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Old 14-08-2012, 20:20   #1
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Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

First post on in the forum. I am a novice sailor. I have several hundred hours in houseboats, but not much to mention from a sailing perspective....however, it is a goal of mine to truly learn to sail. We (wife, daughter 12, daughter 9) have bit the bullet and chartered a boat out of ft lauderdale for spring break of 2013 and want to explore miami and biscayne bay. I depart Sunday and have to return the boat on Friday noon. I am unfamiliar with the area but have been researching. I think we can make northern Miami on day 1. Since I have two kids and not sure that they are into the sailing thing, I think that we can make 20 miles a day under sail/power. That puts us a total of 60nm south of ft lauderdale. Any thoughts of places to see/do in that area? We are open to land/bay adventures .

Although I have very limited experience, I am now booked with sail time to complete asa 101 and 103 in the next two months. From that point on, I plan on building my skills on the weekend....

Thanks for any feedback/advice
Scott Miller
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Old 14-08-2012, 20:51   #2
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

You guys are going to have a great time!

What kind of boat are you chartering? That will give us a better idea on the speed you'll be able to make.
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Old 14-08-2012, 20:57   #3
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 14-08-2012, 23:22   #4
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

If you can change your charter to Miami you will be better off. If not it's about 20 miles from Pt. Everglades seabouy to Miami seabouy(Goverment cut) and another 10 miles to Biscayne channel. Doing the ICW sucks lots of bridges and you can't really sail. Outside is easy. Go out Pt. Everglades to the second set of bouys,turn right and head 180 degrees when you hit Miami head out to the #1 bouy change course to 242 degrees(I think) When you pick up the Biscayne channel bouys follow them in go around Key Biscayne and into Cape Florida park(No Name Harbour) It will take about 8 hrs. Stay for a day or two. It has a lighthouse you can tour, hiking trails, a nice beach and a couple of restaurants. I think it costs $20.00 a day to anchor. From there south to Elliot key then back to no name harbour. The biggest problem is getting back to Ft. Lauderdale by noon. You will get there a lot faster going north but getting there by noon is not likely. There is nothing between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami so if you can charter in Miami it will give you a lot more time to play
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Old 15-08-2012, 06:58   #5
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

Thanks everyone. I am chartering a Gemini catamaran.

I am not sure that the family will go for 8 hours underway . I have no problem with it, but my daughters may lose their taste for sailing quickly if I try to take the boat outside. My initial thoughs were on day one to head towards Pelican Island. That should be reachable in about 3-4 hours. Since this will be our first time on the ICW, I think there will be plenty of sights to catch as we make our way down to the bay. From there, I am really not sure. I am thinking that I need to keep my sail/ motor time to around 3-5 hours per day. With that in mind, I sould be able to make it another 40nm south of pelican island. Elliot key may be as far south as we can make it before we turn around and head back north. If you guys have any ideas about destinations in that area (land or sea based), it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 15-08-2012, 06:59   #6
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

footloose, I am already locked into a contract and cannot change. thanks for the tip though...will keep that in mind for next time we charter
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Old 15-08-2012, 07:11   #7
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

One thing to remember if you plan to take the ICW south out of Miami is that the Julia Tuttle bridge is only 55'. Your Gemini will probably make that fine but make sure the charter tells you the mast height so you can be sure you fit if you want to choose that option.

No Name harbor is a nice stop during the week. It is a state park, has some nice hiking trails and a small restaurant. Weekends it's crowded with local power boats.

Even going down the inside you can go from Ft. Lauderdale to No Name in a day.

George
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Old 15-08-2012, 17:15   #8
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

George, Thanks for the info. I have been working on a plan and it looks like there are only a handful of fixed bridges. The mast height is 46 ft so all looks good. One question about your comment regarding Ft Lauderdale to No Name in a day inside..... it doesn't look like the charter company will let us leave until noon. That being said the boat motors about 6knts. There are at least 10 bridges I will have to wait to open before getting to no name harbor.... Is that something you feel is dooable? I would prefer to not be moving around much after dark since I am not familiar with the waters.
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Old 16-08-2012, 05:48   #9
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

No getting from Ft. Lauderdale to No Name is probably not doable in 1/2 a day.

The bridges are a hassle but their intervals are reasonable to make scheduled openings without great delay if you stay on it.

If you buy a Skipper Bob anchorages guide, the bridge schedules are all included. For only one cruise, you may not want to pop for one so see the schedules at this link:

Florida Bridge Schedule

Anchoring near South Beach/Miami is a decent option, on the north side of the Venetian Causeway bridge.

Hope you and your family have a ball.

George
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Old 16-08-2012, 07:14   #10
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

What I find surprising is that a charter company will rent a BAREBOAT to non-experienced sailors? No wonder there are threads on this forum about charter boats anchoring practices...
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Old 16-08-2012, 07:37   #11
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

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Originally Posted by rolandgilbert99 View Post
What I find surprising is that a charter company will rent a BAREBOAT to non-experienced sailors? No wonder there are threads on this forum about charter boats anchoring practices...
The OP stated he will have completed ASA 101 & 103 prior to the charter. Plus has considerable experience on non-sail boats.

Sounds to me like he is doing the right thing!
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Old 16-08-2012, 07:38   #12
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

Your best bet is to motor to Miami in the ICW. This way you and your family will get familiar with the boat. In the Gemini you will have no problem with bridges or depth. You will enjoy the sightseeing on the motor to Miami. Going outside at Port Everglades on the first day might not be the best introduction to sailing as it might be blowing in and the tide going out which creates a roller coaster ride out the cut.

As it's your first sailing charter I would just sail around Biscayne Bay, anchoring in quiet spots or going into marinas if that's what your family prefers. Do not make the mistake of trying to cover a lot of territory, after all it's your first trip so just enjoy the sailing in Biscayne Bay.

Try out Hurricane Harbor for anchoring or the moorings/marina at Crandon Park or Dinner Key.
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Old 16-08-2012, 07:51   #13
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

If the weather is good, an option would be to go outside.

Port Everglades to Government Cut is ~20nm, figure 3.5 hours. Add an hour at each end, you could be anchored in Marine Stadium in 5.5 hours. Sunset that time of year is ~7:30pm.
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Old 16-08-2012, 08:00   #14
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

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The OP stated he will have completed ASA 101 & 103 prior to the charter. Plus has considerable experience on non-sail boats.

Sounds to me like he is doing the right thing!
Yes you are right, I don't know what these certifications mean in the US since I live in an other country but I trust they are sufficient for the job. Thanks for clarification.
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Old 16-08-2012, 09:43   #15
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Re: Newbie Charter from Ft Lauderdale

I love how so many people hate on charter guest. Everyone has to start somewhere. And like phatcat said he has done some training. One thing I would recommend is hiring a captain for the 1st day you are underway to really help you feel comfortable with the yacht.


Quote:
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What I find surprising is that a charter company will rent a BAREBOAT to non-experienced sailors? No wonder there are threads on this forum about charter boats anchoring practices...
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