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Old 14-03-2011, 12:23   #1
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Florida in August...

I'll be in Florida for three to four weeks in August, sailing our new (used) boat for the first time. It will be my first time sailing in the US, apart from a couple of trips across Galveston Bay.

Any suggestions for good sailing at the time of the year? Pretty hot and humid if it's anything like Houston. I thought about The Bahamas, but since it will be my wife's first time living on a yacht I guess that may be a bit too much to aim for. How is the Intracoastal around the Ft Lauderdale to Miami area? Is the offshore sailing good? Florida Keys is out because of our 6' draft, and the mozzies I read about that swarm there in the summer.

Happy sailing, spring is just around the corner.
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Old 14-03-2011, 12:32   #2
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Re: Florida in August...

Six foot draft can be problem in a number of places, especially the ICW.
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Old 14-03-2011, 12:43   #3
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Re: Florida in August...

A lot of the bahamas can get a little thin too... Keys are not so bad if you stay on the Atlantic side
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Old 14-03-2011, 12:43   #4
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Re: Florida in August...

Our home base is Miami and we have sailed boats there that draw 22 inches to boats that draw over 7 ft.

1) The ICW between Lauderdale and Miami, to me, is the boating equivalent of I 95.

2) The Bahamas may be hotter than Florida at that time of the year.

3) 6 ft can be sailed in Biscayne Bay and the Keys with caution. Hawkes channel and the outside are not a problem and the water is warm and mostly clear with lovely snorkeling and diving.

We have spent many lovely evening on the mooring balls used by the dive and snorkeling boats on the edge of the outer reef. There are 300 in total and being 1 to 2 miles off-shore there are few mosquitos. If you use the ones well away from the dive centers like Key Largo and Pennecamp there will be few dive boats to bother you. They are provided by the State and I understand are for everyone's use.

There are also a few marinas that can be accessed from Hawke's Channel

Yacht Charter in Florida Keys and Bahamas,bareboat charter Florida,sailing holiday

The one thing you would have to plan is where to go if a hurricane threatened...That is a long story but if you do go and really need to know PM me.
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Old 14-03-2011, 14:19   #5
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Re: Florida in August...

Don;t forget about LOBSTER season.
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Old 18-03-2011, 06:35   #6
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Re: Florida in August...

Thanks to all. I didn't realize a 6' draft would be such a constraint. Moondancer, I'm going to try Biscayne Bay/Hawkes Channel.

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Old 18-03-2011, 07:22   #7
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Re: Florida in August...

Paul--

We have been sailing Florida with a 6.5' draft since 2002 and it really isn't such a big deal. There are some places one is denied but frankly, we haven't found that to be such a disadvantage. In August, inshore will be hot but not as hot as it is landside. Skip the ICW from Lauderdale to Miami. It's hot and very crowded with power boats, many operated by people that haven't a clew (so to speak). The prevailing winds will be on-shore so the run south off-shore is a reach and if you stay a mile or so off, you'll be out of the Stream and may be able to pick up the counter current. Buggieness is related to proximity to Mangrove--the further away the better, The hours around sunset and sunrise are problematic, largely due to No-See-Um's but wiping one's exposed skin with something like "Off" will handle most of the problem.

From Miami, Bimini/Cat Cay is a pretty easy trip and can be quite enjoyable even if you don't have the time for the rest of the islands.

Your biggest issue will be the hurricane threat as the end of August really starts the season. You just have to keep an eye on the weather and prepare accordingly. (We use PassageWeather.com and SailFlow.com).

A good resource for the area you'll be in is Activecaptain.com. You'll have to register (free) but it is a very useful site.

FWIW...


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Old 18-03-2011, 07:23   #8
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Re: Florida in August...

Paul

Do be careful of the charts. There are many many charted depths that are just no longer accurate. Yacht channel, north out of the keys is one example. 7ft on the charts, was not more than 5ft, last I sailed it. Luckily, I draw 4.5ft.

Likewise, Biscayne Bay can be tricky with many thin water areas.

One of my favorite cruising areas, FL Bay, north of the Keys...will be all but off limits to you. Charted depths are woefully inaccurate and just too much skinny water.

That said, it can be done with prudent planning. And should be. The Keys and Biscayne Bay are two of the most beautiful sailing grounds in FL and have the clearest water for swimming and diving. As notes, you will be taking the "outside" route, Hawke Channel.

One great trip would be to the Dry Tortugas. Plenty of water and an incredible beautiful place.

Also, not sure if your boat has AC ...but you can EASILY add AC by simple buying an in-room, portable AC unit from any hardware store. $300-500. These work great in marina's and can be secured for being underway. I have used them for a number of years and find them very convenient. Thus, your wife can be more comfortable ...and you...will be happier.

Check out the various marina's on your route. Some may have decent prices and good amenities in the summer (which is the off season here). Key West should not be missed....just for entertainment purposes.

If you have a ham (amature) radio license, you can get a lot of local information.

Hope this helps.

Best

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Old 18-03-2011, 07:29   #9
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Re: Florida in August...

Thanks HyLyte.

It will be my wife's first experience of living on a boat (albeit for a short while) and she likes nightlife as well as solitude, so we'll have to put into a city marina for at least a couple of nights. We'll take your advice the rest of the time though, and sail inshore rather than the ICW.

Good news about the draft issue, i was beginning to worry.

Cheers
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Old 18-03-2011, 07:34   #10
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Re: Florida in August...

And thanks to you also John.

The Dry Tortugas sound good for us, and we'll have at least three weeks so we'll have time to explore. The boat doesn't have a tender right now, so I'll buy a little run-about (10' + 10HP) so Inner Biscayne may be OK to visit too, as long as the weather permits.

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Old 18-03-2011, 08:32   #11
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Re: Florida in August...

You'd want a dink for sure. It will give you a lot more exploring capabilities you won't have with a 6' draft. I think a 10'X10hp is the least I'd have. Others will disagree but you can't beat a dink with a little extra power and speed Also plan on extra fuel costs. The summers here are not like the winter season. The winds are lighter so you will motor more. But there are more opportunities to cross over to the Bahamas with a relatively flat Gulf Stream and the closer Islands are a bit less crowded that time of year. For three to four weeks the destinations will be governed more by your starting point, weather windows and your new/used first time boats requirements when you arrive. I second A/C even a redneck one, a small Home Depot window unit and a EU2000 can be a blessing on a August night trying to escape either the heat, swamp angels or both. At the least and I can't emphasize this enough, good no-seeum screens for the hatches if you'll be near any Islands, the Keys or the Bahamas in August.
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Old 18-03-2011, 08:32   #12
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Re: Florida in August...

Paul....
Look me up when you are going to be near Key West... I'll be your tour guide!
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Old 18-03-2011, 08:43   #13
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Re: Florida in August...

Yes Tellie, I lived in Houston for a few years, and sailed Galveston Bay, it can get HOT and HUMID... I'll be able to pick up a cheap aircon unit over there I guess, and at least the boat already has screens.

My wife calls me her mosquito magnet, when we're together they ONLY go for me!

@ Capngeo, thanks I'll do that, maybe a cold beer together after we arrive, to show me the ICW/Florida ropes.

Cheers
Paul

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