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Old 15-02-2012, 21:15   #46
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
I have been the the DT 6 times this last year, I love it, and you will too. I was there this last December and yes the wind blew every day 15-30kts out of the east to north east, not sure if this is normal but that is what we had for 2 weeks. The current should not be to much of a concern, if you stay close to the small islands to Marquases Key there should be no curent. Once you go by Marquases Key you have about 40 miles half of which are in shallow waters less than 20ft deep, then the last 20 miles in 100ft deep waters. I think your boat should have no problems getting there, but if you have the winds we had, it could be chalanging to get back, but like was previously posted there is a large power cat that comes to the island from KW everyday, and several float planes also land there daily. So if the weather is not agreeable after you get there, buy a ticket on the fairy back to KW and bring your gear with you. Others do it, they bring all there camping gear, food, water on the boat for a week or so. You might want to buy a ticket to the DT
while in KW just in case everything goes bad, with the ticket you might be able to get water from the fairy on a daily basis. They bring out a large cooler and let anyone drink from it, at least I had no problems. Long story short, if you prepare, and it sounds like you are, you will have a great time, and a great story to share.
Good luck

If you want to PM me for more details feel free.

gone with the wind from KW to DT and returned with the power cat. Hmm... I'll take that if that's the only way..

Thank you! I will...
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Old 15-02-2012, 21:54   #47
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

I just watched your vidieo from last years trip, you guys did a great job, and I realy enjoyed it. The only thing I noticed about your boat is I am not sure how you and your mat might handle 3-5 ft waves. I think your boat would handle it fine but it would definitly be an experience and the thought of spending a night out there might be another experience. If the timming works out I might be willing to follow you guys in our boat, to insure a safe passage if needed.
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Old 15-02-2012, 23:33   #48
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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I just watched your vidieo from last years trip, you guys did a great job, and I realy enjoyed it. The only thing I noticed about your boat is I am not sure how you and your mat might handle 3-5 ft waves. I think your boat would handle it fine but it would definitly be an experience and the thought of spending a night out there might be another experience. If the timming works out I might be willing to follow you guys in our boat, to insure a safe passage if needed.
Once again, thank you for all the good advice. We would feel guilty to drag you out to the DT. If everything goes according to plan we'll be leaving KW on December 22, or 23 and sail West towards the Marqueasas and DT. I know there is no camping on MK but what happens if night falls and/or there is a bit of a storm? can a small craft find refuge for one night on the MK?

Last year we had to paddle/sail in pitch black for about 5 hours. The sea was calm and it was fun. The only thing we could see was the GPS display...
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Old 16-02-2012, 06:20   #49
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

They say that there is no camping on MK but I have seen it done, with no problems, I would not sugest an extended stay, that might cause concern, there are numerous other Keys along the way that might also work for camping, Man Key, Woman Key, and a couple of others that could also work, once you go past MK there is nothing for 40 miles until DT. That is going to be your area of concern. Unless you get perfect winds and conditions making that 40 miles in a day is going to be the chalange.
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Old 16-02-2012, 07:25   #50
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

Hi: I like your ideas and equipment list ,but i would add an epirb.
I did a solo sailboat trip thru everglades in 2003 (18' sharpie) and the winds always had an easterly component during the week that I was out; late Feb. or early March.
Rangers indicated that I was the first sailboat to make it alone, probably because i could drop my mast to get thru areas with overhanging branches and drew only 9" with my bilge boards raised. So I will not be a naysayer,but as others have written getting there will be mostly downwind or a reach,coming back within your short time frame may cost you your job or worse. Sounds doable given enough time and water, but as the saying goes: The most dangerous thing on a cruising boat is a calender!

Good Luck and keep us posted,would love to hear what worked and what didn't.
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Old 16-02-2012, 08:47   #51
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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...I like your ideas and equipment list ,but i would add an epirb....

...The most dangerous thing on a cruising boat is a calender!
EPIRB not a bad idea, but one thing I remembered about the area is that USCG has deployed VHF repeaters on towers in the area to the N-NE of the DTs. I assume these are still in place -- might be a good idea to confirm. This gives them extended VHF coverage in the area which makes VHF more useful to you as a safety device.

Re pre-purchasing tickets on one of the tourist cats. In my experience the captains have been quite accommodating if you just approach them while at the DT's -- they even gave me a lift to KW once just as a "professional courtesy". I've had guests book rides back with no troubles and no advance purchase. I also got ripped off once by a local ticket agent (there are ton's of them in KW) who over-charged me for a round trip on the cat when I only need one way (didn't catch this until it was too late). So, pay for or purchase your ticket directly with the tour company -- not an agent.

Ditto on the calendar!
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Old 16-02-2012, 13:27   #52
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

Getting there should be fairly easy. Coming back against wind, waves and current, will be the hard part. The person in the front will probably be taking a beating from boarding waves.

I took a look at your video. Seems like your kayak would be able to handle some rough conditions, since you've got spray skirts to keep water out. But I think the first thing to go would be the sponsons. The attachment point looks weak. If they were ripped off by waves, you'd need to jettison the cross bar quickly to avoid getting flipped. And the sail, too.

Speaking of flipped, can you right the kayak if you go over using an Eskimo roll? If you miss your roll and bail out, have you practiced climbing back aboard in deep water? I used to whitewater kayak and could roll my boat with hands only--in the YMCA pool. It's a different story in rough conditions. It's really hard to roll with waves bashing you, water up your nose, and swallowing it, too. It takes a lot of practice to nail a roll in rough conditions (especially drifting upside down through a rock garden ).

I hate to sound negative because this really sounds like a great thing to attempt, but I was just thinking through what I'd be facing if I tried such an adventure. Beating into steep, choppy waves would really take the enjoyment out of it, I think.
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Old 16-02-2012, 14:24   #53
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Unfortunately, the end of December is the only time I'll be able to break away from work and the daily routine...
You have boxed in the calendar plus you have added the issue that you will be in hurry. Clearly the two worst things you can do and you have not left yet. Off hand it's not a great way to start with such limited options. The only choice seems to be you'll decide to go or wait another year. You'll be predicting weather beyond the possible window and basically going for it. You don't need advice to do that today. It would serve you best to be very lucky as a hedge.
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Old 16-02-2012, 15:22   #54
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The short answer is that it is theoretically possible. In theory, you an catch a weather window, have no issues and have a hell of an experience. Verlen Kruger, did it in a boat similar to the one in my avatar.

The issues are as follows: you are using a Balogh Sail rig. I can tell you from direct person experience that the akas are more than a little fragile. I broke one on 5 foot breaking waves in the gulf. It was only because of very quick reactions and some luck that I did not go turtle. Once you break one aka, you need to land to remove the other, or the boat is tough to handle in weather. Even in smaller waves you need to place a hard max speed of about 3-4 kts, or you will break one. Second Verlen did it with two Krugers catamaraned together. This placed the stress through two thick walled aluminum tubes that went 2-3 feet into the hull of each boat. Third, without a chase boat you will be S.O.L. If anything happens to the skin of your Feathercraft. Talk to the guys at www.watertribe.com. They hold some truly demanding races. When this one came up, it never really took hold, because the cost of failure would be a PLB activation and a Coastie rescue.

Assuming an average speed of 3kts non-stop, the crossing will take 24 hours. I have spent over 40 hours paddling a Kruger and 30 in a kayak. After the 30 hours, I crawled out of the boat and could not move my legs for some time. After the 40, I was a veggie- only did it because i was coming into Tampa along the coast.

Assuming you can find someplace to over-rest and bank sleep, assuming that you can get enough calories in without the need to aaaaaaaa (can't do that without the Balogh) assuming that the weather is perfect... You still need to recover and return.

IMHO, take the ferry!

Bill

Feel free to email me back channel.... Hey want a challenge? Do the UFC race around Florida. Contact Chief at Watertribe...
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Old 16-02-2012, 15:44   #55
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

I don't know the area, so i can't give any advice, except to pick your weather window and go for it!
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Old 16-02-2012, 21:14   #56
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
Getting there should be fairly easy. Coming back against wind, waves and current, will be the hard part. The person in the front will probably be taking a beating from boarding waves.

I took a look at your video. Seems like your kayak would be able to handle some rough conditions, since you've got spray skirts to keep water out. But I think the first thing to go would be the sponsons. The attachment point looks weak. If they were ripped off by waves, you'd need to jettison the cross bar quickly to avoid getting flipped. And the sail, too.

Speaking of flipped, can you right the kayak if you go over using an Eskimo roll? If you miss your roll and bail out, have you practiced climbing back aboard in deep water? I used to whitewater kayak and could roll my boat with hands only--in the YMCA pool. It's a different story in rough conditions. It's really hard to roll with waves bashing you, water up your nose, and
swallowing it, too. It takes a lot of practice to nail a roll in rough conditions (especially drifting upside down through a rock garden ).

I hate to sound negative because this really sounds like a great thing to attempt, but I was just thinking through what I'd be facing if I tried such an adventure. Beating into steep, choppy waves would really take the enjoyment out of it, I think.
beating into steep, choppy waves could actually add the excitement of a good adrenaline rush... the more I think of what can go wrong, the more scared I am, the more scared I am the more tempted I feel..
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Old 16-02-2012, 21:34   #57
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
The short answer is that it is theoretically possible. In theory, you an catch a weather window, have no issues and have a hell of an experience. Verlen Kruger, did it in a boat similar to the one in my avatar.

The issues are as follows: you are using a Balogh Sail rig. I can tell you from direct person experience that the akas are more than a little fragile. I broke one on 5 foot breaking waves in the gulf. It was only because of very quick reactions and some luck that I did not go turtle. Once you break one aka, you need to land to remove the other, or the boat is tough to handle in weather. Even in smaller waves you need to place a hard max speed of about 3-4 kts, or you will break one. Second Verlen did it with two Krugers catamaraned together. This placed the stress through two thick walled aluminum tubes that went 2-3 feet into the hull of each boat. Third, without a chase boat you will be S.O.L. If anything happens to the skin of your Feathercraft. Talk to the
guys at WaterTribe Home. They hold some truly demanding races. When this one came up, it never really took hold, because the cost of failure would be a PLB activation and a Coastie rescue.


Assuming an average speed of 3kts non-stop, the crossing will take 24 hours. I have spent over 40 hours paddling a Kruger and 30 in a kayak. After the 30 hours, I crawled out of the boat and could not move my legs for some time. After the 40, I was a veggie- only did it because i was coming into Tampa along the coast.

Assuming you can find someplace to over-rest and bank sleep, assuming that you can get enough calories in without the need to aaaaaaaa (can't do that
without the Balogh) assuming that the weather is perfect... You still need to recover and return.

IMHO, take the ferry!

Bill

Feel free to email me back channel.... Hey want a challenge? Do the UFC race around Florida. Contact Chief at Watertribe...
I might take the ferry back, but something deep inside is pushing me to go west on my own...

The kayak is a Long Haul Mark II Commando, not a Feathercraft. Good old Hypalon hull and wood frame.

Did you break the aka, or the ama? Do you mean the amas when you mention
the sponsons, because the sponsons are located inside the boat.

Thank you.

dn
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Old 17-02-2012, 04:16   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoiNomazi

I might take the ferry back, but something deep inside is pushing me to go west on my own...

The kayak is a Long Haul Mark II Commando, not a Feathercraft. Good old Hypalon hull and wood frame.

Did you break the aka, or the ama? Do you mean the amas when you mention
the sponsons, because the sponsons are located inside the boat.

Thank you.

dn
So we are sure to be talking the same terms. I always thought the aka was the tube that is perpendicular to the hull. The AMA is the inflatable flotation that is perpendicular to the aka and parallel to the hull. If you break an aka, or the ama is lost, you have about 2 seconds to turn the boat so that the failed side is into the wind, drop the sail and drop the mast.

Like you I have played with this crossing many, many times. I even laid out a course in MapSource to island hop out there, even pondered using the USAF practice areas to rest on (ruled that out since F-16/18 at low level are not heard till they are on top of you) and that was either paddling an 18' NW Discover or paddle/sailing an 18' Kruger.
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Old 17-02-2012, 05:35   #59
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
They say that there is no camping on MK but I have seen it done, with no problems, I would not sugest an extended stay, that might cause concern, there are numerous other Keys along the way that might also work for camping, Man Key, Woman Key, and a couple of others that could also work, once you go past MK there is nothing for 40 miles until DT. That is going to be your area of concern. Unless you get perfect winds and conditions making that 40 miles in a day is going to be the chalange.
Although, techically possible under the right circumstances, I am not dreaming of sailing 70 miles non-stop in our kayak. I believe we must consider two segments. First day KW to MK and second day MK to DT. if the weather turns bad, back to KW from MK. (potentially bad ride while the east is blowing)

If we can make it in our yak to DT and the east is blowing, I can wait 4-5 days on DT, or take the power cat back to KW.

If you happen to be in the area those last days of December, I'd be glad to say hi. Of course, we would feel so much safer knowing there is a boat we are in contact with.

Thank you.
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Old 17-02-2012, 05:49   #60
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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So we are sure to be talking the same terms. I always thought the aka was the tube that is perpendicular to the hull. The AMA is the inflatable flotation that is perpendicular to the aka and parallel to the hull. If you break an aka, or the ama is lost, you have about 2 seconds to turn the boat so that the failed side is into the wind, drop the sail and drop the mast.

Like you I have played with this crossing many, many times. I even laid out a course in MapSource to island hop out there, even pondered using the USAF practice areas to rest on (ruled that out since F-16/18 at low level are not heard till they are on top of you) and that was either paddling an 18' NW Discover or paddle/sailing an 18' Kruger.
yes, the amas are the inflatables and the akas are the tubes connecting them to the bost.

our akas are in fact one cross bar made of three aluminum pieces that connects the amas and is also connected to the mast through the mast partner. While anything can brake, if the akas break that means some serious
pounding.

The amas are more vulnerable to prolonged stress than the akas and I am
considering re-enforcing the ama connection to the aka. I am also thinking about replacing the inflatable amas with skin over frame ones, or even aluminum ones.

Do you think the target areas might be used on Christmas? I think island hop is very appealing.

Do you still want to try it?... Check your schedule in December..

Thank you.
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