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Old 10-12-2009, 07:50   #1
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South from Jacksonville

We are going to be wrapping up the massive refit before the first of the year, whether its actually complete or not. The weather here in JAX is terrible, this place rains like Seattle! Plus its too cold, we gotta go!

So I am planning the trip south and looking for tips, ideas, suggestions and such.

Our plan is to travel south from Jacksonville to south Florida and find a good anchorage where marine stores and hardware stores are within easy walking distance so we can anchor out for 2-3 weeks to complete a few projects and then cross to the Bahamas. Boot Key? Stuart? Someplace where the kids will have a beach and warm water to play in while Daddy gets some boat work done would be perfect!

Going south from JAX.... what route do folks suggest? We draw 6 feet and our mast is 65' plus antenna. What are some good anchorages? What about must see stops for the kids? (ages 6 and 10).

We will want to get south fairly quickly, but we do not have issues with stopping for a few days here or there if its a good place to visit for the kids and we know the weather is not going to cooperate and thus we will wind up holed up somewhere regardless.

Are there any good books that cover routes and stops along this way? I have no local knowledge of this route at all and thus any tips on anchorages and hazards is appreciated. We do have paper charts, Garmin charts, and C-Map charts.

Thanks!


Terry
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:54   #2
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Stop in St Augustine, then go to Fort Pierce Inlet. That may be far enough South and it is wwell appointed for work and play. The further South you get the more expensive it will become.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:06   #3
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I suggest you invest in a copy of the Waterway Guide.
With a 65' mast you may have to go offshore port to port unless you get lucky with the tides. You will not get under the Julia Tuttle Causeway bridge in Miami, and will probably not get under whatever bridge that is just north of Lake Worth inlet.
Even with the tides, some bridges may scrape your antenna. Got a masthead tricolor? The farther south you get the less tide there is.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:21   #4
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We recently came up from Vaca Key (Marathon & Boot Key Harbor) to Jax, and here are a couple of suggestions based on that:
-- Boot Key Harbor offers relatively little when compared to e.g. anchoring off Melbourne on the Indian R. and you'll be picking up a mooring given your boat's size. Nonetheless, BKH has a Home Depot, WM and Publix within walking distance.
-- Given your goal, I don't see the benefit of stopping in St. Aug (not that a stop there is unattractive). The Mayport - Port Canaveral run should be an easy 24 hour run for you, it's a 24/7 entrance, if you elect to stop, and you can then enter the barge canal and 'Plop!' you are in the Indian R and can anchor behind the causeways when afront arrives. PC has a variety of vendors (e.g. good canvas shop; also a not-so-good one) but requires a berth and, to get into town and the stores, either a car or joining another boater on one of their rides (which always proved easily done). One benefit of coming inside at this point would be if a front was arriving (tho' the suggestion about the waterway guide is an excellent one). Visit the SSCA DB at SSCA Discussion Board • Index page and look for the thread on bridge clearances as that will be pertinent for you.
-- Lake Worth might be a good destination for you. 24/7 entrance nearby, nice protection, usually lots of boats waiting to cross (and so some yachtie kids in the mix), and a nice Publix and WM are easily walked from where the dinghies are landed; an anchoring fee was instituted there a while back (tho' it was quite low) so check for current info when arriving. From LW the hop to the Abacos is popular...or a daysail down to Biscayne Bay presents you at the front door to Gun Cay and the Banks run over to the Berry's, another common choice.

BTW a nice place to stage for your departure from Jax is the junction of the ICW and the St. Johns. We anchored 100m 'upriver' (to the W) from the junction, on the river's S side, in 12-15' of sand & mud. Great view of the passing ships, no wakes, very quiet, and the Mayport exit is then only a few miles away and at any hour.

Jack
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:39   #5
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I would say St. Augustine would be best to complete the refit. Sailors Exchange is there, west marine is close as well. But its still too cold and water is murky. Kids wont like it. But xmass is beautifull there. With the parade, and the town being very charming. Spanish quarter is awesome.
Might also wanna try South Point Anchorage in Stuart, water is warmer, but it still gets cold. Its a bit out of the way but still possible to work on stuff.

My best choice, if you go to Lake worth, is to drop anchor south of the inlet, South of Peanut Island. Kids will love you for that, but you might break a sweat to make it to West Marine (need a bike but busses are good in west palm beach area). Definitely warm enough to snorkle, water is clear there. Excellent snorkeling outside the inlet on the south side of the jetty, with a nice beach, while you work on your projects... I used to spearfish a lot of Sheepshead there while waiting on weather. They are good eating. Peanut island also has camping and other fun activities there for the kids while you work on your old lady.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:17   #6
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I would make jump down to Port Canaveral as mention, kids gotta love a tour of NASA. If you are lucky, you might see a launch. IIRC, there is a west marine easy walk from Titusville marina, also a wildlife refuge close by.
FYI, West Palm has a couple of marina stores within easy walk of Rivera Beach Marina, where you can land the dink for $10 and is a good jump off point for the abacos.
Also, Ft Lauderdale has all the marine services you could want and makes for a better jump off point if you are headed to Exumas.
Tom
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:51   #7
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I'll be leaving Jacksonville heading to the Bahamas in a few weeks. My hope is to play the weather to do an overnight sail form St. Augustine to Fort Pierce as mentioned in a previous post. If there are prevailing strong south winds, I may go down the ditch.

I've anchored in many different places in the Stuart area. You can easily get to the WM store there by dinghy from Manatee Pocket. However, I West Palm also has a couple stores within walking distance, as well as more available by bus. The Beach is an easy walk from a dinghy landing as are several restaurants, and the tidal flats by Peanut Islands would be great for the kids. Secure your dinghy and I'd be wary of leaving a nice one, even locked for long periods at night. (At least when I was last there a couple years ago.)

Many anchor longer term in the Miami area as well, but I am not as familiar with the options there.

If you want some time at the dock, Fort Lauderdale has a few marinas along the ICW which are a very short walk to the beach, shops, restaurants and public outdoor pool.
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Old 10-12-2009, 13:29   #8
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1. Ft. Pierce inlet and head up to Vero Beach and pick up a mooring. Two bridges, one opening and one 65 foot bridge just before you enter Vero. 5 minute walk to the beach. WM plus many marine services. Free bus service Walmart, Publix etc. Lots of cruisers on the moorings. This would be my choice. Might still be a tad cool.

2. Ft. Lauderdale. No good anchorages. Lake Sylvia is fine but don't count on staying too long. The marine police like to hassle you there although last year it was ok. Walk to marine stores, WM, Boaters World, Bluewater Books, Publix, Total Wines etc. About a 15 minute walk. Tie dink up at the Southport Raw Bar. Free wifi.

3. Biscayne Bay. Lots of anchorages and moorings available at Crandon Marina. You will need a car to get around although WM has delivered parts to me in the past. Services are unreliable. Place is too damn big with too many boats.
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Old 10-12-2009, 15:16   #9
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[
Going south from JAX.... what route do folks suggest? We draw 6 feet and our mast is 65' plus antenna. What are some good anchorages? What about must see stops for the kids? (ages 6 and 10).
Thanks!


Terry[/QUOTE]

65' plus the antenna is going to be a problem in most of the ICW. You could go in at Lake Worth and go south to Ft Lauderdale, but why would you want to? That stretch is popularly known as bridge hell. They're all bascule bridges on a schedule. I would assume you have at least a 3 Ft antenna which would likely hit any fixed bridge even at low tide and in the indian river between New Symrna and Vero the tide is usually less than six inches. Your very likely to loose the antenna. It will bend a little, but I had a friend that tried to squeeze under one time and while it didn't break, when it came out from under the bridge it sprung up and the rod popped out of the base. We watched as it promptly bounced off the deck and into the water. If you want to stop in Titusville you can come in the locks at port canaveral, go through the barge canal and north on the ICW all the way to New Symrna. Unfortunately there's a fixed bridge on the south side on New Symrna that will be a problem. Mosquito lagoon is really beautiful, but with 6 foot of draft you will definitely need to stay in the channel. From Titusville south you can be a little more relaxed about it.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:34   #10
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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
1. Ft. Pierce inlet and head up to Vero Beach and pick up a mooring. Two bridges, one opening and one 65 foot bridge just before you enter Vero. 5 minute walk to the beach. WM plus many marine services. Free bus service Walmart, Publix etc. Lots of cruisers on the moorings. This would be my choice. Might still be a tad cool.
Terry, I second Vero Beach. You can walk or take the free bus to the beach. You can access just about any store with the bus as well. Lots of cruisers on the moorings.

Barry
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:52   #11
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Get it over with, and get outside. Catch the front of a northerly, and make fantastic time to whatever destination you choose. We have had to sail in some 20* temps off Daytona, but from GCSs to Miami was 48 hours. After the Cape we started shedding clothes. If you can do 100 miles a day you will be warm in 48 hours. BEST WISHES on getting warm. This week is gloing to be miserable here in Jax..........i2f
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Old 21-12-2009, 05:55   #12
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Beware of crossing the gulf stream in a northerly. If you are sailing down the coast of florida, fairly close in a northerly can help you along,but it is not wise to cross to the bahamas in one. It can get ugly. Get an updated waterway guide, we also found Captain bobs anchorages book useful.
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Old 21-12-2009, 12:45   #13
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I grew up sailing in South Florida. It gets really cold in the winter there. Yeah, yeah all of you in MI are saying. Agreed, not that kind of cold but still cold when you are living aboard. I remember waking up aboard to frosty breath in the Keys during Christmas Break.

Since I like St Augustine, that's where I'd hang out. It is just a nice place to be.

I'm doing a winter refit while hauled out in Boston, so much for more sympathy from here!
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Old 21-12-2009, 14:10   #14
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Captain Bill -

Someone above suggested that you could enter at Cape Canaveral and access the ICW via the barge canal.

You can, provided you know for certain that you can clear a charted 65' high-voltage powerline that crosses the canal.

Just last month a Leopard 46 cat though he could - no one was killed, but it was a real mess, both to his boat and to about a thousand FPL customers ashore.
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Old 21-12-2009, 16:26   #15
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Since I like St Augustine, that's where I'd hang out. It is just a nice place to be.
I don't like the St. Aug. anchorage, lots of permanent moorings,
so not much room.
Tom
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