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Old 10-12-2013, 17:39   #1
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Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

Hello all,

I am planning a week to a week and a half on the boat with the wife. This will be our first extended stay and a big step towards our future live aboard plans. Currently we have a North American Spirit 6.1 on a trailer and live in eastern Tennessee. The boat is 21, feet, swing keel and capable enough for what we have in mind. We are planning this trip for the end of September, first of October 2014. I was looking at cruising the Outer Banks and Pamlico Sound, anchoring out for about half of the trip. The average temperatures may be on the bottom end of comfortable though so lets open a discussion on alternate cruising grounds.

I can pull the boat anywhere from the Keys, to Virginia, and all of the Gulf Coast, so for a week long sailing trip for first time cruisers where to go and why? I haven't ruled out the Outer Banks, we may just go earlier in the season.

Hoping for good input,
Stephen
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Old 10-12-2013, 17:44   #2
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Re: Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

I would say go earlier and spend less time on the road. Nothing as fun as being on the boat when it's warm and nice. Nothing as dis-spiriting as being cold for a week.. if you get my drift....
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Old 10-12-2013, 17:56   #3
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Re: Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

Well, We're looking at 10 or so hours to Oriental NC, and 13-14 to Key Largo. So either way we go its a full day driving and rigging once we get there. They Keys are farther, but not by much.
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Old 10-12-2013, 20:57   #4
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Re: Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

When is Hurricane season? You may want to book hotel space as a backup if the weather doesn't cooperate.
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Old 10-12-2013, 21:14   #5
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Re: Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

Hurricane is on until June to November. Since this reply is mid December, I assume you have already had your fun or ar planning next year.

For assured warm weather you need to be in the keys. I suggest the ICW rout on the Gulf side. If you fish, Naples and south into the glades.

If you are willing to take a total about face, think about the Canadian North Channel. It is rated in the top 10 cruising venues on the planet. We spent 3 weeks there a couple years ago. July - August. Fresh water, nice people, low costs, nice anchorages, hiking ashore. Lots of sheltered bays. The bulk of the place is accessable by boat only and there are few towns. You could spend an entire week in the Benjamins and Little Current.
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Old 11-12-2013, 16:56   #6
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Re: Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

I would love to cruise up in Canada, but we cannot do summers. The Admiral and I are Paramedics and have a second summer job as Guides on the Ocoee river in Tn so a great deal of our income is generated during the summer. That being the case I am afraid that it would be uncomfortably cold in late September / early October that far north. Fishing is not at all a priority, just nice sailing, good anchorages, low cost and some touristy type things. That's why I originally thought the Outer Banks. Maybe we will stay flexible and go to wherever the weather is better.

That being said, If you only had a week, where in Florida would you go? Key Largo, Key West, or somewhere else entirely?

Stephen
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Old 11-12-2013, 17:22   #7
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Re: Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

September and October are great months for cruising in the Chesapeake Bay and the NC sounds. If the rare tropical storm threatens, you'll have plenty of warning.
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Old 14-12-2013, 11:11   #8
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Re: Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

As I noted above, head for the Florida SW coast around Naples and Everglades south. The back bays at the large cities on the S Gulf are great places for a boat of your size. You will find a lot of fish & crab shacks and many small hotels along the ICW if you are inclined. Many public parks along the way may offer fresh water showers near the swim beaches. Look on Google Earth and check out photos and local information. You can download the Florida raster & vector charts from NOAA and use them with Sea Clear or Open CPN on a laptop. Other APPs will give you charts on android & others. If you have a handheld GPS (great investment) it probably came loaded with detailed NOAA charts for the US. (since NOAA gives these charts away for free they are usually on fully loaded plotters and GPS units.)

Alternatively, you could run the canal through S Florida and Lake Okechobee from St Lucie on the Atlantic to Ft Myers on the Gulf.
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Old 14-12-2013, 11:33   #9
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Re: Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

Thanks Nicholson58! That's the kind of information I was looking for. I'll check out the charts and maps for the area.

Stephen
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Old 14-12-2013, 12:02   #10
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Re: Week long sailing trip, Where to go??

I used to launch my F-27GS trimaran at Gilbert's Resort, a "leaky tiki" at Key Largo, and spend the week or two gunkholing in the Keys. Recommend it highly for trailer-sailing. You can bop out to the Atlantic/Hawk Channel side, or stay on the Gulf/Florida Bay side.

We've always used Frank Papy's cruising guide for anchorages, and Active Captain is a good resource as well.

If you want to do the Thousand Islands area (south of Ft Myers), including things like the Little Shark River, have good no-seeum screen and bug spray. You may need anti-bug stuff for the Keys also (I've always gone in December).
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