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Old 23-04-2012, 10:19   #1
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pirate Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

Hi Everyone!

I'm in the initial planning/idea phase of sailing From the south shore of Long Island to Key West in late August/September. I just did a brief search on this forum, but was not able to find any threads specific to this trip. Once I get down there, I'm planning to stay for month (maybe two) and just unwind from the city life. I charted a rough course, on the ocean side and came up with 7 days to Miami and 2 days to Key West, averaging 6-7 knots.

I would prefer to take an ocean route as opposed to the ICW because I feel it would be easier for myself alone (maybe +1) to handle as there will be less traffic, tides, currents, bridges, etc., to contend with. I'm thinking a straight shot from Atlantic Beach, NY to West End Grand Bahama. Then turning west to Miami (with a stop over to clean and provision), and finally I'd skirt along the south shore of Florida until I reach Key West. I found a couple of nice marinas for under $500 per month with water/electric/internet included.

I'm sure many of you have done this trip (or similar) and I would appreciate any knowledge/insights you would impart. If anyone has any questions, let me know.

Thanks and Happy Sailing!!!
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Old 23-04-2012, 10:28   #2
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August/September? As in, the middle of hurricane season?
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Old 23-04-2012, 10:29   #3
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

I don't want to rain on your parade but you do realize that is the middle of hurricane season. If you plan on going offshore you would do better to get on the East side of the Gulf Stream, otherwise you will be bucking a major current all the way. By doing that your approach to the West would be best done through NE Providence channel, past New Providence and across the banks to Bimini, then Mia or FLL.
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Old 23-04-2012, 10:31   #4
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

Atlantic Beach to West End is a run against the gulf stream. Could be a rough (and slow) ride. Never done it. Others may have and can offer specific advice. Might want to consider a straight shot down just far enough offshore to catch counter-currents. Distance from shore will vary and depend on location of the stream's west wall.
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Old 23-04-2012, 10:33   #5
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

No good man. singlenading that would be brutal. there is way too much traffic out there to be asleep at the wheel for extended periods of time. It's also hurricane season. It will be miserably hot in key west that time of year. besides South florida is a S t hole.. certainly no need to go to key west from the bahamas if you are already there.
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Old 23-04-2012, 10:39   #6
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

SWS,

Yea...what they said. Actually, the hurricane potential is not the main concern (but don't discount it!!)... take the ICW when conditions offshore are not favorable. Once you hit Miami, take Hawks channel down to the keys. Beware of hard schedules... take it easy and enjoy the trip. Once in the keys, you may find yourself wanting to stay longer... it's a big place.

cheers,
mm
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Old 23-04-2012, 10:48   #7
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

August and September are the months with the highest occurrance of hurricanes/named storms for the East coast of the U.S. I wouldn't consider taking my boat to the Bahamas, the Keys, or anywhere else in Florida at that time of year.
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Old 23-04-2012, 10:56   #8
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

Thank's guys.

I didn't realize the hurricane season lasted into September. I though it began in mid-June till mid-August. I definitely wouldn't want to sail into any prevailing weather systems. I appreciate you guys telling me about that. When would you recommend setting off.

I'll check with NOAA to see if they have any monthly weather data from the last couple of years to find the best wind conditions. Having to deal with traffic and shipping lanes are one of the deciding factors for me taking an ocean route. I would prefer to have the ocean, or at the very least, my visible distance to myself. I would consider changing my schedule to napping during the day and hard sailing through the evenings/night.

I've never been to the Bahamas. It seems easy, with their free cruising permit, but, as silly as it sounds, there is a restaurant in Key West that I have been meaning to revisit. It's called El Siboney, and it's one of the best places I've eaten. In addition to some really good memories, I think it would be a fitting full-circle for me to go back to there (Key West) by boat. Who know's, maybe I'll stop in the Bahamas on the way back and get trapped in that fabled "Island Time" I keep hearing about
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Old 23-04-2012, 11:03   #9
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

Quote:
Originally Posted by mangomuffins View Post
SWS,

Once you hit Miami, take Hawks channel down to the keys. Beware of hard schedules... take it easy and enjoy the trip.
mm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tingum View Post
If you plan on going offshore you would do better to get on the East side of the Gulf Stream, otherwise you will be bucking a major current all the way. By doing that your approach to the West would be best done through NE Providence channel, past New Providence and across the banks to Bimini, then Mia or FLL.
Thanks Mangomuffins & Tingum, I'll look into taking those routes. I will plan an ICW route to duck into if the ocean conditions aren't favorable after September. My one question with the ICW is won't it add a few days (4-6) to my total trip?
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Old 23-04-2012, 11:06   #10
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

I do it every year in Sept. and Oct. Your best bet is to stay close to shore, there is a counter current along the coast of NJ and Fl. LI to Cape May = 2 days, Cape May to Norfolk = 2 days, Norfolk to St. Augustine = 5 days, St. Augustine to Miami = 2 Days. You can split the 5 day leg in half at Charleston. Don't do it without AIS.
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Old 23-04-2012, 11:12   #11
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

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I do it every year in Sept. and Oct. Your best bet is to stay close to shore, there is a counter current along the coast of NJ and Fl. LI to Cape May = 2 days, Cape May to Norfolk = 2 days, Norfolk to St. Augustine = 5 days, St. Augustine to Miami = 2 Days. You can split the 5 day leg in half at Charleston. Don't do it without AIS.
Great Advice jmackey!

I'll chart out this route later tonight and compare it with my rough route. There was a thread on CF about portable AIS. I'll see what cost effective options there are.
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Old 23-04-2012, 11:16   #12
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

Keep a close watch on the weather, you will run into at least one or two gales 40+kts but you should have enough warning to duck inside for a day or two. Gales are much more prevalent than hurricanes and with short legs you can pick your weather. You can only travel the ICW in daylight and it will triple your time. If you don't have a lot of offshore experience then you might want to do Norfolk to Beaufort inland.
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Old 23-04-2012, 11:27   #13
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

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I do it every year in Sept. and Oct. Your best bet is to stay close to shore, there is a counter current along the coast of NJ and Fl. LI to Cape May = 2 days, Cape May to Norfolk = 2 days, Norfolk to St. Augustine = 5 days, St. Augustine to Miami = 2 Days. You can split the 5 day leg in half at Charleston. Don't do it without AIS.
Doing that in a Mason 43 is one thing; in a P-300 is quite another! Add at least a day to each leg in the P-300. But he's right about AIS: must have for your route.

I'd say Norfolk to Morehead City on the ICW at the least. You don't need Cape Hatteras singlehanded pretty much any time of year.

The waterway is slow and safe. You get to sleep nights. You won't get run down by a container ship in your sleep. And you won't founder on the shoals off Hatteras. (It's called the Graveyard of the Atlantic for a reason!)

Edit: And another thing: be careful about that "ducking in" when the weather comes up. The inlets can be (1) few and far between, and (2) quite nasty in rough weather. It's sometimes a lot safer to stay outside.
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Old 23-04-2012, 11:27   #14
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

You will be crossing MAJOR shipping lanes, some at night. AIS is great for identifying traffic, especially tows. Just remember that most fishermen turn them off so nobody knows where they are. If you are going to do it solo then 20 min naps in the cockpit aren't bad for 2 days and then a one day layover to catch up. Fatigue is you biggest enemy, your judgment is the first thing to go.
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Old 23-04-2012, 11:31   #15
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Re: Looking for advice. Sailing New York to Key West

I'd say Norfolk to Morehead City on the ICW at the least. You don't need Cape Hatteras singlehanded pretty much any time of year.

The waterway is slow and safe. You get to sleep nights. You won't get run down by a container ship in your sleep. And you won't founder on the shoals off Hatteras. (It's called the Graveyard of the Atlantic for a reason!)[/QUOTE]

I definitely agree with that, but with a draft of 6'6" and 65' tall the ICW scares me more.
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