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Old 15-08-2008, 16:54   #1
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Need Info on Gulf Sailing

I am interested in finding out any information on sailing in the Crystal River, Florida area. I have a sailboat with a retractable keel and need 6 inch draft with the keel up and 3 feet 6 inches with the keel down. I have heard that the Gulf depth increases 1 foot per mile offshore. Are there channels going out for miles? What width are they? Are the channels good for sailing? I have never sailed in the Gulf and would appreciate any information.
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Old 17-08-2008, 20:12   #2
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Originally Posted by vivian View Post
I am interested in finding out any information on sailing in the Crystal River, Florida area. I have a sailboat with a retractable keel and need 6 inch draft with the keel up and 3 feet 6 inches with the keel down. I have heard that the Gulf depth increases 1 foot per mile offshore. Are there channels going out for miles? What width are they? Are the channels good for sailing? I have never sailed in the Gulf and would appreciate any information.
V,

With that kind of keel you can sail all over that area. While it is about 1' per mile there is a lot that is not far out that is plenty deep for your keel to be fully extended.

I suggest you look at a chart.

Chart 11408

Bottom right corner.
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Old 19-08-2008, 11:56   #3
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Wow, that certainly is a very interesting area to sail. Without a doubt the best gunkholing in the '8s. Crystal Bay is an area of mango swamps and plentiful sandy keys. Within one mile of shore the demarcation between land and water is dubious. Your boat however could poke into many of the almost infinite little bays and inlets. Navigation would be really "seat of the pants" though consisting of feeling the bottom every 100 yard or so. There are numerous shoals out as far as five miles making for a long sail to get into water clear of obstructions.

The Crystal River estuary itself is not marked on the chart as dredged but consists of a windy course through the mangroves delineated by numerous markers. The note on the chart lists depth at the ramp as two and one-half feet and depths in the channel ranging from three to five feet. This restraint is moderated ( or worsened, depending on your viewpoint ) by the normally narrow tidal range in the gulf. ( If you ground hard at low tide you will only get a foot or two of lift at high tide. )
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Old 20-08-2008, 16:58   #4
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More on Crystal River

Thanks for the information and the link for the chart. It sounds like the depth of water pretty much varies because of the shoals, but it soounds like the shoals are sandy. I was concerned that the shoals were hard- rocky or shell reefs- and could do real damage easily. If I go aground in sand, it isn't that much of a problem to retract the keel and get free. Gunkholing in the area would be great. I was told that the afternoon wind is more conducive to sailing than the morning, because it is stronger. Do you know how bad the no see-ums are in the gunkholes? I know they get worse at dusk and in the cooler weather. When I visited, I have seen a number of sailboats in Crystal River, but have never seen any sailing.
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