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Old 23-12-2016, 04:35   #1
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Best passage back to Florida

Hi All, we are currently cruising the Abacos and are starting to plan our trip home to St. Petersburg. Our question is, should we sail from West End to Bimini and then cross over to Miami? Or should we cross the Gulf Stream from West End to Lake Worth and then make our way south to the Keys? We plan to stop in Key West on our way back home. There are a lot of posts about crossing from Florida to the Bahamas, very few about returning home. Is it no big deal? Wait for east winds?
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Old 23-12-2016, 06:48   #2
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

What's your draft, Barb?
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Old 23-12-2016, 12:40   #3
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

We have a 5'9" draft. The passage is all blue water across the Northwest Channel to Bimini.
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Old 24-12-2016, 06:13   #4
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

Barb,
We've made this passage numerous times when we kept our boat in Ruskin, Fl. for a couple years. Here's what I would do:
1.) Abacos to Bimini
2.) Bimini to Miami-wait for wind south of east through southwest and its
a great sail.
3.) Miami to Rodriguez(Hawk's Channel)
4.) Rodriguez to Key West(Hawk's Channel)
5.) Key West to St. Pete(direct) or Key West to Marco Is. or Naples and
then hop the coast home.
It's a great trip. Just watch your weather this time of year. Good luck and
safe sailing. P.S. Don't forget to allow for you current offset when crossing the stream. We usually allow roughly 20 degrees.
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Old 24-12-2016, 08:59   #5
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

I agree with the previous post but no need to go to Key West. Go through Channel 5 bridge and head NW up the west coast of Florida to your destination.
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Old 24-12-2016, 11:34   #6
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

Thanks for the tips!
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Old 24-12-2016, 11:40   #7
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

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I agree with the previous post but no need to go to Key West. Go through Channel 5 bridge and head NW up the west coast of Florida to your destination.
===

That's how we do it but avoid Miami by exiting the banks at Castle Rock passage and going straight across to the vicinity of Rodriguez Key.
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Old 24-12-2016, 12:03   #8
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

No need for Key West unless you want to. I would go to Boot Key Harbor at Marathon for a respite, then cross under the Seven Mile Bridge and head for the Little Shark River. It's an incredible place, if you haven't been there, you really should go.
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Old 24-12-2016, 13:58   #9
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

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No need for Key West unless you want to. I would go to Boot Key Harbor at Marathon for a respite, then cross under the Seven Mile Bridge and head for the Little Shark River. It's an incredible place, if you haven't been there, you really should go.

Would this work with a 6' 4" +- draft?
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Old 24-12-2016, 14:11   #10
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

You would have to check your charts, but I believe so. You would have no problem crossing over at the Seven Mile Bridge and I think there is plenty of water in Boot Key Harbor. There is a huge mooring field there, managed by the municipal marina and they are let out by size and draft. I also think you could go up the Little Shark River, but how far would be limited. I draft 5 feet and have been up about three miles, choosing my anchorages carefully, since it is tidal and the farther up you go, the more pronounced the rise and fall.
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Old 24-12-2016, 16:26   #11
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

Couple of things about going from the Keys up the coast to St. Pete. Never had a real issue with bugs at Boot Key, even in the summer, and highly recommend it. Once you go under the Seven Mile Bridge or around Key West into the Back Country bugs can become a real issue. I have anchored at least a mile off Middle Cape and had horse flies be a real problem. Going into places like Shark River can be a disaster in the summer, and even the spring. I just got finished moving a boat from Punta Gorda to Tampa Bay. Since the new owner just bought the boat and it had chain plate rigging issues he wanted to go up the ICW. Problem was that while most bridges are on demand or have scheduled openings a couple were being repaired and had problems opening. We would up going outside for the last half of the trip because one of the bridges was only opening at 8:00AM, 12:00PM, and 4:00PM; and the word was that was not a sure thing.
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Old 25-12-2016, 06:21   #12
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

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Originally Posted by Jason Flare View Post
Would this work with a 6' 4" +- draft?
It would for the Shark. But don't try to go too far up the Indian River (a good next stop) with that draft at low tide. There is a 5.5 foot bar there.
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Old 25-12-2016, 10:31   #13
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Re: Best passage back to Florida

Thanks for the tips. We enjoy stopping in Key West, and have sailed from Key West to Tampa five times and enjoy getting out in the Gulf. My real question is, what is the best way to get back to Florida? We can leave Marsh Harbor and go south (not a lot of deep anchorages) to Bimini or we can go north around the Abacos to West End, either sail directly across to Lake Worth (then make our way south) or sail from West End to Bimini, and then cut across to Miami. Any suggestions?
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