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Old 08-01-2013, 17:51   #1
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Quickest route through Keys

Going from Cape Coral to Key largo, with a 31' Cat, was wondering what the best route is, my draft is 2.6'....Thanks for help
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Old 08-01-2013, 18:15   #2
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

at 2.6' any way you want really..... I once took a 3.5' sport fish from Flamingo to Key Largo by holing up in swash channels and bomb craters at low tide... I'd use the dink to scout out the next high tide route.
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Old 08-01-2013, 18:29   #3
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

I did it one time with 4 1/2' draft. I rounded East Cape, and headed for Islamirada. I had to stop looking at the sounder as for a while, it was saying 4.2 feet! Water was cloudy and couldn't see the bottom.
After that I did the standard, route to Marathon.
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Old 08-01-2013, 18:44   #4
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Just to add. I did Biscayne to Ft.Myers in 1 day through the inside "psuedo-ICW" route (simply called something like the "recommended rote" at that point as it's under the ICW's project depth) with a 5'9" draft. We managed to hit the shallowest parts (according to chart) at high-tide without issue. There was one area where we had to fish-tail for a cable or so under power to get through an under-draft section - we have a T-keel.

As previously mentioned, you should be able to take any route with your draft!
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Old 08-01-2013, 19:42   #5
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

We just did the trip. Left Punta Gorda on the third and made Marathon today. El Camino is a Lagoon 410 and draws slightly less than four feet. Depths were find everywhere we went. You have to do this in day trips,IMHO. Just way too many crab traps to do at night. We hand steered and still caught two traps. No fun cutting traps off sitting in the gulf.
Our first stop was Pelican Bay. Next day was Ft. Myers Beach and then on to San Marco Island. After that was Indian Key Pass. Next day was Little Shark River. Left There today and made Marathon by 3. Easy trip, bugs were not really a problem and the weather was nice. To get through the keys go through the seven mile bridge out of Marathon or channel 5 bridge. Then it's all about heading up to Key Largo. With your draft you will have no problems, just watch out for the crab traps...
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:00   #6
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Smile Re: Quickest route through Keys

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Originally Posted by Sid at SailAway View Post
We just did the trip. Left Punta Gorda on the third and made Marathon today. El Camino is a Lagoon 410 and draws slightly less than four feet. Depths were find everywhere we went. You have to do this in day trips,IMHO. Just way too many crab traps to do at night. We hand steered and still caught two traps. No fun cutting traps off sitting in the gulf.
Our first stop was Pelican Bay. Next day was Ft. Myers Beach and then on to San Marco Island. After that was Indian Key Pass. Next day was Little Shark River. Left There today and made Marathon by 3. Easy trip, bugs were not really a problem and the weather was nice. To get through the keys go through the seven mile bridge out of Marathon or channel 5 bridge. Then it's all about heading up to Key Largo. With your draft you will have no problems, just watch out for the crab traps...

Thanks, for the excellent reply this makes it easy.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:18   #7
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

It was an easy trip except for the traps. There was no easy way around them and we went as far as 8-10 miles offshore. The only place I was worried about was Little Shark River. I was warned about the bugs but this turned into a non-issue. Just a beautiful place to drop the hook. We were the only boat anywhere around within eyeshot and the wildlife was incredible. No cell service there, so we let folks know in advance that they may not be able to contact us and please don't call the Coast guard! Have fun on your trip....There's a few details on our blog which I will update today, if you're interested...

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Old 29-06-2013, 09:27   #8
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

Here's a video of our trip through the keys FWIW:
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Old 29-06-2013, 11:20   #9
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

I have a Krogen 38 cutter that draws 3'. I'm on the hard for the next 6 months (he say's in all seriousness). I have this thought. Reading this post he talks about the crab pots, and they are a pain in the ass. I'm on the Fl west coast and have sailed all through the keys and Florida bay. They are everywhere. I can't put a cutting device on my shaft as there is no room. And I feel bad , sort of, for doing it that way. Here's the thought, what if I build a simple cage around the prop area. Like 1/2 " Bronze/stainless rods (full keel) attached to the hull before the prop, say3', splaying outward +6" from the prop, say three per side connected to a hoop just before the prop? Maybe the rope might get sucked into the cage, maybe not. Thoughts anyone?
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Old 29-06-2013, 17:23   #10
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

1) One simple piece of bronze/stainless strap running from the bottom of the keel to the center point of the bottom of the rudder will accomplish as much as your proposed cage in a lot simpler manner without messing with your boat's powering performance. I think.
2) Sail, don't motor. If you do snag something it will be a lot easier to get rid of.
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Old 29-06-2013, 18:06   #11
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

It is not a good idea to cage your propeller. You will be cleaning that cage quiet often; too much hassle. While sailing will cause you much less fouling, however if crab pots lines are severed, so be it! Crabbing in the keys is in shallow water. Fishermen drag grappling anchors to fish out the detached pots.

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Old 29-06-2013, 20:28   #12
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

We are lucky, as the keel and the keel hung rudder protect the prop pretty well, BUT there are still times when we get pot lines in the prop! (only when motoring, or motorsailing) and I have a crooked knife on a long handle, and a glass bottom "bucket" I just cut em loose ! Sorry guys but thats what one must do !! But I do buy crab from yall anyway !!!
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Old 29-06-2013, 20:59   #13
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

Thanks for the replies. I sail when there's wind, powering is when the problem arises. I have a Max prop so not much get's tangled in it sailing. My boat is a full keel, no opening's from the keel on past the rudder. Still would be nice to not have to consider the little pot's if possible. If I had room on the shaft I would go the cutter route. Glass bottom bucket and sharp knife looks good, low tech, carry water in the bucket, stab the guy who tangled up the prop, sounds good
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Old 30-06-2013, 18:08   #14
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

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Originally Posted by Cavalier View Post
Here's a video of our trip through the keys FWIW:
Hey Cav. Nice video. Did you not ever raise your sails? If no, is this because of the shoals or because you had no wind? Did the minor squall you mentioned give you enough wind to sail. Yeah, I am green.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:10   #15
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Re: Quickest route through Keys

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Hey Cav. Nice video. Did you not ever raise your sails? If no, is this because of the shoals or because you had no wind? Did the minor squall you mentioned give you enough wind to sail. Yeah, I am green.
Hi C.B.,

We sailed the initial offshore passage (sails up at 0:22 on the vid), part of the way down "indian river" as there were few bridges with restrictions and it was a wide channel, the coastal section from Ft.Lauderdale to Miami and from mid Northern Biscayne bay until about 11pm that evening when we anchored up in [very] low Biscayne bay.

The rest of the time there was simply no wind apart from an occasional fart of a breeze. The boat can make good speed close-hauled in light breezes, but they must have some consistency.. unfortunately, it was either a dead calm (which can have its own pleasures) or fickle backing breezes which are just annoying....

At the end of the trip, the approaching squall 'looked' more sever/darker than in actually turned out to be.. we'd taken most sail in by that point as we didn't want to be flapping around with [large] sails if the winds were much higher than wanted.. as it turned out, the bimini/sprayhood provided enough thrust to keep us running at about 6knots (without engine) until the wind/rain - after which it was a dead calm again.. humpf!.

Phil
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