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Old 23-01-2014, 17:03   #1
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Sailing along the Emerald Coast

Hello,

I'm looking to take a vacation down around the Emerald Coast and looking for advice on possible sailboat charter companies and sailing destinations/anchorages in the area. Thanks for any info.

Randy
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Old 23-01-2014, 18:17   #2
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

please pardon my ignorance but where is the emerald coast. I live in Seattle and emerald is often used in local descriptions.
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Old 24-01-2014, 06:57   #3
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

Emerald Coast US is NW FL Gulf coast(?)

Pensacola has the best combination of sailing an d charter companies.

Beautiful protected turquoise waters bounded by white sand beaches with as much or as little population as you want. Google Gulf Island Nat'l Seashore.
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Old 24-01-2014, 07:11   #4
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

You could spend years exploring the area. Lots of rivers worth gunkholing and barrier islands filled with wildlife, but in places the water gets skinny. Your time frame will determine just how much you can see, as well as the starting point. Years ago I used an older edition of this book and found it very useful.

A Gunkholer's Cruising Guide to Florida's West Coast: Tom Lenfestey: 9780820001333: Amazon.com: Books

With more details about where you will be starting and how long you have to cruise I could suggest specific places to go.
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Old 24-01-2014, 07:28   #5
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

But don't do it in mid to late summer because you will bake............
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Old 24-01-2014, 07:30   #6
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

I'll second the Pensacola area for chartering.

Just be aware that the bridges between Pensacola and Destin on the ICW are around 50' above the waterline, so a taller mast than that will cause you to miss out on that section. The chartering companies will know that.
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Old 24-01-2014, 07:59   #7
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

Keep in mind though that the beautiful turquoise waters and white sand beaches are best seen from the Gulf side. Not so much on the inside from Pensacola to Destin.

The water isn't the clear Caribbean blue/green in there either.

Its around 50 miles from Pensacola Pass to Destin Pass, and if you are there later in the Spring and there are no fronts around, the seabreeze comes in around 11:00am - 1:00pm SSW-W usually 8-14 knots.
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Old 24-01-2014, 11:34   #8
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

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Keep in mind though that the beautiful turquoise waters and white sand beaches are best seen from the Gulf side. Not so much on the inside from Pensacola to Destin.

The water isn't the clear Caribbean blue/green in there either.
The white sand is the same on both sides, though the color of the water in the ICW depends on the weather. Although you have to be particular with the depth, that's a beautiful part of the ICW, with some fun islands to hang out on, and fun places to go swimming. You will have to motor a good bit of it in the narrow channels, though.

Google "crab island" for some photos of the area around Destin. There are more private places along the route, but like I said your access will depend on your draft. There's a lot of thin water there, so you'll have to pay attention to the channel markers.
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Old 24-01-2014, 12:55   #9
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

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The white sand is the same on both sides, though the color of the water in the ICW depends on the weather. Although you have to be particular with the depth, that's a beautiful part of the ICW, with some fun islands to hang out on, and fun places to go swimming. You will have to motor a good bit of it in the narrow channels, though.

Google "crab island" for some photos of the area around Destin. There are more private places along the route, but like I said your access will depend on your draft. There's a lot of thin water there, so you'll have to pay attention to the channel markers.
If you do go "inside" be sure and stop at Juana's in Navarre which is probably 14 miles East of Pensacola. The view from the outdoor bar back (west) toward Pensacola is excellent.

You'll have to figure out your approach though. I've only gone in on a catamaran with the boards up. (which mean 5" of draft.

There is a restaurant there also.

Juana's Pagodas/Sailors' Grill-Navarre Beach, Florida
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Old 25-01-2014, 07:28   #10
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Sailing along the Emerald Coast

Locals enjoy an excellent quality of life along the Emerald Coast. Areas of interest include Perdido Pass, the Florabama Bar, Juana's Pagoda, Ship Island in MISS, proximity to New Orleans (rental car and an overnight is worth it if you've never visited), Pensacola Naval Air Station--the home of the Blue Angels--has a not to be missed world class aviation museum. Destin Pass and Crab Island? Dazzling. And do not forget to visit Joe Patti's Seafood for the most splendid assortment of local culture and fresh caught seafood you are likely to find anywhere on that part of the gulf coast. http://www.joepattis.com/Joe-Pattis-...ny-History.cfm.

Yes, in July it sizzles but there is a certain quality of experience to visiting these beaches during the summer that is hard to describe. Sunsets, sunrise, ocean breeze, dunes, fluorescing footprints in the sand at night and frequent pods of dolphins will leave lasting impressions.
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Old 25-01-2014, 07:58   #11
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

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Yes, in July it sizzles but there is a certain quality of experience to visiting these beaches during the summer that is hard to describe. Sunsets, sunrise, ocean breeze, dunes, fluorescing footprints in the sand at night and frequent pods of dolphins will leave lasting impressions.
Yep, it's hard to describe. Not only will you fry but if you drink you will be hammered drunk out of your mind on just a few drinks if you do not hydrate properly.

Then there are the crowds. Watch out for Spring Break also unless you are late teens or early 20's.

Also, you can get a good view of the Blue Angels from Bayou Grande. (or from Pensacola Bay) The solo guys many times will come right along there plus the entire flight usually passes over that gate at about tree top level. I believe they are probably still in El Centro now. Not sure when their season starts. (practice is usually every Tuesday or Wednesday morning over NAS Pensacola during the season)

And if you want the Total Redneck experience the Flora-Bama is definitely the place for you. You'll think you died and went to Redneck Heaven. They don't call it the Redneck Riviera for nothing.

Urban Dictionary: Redneck Riviera
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Old 25-01-2014, 09:20   #12
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Sailing along the Emerald Coast

LOL thom225! I enjoyed that post. But the redneck riviera thing is old. Yes, you can toss mullet
across the state line with the Lynrd Skinryd Freebird crowd at Flora-Bama. http://youtu.be/kKZfRAuY-M4 But it's changed significantly in the last 10 years. I moved from Ft Lauderdale to Destin-Gulf Breeze and had that attitude for about 10 months. The key to enjoying that part of the US is to appreciate its unique mix of Deep South, Cajun, Carribean, and historical influences from early French, Spanish, British and US confederate settlements, all thriving along multiple ribbons of east-west barrier islands in the most northern parts of the Gulf of Mexico. Oh, and the cost of living is low for all of that quality of life.

It grows on you.
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Old 25-01-2014, 09:51   #13
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

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LOL thom225! I enjoyed that post. But the redneck riviera thing is old. Yes, you can toss mullet
across the state line with the Lynrd Skinryd Freebird crowd at Flora-Bama. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird - Knebworth 1976 - YouTube But it's changed significantly in the last 10 years. I moved from Ft Lauderdale to Destin-Gulf Breeze and had that attitude for about 10 months. The key to enjoying that part of the US is to appreciate its unique mix of Deep South, Cajun, Carribean, and historical influences from early French, Spanish, British and US confederate settlements, all thriving along multiple ribbons of east-west barrier islands in the most northern parts of the Gulf of Mexico. Oh, and the cost of living is low for all of that quality of life.

It grows on you.
And there are no state income taxes or property tax on boats etc which is why I hope to head back down that way in a few years.
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Old 25-01-2014, 10:20   #14
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

Look forward to seeing you on Santa Rosa Sound in three years. My not-yet-purchased cat will home port in Stuart, FL but with so much to offer, Florida's Emerald Coast will be part of my annual cruising itinerary.
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Old 25-01-2014, 12:37   #15
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Re: Sailing along the Emerald Coast

Sounds like a plan.

I might even come down the first time on this Bristol. I can make all my cruising mistakes on it then maybe get a larger, faster boat. Plus if I get bored with cruising, I can leave it at a marina someplace for a few months.

I'll definitely be headed back north for the hot summer months though.
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