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Old 12-08-2013, 16:34   #16
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We do the run south from Charleston pretty regular in the November time frame. You don't have to stay very close to shore until you get quite a way south. Generally are 50+ miles offshore around Jacksonville. As the Gulf current gets closer to shore so do we. Made the run from Charleston to Miami Thanksgiving last year in a little over 3.5 days. Was a great sail!
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Old 12-08-2013, 16:49   #17
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

You do not mention a time frame but since you have a good sailing boat why not consider this option: Offshore from Charleston to the northern Abacos, poke through the Abacos and cross to Elethuera, then over to Exuma, cross the bank to Cay Sal, then over to Marathon. Lots more fun than slogging down the coast!
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Old 12-08-2013, 17:41   #18
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

I don't know your mast height, but if you're considering ICW through Miami, the Julia Tuttle Causeway bridge (a couple of bridges north of Government Cut) is only 56 feet.
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Old 13-08-2013, 03:23   #19
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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Wow, offshore I am never closer than 10 miles! You are telling me you can sail safely that close to the beach? What is the typical depth? That will be a new one for me, sailing close to the beach. Gives me the shivers
In spots it drops off to 60' or better withing a few hundred yards of the beach. Once years ago when I was young and foolish and before they had a law against it, I ran from Jupiter to W Palm in 25' power boat, most of the trip within 100-200' of the beach. When I got bored I ran in close enough to surf on the shore break 20-30' off the beach.
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Old 13-08-2013, 04:56   #20
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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I don't know your mast height, but if you're considering ICW through Miami, the Julia Tuttle Causeway bridge (a couple of bridges north of Government Cut) is only 56 feet.
Good point! I had not considered this for the OP. My ketch requires 56' and I usually find Julia Tuttle an easy pass. The 56' mark on the clearance card stays pretty clean and there's an option for another foot if you use one of the spans off the center without the blue painted steel. Also, if you go outside at Port Everglades, it's only twenty miles to Governors Cut and bypassing this bridge.
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Old 13-08-2013, 06:18   #21
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

I guess the big question is do you want to do any sight seeing or is this just a get there fast trip? I go south at the end of November from NC and find that you can stay pretty far off shore for the first part of the trip. I go directly from Charleston to St Mary's. I like to stop at Cumberland Island for some sight seeing. It's a great place that time of year and if you haven't seen it it is well worth the stop. From St Marys south I find it's usually ok 5 to 10 miles off shore. I say usually because last year I was hitting a .5 knot current flowing north 5 miles out. In past years I had no current or a slight south flowing current all the way down to the shoals at Cape Canaveral. Past Port Canaveral you're ok at 5 miles down to Ft Pierce at which point I start angling towards the beach. and like to be at a mile or less off shore by Jupiter inlet. My experience is that if you are inside the 30 ft depth curve you have very few current issues. That is not to say no current, but it is much weaker than seaward. Once I'm past Key Biscayne I like Hawks channel. Outside current runs right up against the reef. It may not be technically the gulf stream but it does flow north at a rather brisk pace for a sailboat. You can use Channel five and yacht channel as has been suggested for getting around the tip of Florida. If you want to see Marathon there is a good channel through the 7 mile bridge then directly to Cape Romano. On either route, the crab/lobster pots are quite thick on the Florida bay side of the keys, so it's best to do that section in daylight. Once past there you can stand off shore a few miles all the way to Tampa Bay. I myself like the Charlotte Harbor/Pine Island area and would suggest it as a nice stop on the west coast.

Hope this helps

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Old 13-08-2013, 16:54   #22
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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There is the fabled counter current but don't think I have ever actually seen it so it could be not only fabled but completely mythical.
I've actually picked it up twice, once from Port Canaveral south and once from Lake worth to Miami. Each time was about .75 of a knot. On the Port Canaveral trip don't know exactly where it started. Didn't really believe it until it happened again on the Lake Worth - Miami trip.
Don't usually pay close enough attention on those trips to boat speed vs. sog to notice a difference, but we were expecting a possible adverse current so we were surprised by the opposite.
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Old 13-08-2013, 18:36   #23
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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I've actually picked it up twice, once from Port Canaveral south and once from Lake worth to Miami. Each time was about .75 of a knot. On the Port Canaveral trip don't know exactly where it started. Didn't really believe it until it happened again on the Lake Worth - Miami trip.
Don't usually pay close enough attention on those trips to boat speed vs. sog to notice a difference, but we were expecting a possible adverse current so we were surprised by the opposite.

It is quite possible I experienced a bit of a counter current in my trips up and down the S Florida coast, but back in the olden days before GPS it was hard to tell if I was seeing no current or a half knot current. Like you, most of the time I wasn't really calculating the whole thing that closely. Navigation was more along the lines of "go south along the coast until you see the four red and white striped stacks and turn right."
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Old 13-08-2013, 20:03   #24
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pirate Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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Originally Posted by Tingum View Post
You do not mention a time frame but since you have a good sailing boat why not consider this option: Offshore from Charleston to the northern Abacos, poke through the Abacos and cross to Elethuera, then over to Exuma, cross the bank to Cay Sal, then over to Marathon. Lots more fun than slogging down the coast!
Would this avoid the commercial traffic once beyond the GS?
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Old 14-08-2013, 13:38   #25
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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Navigation was more along the lines of "go south along the coast until you see the four red and white striped stacks and turn right."
LOL. I trust you were as traumatized as I was to read that our four really tall navigation markers are no more. How am I supposed to get home from the Bahamas?
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Old 14-08-2013, 14:12   #26
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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Gives me the shivers
even more scary for me are the coral reefs along the hawk channel .. but that is probably the best route to st. pete. get a good chart plotter
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Old 14-08-2013, 15:10   #27
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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LOL. I trust you were as traumatized as I was to read that our four really tall navigation markers are no more. How am I supposed to get home from the Bahamas?
Look for the condos!
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Old 14-08-2013, 18:44   #28
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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LOL. I trust you were as traumatized as I was to read that our four really tall navigation markers are no more. How am I supposed to get home from the Bahamas?
Terrible thing. Might have to actually get out a chart and dividers and navigate or even worse, turn on the GPS.
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Old 14-08-2013, 18:45   #29
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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Look for the condos!
But it's pretty much condos from Palm Beach to south Miami. And they all look the same.
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Old 14-08-2013, 18:52   #30
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Re: Charleston SC to St. Petersburg FL

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But it's pretty much condos from Palm Beach to south Miami. And they all look the same.
Where there's a gap there's an inlet and when they stop your south of Miami or North of Jupiter. Once you in you can always ask where you are.
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