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Old 08-03-2016, 13:14   #1
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pirate Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

All:
We have lived aboard Docked Pay (1987 Roughwater 42) for two years. Day trips only. We're now looking to spread our wings a bit and head out of St. Petersburg to Key West for 10 days. Cruise 8.1 knots. We're looking for someone to suggest a good route that will take us there over one day of steady cruising. Best time of year? Recommendations in Key West? Thanks for your help.
Capt Joe Letts
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Old 08-03-2016, 13:16   #2
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

Leave Tampa Bay, turn to heading 180 S. 8 knots should put you in Key West around 24-36 hours
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Old 08-03-2016, 18:18   #3
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

As you said you've not been far ashore before, I would not suggest direct Tampa to KW, as not only that would be out of sight of land, but mostly out of VHF range too, depending on your gear. I'd suggest staying along the coast to Marco Island and then cross. Take 2 days rather than 1.

And best time of year is just about coming up now. Late March to mid-May should be pretty storm free.


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Old 16-03-2016, 11:12   #4
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

has anyone done this trip from tampa to the keys for mini season(lobsters)?
i am curious which is the preferred key and which side etc...
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Old 22-03-2016, 12:56   #5
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

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Originally Posted by tikirawker View Post
has anyone done this trip from tampa to the keys for mini season(lobsters)?
i am curious which is the preferred key and which side etc...
It is insane down here during Mini Season. I live in Key West and we stay off the water during Mini wait a week and the start of lobster season is much tamer

July 27th and 28th Mini season
August 6 through March 31 Lobster Season
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Old 22-03-2016, 14:54   #6
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

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Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
As you said you've not been far ashore before, I would not suggest direct Tampa to KW, as not only that would be out of sight of land, but mostly out of VHF range too, depending on your gear. I'd suggest staying along the coast to Marco Island and then cross. Take 2 days rather than 1.

And best time of year is just about coming up now. Late March to mid-May should be pretty storm free.


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Amen!!!

Definitely this...

I also second mini season deal. I was camping on sigsbee lobstering the sigsbee shelf 500 yards off shoreline...and bout got ran over by some people a few times...mini season brings all the kooks to town IMO...

On the topic of mini season, we had this reserves major (investments advisor as his career) from Chattanooga TN summering at sigsbee since kids were outta school.
This guy had to take the kids/family home week before mini season starts...so what does this clown do? He's out their before dusk, 19:30 or so with his kayak snorkeling? Coasties needed some more safety inspections training for the new guy on the crew...so they inspect this guy...

He pulls off the inspection, mr cool performance under pressure and as coasties are leaving him one notices he's got a strange line hanging off the canoe he's using as his snorkel platform?

Turns out he had a bag full of lobsters...they call FWC....this clown then tries to name drop his FWC buddy in an attempt to skate the charges??? They get him ashore (they had to get navel master at Arms/Mps to come on base) and he comes clean, gives up the cooler load he already cleaned/packed full of lobsters for the trip home...

When FWC officer asked him if he knew lobsters were outta season, he says "yeah but we were here and I wanted to take something home" guy had like 141 charges from lobstering, wringing lobsters at sea, undersize catch etc.

Commander pulled some strings to get him outta jail where he was promptly escorted (him, his wife, kids and RV) off base with a letter of reprimand so he's not allowed back..on the list of I welcomed and those to be charged with trespassing if found on NASKW...what a jerk...
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:27   #7
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

One suggestion I can make is that you transit the Egmont Channel on the inside. You have to go about 10 miles offshore to avoid the shoal area on the North side of Egmont channel and the conditions can be treacherous(especially if there is a westerly component to the wind). When we travel south we exit Clearwater Pass to the Gulf then reenter the ICW at Pass-A-Grill Channel. Then follow the ICW south past the Skyway Bridge and exit the ICW, back in to the gulf, at one of the Sarasota Passes(New Pass, Longboat Pass, or Big Sarasota Pass). I have made the trip to the keys both on the outside and the inside and taking the ICW all the way to Marco Island(south from Clearwater) is a beautiful ride(but obviously a little slower due to occasional idle speed zones).

From Marco Island you make the offshore jump to the Northwest Channel which is the entrance to Key West. Look for Factory Bay in Marco Island if you need to anchor up and wait for a weather window before your open water passage south. Also, you can enter the keys from the back side(Florida Bay) about half way down at Moser Channel. This will put you in Marathon and you can take Hawk Channel the rest of the way to Key West. Happy travels.
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:38   #8
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

OOps, if I had paid more attention to your post I would see that you, leaving from St. Pete., will likely be exiting to the Gulf south of Egmont Channel anyway. Sorry.
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Old 06-04-2016, 17:01   #9
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

Using a Sailboat Morgan 384; how many nautical miles is Marco Island to Marathon? Can it be done in one day?
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Old 06-04-2016, 17:32   #10
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

I don't remember exactly(125mi I think). We have always done it as an overnight sail. Never tried it in one day.

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Old 06-04-2016, 17:37   #11
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Re: Best Route Tampa Bay Key West 42' Trawler

Charted it...it is just over 80 miles from Marco to Key West. So, approximately 15-16hrs for a sailboat(mono).

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