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Old 14-02-2012, 21:56   #1
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Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

actually, very small craft!

17 foot tandem folding kayak. We want to sail/paddle from Key West to the Dry Tortugas via the Marqueasas Keys.

Before you rush to slam the "IMPOSSIBLE DOOR" in our face, dear much larger sailing brothers and sisters, please try to help with useful advice. It would be very much appreciated. With the right weather, it should be possible...

Thank you very much!

dn
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Old 14-02-2012, 23:27   #2
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Re: small craft sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Originally Posted by DoiNomazi View Post
actually, very small craft!

17 foot tandem folding kayak. We want to sail/paddle from Key West to the Dry Tortugas via the Marqueasas Keys.

Before you rush to slam the "IMPOSSIBLE DOOR" in our face, dear much larger sailing brothers and sisters, please try to help with useful advice. It would be very much appreciated. With the right weather, it should be possible...

Thank you very much!

dn
Sorry, I forgot to mention. This is the boat and crew:

The Maiden Voyage
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Old 15-02-2012, 04:56   #3
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

You dont have problems carrying enough stores for the trip and stay at the islands? I guess you will be camping on Garden Key. Sounds like a cool trip sure have to be careful with your provisioning. I was there in a 23' sloop years ago when the winds blew for 8 days 30kts from the east. I finally was forced to do the upwind slog when water rations started running low. Many captains were flown in from the keys to bring boats back across. It was a painful trip where we only made 1 kt against the steep waves between marquesas and tortugas. Good luck and fair winds.
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Old 15-02-2012, 05:02   #4
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoiNomazi View Post
actually, very small craft!

17 foot tandem folding kayak. We want to sail/paddle from Key West to the Dry Tortugas via the Marqueasas Keys.

Before you rush to slam the "IMPOSSIBLE DOOR" in our face, dear much larger sailing brothers and sisters, please try to help with useful advice. It would be very much appreciated. With the right weather, it should be possible...

Thank you very much!

dn
I would suggest you go earlier. The optimal window is more like October than December (although nothing is guaranteed, Florida gets some pretty stiff winds in December).
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Old 15-02-2012, 05:08   #5
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
You dont have problems carrying enough stores for the trip and stay at the islands? I guess you will be camping on Garden Key. Sounds like a cool trip sure have to be careful with your provisioning. I was there in a 23' sloop years ago when the winds blew for 8 days 30kts from the east. I finally was forced to do the upwind slog when water rations started running low. Many captains were flown in from the keys to bring boats back across. It was a painful trip where we only made 1 kt against the steep waves between marquesas and tortugas. Good luck and fair winds.
Thank you. We can carry some 60 litres of fresh water and food for about 10-12 days. The wind, waves and current are the main concern.
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Old 15-02-2012, 05:11   #6
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
I would suggest you go earlier. The optimal window is more like October than December (although nothing is guaranteed, Florida gets some pretty stiff winds in December).
I see... The only available time would be the end of December.

Thank you.
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Old 15-02-2012, 06:36   #7
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

How fast can you go? It is a good 40 miles, plus ~17 miles from Key West - Marqueasas Keys (but there are more stopping points)

Will the currents be with you or not? I've paddled up river before, and it is much better going with the current.

Will you have a support boat with you? Or will you have your own GPS (two), plus map, radio, water, food, tents.

It is something I wouldn't mind doing... I have kayaked in the Gulf before, just not that far off shore.
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Old 15-02-2012, 06:47   #8
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

Frank and Margaret Dye would be worth a Google up. and they wrote at least a couple of books, including:

Ocean Crossing Wayfarer: To Iceland and Norway in a 16ft Open Dinghy

"Frank Dye's intrepid voyages in his open 16ft Wayfarer dinghy to Iceland and Norway, which must rank among the most hazardous sea adventures of our time.

Encountering the whole gamut of weather, such is Frank Dye's seamanship that he and his crew survived gales up to Force 9, capsizing and a broken mast, finally arriving safely to a Scandinavian welcome.

It is a hair raising unforgettable narrative in which we glimpse Frank's gifted boat-handling skills and his instinct for survival. 'Without doubt Frank Dye is one of this century's greatest small boat seamen.' Yachting Monthly

'Any reader who has been far offshore in bad weather will marvel at the sheer temerity of a man who would attempt Iceland and Norway in such a craft.' Yachting Monthly 'Frank and Margaret Dye have become dinghy sailing legends in their own time."

Ocean Crossing Wayfarer: To Iceland and Norway in a 16ft Open Dinghy: Amazon.co.uk: Frank Dye: 9780713675689: Books


Ooops - this is in the wrong thread. and forum
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Old 15-02-2012, 06:56   #9
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

The run from KW to Boca Grande is a milk run through "The Lakes". Then 8 miles of open water to the Marquessas and Mooney Harbor.... Then the daunting 40+ miles of open water to the Fort. Depending on the loop current's position, I have seen zero to 2 kts of current (North-South). When the wind opposes said current, the seas get plain NASTY; close and steep!

In December we have regular cold fronts which can work to your advantage. The wind will blow hard out of the South for a day, then a squall line will move down from the North, the wind will clock around out of the North hard and cold for 1-2 days. We usually see a 2-3 day window of calm(ish) conditions, then the cycle repeats. IF you can manage to cross the open legs during the calms you are fine; but a word of caution..... IF you get caught in the front in a small craft it is going to be VERY unpleasant
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Old 15-02-2012, 07:04   #10
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Originally Posted by SunDevil View Post
How fast can you go? It is a good 40 miles, plus ~17 miles from Key West - Marqueasas Keys (but there are more stopping points)

Will the currents be with you or not? I've paddled up river before, and it is much better going with the current.

Will you have a support boat with you? Or will you have your own GPS (two), plus map, radio, water, food, tents.

It is something I wouldn't mind doing... I have kayaked in the Gulf before, just not that far off shore.
I know there are some 70 nautical miles between Key West and the Dry Tortugas with the Marqueasas Keys roughly in the middle.

It seems that the one strong current I should worry about is coming from the north.

No support boat...

yes, gps, map, vhf, water and food, tent or hammock.

What type of kayak do you have? Do you have a sail on it?

Thank you for the answer.
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Old 15-02-2012, 07:08   #11
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Frank and Margaret Dye would be worth a Google up. and they wrote at least a couple of books, including:

Ocean Crossing Wayfarer: To Iceland and Norway in a 16ft Open Dinghy

"Frank Dye's intrepid voyages in his open 16ft Wayfarer dinghy to Iceland and Norway, which must rank among the most hazardous sea adventures of our time.

Encountering the whole gamut of weather, such is Frank Dye's seamanship that he and his crew survived gales up to Force 9, capsizing and a broken mast, finally arriving safely to a Scandinavian welcome.

It is a hair raising unforgettable narrative in which we glimpse Frank's gifted boat-handling skills and his instinct for survival. 'Without doubt Frank Dye is one of this century's greatest small boat seamen.' Yachting Monthly

'Any reader who has been far offshore in bad weather will marvel at the sheer temerity of a man who would attempt Iceland and Norway in such a craft.' Yachting Monthly 'Frank and Margaret Dye have become dinghy sailing legends in their own time."

Ocean Crossing Wayfarer: To Iceland and Norway in a 16ft Open Dinghy: Amazon.co.uk: Frank Dye: 9780713675689: Books


Ooops - this is in the wrong thread. and forum

Is it in the wrong thread and forum? Sorry...

And thank you for the info. I will check the book.
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Old 15-02-2012, 07:10   #12
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Originally Posted by DoiNomazi View Post
Is it in the wrong thread and forum? Sorry...

And thank you for the info. I will check the book.
Your choice of forums is fine!
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Old 15-02-2012, 07:14   #13
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
The run from KW to Boca Grande is a milk run through "The Lakes". Then 8 miles of open water to the Marquessas and Mooney Harbor.... Then the daunting 40+ miles of open water to the Fort. Depending on the loop current's position, I have seen zero to 2 kts of current (North-South). When the wind opposes said current, the seas get plain NASTY; close and steep!

In December we have regular cold fronts which can work to your advantage. The wind will blow hard out of the South for a day, then a squall line will move down from the North, the wind will clock around out of the North hard and cold for 1-2 days. We usually see a 2-3 day window of calm(ish) conditions, then the cycle repeats. IF you can manage to cross the open legs during the calms you are fine; but a word of caution..... IF you get caught in the front in a small craft it is going to be VERY unpleasant
I am not sure if you mean it that VERY scary way, but I definitely hear you...

close and steep is an image that stays in one's mind for sure.

We are still tempted. If we make it to the Marqueasas Keys we can decide there based on the weather.

Thank you.
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Old 15-02-2012, 07:15   #14
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December



This is my kayak. I'm not sure it would make the trip in anything but calm water...
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Old 15-02-2012, 07:36   #15
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Re: Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December

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This is my kayak. I'm not sure it would make the trip in anything but calm water...

We plan to sail our yak. I would not try the trip without a sail.
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