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Old 22-12-2009, 08:43   #16
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I sail from Panama City to the Keys each winter (leaving in January or February). I have a 42' Cascade custom cutter. You did not say where in the Panhandle you are, but if you are close to Panama City I would be glad to meet you and share information about sailing the Gulf and about places to stop. Of course there are a lot of places you can make port in that are closed to me because of my draft (6').
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Old 22-12-2009, 09:12   #17
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Originally Posted by forsailbyowner View Post
tieing off tiller will be problematic and take constant supervision. The winds are seldom steady directionally in the gulf. Tillerpilot will make life much more enjoyable.
I hear you, and I wouldn't even try to do this without some sort of self-steering, but you misunderstand me a bit... I'm not talking about just tying off the tiller. That might work for certain angles to the wind, but not good enough for general work.

What I plan to do is called sheet-to-tiller self-steering, as described in detail in "Self-Steering for Sailing Craft" by John S. Letcher.

Here's some info:

Self Steering Without A Windvane

The advantage is the boat steers by the wind like with a wind vane, rather than a compass, so she won't jibe if the wind shifts.

I have tried it briefly on my old Southern Cross, but the Blue Moon should track even better than the SC, and I'll have plenty of time to perfect the settings and gear.

-- John
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Old 22-12-2009, 09:16   #18
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I was only there once and from looking at the shore line my guess is that there is very little "swell" on this coast?

Is this a fair assumption?
Prevailing winds are N-NE-E this time of year. So yes, close to shore the swells aren't much. But a good NE wind will create swells 5-10 miles offshore. Of course beating back wouldn't be fun. I guess it depends on your definition of 'sea trial'.

Good Luck!
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Old 22-12-2009, 09:33   #19
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Originally Posted by Mule View Post
If you stop in Tarpon Springs, get ready for some fabulous Greek food. The touristy Sponge Docks, the center of civilization in TS have bakeries, restraunts and so forth. 3 days there, go back to sea and you will not need to eat until you get to Key West.
The northern Gulf, Homosasa Springs and northward, if your boat sinks 20 miles offshore you can walk to the beach from there. Damnest slow drop off to deep water I think I have seen. Lastly, the Gulf can be a real bitch, it is a small bath tub. Weather will cause seas like any other body or water but the wave distance from peak to peak is so short seems you can have 10 ft seas and be hitting the next wave b4 coming off the preceeding one. Added to that it seems the seas are often so unsettled. You can be steaming along merrily getting the shi+ kicked out of you with say seas on the port quater, then out of nowhere comes a rogue that slaps the hell out of you from the starboard beam..
Good luck and safe sailing
Ugh... that doesn't sound good. But I'm used to Long Island Sound, where we also get a nasty chop. Hopefully, I'll get a good weather window and make a long dash south. Just have to play it by ear.
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Old 22-12-2009, 09:37   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalusk View Post
I sail from Panama City to the Keys each winter (leaving in January or February). I have a 42' Cascade custom cutter. You did not say where in the Panhandle you are, but if you are close to Panama City I would be glad to meet you and share information about sailing the Gulf and about places to stop. Of course there are a lot of places you can make port in that are closed to me because of my draft (6').
The boat is currently in Steinhatchee River. Actually, I'm not sure if that qualifies as the Panhandle, but it's pretty close.

I appreciate the kind offer, though!

-- John
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Old 22-12-2009, 14:12   #21
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Panhandle

No, Steinhatchee does not qualify as the Panhandle. Probably Carrabelle would qualify as it is the end of the Intracoastal until you get to Tarpon Springs. You have to go outside in the Gulf between the two points.
Wish you well on your journey. If I can help you in anyway, let me know.
DaedalusK
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Old 22-12-2009, 15:36   #22
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Remember that on the East side the current in the Gulfstream is as (maybe more) important as the prevailing winds. Study the flow charts available on line and search this site. Since the GS can flow as fast as 4 knots in spots it can really be a big help in your case since it flows North. I have found that sometimes I can sacrifice a little boat speed and more than make it up in ground speed by staying in the stream rather than tacking off.
Keep the dirty side down!
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Old 22-12-2009, 19:34   #23
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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
Prevailing winds are N-NE-E this time of year. So yes, close to shore the swells aren't much. But a good NE wind will create swells 5-10 miles offshore. Of course beating back wouldn't be fun. I guess it depends on your definition of 'sea trial'.

Good Luck!
Thanks. Yes we are looking for a real sea trial if we can manage it. The boat is somewhat unusual, a 43' aluminum schooner with two Hoyt job booms and relatively shoal draft. Some expert opinion says it will be fine, but check it out.
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Old 22-12-2009, 21:41   #24
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I helped a friend deliver an old Telstar 26 trimaran that he bought off e bay from Steinhatchee to key west last january,we made stops in Tarpon Springs and Ft Myers,actually pine Island.I left the boat in Key west and they continued on to Belize.Lots of crab pots all the way down the down the coast which were a pita to us.We spent the trip as far as Ft Myers in Foulies,it was cold and wet but the wind was from behind,we are from Minnesota and were still plenty cold.Good luck and have fun.
Steve.
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Old 22-12-2009, 21:48   #25
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BTW,make sure you purchase all your charts and cruising guides before you go ,we couldnt buy anything in Steinhatchee.
Steve.
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Old 23-12-2009, 05:45   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mardav View Post
Remember that on the East side the current in the Gulfstream is as (maybe more) important as the prevailing winds. Study the flow charts available on line and search this site. Since the GS can flow as fast as 4 knots in spots it can really be a big help in your case since it flows North. I have found that sometimes I can sacrifice a little boat speed and more than make it up in ground speed by staying in the stream rather than tacking off.
Keep the dirty side down!
Yes, the run from the Keys up past Miami, etc., is a bigger worry for me than the Gulf. I will have my brother on board for that leg so we can just sail the whole leg in one go and get past it.
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Old 23-12-2009, 05:49   #27
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I helped a friend deliver an old Telstar 26 trimaran that he bought off e bay from Steinhatchee to key west last january,we made stops in Tarpon Springs and Ft Myers,actually pine Island.I left the boat in Key west and they continued on to Belize.Lots of crab pots all the way down the down the coast which were a pita to us.We spent the trip as far as Ft Myers in Foulies,it was cold and wet but the wind was from behind,we are from Minnesota and were still plenty cold.Good luck and have fun.
Steve.
Hadn't thought of crab pots. We have lots of them here in Long Island, but the Blue Moon's full keel with attached rudder should help with them.

After the last 'snow-my-god' storm here in NY, anything should be an improvement in the weather
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Old 23-12-2009, 05:53   #28
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BTW,make sure you purchase all your charts and cruising guides before you go ,we couldnt buy anything in Steinhatchee.
Steve.
I was looking at charts last night... thinking of getting the ChartKit for the East and West coast of FL... It's just so dang expensive to buy individual charts that you're going to use once.
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Old 23-12-2009, 06:47   #29
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We know those waters extremely well, having lived and boated that whole coast for many, many years. Most of the hints you have been given are good...but there can be trouble spots.

Most of the area you are traversing from Steinhatchee is what is known as the Appalachee Bay....it is, for the most part extremely shallow....so know your draft, and monitor the bottom diligently. You should not miss Cedar Key as suggested, but the entrance has always been quirky, especially for sailing vessels, plus being the winter season, there is not much open, or at least, didn't used to be...it is a fishing town... As mentioned, Tarpon is a great stop with several good yards if you have trouble. Lighthouse is our favorite. Allan, the mechanic, is the best on the east coast (if you have a deisel?).

Most of the area between Tarpon and St Pete is pretty shallow as well, in particular from Anclotte Key in the ICW if you have to do that. I would likely try to make Sarasota the next day, but if the winds are howling when you get to the mouth of Tampa Bay, you may want to slip into Johns Pass, or North Channel (although it can be shallow too) to avoid the swell, chop, and confused seastate we get there.... The next best stop, if you are making way, is Naples, and then the easy, but shallow trip across Florida Bay is usally pretty calm....taking you into Duck Key (our favorite in the keys.... for a much needed rest....). You will miss the soutehrn keys, but since you are not neecessarily on a cruise, that would be the fastest route. From there, throughout the east coast there are plenty of ways to get into the ICW (watch Sebastian Inlet - -one of the trickiest inlets on the east coast) to avoid weather, that you WILL likely have.

If you want to discuss further, I can make some time, as my business is pretty much over until after the New Year. Merry Christmas, and Safe Travels...

Charles
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Old 23-12-2009, 07:30   #30
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It seems you are asking for advice on doing a 'delivery trip', across the Gulf and up the E Coast to LI, either short-handed or single-handed and on a small boat. If that's accurate, then here's what I'd be thinking about:
-- lots of layers; you are going to find the weather very challenging at times (right now it's 37 F here in Jax, FL)
-- self-steering; you'll want - for numerous reasons - the boat to self-steer reliably for large chunks of the trip (Gulf crossing, bays & sounds crossings along the ICW, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Sound, along the NJ coast)
-- weather: the more you can stay in protected water, the less you'll be held up by frontal passages (which are the dominant wx feature this time of year...so: check on the Okeechobee Waterway by calling the Corps of Engineers; it makes no sense to sail S to & across Florida Bay and then work your way back N when you can cross FL in protected waters and save lots of time; however, be sure to check the locks are all working, not just confirm the water depth on the cross-lake route
-- weather: conversely, I'd plan as direct a run as possible from the Panhandle (departing from perhaps Apalachicola) to the ICW (from Tarpon south) after insuring I was able to make the run inbetween frontal passages (which will be very rough and cold this time of year in the Gulf); the coast inbetween (Cedar Key being an exception) is shallow & featureless and I wouldn't want to be closing it, fingers crossed to find shelter, as the frontal winds begin to clock - and doubly so at night
-- weather: just as others have pointed out, from FL's W coast up to Beaufort, NC, you have the option of watching weather and jumping outside to make good miles -or- staying inside and still progressing in less desirable weather.

I made most of this run in a strong 20' sloop some years ago and the overarching memory of the experience is that it took a l-o-n-g time. Don't underestimate the consequences of having such short daylight periods this time of year, the inefficiencies forced on you by the weather, the slow speed of your boat, and the likely physical discomfort you'll often feel. I also remember bringing a small boat up the Chesapeake Bay in February, non-stop from Norfolk to Annapolis, and it reminded me of winter duck hunting where one sits for hours in a blind while noticing as each piece of one's body begins to go dead in the numbing cold.

Good luck to you. In your shoes, I'd consider a trailer or Spring...but at least you'll have stories to share and some unique memories.

Jack
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