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Old 10-06-2015, 09:02   #1
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SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

Hey y'all after spending a chilly winter in Charleston SC we are trying to find a better winter cruising area. I have always liked the Southwest Florida area and would love to spend a winter enjoying all it has to offer. Our big concern is water depth, we draw just under six feet. Will we be able to get around without playing bump and go constantly. Looking at the charts it seems pretty skinny. Anyway we still have a few months to decide so any first hand knowledge would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Will
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:48   #2
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Re: SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clipper4730 View Post
Hey y'all after spending a chilly winter in Charleston SC we are trying to find a better winter cruising area. I have always liked the Southwest Florida area and would love to spend a winter enjoying all it has to offer. Our big concern is water depth, we draw just under six feet. Will we be able to get around without playing bump and go constantly. Looking at the charts it seems pretty skinny. Anyway we still have a few months to decide so any first hand knowledge would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Will
Will--

We have been sailing southwest Florida with a 6.5' draft for 12+ years without difficulty although some anchorages can only be accessed at high tide (e.g. Pelican Bay just south of Boca Grand). One just has to be alert and attuned to the tides. You'll like it once you get used to "thin" water although it can be a bit unnerving initially.

Cheers..
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:49   #3
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Re: SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

We spent this last winter in the Keys. We draw 5.5 feet. It was our experience that you could cruise a great number of places in the keys but there are a larger number of places you cannot go. You MUST watch the tides, if you do you are Golden.

I say go for it! Just don't plan on spending too much time in KW. Get in and get out... expensive and not worth spending too much time there!
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:34   #4
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Re: SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

I'm not familiar with Charleston, although I'm definitely curious about it. What, may I ask, is it about the Winters there that are so troubling? As I'm guessing that you don't much have to deal with ice & snow.
Does the Gulf Stream commonly move too far offshore in Winter to be of benefit? With regards to temperatures I mean.
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Old 11-06-2015, 02:25   #5
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Re: SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

I guess for it wasn't all that bad, only a few weeks below freezing. Our dirt based home is located in the high country of Colorado at 9280 feet. We get an average of thirty frost free nights a year! We bought the boat to escape the chill and thought Charleston would be a bit warmer, this year was however cooler than the norm. Anyway we love CHS and plan on spending spring and fall here, we just want a little more heat during the cooler months.

Cheerio
Will
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:23   #6
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Re: SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

Sarasota is great. Centrally.located and i motor sail straight through to key west in 24 hours. Good airport access w tampa an hour north...lots to do ..

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Old 11-06-2015, 06:59   #7
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Re: SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

We've spent the last 4 years cruising SW Florida waters in the winters. We have a 5.5 ft draft and have had no problems -- just have to pick the places you can go versus some you cannot. There are plenty of places we can go that the limitations aren't generally bothersome. Having said that, two things -- first, when there is a major tide expected -- can be up to 3-4' in extreme cases helped by the moon and wind -- we've found ourselves sitting on the bottom (luckily in mud) in Factory Bay (Marco Island). No problem, just wait for the tide to rise and away we went.

Secondly - depending on where you want to be on the SW FL coast, you will still have occasional freezing to sub-freezing temps some nights. We moved from Burnt Store Marina (Punta Gorda) to Stock Island Marina (Key West) last winter to get away from the chilly nights. The Keys is generally 10 degrees warmer at night, although similar during the days, over the winter.

Charleston is nice too, but I'd guess it's chillier there than Charlotte Harbor (Burnt Store) or the Keys. It's a nice sail, come on down!
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:50   #8
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Re: SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

Been to St Pete, Clearwater, Long Boat Key, and Venice drawing 5' 7", but had to stay in the channel at all times and that doesn't always mean in the middle, since shoaling can occur in many places. Good idea to radio locals in advance of entry to ask about chart discrepancies re depth and also check your weekly LNMs District 7 re lights/ day beacons, etc.
Also, Clearwater can be difficult at all times, but esp. at night while headed to public dock. Lots of twists and turns and tons of background light. Try to catch that one during the day if you head that far north. Cheers, Pappy
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:12   #9
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Re: SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

Make sure you have towing insurance. I sail out of Charlotte Harbor and have touched bottom more than once with my Catalina 42, 4'-10" draft. It's not a question of if you are going to find the bottom but when. If you pay attention it is one of the best cruising grounds in the south.
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Old 11-06-2015, 19:09   #10
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Re: SW Fla in a deep draft mono?

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
I'm not familiar with Charleston, although I'm definitely curious about it. What, may I ask, is it about the Winters there that are so troubling? As I'm guessing that you don't much have to deal with ice & snow.
Does the Gulf Stream commonly move too far offshore in Winter to be of benefit? With regards to temperatures I mean.
While Charleston is a very nice city, it is not very warm in the winter. I always say, if you are going south, go way south. SW Florida is nice in the winter. Good sailing for your boat too.
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