It was my sailing home for 7 years. I think it is an excellent place to start a charter
. For your specific questions:
- Is the weather generally settled in April or does it tend to get stormy?
There's still some risk of cold fronts, but not so likely that I would use it as a consideration;
- Sailing pretty straight forward?
Yes. Options are 1) stay in the shelter of Biscayne Bay/Card Sound/Blackwater Sound/etc all the way to Key West
if you like (probably too far for a week charter unless you want to sail straight through, in which case I would NOT recommend the inside route
; 2) out through Government
Cut or Biscayne Channel or Angelfish Creek into Hawk Channel, and again down the Keys; 3) across to Bimini
(don't let people convince you that it's not worth going to Bimini
when you only have 7 days, I go there for the weekend!). Charts
are clear and well marked, plenty of anchorages
, etc. There are some tight spots, of course;
- Crowded on the water and in anchorages/moorages?
Quite simply, no, not in April (just try and get a transient slip today, though...);
- Plenty of options up and down the coast for anchoring/mooring/taking a slip?
Yes, with some local knowledge or Active Captain
, and depending on your draft
(5' or less is ideal);
- I am guessing our route would take us down to the Northern Keys - is a week enough time for a leisurely trip down to at least Key Largo and back?
Yes, absolutely. In ordinary conditions, you will make the northern tip of Key Largo in 5-6 hours, and Port Largo in a few hours more.
I can give you further details when you've made your decision, if you like. Pete