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Old 10-04-2009, 16:16   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Brooklyn
Boat: Hunter 290
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Hunter 290 Cruising

Greetings Cruisers,

My girlfriend and I would like to go cruising in a Hunter 290, but we are a bit on the inexperienced side of things. She does not really sail at the moment and I can handle the boat, but am by no means an experienced sailor. On a scale of 1 to 10, one being not very crazy, and ten being entirely crazy, how crazy would you say we are to embark on a cruise from Galveston to Florida and beyond into the Caribbean, (after a half year of practice / safety courses / preperation, of course)?

We'd like to hug the coastline and avoid serious passage-making / night sailing, etc. I suppose the main problem is that we don't know exactly what the Hunter 290 is capable of. Any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated. The other unknown is sailing the Northern Gulf Coast. How does one figure out how to get from Texas to florida. Obviously, you want to point generally East, but how does one go about finding safe ports / anchorages, etc?

Thanks very much,

James and Teresa
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Old 10-04-2009, 16:30   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
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Take the intracoastal from Texas to Fort Myers. You will get a lot of time on the boat just doing that. Then do an overnight from Fort Meyers to Key West. Then hop over to the Bahamas and figure it out from there. Don't pick a long term destination before you go. Just go and enjoy the beautiful waterways in front of you.
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:20   #3
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One, definitely.

You're talking about gaining some experience, then taking a cautious, safe cruise to a (relatively) nearby destination, with each leg slowly becoming more challenging.

The regions you're planning on sailing through are reasonably well-covered by cruising guides. This is the Gulf portion of the IntraCoastal Waterway, which runs from Brownsville, TX all the way to Florida, cuts through the middle of Florida, and then goes up the east coast to New Jersey. Wikipedia has a good introductory article about the ICW. This is one leg of the Great Loop route, too, and cruising guides for that will also be helpful.

I don't know anything about your boat. Most likely it is not designed for long offshore cruising and surviving the ultimate storm - very very few boats are. But sailing from where you are to the leeward islands can easily be done in short hops; iirc there's only one over-night passage required. And at any point along the way you can stop and say this is far enough, or even decide to upgrade boats if you've decided this is what you want to do for the rest of your lives.

Fair winds and following seas to both of you!

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog anchored in a coral atoll.
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