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Old 06-08-2012, 14:33   #1
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Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

I have a Lagoon 420 under contract which will undergo survey and sea trial next week. Assuming that all goes well (I know... big assumption), I would like to sail the boat back to a St. Pete marina (where I will keep it for now) in September.

My questions:
1) How many days should one alot to such a trip (as quickly as reasonable while still enjoying it)? I'm thinking about 5 days. This assumes a trip around the keys. Does this sound about right?

2) In what places might one stop for overnight stays each night along the way?

I know that September is still in the middle of hurricane season (I'm a Floridian) and all bets are off with tropical weather. That's a given.

My wife and I are not accomplished sailors, but have charted a 44' cat and have taken basic ASA sailing up through Bareboat. I think we could do it ourselves just fine, but are even mulling over hiring a captain to accompany us. I'm sure we could learn a lot more with having a captain aboard.

Any advice and input is appreciated!
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Old 06-08-2012, 15:10   #2
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Our trips along the same route have taken us from Ft. Lauderdale to Rodriguez Key, Marathon, Shark River, Marco Island, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tamp/St. Pete. This depends on you boat speed, whether you travel the GIWW or run offshore and a number of other things. This is also stopping every night. If you want to get out and just sail then of course you will cover more ground in less time. Here are some of our blog posts from a while back. Chuck

http://sea-trek.blogspot.com/2007/12/welcome-home.html
http://sea-trek.blogspot.com/2007/12...g-our-way.html
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Old 06-08-2012, 16:19   #3
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Thanks, Chuck!

When I get a chance I'll look at your suggested stops. We'll probably mostly stay outside the IC and do some sailing. I'd like to stop overnight, but wouldn't mind an overnight passage for the experience. You suggested about a week for the trip. Any one else? Is 5 days too short?

Thanks, Barry
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Old 06-08-2012, 16:24   #4
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

It all depends on how hard you want to run. And weather, of course! If you could wait till the first cold front goes thru mid-late Oct/early Nov, I would take 2 weeks for this trip.

You'll be traveling past some great anchorages, I would tend to slow down and enjoy!

Good places to anchor, in addition to what Chuck said:

Belle Isle
Marine Stadium (fantastic City views at night)
Pumpkin Key
Russell Pass
Panther Key
Marco Island - Smokehouse Bay and/or Factory Bay
pick up a mooring ball at Naples City Dock
Ft. Myers Beach mooring field
Glover Bight
Useppa Island
Pelican Bay

Hope you have AC, or at the very least noseeum screens (especially for Little Shark).
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Old 06-08-2012, 17:08   #5
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Running offshore you can do Ft. Lauderdale to Marathon, then Marathon to Tampa Bay if you want to just get there. So yes you could easily do it in five days or less. I doubt fronts will be an issue in September but you do need to watch out for those afternoon squalls, especially in the Gulf. They can be very nasty but they don't last long. Chuck
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Old 06-08-2012, 17:23   #6
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Thank you DotDun and Chuck,

Unfortunately I am still working full-time and will try to take several days off consecutively hoping that the weather will cooperate with that time slot. Of course, we'll just wait a month if the weather is too threatening and non-conducive. That's why I'm trying to find the minimal number of days in which to do the trip and yet still enjoy it somewhat. I know there is a trade-off. I would LOVE to do 2 weeks, but its not going to happen at this time.
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Old 06-08-2012, 17:30   #7
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Is your mast too tall for the Okeechobee route? I believe even that way the trip would take 4-5 days. Looks like about 250 nm Lake route and 350 via the keys
Steve W
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Old 06-08-2012, 18:02   #8
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blc7 View Post
I have a Lagoon 420 under contract which will undergo survey and sea trial next week. Assuming that all goes well (I know... big assumption), I would like to sail the boat back to a St. Pete marina (where I will keep it for now) in September.

My questions:
1) How many days should one alot to such a trip (as quickly as reasonable while still enjoying it)? I'm thinking about 5 days. This assumes a trip around the keys. Does this sound about right?

2) In what places might one stop for overnight stays each night along the way?

I know that September is still in the middle of hurricane season (I'm a Floridian) and all bets are off with tropical weather. That's a given.

My wife and I are not accomplished sailors, but have charted a 44' cat and have taken basic ASA sailing up through Bareboat. I think we could do it ourselves just fine, but are even mulling over hiring a captain to accompany us. I'm sure we could learn a lot more with having a captain aboard.

Any advice and input is appreciated!

Blc, I am leaving on a friend's boat, probably on Thursday, for the same basic trip (we're going Miami to Tampa Bay, but I'm familiar with St. Pete waters). It will be the first time either of us have done a trip of that magnitude, although I have done shorter ones and this is really just shorter trips strung together. We have good information about a short cut through the Keys (if you don't have to stop off in Marathon for provisions or repairs, etc.)

Email me in about 10 days and I can give you chapter and verse, first hand, current knowledge. I will give you this tip right off the bat -- if you're not going to sail through the night, leave early and come in by 4PM, because very often the worst storms form late in the afternoon. Not always true, but tends to be true.

We're going to test our boat for a day first in Biscayne Bay as it has needed some very significant repairs before starting out, but the repairs so far are extremely solid and we expect to be able to make the journey (we won't go out recklessly, however).

So email me in about 10 days.

One thing we intend to do as we sail through the Keys is use the radio to gather local knowledge about anchorages for the night. We don't want to stay in marinas much, although we will at Marco Island and maybe take a day or two off to sightsee.

Also, this boat is designed to carry a LOT of sail, and we probably won't put up sail to her maximum, so our speed may be slower than what you could expect.

I'm going to be leaving here on the grandest adventure of my life. I hadn't sailed since my early 20s and six years ago thought I really would not have the chance to.
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Old 06-08-2012, 18:53   #9
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Stevensc: My mast is 64'3''. I think that precludes me from doing the Okeechobee. I tried to research that yesterday and it looks like there are a couple of fixed bridges that will not allow passage.

Rakuflame: Thanks! I definitely will email you. Congratulations on setting sail. I'm excited for you! I'll be interested in that short cut, as well.
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Old 06-08-2012, 20:54   #10
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blc7 View Post
Thanks, Chuck!

When I get a chance I'll look at your suggested stops. We'll probably mostly stay outside the IC and do some sailing. I'd like to stop overnight, but wouldn't mind an overnight passage for the experience. You suggested about a week for the trip. Any one else? Is 5 days too short?

Thanks, Barry

The thing about doing it too fast is that there are some beautiful places along the way. If you like to snorkel, there's John Pennekamp State Park -- all under water, coral reefs. Haven't seen it in a long time; hope it's still thriving.

If you want to sail at night, Try to sail near the full moon and you can do an overnight run (weather permitting of course) from Marathon to Marco Island. You have to go pretty far out because the water is VERY shallow for a long way out ... but it would just be you, the ocean and the moon.
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Old 06-08-2012, 20:56   #11
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensc View Post
Is your mast too tall for the Okeechobee route? I believe even that way the trip would take 4-5 days. Looks like about 250 nm Lake route and 350 via the keys
Steve W

However ... might be mostly motoring with little sailing, what with two rivers and a narrow channel across a very shallow lake ...
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Old 06-08-2012, 20:58   #12
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blc7 View Post
Stevensc: My mast is 64'3''. I think that precludes me from doing the Okeechobee. I tried to research that yesterday and it looks like there are a couple of fixed bridges that will not allow passage.

Rakuflame: Thanks! I definitely will email you. Congratulations on setting sail. I'm excited for you! I'll be interested in that short cut, as well.
What do you draw? My friend's boat draws 4'10" but with a very big bulb on the keel we're going to be very careful about depths ... durn thing is like an anchor at the bottom of the boat.
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Old 06-08-2012, 21:29   #13
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
If you want to sail at night, Try to sail near the full moon and you can do an overnight run (weather permitting of course) from Marathon to Marco Island. You have to go pretty far out because the water is VERY shallow for a long way out ... but it would just be you, the ocean and the moon.
You won't have any depth problems between Marathon and Marco. If you decide to go into Little Shark, the water gets skinny on the north side of the entrance, simply favor the south side. Set a point about a mile west of the Cape Romano shoals light, you won't have any depth issue.
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Old 06-08-2012, 21:49   #14
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

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Originally Posted by Blc7 View Post
..... My mast is 64'3''. ...
Beware of the paddle boards on the 7 Mile bridge west of Marathon, I think they are off by ~1'. When they show 67' you really only have 66'. I reported it to Florida DOT and they said they would fix it, but I don't know if it's been done.
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Old 06-08-2012, 22:02   #15
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Re: Ft. Lauderdale to St. Pete in September

Thanks to all again for more great info. I draw 4'3". You all are making me anxious to get it all started. I must remain calm.
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