consistent and predictable winds, and getting help in case of a problem is, well, no problem at all. In the Bahamas, you'll find lots of very shallow water and some very poorly marked waterways, so you really have to be careful at all times. It's also an excellent destination, but in your case I think the BVI are the way to go. pete
__________________
pete33458 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-05-2009, 17:03   #10
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,371
So.... how does one know where you can drop an anchor in the keys....? I'm thinking of going down there about the first of the year....
__________________
Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-05-2009, 17:25   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
So.... how does one know where you can drop an anchor in the keys....? I'm thinking of going down there about the first of the year....
If you're looking for a cruising guide, there are three that I know of, but none are as good, IMO as the guides for the Bahamas and Carib.

I guess I'd suggest this one by Young, since it is more substantial that the others.. far more pages:

Amazon.com: Cruising The Florida Keys: Claiborne S. Young, Morgan Stinemetz: Books
__________________
speedoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-05-2009, 18:39   #12
Registered User
 
Christian Van H's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Princeton, NJ
Boat: Challenger Anacapa 42
Posts: 2,097
Images: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete33458 View Post
despite the fact that any post about sailing the keys is immediately inundated with suggestions to go to the Bahamas instead, it's a great place to sail and we're lucky to have it.
Agreed... now, tell him where to find a good bareboat in the Keys. Thats the real problem.
__________________
www.anacapas.com

Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women!
Christian Van H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-05-2009, 22:11   #13
Registered User

Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5
Thanks for the advice, Pete.

I have been looking online for charter companies in the keys, and I have been been a hard time finding a lot of information. I have also read a lot of bad publicity for companies in the keys. Not sure if it is true or not, but it is what I have seen. If anyone has any suggestions with a positive experience I would love to hear them!

Thanks!
__________________
tintin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-05-2009, 23:34   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,156
tintin, there is something about the Keys that attracts some really great people. Unfortunately there is also something about the Keys that attracts a few really bad people. I've had two very bad experiences there... one with a small charter outfit in Islamorada many years ago, and another with a marina, I won't say where, that ended up costing me thousands of $ in attorney fees and mucho time and aggravation.

The moral: don't do business with anyone in the Keys that you suspect is potentially a problem. Don't charter from anyone in the Keys unless you have solid recommendations.

I still love the Keys... it's like nowhere else in the USA, maybe in the world. Get yourself on a flight to Miami sometime (or better yet Key West), rent a car and head down to the Keys to explore. It's great fun.
__________________
speedoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2009, 02:29   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Jupiter FL
Boat: temporarily boatless...
Posts: 723
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian Van H View Post
Agreed... now, tell him where to find a good bareboat in the Keys. Thats the real problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tintin View Post
Thanks for the advice, Pete.

I have been looking online for charter companies in the keys, and I have been been a hard time finding a lot of information. I have also read a lot of bad publicity for companies in the keys. Not sure if it is true or not, but it is what I have seen. If anyone has any suggestions with a positive experience I would love to hear them!

Thanks!
Finding a bareboat charter IN the keys is probably not easy. However, Florida Yacht Charters in Miami Beach Marina (just inside Government Cut) has great boats for good rates. I know the people there quite well. From Miami, it is a day sail to Port Largo (Key Largo), and on from there. pete
__________________

__________________
pete33458 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bareboat

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need a good bareboat charter company in the Keys. Amish Pirate Atlantic & the Caribbean 10 09-12-2008 13:13
First time poster, long time sailer. Richkd Meets & Greets 16 31-08-2008 07:18
Florida Keys bareboat recos (itineraries, charter companies, guides) windrunner Atlantic & the Caribbean 9 23-07-2008 14:49
Caribbean or FL Keys on Limited Time staehpj1 Atlantic & the Caribbean 2 04-05-2006 11:11



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:08.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.