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Old 29-01-2006, 08:14   #1
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FL Canals? Okeechobee?

Anyone know the most northern route a sailboat can take to get from the East Coast of FL to the West Coast of FL?

I'm trying to find a route from Jacksonville,FL to Pensacola, FL.

My father lives there, and we are hoping to work him into our trip down to charter down south next fall.

Thanks,
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Old 29-01-2006, 09:17   #2
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Wow.........Pensacola!!

Used to be stationed there while I was in the Navy. Beautiful place to visit.

Sorry Sean. Can't help you with a easier way to getting to Pensacola from Jacksonville. Other than travel around the majority part of the state to get there.

As far as my knowledge goes. I don't think you can travel that way across Florida. Except by road? I-10 leads out from Jacksonville. And passes through Pensacola. But, I don't believe you could sail through Florida like what you're mentioning?
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Old 29-01-2006, 09:55   #3
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Thanks, Capt K!

I'm very interested to see what it's like in Pensacola. Sounds like you really enjoyed it.

I did find the Okeechobe canal (55ft min bridge clearance), which seems to cut 1/3 of the state off. It starts in Stuart, FL and come out in Ft Myers. I was hoping to find another canal a little further north that does the same thing.

Pipe dream, I'm sure! ha ha
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Old 29-01-2006, 09:57   #4
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Sean, the answer was going to be an across-Florida waterway that one begins on the St. John's River in NE FL and exits on FL's mid-west coast but the State found it wasn't commercially viable and hasn't followed thru. That leaves the Okeechobee Waterway, an interesting, diverse, 5(?) lock waterway that cuts across FL from Stuart via Lake Okeechobee to Ft. Myers. From Ft. Myers you would mostly need to sail alongshore and ultimately across the Big Bend (FL's "armpit") enroute Pensacola. However, the (infamous) RR bridge just E of the Port Mayaca Lock has a controlling height of ~48' - we've slipped under several times with a 48'+ mast height after I lowered the VHF antenna & Tri-Color, yet another benefit of our low-profile split rig. That won't work for you, and so you'll have to sail/motor the length of FL to just S of Vaca Key (where Marathon is located) and the 7 Mile Bridge. This includes a bascule lift span which will allow you into Florida Bay & around the SW corner of FL.

(Coincidentally, I'm writing this from Pensacola as we're visiting our son at the moment).

Jack
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Old 29-01-2006, 10:16   #5
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Hey Jack.

Glad to have you back here in the good ole U.S.of A.

Well, I hope your visit with your son will be a good one. And I welcome you back to the States.
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Old 29-01-2006, 19:08   #6
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Ah yes, the cross-Florida barge canal never did come to pass ... pun intended

As I recall the utilitites lobbied real hard for the ditch as a cheaper way to bring all that coal down the Mississippi and to the east coast. The environmentalists and energy prices were the death of it all. Waiting for someone to propose finishing it now that oil has gone sky high... maybe after brother Jeb moves on...

So all that remains is a really neat bass fishing habitat for those in N Florida who now get to run almost 3/4 of the way across the state.

Sorry to say that there's just no short way to get to P'Cola. So stop in the Dry Tortugas on the way and enjoy the trip more
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Old 30-01-2006, 09:56   #7
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Sean, I just did Miami to St. Petersburg in November. It wasn't time or $ economical for me to travel up to Stuart and then through the canal out to the Gulf so I went around. I didn't have to go down to Marathon before making my cut up the West coast. I draw 4'6. Just to the NW of Long Key is a channel called "Yacht Channel" that I went through. The route up to Cape Sable is fairly well marked and I anchored in Shark River. It provided on of the most beautiful anchorages I've ever seen. From there it was up to Big Marco pass, then Ft. Meyers, Gasparilla Island, Long Boat Key and Tierra Verde.

Good Luck, Wiz
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Old 30-01-2006, 23:12   #8
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If you make it around the horn of America and up here to the redneck riviera let me know I want to come see your boat.
Seriously I think you'll like it. Ill put our beaches up against any other. Don't miss the the Naval Air Museam at N.A.S. Pensecola it's
awesome. If you time it right you can catch a Blue Angles show.
Very cool when seen from the deck of your own boat.
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Old 31-01-2006, 02:20   #9
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Interesting... thanks for all the replies. I had sort of hoped there would be the "inland waterway" of my dreams... ha ha ha.

This will make the trip less likely, but still possible for us. We charter in the Miami/Keys area in the winter next year, and were going to visit my father's new house in Pensacola. This might make it more of a driving trip, just based on time constraints.
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Old 02-02-2006, 06:19   #10
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Sean :

This may be worth a read...

http://www.boatus.com/cruising/littl.../200506-16.asp

Good luck !!
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