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Old 04-03-2014, 06:31   #1
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Jacksonville to the Key West

Hi, about to sail from Jacksonville Fl To the Keys in about 4 or 5 days depending upon the weather, anyone out there who has sailed on the outside the entire way down?
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:33   #2
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

Yes, I've done it. Many other members as well.

You have a question I assume?
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:09   #3
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

Thanks for the reply. Yes I have lots of questions starting with did you sail all the way down the coast without going into an anchorage? How about maybe you could tell me about you trip? My husband and purchased our boat about 5years ago and we just retired and are heading out soon just for about a 4 week cruise Keys then Bahamas. This will be our first adventure in our Sail boat.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:26   #4
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

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SNIP

about a 4 week cruise Keys then Bahamas. This will be our first adventure in our Sail boat.
Even with a fast multihull four weeks is cutting it close. Conventional wisdom is one day from South Florida to Bimini, spend the night there, and one day to your next stop assuming no weather delays; same for the return. So realistically you will need maybe a week just to get there and get back with normal weather delays.

If a cold front hits you could be anchored, on a ball, or at a dock for a week or more waiting for a weather window.

Not trying to discourage you from taking the trip, just saying the most dangerous thing you can have on a boat is a calendar.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:30   #5
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

I have made the trip both ways, nonstop and stopping each night. Which way you choose would depend on your preferences, schedule (in a hurry or not), the weather, your boat (Passport 42 very nice by the way), crew and equipment (do you have an autopilot?).

Weather permitting and assuming you have the proper crew for nonstop is of course faster and in many ways less hassle. Less navigation work than going down the ICW, no bridges to deal with, less traffic. But nonstop offshore you will be seeing large ships and sailing at night which for some can be a cause for nervousness the first time. You do have to pay some attention even offshore as there are occasional buoys even a couple of miles off the coast that have no lights which you would not want to bump.

Passing Cape Canaveral the Gulf Stream is closer to shore so you will need to hug the coast closer to avoid the current which will slow you down a knot or two.

Should be a very fun trip either way.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:42   #6
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

Thanks, yes we have an autopilot, the crew is only my husband and I. How many crew did you have?
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:50   #7
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

The danger is that you will get tired and sleepy , then try a strange inlet . Several of those inlets require local knowledge . Slow down , let your cruise start when ya leave the dock .
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:51   #8
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

Excellent point by Tomfl. 4 weeks is a little short for Jax to Key West and back and less if you want to include the Bahamas. Even if you had pretty good weather you would spend a big part of the 4 weeks sailing and leave not a lot of time for visiting.

If you do the calculations, it's over 500 miles one way to Key West. With no weather delays and sailing nonstop you should plan at least 5 days one way for that trip. So just travel time to Key West will take at least 10 days of your 28. If you add the Bahamas that will add another 4 days round trip when you also factor in clearing customs and the inevitable bureaucratic delays.

As Tom says, getting focused on a schedule can be risky. One can tend to push the safety envelope (weather for example) a bit trying to keep to the plan.

Again it will depend on what you want to do. Some cruisers really enjoy the sailing part and would thoroughly enjoy just sailing there and back again. Others prefer the hanging out, beaching, dinners out and such. All up to you. Just be aware of the limitations.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:58   #9
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

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Thanks, yes we have an autopilot, the crew is only my husband and I. How many crew did you have?
I have done the trip with two, done it with three and did Key West to Ft Lauderdale solo. The solo trip I sailed days and anchored every night.

Even with an autopilot I find long trips with only two on board to be tiring. If you do 4 on, 4 off then allowing time to wind down and get to sleep you might get 6 hours sleep per night IF you don't have to get up to help with sail changes or navigation or whatever. Some people are great with that schedule, I need 8 hours of solid sleep to be at my best.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:58   #10
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

Thanks everyone I have plenty of time I really should have said 4 - 6 weeks, time is no problem we are retired.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:02   #11
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

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Thanks everyone I have plenty of time I really should have said 4 - 6 weeks, time is no problem we are retired.
Well in that case, what's the hurry? When I'm retired I'm planning 4-6 months for that trip.

Back in the 70's I spent 2 years cruising the Bahamas and still lots I didn't get to see. Stop and smell the roses.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:19   #12
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

I just want to get this trip under my belt, and then we will take the long cruise to anywhere.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:41   #13
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

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I just want to get this trip under my belt, and then we will take the long cruise to anywhere.
But why the need to "get this trip under your belt"? Maybe you didn't mean it that way but almost sounds like an ordeal that you want to get over and done with.

If the idea is to do this so you feel more experienced and ready for the longer cruise why not just merge the two concerns? Plus in my experience, even after you do have the first one done every cruise is a new one and every time you leave the dock is a learning and growing experience.

Thinking of just doing the trip to get it done sounds too much like work and not enough like relaxation and fun.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:46   #14
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

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Thanks, yes we have an autopilot, the crew is only my husband and I. How many crew did you have?
I certainly hope that both you and your husband understand that an autopilot is NOT a substitute for a proper watch. That means that, if you are going to sail overnight, someone needs to be on deck and keeping an eye out all day long, and all night long.

You cannot just set the autopilot and both go down to sleep for the night. That would ABSOLUTELY be a recipe for disaster! Most especially in the relatively crowded waters off the east coast of Florida.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:57   #15
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Re: Jacksonville to the Key West

Do you have a radar on board? Sailing on the outside, but inside the Gulfstream, will mean that you will have crossing situations with everything from fishing boats to cruise ships many times a day. With only two watch standers on board, fatigue is going to be a major issue when pushing your boat 24/7. This near-coastal passage is the opposite of open-ocean sailing, and you will need to be alert for potential collision dangers at all times.

Why not use the ICW for part of the trip, to thoroughly check out your diesel propulsion system etc? Why fight the Gulfstream on your southbound trip and sail near the coast where you will be dodging shipping all day and night?

Personally, I'm prepping for a trip to the Bahamas, via the ICW south from Jax to Palm Beach and then over to West End. The Keys are nice, but they cannot begin to compare to the Bahamas in their beauty above and below the water.
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