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Old 08-10-2012, 10:05   #1
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Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

Good Morning!

My wife and I are new to this forum. I researched as much as I could, but couldn't really get an answer (probably due to lack of search skills) about the following. First, we have a 1998 F28R, with good sails and general good condition. We have solar and a Torqeedo 2.0. I have been sailing the boat in inland lakes in Missouri, getting used to it and learning the quirks. Personally, I have many years on a Hobie Getaway, but little time in the ocean. Only about 80 hours sailing the F28R. I do a lot of research before taking things on and will have the boat prepared.

I love the boat. My wife loves the boat. We want to dip our toes into a little coastal cruising where I can provide some sandy beaches, beautiful weather, good food and, probably, some bed n breakfasts for my wife. I want to ease into our cruising future. I do not expect to be circumnavigating in a Gunboat in the future, or doing much blue water work.

My wife doesn't like to suffer too much, and neither do I. We have 25 years together and are very comfortable with each other.

We discussed possibly trailering the boat down to the keys this march, or making the run over to the bahamas. We would only have 12 days, though, door to door (would prefer more, but that's what we have).

I look to the august members of this forum for advice about what would be a good destination for some toe-dipping and fun.

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Old 08-10-2012, 12:07   #2
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

With 12 days, I'd rule out the Bahamas...just not enough time to enjoy them and you might need to wait days for the right conditions to cross the gulf stream. The Keys are a great choice, especially since you can drive there and put her in at a boat ramp. Lots of destinations, from State Parks, snorkling reefs, beaches, and the Key West experience, even nice anchorages on the Florida Bay side where you can find total solitude. We anchored one night near the Spanish Channel where we didn't see a single light from land...just one distant channel marker and Fat Albert, the blimp tethered off of Cudjoe Key. You'll have a lot of fun!
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:08   #3
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

Your plan might work but your time is short if you have to wait weather to cross. Therefore contemplate options:

The area from Gulf Shores AL to Apalachicola FL.

Keys on the inside (fla bay) are fun with an F-boat. I have gone for Christmas week with my F27 for years. I launch at Gilbert's
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:56   #4
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

Thank you to both Tami and Michael!!

We are really leaning toward the keys after your comments. I will get to work on making sure my boat is ready!!

Fin
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:51   #5
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

I would check the condition of the batteries and get and idea of the range with that engine. You might add to the bank. On a lake you will always get to some shore, but on the ocean, not so much. Also, more engine is required for inlets and channels, as much as you would like to think you are a sailor; a 2- to 3-knot current is not that rare. For this reason, electrics on the ocean are rare. A Yamaha 9.9 gas engine is more usual for your size boat. A lot more power and range.

Also remember that cruising is different than day sailing in that you are out EVERY DAY, good or bad. Too much wind (can take a lay-day) or no wind (engine time).

Great boat. Keys sound smart.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:06   #6
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

Bahamas are out in that time frame. You dont say where you are located, but it sounds like the Keys would be good. If I was using a Torqueedo, I would carry along a Honda 2000 generator. Is the Chesapeake warm yet in March? That would be great too.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:13   #7
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

If you...I mean, WHEN you cruise the Keys this coming March, know that you are allowed to anchor anywhere you like, except a few areas that are off-limits now that the new anchoring & mooring pilot program is in place. You can search our website, the FWC website, or many others for the details (The Chesapeake in March? Brrrrrr!).
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:35   #8
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

Hi. I don't know what part of Missouri you are in but I am in St Louis and have a boat in Milwaukee. I sailed an F27 and F31 for a bunch of years. Don't overlook the Great Lakes. Much closer to home and some of the finest cruising anywhere (at least in the summer). I would be glad to talk to you if you want to message me.
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Old 09-10-2012, 13:31   #9
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

Wow! Thanks again for more help! In answer to questions, my Torqeedo is backed up by two 12 volt Lithium batteries, in series for 24V, with 180AH of reserve. The bimini has 260 watts of solar recharging the batteries. I can run full throttle (@6.5 - 7 knots) for two hours or @4 knots for 12+ hours without needing a recharge. A generator is probably a good idea, although even running the motor at 5 knots for close to an hour never even touched my batteries.. I was thinking of bringing a portable 6hp gas motor for my dinghy and in case there is no sun, etc....

I would love to cruise the great lakes ( am in Columbia), maybe at the end of next summer. The trip down the keys is to be as laid back as possible, so that I don't kill my wife's desire to sail!!!!

Generally, I try to use the motor minimally. The F28R needs nearly no breeze to go 4-5 knots. It's amazing.

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Old 09-10-2012, 14:34   #10
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

lived on my f31 in the keys, still here, new boat. if you make it down let me know, can give you some choice spots to visit.
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Old 09-10-2012, 15:09   #11
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

apalachiacola to port st joe on the icw--is a beautiful trip. good anchorages and docking places...st joseph bay is good for day sailing and fun....i enjoyed the entire coast we sailed between fort jefferson, dry tortugas, and slidell louisiana...is gorgeous area.
lake ponchartrain s also a good sailing ground...
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Old 09-10-2012, 16:45   #12
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

As much as I love cruising the Bahamas I would strongly discourage you on such a short time budget. Schedules and sailing equal a recipe for disaster. The Keys are nice but far away and expensive.

May I suggest the panhandle of Florida.

From Pensacola to Carabelle you'll find a lot of interesting spots to gunkhole as well as a lively nightlife if desired along the way. It's cheap with lots of free anchorages, plenty of amenities and some nice scenery.

The panhandle is a good place to get you feet wet, shake down the boat and the time you save travelling can be spent on the water.

Then plan your trip to the Bahamas, for they are well worth cruising and even a few months is not enough to see and enjoy all they have to offer.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:45   #13
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

Rover, I agree - Bahamas are out for this trip. Not enough time - we have about 12 days. Probably need 6 months for that one! We are continuing to look at the west coast of FL and the Keys. Again, great advice from everyone, much appreciated!
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:57   #14
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

Finley, they are all wrong

10 hours on a 747 and you are in Greece with 4000 years of history and thousands of islands to sail around, but best do it quick before the Germans own them all. Avoid Aug and Sep too hot.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:34   #15
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Re: Newbie Cruising Grounds!!

Come to think, I should mention: it has been my experience that it is a good thing to have two different anchor types for the Keys. I used to carry two Fortress until the time I tried to anchor in the Mangrove Marina basin and the Fort wouldn't penetrate the grass. I now carry a Manson and a Fortress, ergo have a plow and a danforth, as the Keys bottoms vary greatly.

hi Shipofools, we met last Christmas. How's that purty Shuttleworth treating ya?
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