Pensacola is a nice place but very hot in the summer months.
From around April through November, the Sea Breeze is like clockwork and kicks in SSW-SW anywhere from 11am - 1pm at 8-12 knots.
The yacht clubs have many organized races including two annual 20 mile Seabuoy Races. There used to also be a race
Channels are well marked but getting into Bayou Grande to the navy
marina (and the other 2 private marinas
up Bayou Grande) used to be a problem for 6' draft
boats but that my have been corrected by now. Active Captain
may tell you. I knew a guy with a Tayana 37
that came in on high tide. (His boat was destroyed during Ivan when it was knocked of the stands at the marina he had stored it at for the storm. He didn't have insurance
and he was a liveaboard) His girlfriend, after they broke up, bought a newish Hans Christian and was also able to get in there. The broker that sold her the boat helped and also became her new boyfriend.
The town used to be like a small town but changed quite a bit from 1996-2008. There must have been 10 high rise condos built from Ft Walton Beach to Pensacola during that time also .......maybe more.
My son and I sailed catamarans then but watch the monohulls and knew lots of the owners. They would mainly sail the bay out to Ft Mcree or the pass and back.
My son and his friend would sail to Pensacola Beach and meet girls. He was 15 and crew members were a similar age. They did get caught in two rather rough thunderstorms though with plus 30 knot
winds but made it home safe each time. The boat was a Hobie 16. I was watching with binoculars freaking out as they were swallowed up mid bay by one of the storms. Maybe the fact that he already had 5 years experience sailing (racing) helped.
We kept the boats tied down just above high water in front of our apartment. Slip fee at the time for the monohulls was $50.00/month at this apartment at the time. It was this why until Ivan destroyed it in 2004 and then was turned into a condo.
Some would sail to Pensacola Beach (Inside beach) and hangout especially the younger crowd which is what we did on the catamarans at the time.
There are marinas in and around Pensacola and Pensacola Beach.
I was also there for 5 hurricanes. Ivan was a cat 3/4. It destroyed lot of stuff including 80 plus monohulls but that weather
system seems to have changed now. Katrina was 1 year after Ivan but even though it was 180 miles below Pensacola it bought in water levels similar to a small storm.
Sailing on the outside from Pensacola Pass to Destin Pass is maybe 50 miles in the beautiful, clear (most times) gulf water. The catamaran
fleets used to do a 100 mile race
which started in Ft Walton, out Destin Pass, back in Pensacola Pass and back to Ft Walton through the narrows. The wind
Clocked around if conditions were prevailing. NE for the morning start at 0700. The wind
would clock all the way around to SW-W with maybe a lull around 10am where we would be near Navarre on the outside. We could usually complete it in 9-14 hours depending on the boat, wind, and Skipper