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Old 08-09-2009, 19:45   #1
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Marathon to Miami?

I just purchased a sailboat and it is in marathon in the fl keys.
I need to sail the boat to miami.
This will be my first time with a destination, not just day sailing a boat around and back to the starting point.
How much time should I allow to make the trip without rushing. It looks to be about 125 nm.
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Old 08-09-2009, 19:56   #2
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We make it a two day trip. There's a good stopping place near Robertson Island outside Key Largo. On the east side of the Island there's pretty good protection in 8- 12' of water.
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Old 08-09-2009, 20:51   #3
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You will do better if you have the Keys Chart Pack, you can get at West Marine; easy to run aground and hard to find the anchorages without it. It is also not easy in the dark if you are inexperienced.

At 5 knots its 25 hrs and your more likely to average less than that, more like 3-4 days especially if you go up the ICW which is as twisted as a dog's hind leg.
I have done it many times on my F31 tri and I always took at least 2 days, unless I did it outside the reef where there is a knot of northerly current.

Easier to go up Hawkes Channel but not as many places to anchor. Rodriguez Key. Tavernier Key, Whale Key, inside of Snake Creek are all ok if the weather is OK but
the holding is poor throughout the Keys.

Then if you draw 6ft or less go into Biscayne Bay at the top of Key Largo at Angelfish Creek but strong tidal flow up to 3 knots. You can anchor behind Pumpkin Key, or going north there is Elliot Key and Boca Chica. Near Miami you can anchor near Dinner Key or just south and east of Rickenbacker Causeway. There are two narrow 'channels' in the middle of the Bay, Cutter Bank and Feather Beds and it is shallow out of the channel.

There are a few marinas on the outside, several on the inside you can find in the chart pack (Ocean Reef marina is $7/ft)

Good luck and if you have any specific questions send a private message.
Phil
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Old 08-09-2009, 22:35   #4
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it's closer to 100nm than 125 I would run Hawkes channel up, overnite at Tavernier Key or Rodriguiz Key, then up to Biscayne Channel and in. No Name Harbour is just inside on Key Biscayne if you want to stop. Coming up the bay side is more interesting if your draft allows but I would figure 3 or 4 days if you take your time. It depends on how much time you have. You could take a week if you have the time. by the way going inside is probably closer to 125nm
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:26   #5
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marathon to miami

We did this trip in 3 days in late march on the inside (blowing like stink). Our stopovers were: w of tavernier, barnes sound and marine stadium - a fun trip.

-dennis
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:35   #6
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I regularly make the trip from Port Largo (Key Largo) to Miami (approx 60 nm) in 9-10 hours. I just angle out to "the edge" (150' of water or more), with prevailing E-SE winds and a 2-3 kt current it's pretty easy trip. Miserable if the winds are NE, though, you are sailing straight into it for the first half of the trip, and the preferred tack is very short.

So, unless you know the anchorages and have great weather, I would suggest a two-day trip with an overnight at Marina del Mar (about $3/foot), then finishing the next day in Miami. As mentioned, if you use the ICW, it will take a lot longer (although it is much safer for a beginner).
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:59   #7
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I stand corrected Rodriguez key not robertson. Was running on memory. We've done that particular stretch often as its part of our annual migration. Depths are a little shallower than I remembered too running from 5s and 6s way behind to 7s and 8s further east. Easy in and out and not out of way. Our next usual stop is near or in Stiltsville. Following hawks channel my gps says 45 mi from outside boot key to Rodriguez then 43 mi to stiltsville , another 7 mi to gov cut. Makes for easy days without expense of overniting in a marina.
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Old 13-09-2009, 07:48   #8
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Well im giving myself 3 days, hope to make it in 2 but im not in a hurry, and I can always call in on monday. (every body knows sailiing > working)
Im planing on taking the out side, The boat draws 5.6 feet. IDeal would be to over night at marina del mar (need to check the water dept and the tides), The boat just came from north of miami so I do have a snail trail in the gps to use as a base line. Any advice for my journey is greatly apreciated.
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Old 13-09-2009, 08:10   #9
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- - It is very simple - follow the Hawk Channel - it is well marked and easy to follow. You can anchor off Rodriguez Key - Key Largo the first night. Without charts you can stay outside until Key Biscayne light then take that fully marked channel into Biscayne Bay and you will find plenty of places to anchor. Do not continue north to Miami/Government Cut - that will add hours to your journey and is not necessary.
- - The entry at Angel Fish Channel is problematical as you do need charts to thread you way north to Miami. But if the weather is not good "outside" ducking inside at Angel Fish Creek is a good idea. The second day is a very long day. In order to make your schedule, you will be motor-sailing a lot so make sure you have sufficient fuel on board. If you run out of light duck in through Angel Fish Creek and you can anchor in several wonderful places and there is even bio-luminescent waters just inside to fascinate you during the evening hours.
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Old 13-09-2009, 08:52   #10
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If you don't have them pick up a chartkit for Ft. Lauderdale to Dry Tortugas Maptech and Richardsons both make them Maptech seems to be a little easier on old eyes(larger) but otherwise they are the same. You will want it anyhow if you are living in the area
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Old 14-09-2009, 09:23   #11
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Originally Posted by b-rad View Post
Im planing on taking the out side, The boat draws 5.6 feet. IDeal would be to over night at marina del mar (need to check the water dept and the tides), The boat just came from north of miami so I do have a snail trail in the gps to use as a base line. Any advice for my journey is greatly apreciated.
Conventional wisdom is that the controlling depth at the Port Largo jetty is 4.5' at mlw. I can tell you that I've taken my 5' draft through there (with great angst) at complete low tide and not touched bottom. Nonetheless, in your case you will want to go through at at least mid tide. Except for a very short stretch (10 meters) where you actually enter the jetty, you'll have no other problems with depth.

It's customary to make 2 securite calls, once just before entering the jetty, and once just before making the corner (reassuringly referred to as "crash corner..."), because there are a lot of big dive and casino boats using the channel. Just listen to 16 and you'll know what to do.
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Old 16-09-2009, 20:49   #12
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I . I just angle out to "the edge" (150' of water or more).
Silly newbie question, how far off shore is that?
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Old 17-09-2009, 11:10   #13
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Silly newbie question, how far off shore is that?
About 5 miles or so (the water drops off just outside the reef line).

I normally stay in Hawk Channel (inside the reef) as I do not think the additional Gulf Stream push is worth the additional mileage to get out there and then back in. Also it is smoother water due to the reef. If there is much of a sea running the ICW route is probably actually a little shorter although it winds in places, and is shallow until you get into Bisacayne Bay. The lone bascule bridge at Jewfish Creek has now been replaced by a high span and there are plenty of anchorages along the way.
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Old 17-09-2009, 11:31   #14
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It's about 5-6 miles out of Boot Key about a 1/2 to 1 mile off Sombrero key light then stay the same 1/2 to 1 mile off the reef edge running up.
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Old 17-09-2009, 12:01   #15
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Going offshore will save time if you do it non-stop probably less than 18 hrs. but help is a lot further away if you need it Also join Boat US and get the unlimited tow ins. With a new to you boat of uncertain condition I would stay in Hawkes Channel where you can drop the hook and get help if needed.
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