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Old 23-10-2008, 10:39   #1
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Melbourne (FL) to Keys April 4th to 11th 2009

I've only done one long trip and that was Port Charlotte to Melbourne. (OK Navy didn't count as I wasn't navigating)
I want to do the Keys for my kids' first long trip. Spring break is 4/4/09 through 4/11/09 (Leaving one day to rest before school / work)
I was thinking of riding the ICW down to Ft. Pierce then stay close to shore down to Marathon. The return would mirror this except also ride the gulf stream up to Ft. Pierce. Is there anything to be aware of for this time frame? I don't want to end up near any fantasy fest type activities.

Also, keeping in mind the kids, any tips for this trip? Spots to see? Preferred anchorages?

Tom
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Old 23-10-2008, 12:17   #2
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One week is kind of short for getting there and back. Have you checked the distance? Also you'll have to watch for weather. And there's a lot of fronts still in April (about one a week it seems) so you might have quite a ride back. It gets awful uncomfortable going north in the stream when it's blowing from any north direction.
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Old 23-10-2008, 12:50   #3
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In February this year I made the trip from Marathon to Melbourne in 48 hours under sail. Of course, like you said, I had SE winds and I rode the gulfstream up the coast.
I do agree though that this might be faster pace than what the kids would want.

Any other thoughts for a "clean water" trip within this timeframe? What about pre-staging the boat in Ft. Lauderdale? Sail it down there and drive home a week in advance and maybe do the same for the return trip?
Could I find a trustworthy transient slip in Lauderdale?

Tom
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Old 23-10-2008, 13:22   #4
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Unless you plan on spending long days and nights, that trip's not possible. I can tell you for sure that under normal conditions, just the leg from Miami to Key Largo (which I make regularly) is 12-14 hours of sailing. Faster coming back, of course, but that leg is only about 20% of your proposed journey. Lauderdale to Marathon and back in a week would be doable, providing conditions were ideal...
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Old 23-10-2008, 13:50   #5
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Staging in Lauderdale might be a good idea but the marinas are not the best. It's been my experience that they seldom even answer the phones in the Las Olas marina or the one up the New river. These are city marinas. If it were me I'd go to Miami and leave the boat in Crandon Marina on Key Biscayne. They also have moorings there and there's lots of parking too. Unfortunately I don't know if their showers are working yet. It's been "under construction" for the past few years but the folks there are pretty easy to get along with. If the weather's not the best you can sail around Biscayne Bay. Lots of good spots there.
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Old 23-10-2008, 14:24   #6
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Tom,

On my chart Ft. Pierce to Boot Key Harbor is 220 NM. If your boat's in MI, add another what...70 miles? So, roughly 300 miles one way. That's one day motoring and then if you're going outside, you're going to have to hug the coast on the way down. How are you going to sleep? If true wind is ESE to SE, I'd say there is no way you'll make it in time. Due East or Due West (possible that time of the year) maybe. North wind, you cancel the trip.

So... in my opinion...it depends...

Wouldn't you be better off exiting Port Canaveral (OK, or Ft. Pierce) , crossing the GS and then head south for the Abacos? Even accounting for the GS current, it's 1/2 the distance.

Hey..it's the Bahamas mon.
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Old 24-10-2008, 05:48   #7
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Hmmm, change of plans? Sounds like it.

If we were to leave Port Canaveral we wouldn't need to time it for the tides right?

What route would you take out of Canaveral? Straight East across the GS then south or shoot a straight line SE? What kind of time frame for the crossing do you normally plan?

With the time constraint we would have to stay near Grand Bahama, maybe Peterson Cay. And if there's a North wind we go with plan B and visit St. Augustine.
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Old 24-10-2008, 06:16   #8
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The tides in Port Canaveral are nothing like those at Ft. Pierce, in fact it's negligible. With only one week I would not chance crossing to the Bahamas. Again it's the weather. I have waited a couple of weeks in the past to get a window crossing back in May. The usual route would be SE to Manzanilla Shoal or Memory Rock then on to Green Turtle to clear in. It'll cost you $150. You'll be bucking the stream all the way across. It might be better to go south along the Fl coast for a ways then cross. I have never gone to the Bahamas this way but have returned many times using this route as you get a good ride in the stream. If you're lucky it'll take you about three days to get to Green Turtle. Coming back will take two but again it's all dependent on the weather.

If you want your kids to enjoy their break, I suggest Miami and Biscayne Bay or plan B and visit St. Augustine. The brew pub on the main corner has excellent food.
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Old 24-10-2008, 06:20   #9
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For a crossing to Grand Bahama, I'd suggest departing further South than Ft. Pierce - at least to Palm Beach (56nm to West End @ 099 deg), or Hillsboro (65nm to West End @ 065 deg).
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Old 24-10-2008, 06:22   #10
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Tom,

Leaving from Ft. Pierce is probably more feasible. Consider the current begins 12 miles off shore and you enter the lee of the little Bahama Banks (greatly reduced current) at 65 miles. Course is set accounting for the current for 53 miles. Another 44 miles skirting the Banks and you enter the Banks at Walkers Cay and clear in at Sales Cay.

Having said all of this, I was just proposing this for discussion as the distances are more managable. I've never done it, but have been giving this route a lot of thought. Obviously the traditional route is leaving from West Palm or further south to take advantage of the current. The proposed route fights the current, but for a minimum amount of time.

I've calculated this:

5 knots Boat speed
3.5 knots current speed
45 current angle to boat in degrees

3.54 velocity made good on your course

29.67 degrees current affect course heading to destination

So, at 3.5 knots VMG, you'd be fighting the current for 13 hours on the way out but ride it home Pretty Damn Quick
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Old 24-10-2008, 06:36   #11
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Hmmm several options. I think I'll put it all on paper showing current and VMG then let the admiral decide. Is there a good web site to show historical weather for that area / timeframe?
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Old 24-10-2008, 06:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tropic Cat View Post
So, at 3.5 knots VMG, you'd be fighting the current for 13 hours on the way out but ride it home Pretty Damn Quick

Nice play on acronyms! :-)
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Old 24-10-2008, 08:47   #13
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Wait what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pete33458 View Post
Unless you plan on spending long days and nights, that trip's not possible. I can tell you for sure that under normal conditions, just the leg from Miami to Key Largo (which I make regularly) is 12-14 hours of sailing. Faster coming back, of course, but that leg is only about 20% of your proposed journey. Lauderdale to Marathon and back in a week would be doable, providing conditions were ideal...
Where do you leave Miami that it takes you 12-14 hours to sail to Key Largo?
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Old 24-10-2008, 08:52   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amytom View Post
Nice play on acronyms! :-)


I use:

History : Weather Underground

For specific weather history on a specific date. The airport is Patrick AFB
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Old 24-10-2008, 08:54   #15
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Key Biscayne to Rodriguez Key is about 50 miles at 5 knots = 10 hours and from Miami add the additional miles, so maybe 12 hours. we do it all the time. Of course if you go faster it takes less time.
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