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Old 22-05-2017, 08:10   #1
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Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

Hello,

I am looking for an advice for your charter next week. We take a Jeanneau 42 for a week long cruise for just two of us. This is part of our getting more experience with what cruising life is all about before we do the great jump into cruising retirement that everyone here seems to be dreaming about.

We would like to have a good time gunkholing in nice spots (prefer nature to cilivilation) and also get some open sea sailing experience. Unfortunately the charter contract will most likely now allow us to sail to Dry Tortugas. Any recommendation? I am trying to decide between going south towards Everglades or to less touristy places on the north. Any recommendation about places to go off shore for some longer jumps? Shall I really be worrying about afternoon squalls and lightening? If so anything I can to about it? I do not like to idea of staying close to shore to hide anytime when we see it coming.

thanks

Pawel
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Old 23-05-2017, 05:46   #2
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

You don't mention your departure point, guessing St Pete Municipal or The Harborage. You also don't mention sailing straight through to your destinations or daytime hops. But I think Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa State Park would be a good destination. It's a protected anchorage and the park has unspoiled beaches. You can sail in the Gulf of Mexico or if the need dictates transit the GICW. There are also a few places to duck into if the weather gets iffy. Another good stop not far from St Pete is Desoto Point at the mouth of the Manatee River.

You will need to keep an eye on the afternoon weather as we are just entering the rainy season. Most thunderstorms will build in the afternoon and head inland, however, they occasionally had back out into the Gulf and can be quite nasty.

Have fun and be safe.
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Old 23-05-2017, 07:21   #3
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

Thanks for the advice, we take our boat at Harborage Marina at Bayboro.
Do you think those afternoon storms tend to be serious enough to seek inland shelter, or with a new 42 feet boat and competent crew can we just plan to reef and take it on off shore? I think I am more afraid of lightening than a relatively short squall ..
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Old 23-05-2017, 07:52   #4
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

What Davy said. a week is not much time to get much further and back. Cayo Costa /cabbage key is a great spot for a few days for you
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Old 23-05-2017, 08:04   #5
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

First I'll say that we are just beginning the rainy season, so if you are chartering next week you may see little or no thunderstorms at all.

If you do see any activity, it will usually be later in the day, 4-7pm. Given the choice I'd rather be anchored inshore, but if you get caught out, the leading edge of the storm is the threat. Between the forward speed of the cell and the leading downdraft, the windspeed on the front side of the storm can be quite high. Lightning is a concern but not much you can do about that. I'm sure boats get hit, but in boating here for 21 years I haven't seen any personal first hand experience.
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Old 23-05-2017, 08:44   #6
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

Spend you first night anchored out on the north side of the Manatee River near Palmetto, or at Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms can get wicked this time of year, so if you anchor at Egmont make sure you explore an escape route well in advance. You may have to pull anchor and move to a protected side of the island in the middle of the night without hitting the sandbars!!
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Old 23-05-2017, 09:51   #7
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

Watch the thin water, sand bars move into channels , some inlets have wicked current flows, clearance on bridges, including to the side. Watch your weather carefully. Squalls blow in very quickly. The Gulf can turn into a " washing machine ".
We find this area to be fun but you need to have your head on straight.
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Old 23-05-2017, 10:09   #8
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

I live in Sarasota, draw 6 ft, do not,,, I repeat do not attempt to enter New Pass, south Longboat key, Big pass, Sarasota Bay entrance. New Pass was dredged 6 months ago and has shoaled over so 4.5 ft is the most, if that.

Its only Venice jetty's, or Bocca Grande pass, Summer squalls are like romance the quicker then come the quicker they go. A 42 ft boat will be fine, just reef and hold on. It will pass quick and its great experience. If there is a cold ft, sliding down watch weather , or stay inside if you have too.

Tomorrow 25-30 gusts, rain, lots of wind, due to cold ft, passing, even this late in season.

Bocca,, Pelican bay is very nice, have fun be safe,

just me 2 ,Cents
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Old 23-05-2017, 11:42   #9
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

Thanks so much for all the advice, will follow it,
we will have 5'2'' draft

so you guys say it is not worth to think of going north fro St. Pete?
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Old 23-05-2017, 11:50   #10
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

I base in Harborage, and navysurfer hit the nail on the head. If you go in Venice, it can be rough at the jetties due to opposing wind and tide but just punch (or surf) through, once in it very sheltered. I have found no place I feel comfortable anchoring but there is a good marina called the Crow's Nest. Great bar and restaurant, great showers. Tricky to dock if they give you a finger pier and the tides ripping, but the crew is great. It's not very big so call ahead.
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Old 23-05-2017, 12:02   #11
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pskudlarski View Post
Thanks so much for all the advice, will follow it,
we will have 5'2'' draft

so you guys say it is not worth to think of going north fro St. Pete?
I would not go north without at least a little local knowledge.

If you go south there much nicer beaches and more scenery. You could stop in Venice and/or go in Boca Grande Pass and anchor in Pelican Bay/Cayo Costa State park. I would go from Harborage to Desoto Point/Manatee River for the first night. In Venice there's also Fisherman's Wharf if Crow's nest is booked.


South Seas Resort and Tween waters are both great marinas if you need to tie up for a night farther south.
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Old 23-05-2017, 12:49   #12
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

Quote:
so you guys say it is not worth to think of going north fro St. Pete?
You can certainly go north. There a ton of things to do especially on the GICW. However, there are not as many passes. If you exit Tampa Bay at Fort Desoto your inlets are Pass-A-Grille, Johns Pass and Clearwater Pass. Also, personally, I don't think there are as many good anchorages. Sailing up to Clearwater and anchoring or getting a slip can be fun, but expect a lot of traffic.

One place you might consider if you want a "Key West" type of experience is to anchor at Gulfport. There is a dinghy dock there and there are a few open air bars that have the Conch Republic feel. It's easy to get to from St Pete.
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Old 28-05-2017, 05:09   #13
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

We plan on doing something very much akin to this only later in the year. My wife and I are also new sailors prepping actively for the cruising life. I would be interested to hear your experiences. Good luck and smooth sailing!
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:29   #14
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pskudlarski View Post
Hello,

I am looking for an advice for your charter next week. We take a Jeanneau 42 for a week long cruise for just two of us. This is part of our getting more experience with what cruising life is all about before we do the great jump into cruising retirement that everyone here seems to be dreaming about.

We would like to have a good time gunkholing in nice spots (prefer nature to cilivilation) and also get some open sea sailing experience. Unfortunately the charter contract will most likely now allow us to sail to Dry Tortugas. Any recommendation? I am trying to decide between going south towards Everglades or to less touristy places on the north. Any recommendation about places to go off shore for some longer jumps? Shall I really be worrying about afternoon squalls and lightening? If so anything I can to about it? I do not like to idea of staying close to shore to hide anytime when we see it coming.

thanks

Pawel
Can you give a report on how it went? I'm going with my family in March, and have tentatively set my itinerary this way:

Day 1: Tampa Bay muckabout, return to (resort) marina base St Pete muni
Day 2: Manatee River explore, then to Longboat Key anchorage
Day 3: early start Longboat Pass to Boca Grande
Day 4: Punta Gorda
Day 5: Peace River excursion
Day 6, 7 Return to St Pete, possibly via Venice

This is an aggressive itinerary which would require a favorable weather report, and so I'm also open to an explore Manatee River, Bradenton, Gulfport, possibly Clearwater and skip the long trek down the coast. Will just chat with the charter guys and gals before I go and keep it fun for the kids.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:43   #15
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Re: Seeking advise for a week long charter from St Petersburg.

It was a good trip, weather was calm, no squalls no thunderstorms but mostly enough wind not to motor. One storm system hit us just as we were returning but we managed to dock in calmer time between two storms.

We went to Palmetto, then Sarasota (part outside), then out through Venice inlet and to Boca Grande, back to Venice, Egmont Key, and since we had some more time to north to Clearwater. Half half marinas and anchoring, half half inland and outside. Nice learning experience, docking such a big boat double handed was somewhat challenging,but no damage done ;-). Good luck.
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