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Old 13-08-2011, 10:37   #1
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Advice Needed or Someone to Follow - Miami to Tampa

Hello!

We are new sailors. We sailed our dufour 34 from Marco Island to Miami with help of a captain.

We are ready to sail from Miami back to Tampa on our own this time.

We are planning to leave somewhere between August 26-31.

We would like any input from anyone who has made this trip, as to the best places to stop each day, and any particular info for those places.

We draft 5'10" and came around using the yacht channel, we are planning on reversing course to go back to Tampa.

If anyone is planning to make this voyage, we sure would like to follow, to make sure we make a safe passage.

Any assistance would be much appreciated.

Kind Regards,
Tom and Dawn
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Old 13-08-2011, 10:58   #2
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Re: advice needed or someone to follow Miami to Tampa

That is a nice trip either direction. We have done it several times, different ways. If Key West is someplace you want to go, there is but one option and it is easy to take the Hawke Channel back (with stops along the way) and then do an overnighter (or 2) back to your destination of choice.

The other option is to Head North under the Seven Mile Bridge at Marathon using your charts and navigational skills to avoid a couple of shallow spots (this is easy to do). The nice thing about this route, assuming you are more in the boat moving frame of mind than not, is that you can make it all the way up the coast using day sails or the overnighter option.

For example, if you "park" on the West side of Vaca Key (Marathon)(which is a perfectly good anchorage spot) you can easily leave in the dark and make a daylight trip to the Little Shark River, with an easy anchorage right at the entry.

Then head north the next day to Marco Island or ? Another daylight run and you're there!

Have fun the West Coast of Florida is great sailing!
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Old 13-08-2011, 11:04   #3
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Re: advice needed or someone to follow Miami to Tampa

Thank you for the advice! We will look at the charts for the places that you have recommended. We will probably start out on the intercoastal from our slip at Dinner Key Marina down toward Gilberts for the first day. If I remember correctly, that was around 7.5 hours.... a good first day. Then after that the details get fuzzier.
Thanks again!
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Old 13-08-2011, 11:07   #4
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Re: advice needed or someone to follow Miami to Tampa

That route is heavily and commonly traveled and not difficult. An excellant resource as to stops and anchorages is available at ActiveCaptain.com. Registration is free and it's an excellant resource. More problematical at this time of year is the weather. For reasonably good near-term weather predictions, see either PassageWeather.com and/or SailFlow.com. The only real pain in the neck, assuming you've got good weather, is the squalls that come off the Everglades along the West coast seemingly every evening at this time of year. Not necessarily dangerous but a real PITA...

FWIW...
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Old 13-08-2011, 11:13   #5
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Re: advice needed or someone to follow Miami to Tampa

Wow, Thanks for all of the good links.
With the advice so far, I can look at the charts, and try to find appropriate anchorages for the nights.
I am getting a subscription to XM weather for the GPS...so hopefully, I will have an extra tool to keep me aware of developing cells.
Thank you!
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Old 13-08-2011, 12:08   #6
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Re: advice needed or someone to follow Miami to Tampa

I don't see the purpose of heading to Gibert's for your first day with the 5'10" draft. It would seem to be a "dead end". I often pass from Gibert's down to Yacht Channel on the Bayside with my 4'3" draft and I don't see it as a possibility with 5'10". When you were northbound didn't you pass through the 65' fixed bridge between Long Key and Lower Matecumbe to Hawk Channel for your clear passage to Miami? There are a few 5' or even less than 5' spots bayside on the route from Long Key to Key Largo.
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Old 13-08-2011, 13:41   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilertom
Hello!

We are new sailors. We sailed our dufour 34 from Marco Island to Miami with help of a captain.

We are ready to sail from Miami back to Tampa on our own this time.

We are planning to leave somewhere between August 26-31.

We would like any input from anyone who has made this trip, as to the best places to stop each day, and any particular info for those places.

We draft 5'10" and came around using the yacht channel, we are planning on reversing course to go back to Tampa.

If anyone is planning to make this voyage, we sure would like to follow, to make sure we make a safe passage.

Any assistance would be much appreciated.

Kind Regards,
Tom and Dawn
Check your GPS, if tracking was turned on you should be able to use the captains route back across Florida Bay.... Assuming same tide and no weird winds.

Bill
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Old 13-08-2011, 15:11   #8
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Re: Advice Needed or Someone to Follow - Miami to Tampa

Welcome Aboard Cruisers Forum Tom and Dawn
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Old 13-08-2011, 16:31   #9
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Re: advice needed or someone to follow Miami to Tampa

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
I don't see the purpose of heading to Gibert's for your first day with the 5'10" draft. It would seem to be a "dead end". I often pass from Gibert's down to Yacht Channel on the Bayside with my 4'3" draft and I don't see it as a possibility with 5'10". When you were northbound didn't you pass through the 65' fixed bridge between Long Key and Lower Matecumbe to Hawk Channel for your clear passage to Miami? There are a few 5' or even less than 5' spots bayside on the route from Long Key to Key Largo.
The purpose is...that is the way the captain brought us around the first time. We overnighted at Gilberts and left around 8am the next morning, arriving at Dinner Key Marina around 330pm.

We spent the whole trip inside the keys in the yacht channel/ICW with no problems whatsoever. So you are saying the channel is less than 5'?

I respect any advice. But as I am new....I am only retracing my route coming over.

Thanks!
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Old 13-08-2011, 16:51   #10
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Re: advice needed or someone to follow Miami to Tampa

Quote:
Originally Posted by oilertom View Post
.............We spent the whole trip inside the keys in the yacht channel/ICW with no problems whatsoever. So you are saying the channel is less than 5'?..............Thanks!
I looked a dufour 34 sites and saw drafts from 4'9" to 6'4". Are you sure that your draft is 5'10"? My experience does not support the opportunity of a vessel with a 5'10" draft transitting from Long Key to Gilbert's on the bayside of the Keys. I've made this passage at least a dozen times and always found depths en route less than 5.5 feet.
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Old 14-08-2011, 05:30   #11
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Re: Advice Needed or Someone to Follow - Miami to Tampa

Hey I re-read my reply. I was a bit short in my answer. We draw 5' (loaded, always know your LOADED draft) and I wouldn't try the inside. Just go out into the Hawke channel at Key Biscayne and turn right! With few exception (watch your charts!) there is plenty of deep, clean Atlantic water the whole way inside the reef. This is some of the best cruising in the world.

First stop West for us -- Cedar Creek. An easy day sail. Next day Long Key, either bight or N of bridge. Next to Vaca Key, then New Found Harbor, Then KEy West. Or any of a bazillion other options (Bazillion is a true nautical term when used in conjunction with "options").

BTW we love the Coconut grove area, and have spent a couple of months at different times at the mooring field. Ask James if he knows anyone else going that direction...somebody is allways going that way.

short, sweet, now
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Old 14-08-2011, 11:53   #12
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Re: advice needed or someone to follow Miami to Tampa

Quote:
Originally Posted by oilertom View Post
The purpose is...that is the way the captain brought us around the first time. We overnighted at Gilberts and left around 8am the next morning, arriving at Dinner Key Marina around 330pm. . . .
Thanks!
I would agree with CaptForce that maybe you do not have a 5'10" draft. If you have never seen the boat out of the water on the hard and measured the distance from the waterline to the keel bottom - it is probable that the number given you can from a different model boat.
- - Along with mast height above water, it is very important to know your actual water draft by hand measuring each.
- - For water draft, take the boat out the south channel of Dinner Key and grab a mooring for an hour and jump over the side with either a boat pole or yard stick or something. Stick the yard stick between the bottom and the bottom of your keel and measure the distance between. Then take a long pole or even a string with a weight on it and drop it over the side of the boat and measure the physical depth of the water. The difference between the two measurements will be your actual water draft.
- - Relying of depth sounders, etc. is really not very accurate. Biscayne Bay has plenty of sandy bottoms and shallow waters where you can jump over the side and get an actual measurement.
- - Tides in the Blackwater Sound area seem to be in the 2 foot to 2.4 foot range so if you passed the area at high tide you might have made it through but would not if you were there at low tide.
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Old 14-08-2011, 12:13   #13
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Re: advice needed or someone to follow Miami to Tampa

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.............. Tides in the Blackwater Sound area seem to be in the 2 foot to 2.4 foot range so if you passed the area at high tide you might have made it through but would not if you were there at low tide.
In addition, the tides in Florida Bay, Blackwater Sound and down to Yacht Channel are much affected by recent winds and this decreases their predictability. If your draft is truly 5'10" then your captain has my greatest respect for his skill in taking you through.
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