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Old 25-10-2011, 08:03   #1
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Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

Hello,

I'm charting a 42' cat for my spring break and I'm looking to get a cruising guide for the area... Anyone have any recommendations on what one to get? Or any tips, advice or suggestions on sailing the area?

Thanks!
Greg
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Old 25-10-2011, 08:10   #2
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

Don't know what you're looking for. Not a lot of good cruising in Ft. Lauderdale. And no sailing unless you go out to sea. Are you going to sail down to Miami?
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Old 25-10-2011, 08:28   #3
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

We really don't have a plan yet. We will be heading down to Miami. We're going to be a bunch of college kids on spring break so we'll probably spend a day off south beach. But otherwise, we do not have a plan so any suggestions are welcome.
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Old 25-10-2011, 08:42   #4
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

gbam:

Are you chartering a 420 Lagoon through CatCo?

Like Vasco says, Fort Lauderdale is not a cruising area. Once you get out the cut, you will be in short chop and light wind likely. Everyone will be seasick within a couple hours.

Biscayne Bay is a better sailing area or head over to the Bahamas. Fort Lauderdale is for storage, service, and fishing. If you want to have a good time in Fort Lauderdale, forget the cat and hit the beach. Give me a call, and I'll party with you.

Feel free to ask more questions. Many Lauderdale locals on board the forum.

RJ
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Old 25-10-2011, 09:00   #5
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

We are not going through them however we are chartering a 42' Lagoon though. We were definitely planning on heading south, the only thing I wasn't sure about was how much progress could be made? We'll be taking the boat in early April... My impression is it'd be about a 1.5 day sail to the northern keys? With only a week charter, would it be worth sailing down there or would we be better to stay in Biscayne Bay?
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Old 25-10-2011, 09:07   #6
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

Less is more for me. I'd sail down and enjoy Biscayne Bay. The water there is a wonderful green color somewhat like the Bahamas. Many pretty girls too. You might brush up on your espanol.

Just aboard a 420 the other day. Good cruising platform.
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Old 25-10-2011, 09:11   #7
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

For cruising the Fort Lauderdale area, the only anchorage I really know of is Lake Silvia, and that is just for a limited time period. You can then hit the beach nightlife. Miami is going to be the place to go with Bayside, Miami Beach and Coconut Grove all in striking distance. You could sail down south through the bay to Key Largo and then hit the keys as well. Or just take a trip to Bimini or Lucaya.
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Old 25-10-2011, 09:31   #8
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

Sail down to Miami. If the cruise ships are in you are not allowed to go through Government Cut. Go slightly south (left) after you get past the jetties and follow along the container dock. You'll end up on the ICW. Go north to the Venetian Causeway bridge and turn right just before the bridge and head east. You'll end up at South Beach. Drop the hook, jump in the dink and head up the Collins Canal. Tie up along the canal (lock the dink). Enjoy South Beach. Actually if you want to sail a bit it can be done here. After South Beach head back to the ICW and go south to Biscayne Bay. Good sailing, good anchorages.

Breathless anchored in Hurricane Harbor, Key Biscayne.
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Old 27-10-2011, 15:44   #9
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

Se love Claiborne Young's cruising guides and follow the latest info on his cruisersnet.net.
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Old 28-10-2011, 08:47   #10
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

There is not much in the way of "cruising" grounds here in Lauderdale; no place to anchor or moorings offshore. Motoring up and down the Intercoastal and some offshore sailing would be fun, and on the broader parts of the Intercoastal there are sandbars where people anchor and raft boats, swim and party. But Biscayne Bay would probably be easier and more pleasant.

I am curious as to what company you chartered your cat from? I live here in the area and wasn't aware there was even a local charter company for cats. Where do you pick up the boat?
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Old 29-10-2011, 09:38   #11
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

Sailing down to Biscayne Bay is - by far - your best bet for a boat full of collage kids. If you cannot enter at Government Cut you can continue down to Biscayne Channel and enter there.
- - Other than great sailing back and forth down the Bay, there is not much in the Bay to interest college kids. More than likely anchoring or mooring off Coconut Grove would be attractive as that is a very "happening" place. Others have mentioned South Beach by anchoring in the area south of Venetian Causeway - but it is a bit of a walk to the "in places" of South Beach.

- - In Biscayne Bay, for swimming, etc. there is a good little place called Boca Chita about 13nm south of Coconut Grove. Nice day sail there. Spend a couple of days swimming and exploring the island then head back north. All in the protected waters of Biscayne Bay.
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Old 29-10-2011, 10:38   #12
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Sailing down to Biscayne Bay is - by far - your best bet for a boat full of collage kids. If you cannot enter at Government Cut you can continue down to Biscayne Channel and enter there.
.

There is no prohibition re entering through Government Cut. It's just that if there's more than one cruise ship in (and there usually are) you have to go south of Dodge Island rather than sail by the cruise ships. It's a minor inconvenience.
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Old 29-10-2011, 13:22   #13
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

The potential problem with Miami's Government Cut is that during the days that the cruise ships arrive/depart (usually around 5-6PM) they take up close to the whole channel which is only 500 ft wide. Since you are required to come no closer than 100 yards to a "Large Passenger Vessel" that pretty much means you have to orbit outside or linger west of Fisher Island before you can use the main portion of Government Cut.

- - All the other times of the day when the big cruise ships (or container ships) are not using the Government Cut Channel you can proceed normally.

- - Biscayne Channel is 6.6 nm south and should you arrive off Miami during the mass exodus of Cruise ships you can just proceed on southwest and use Biscayne Channel.

- - No big deal, just an option to consider as normally leaving Ft Lauderdale in the morning will get you to Miami in the evening. However, I would not do the Biscayne Channel at night unless you are really familiar with it.

- - If you do not have experience with entering and navigating Miami's channels, IMHO spend some time memorizing the charts. The turns at the "Turning Basin" to go north or south of Dodge Island can be confusing what with all the lights on land and the container terminals.

- - Additionally, the infamous Green "57" marker/buoy at the junction of the ICW and Miami River had bitten more than a few boaters who turn too early and run aground.

- - For mono-hulls with deep draft the ICW from the Miami River to Rickenbacker Causeway bridge can be tricky when you have a herd of powerboats heading north and south around you. I wouldn't recommend doing that leg at night either unless you are experienced there.

- - I would suggest planning your Ft Lauderdale departure to arrive an hour or two before sunset off Miami. It takes about an hour to transit from the entrance of Miami's Government Cut to either the Venetian Causeway anchorage - or - to enter Biscayne Bay via the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge (ICW).
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Old 02-12-2011, 12:05   #14
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

Thank you all very much for your replies.

Do you have any recommendation as the best place to purchase charts prior to departure? Ideally, I'd like to have a tentative sail plan to give the charter company to help assure they I'm not incompetent.


@seahorseFL - We are going through FunInTheSun. They have half a dozen cats. Some of my friends have had good experiences chartering through them for ASA classes.
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Old 02-12-2011, 13:35   #15
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Re: Best Cruising Guide for Ft. Lauderdale Area

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Thank you all very much for your replies.

Do you have any recommendation as the best place to purchase charts prior to departure? Ideally, I'd like to have a tentative sail plan to give the charter company to help assure they I'm not incompetent.


@seahorseFL - We are going through FunInTheSun. They have half a dozen cats. Some of my friends have had good experiences chartering through them for ASA classes.
If you're sure you won't be going to the Bahamas, you can get all the charts you need in the chartkit for Florida's East Coast and the Keys:

ChartKit Region 7, 15th Ed. - Florida East Coast and the Keys

If you just want it for planning, you can get an older edition cheap on ebay (I might have one I can sell you). But check with your charter company... the boat should be stocked with charts.

For your sailplan, just tell them Biscayne Bay, for starters.
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