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Old 03-12-2013, 20:22   #16
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Youngs guide for the Keys has lots of detail but really bad organization approach which can make it a pain to use.
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:49   #17
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

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We looked at buying Young's guide, but with a release date of January, 2008 we were worried it would be too dated. Actually we struggled to find any really current cruising guides for Western Florida when we searched recently. Any current ones out there?

Mike and Brenda
FYI: The Waterway Guide 2014 Southern Edition is updated yearly and was printed this fall. It covers the Gulf coast of FL through TX, plus the FL East Coast and the Keys. (It's on 20% holiday sale online for the next few weeks). Happy cruising!
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:11   #18
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

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It is funny that when we live here and have seen it all it does not seem exciting.
Yeah, lived in Orlando for a long time. Friends from "back home" would always say, "Oh! That must be SOOOO cool! Living in Orlando, with all the parks, and things to do. Like, you could go to Disney World every week. Wow, you are so lucky!"

Uh... No. Orlando is pretty much like anywhere else. You visit most of the parks during the first month or so and then it is just as boring as anywhere else that you have lived. And while Disney does a great job of entertaining visitors, frankly, they make a pretty lousy neighbor.

I have no doubt that people who have been living full-time in the BVI for some years find it just as boring as most of us find our homes, and probably wonder why so many tourists bother to come there every year.

Oh, yeah. And to contribute to the original topic of this thread, I have found this to be a good resource...
http://www.flseagrant.org/anchorage/..._sites_map.php
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:48   #19
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

we cruised gulf coast fla without any guides..omg we musta done it worng. all we used were paper charts and an antique garmin gps..lol
do not miss apalachicola and port st joe. there are places you wont learn from cruising guises in that area. loved it. icw between euseppa island and ft myers is awesome also.
if you have a tall mast you will have to miss out on a lot of icw, but if you can get under a 50 ft bridge you are golden.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:52   #20
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

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we cruised gulf coast fla without any guides..omg we musta done it worng. all we used were paper charts and an antique garmin gps..lol
do not miss apalachicola and port st joe. there are places you wont learn from cruising guises in that area. loved it. icw between euseppa island and ft myers is awesome also.
if you have a tall mast you will have to miss out on a lot of icw, but if you can get under a 50 ft bridge you are golden.
Zee's comment is worth reposting. Lots of folks seem to think the Gulf Coast of Florida starts at Tampa Bay and only goes South. Some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen are between Pensacola and Shell Point, almost deserted clean white sand that goes on for miles. There are also several rivers that merit exploration, not the least of which is the Suwanee River made famous by Stephan Foster's song. I have an old edition of Tom Lenfestey's "A Gunkholer's Cruising Guide to Florida's West Coast" that is still useful. There lots of newer and older editions available on Amazon.

Gunkholing

At the right time of year late fall, winter, and early spring this is some of the best cruising I have ever seen.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:19   #21
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Agreed, I live on Anna Maria Island, and while it's beautiful here....I can't imagine chartering here.
Why not?

I used to live in the Bradenton area. SW FL is a great cruising ground. I worked as a charter captain and ran a lot of charters in the area. Loads of great options for charter guests and cruisers. Also cruised it just for fun for many years. Charter rates are lower than many other venues too (I assume that's still the case).
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:57   #22
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

there is so much beauty in th e gulf coast,and that part sometimes called the forgotten coast... but there is also alabama and mississippi and pensacola... the icw in there has bays for anchoring with sprint towers close by so no loss of communication--wolf bay and ingrahams bayou are awesome on the non florida side.... and on the fla side is pirates cove--we didnt hit that spot, as we went to lulus by logistics need... is all so gorgeous.... pensacola we went out into gulf to apalach.... we did th eicw between port st joe and apalach.. we didnt go to panama city and in there.... white city is a goodplace for hiding from storms. on the cut down to st josephs bay you will find some interesting things --we stayed in the sunken boats place--is engineers marina.. also good in storms...ther are sunk boats there. then the fish rendering plant.. then the bridge then st josephs bay. watch where ye put yer boat in that fast running lil mouth of the cut. beware the spoils bank just outthe entrance of the cut--it is not short and water is like 2 -3 ft in normal conditions, but, with 41kt winds, is 6 inches in the trough of the 4 plus ft chop. can be a lil sickly.
on your paper charts, the water IS one FOOT deep in places,and accurate, --use depth sounder and stay in channels. charts were accurate when we slid thru in a 4 1/2 ft draft sloop. bridge heights are 50 ft. there are ways to tip boat to get thru. also folks who charge for that service.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:19   #23
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
we cruised gulf coast fla without any guides..omg we musta done it worng. all we used were paper charts and an antique garmin gps..lol
do not miss apalachicola and port st joe. there are places you wont learn from cruising guises in that area. loved it. icw between euseppa island and ft myers is awesome also.
if you have a tall mast you will have to miss out on a lot of icw, but if you can get under a 50 ft bridge you are golden.
Honestly, that is how I have done most of my Fl W coast sailing. Study chart for likely places. Take into account wind direction and check it out.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:38   #24
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Looking back over the OPs original questions....some more responses:

Either St Pete or Ft Meyers have lots of options for a 5 day, or longer, charter. Lots of anchorages and lots of places to go ashore for dinner etc. Miami is an entertaining area for people watching but for sailing and exploring best to go S into the Keys. I would stick with the SW coast or the Keys.

Good sailing wind is normal....as are afternoon and evening squalls...and biblical lightening.

Re online charts. All of NOAAs charts are now available online. Good coverage of Florida. I also just went for a little nostalgic digital sail from Tarpon Springs down to the Keys using Navionics and the accuracy and detail were quite good (based on my memory anyway). Lots of fond memories of cruising SW FL.

Re water depth. Lots of shallow water inside the coast line, but also lots of well marked channels...so many it can get confusing in places. Notably where inbound channels cross the ICW, the over simplified, "red right returning" may not apply...study your intended routes first. Consistent water depths for sailing are better just off the coast or in the larger bays...like Tampa Bay.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:08   #25
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

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I am thinking about bareboat chartering either out of Fort Meyers or St Petersburg. I have never sailed in either of those areas and want to know if sailing is good. Also I will have the boat for 5 days and like to go to different harbors, dinghy in for dinner, etc. Are there lots of destinations like that. I have been trying to find charts on line with water depths for these areas and still can not get a good feel for what I want to do. Originally wanted to do such at Key West but can not locate a 32 ft monohull available there. Little more familiar with Key West. Another option is Miami area, but do not want to be dodging other boats all day. I have a sailboat on the Chesapeake and most familiar with that type of sailing. Would appreciate any good info.
Also reorienting and going back to the OP.

Ft Myers.
Burnt store marina.
John DeKeyser
Sailing Charters, Catamarans, Monohulls, Trawlers, and Motor Yachts in Southwest Florida

They have a 34 Bene. Maybe that will do.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:33   #26
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

We chartered with Florida Sailing out of the Vinoy Marina in St. Pete two summers ago and had a great time. Since I was a relatively newbie and nervous sailor we day-sailed for a few days in Tampa Bay and had a fine time. Then we sailed out under the Flyway Bridge, up a short ways along the Manateee River and anchored out in a very quiet, calm, beautiful cove at DeSoto Point. We also sailed to Egmont Key, Anna Maria Island and just puttered around enjoying the beauty of sailing. We'd go back again and would plan to go farther afield to the south either inside or outside. Once nice thing about chartering in the Vinoy Marina is that for $20, two of us got use of the hotel facilities and deep discounts on hotel food service. We also enjoyed walking around St. Pete and dining at the various restaurants there. On the day we returned from DeSoto point after anchoring out, we sailed the tail-end of a hellacious afternoon thunderstorm. Boy, were we glad to be able to hop off the boat and take a nice long, hot shower and be served a giant glass of wine and an even bigger medium-rare ribeye!
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Old 05-12-2013, 13:04   #27
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...and Central Avenue, not far from the Vinoy, has (I assume still does) many bar and resturant options. One of my favorite cigar bars used to be there...a very nice way to end a day on the water.
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Old 05-12-2013, 13:21   #28
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

When I lived in Ft. Myers back in the late 70's, I did a lot of sailing in and around that area. As others have mentioned, there are some great spots to duck into and drop hook or tie up at night. A good sail from Ft Myers is the run down to Naples or Marco Island. Turning north from Ft Myers there are several nice anchorages all the way up to St. Pete.

There use to be a nice little restaurant on an island behind Captiva Island that was only reachable by boat. I've forgotten the name, but it was always a fun destination, especially if you wanted to get out of the Gulf for a while.

The fall and spring are the best times to sail the gulf, but winter days can be nice too if the temps are mild. Summer time is not the time you want to venture out in the open Gulf...unless you really enjoy no wind in the morning and vicious storms in the afternoon.
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Old 10-12-2013, 20:40   #29
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

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When I lived in Ft. Myers back in the late 70's, I did a lot of sailing in and around that area. As others have mentioned, there are some great spots to duck into and drop hook or tie up at night. A good sail from Ft Myers is the run down to Naples or Marco Island. Turning north from Ft Myers there are several nice anchorages all the way up to St. Pete.

There use to be a nice little restaurant on an island behind Captiva Island that was only reachable by boat. I've forgotten the name, but it was always a fun destination, especially if you wanted to get out of the Gulf for a while.

The fall and spring are the best times to sail the gulf, but winter days can be nice too if the temps are mild. Summer time is not the time you want to venture out in the open Gulf...unless you really enjoy no wind in the morning and vicious storms in the afternoon.
I believe you're talking about Cabbage Key, buddy of mine goes down there all the time.

Sarasota Bay is a good mooring spot, you can dinghy up to some fancy restaurants. In Bradenton, you can just take your regular boat up to the Twin Dolphin restaurant/marina. Lots of good sailing in that area, I miss it for that.
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Old 10-12-2013, 21:23   #30
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Re: Sailing Gulf Coast Florida

It's hard to beat The Waterway Guide Southern Edition for the West Coast of Florida. Get on their email list and you'll get updates on navigation changes in the area and other useful information.
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