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Old 07-03-2015, 10:40   #1
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Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

Just curious if the 7 mile bridge is a safe passage for a 30' mast height.
My charts say it is however id like a more current assessment of the bridge. Mainly someone who KNOWS its safe to pass under. And where is the best passing. OR if sailing around the keys is a better experience. I'm open for ideas suggestions and any knowledge.
This is my first time sailing in the ocean. I dropped in at Ft Myers on my way to the Bahamas and further if things go smoothly.
Thank you.



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Old 07-03-2015, 11:01   #2
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

Yes you can. You can also do channel 5 or snake creek.


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Old 07-03-2015, 13:33   #3
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

Excellent. Thank you kindly.


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Old 07-03-2015, 14:31   #4
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

We're doing the same route, except I'm in 28 feet. Left fort Myers three days ago and now just leaving key west, beating up the south side to summerland cay to provision before hopping off. Holler if you're around and we can swap yarns.


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Old 08-03-2015, 05:30   #5
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

Most definitely. I've been looking for someone to talk to and get ideas from. I'm up for any knowledge or helpful hints. I'm anchored in Marco Island right now. Leaving Monday morning I think to cape sable then cut across to key largo. If there's any way to get in contact with people doing this please let me know. So far this seems to be the best resource available. Thanks again. Definitely interested in hearing stories, ideas, and whatever else that would be helpful.


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Old 08-03-2015, 06:30   #6
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

You'll be fine @ 30' vertical.
According to the USCG out of Marathon, the vertical clearance in Moser Channel of the Seven Mile Bridge (Statute Mile 1195) is 65 feet; but, I believe, some charts indicate 63'.
Bridge Clearance of 'Seven Mile Bridge' (South of Boot Key) ?
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:34   #7
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

I'm the only one I know of. The cruisers I met in Key West usually go to the Bahamas, but decided to stay in the Keys as they got a late start this year. Not that it's out of season or anything, they just didn't see the payoff.
I hit two crab pots on the overnight from fort Myers. Some genius had painted them blue; impossible to see. So watch out for those! I really wanted to see little shark river which would be a shortish sail from Marco if you were interested. Don't know if you intend to go down to key west, but the garrison bight mooring field was super rolly in these recent winds. I'll probably leave for the Bahamas in about five or six days, weather cooperating.


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Old 08-03-2015, 09:52   #8
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

23ftsailor

I'm about 10 miles north of you, sailing south right now ... but I'll probably overnight and pull into the Keys in the morning. You can definitely clear because I do ...


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Old 08-03-2015, 11:10   #9
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

I sailed under a number of times. I sail a Gulfstar 45' and it's mast height is 54' off the water no problem I do not remember tide height at the time but remember it wasn't close at the time. I've sailed in the keys for seven years. I confer with all of your messages. Hawk Channel is a semi protected sail. Rodrigues Key is a good spot to anchor for the night. We usually anchor out side of Marathon's Boot Harbor, just to the left of Boot Harbor and the bridge. You can go under the bridge from the Atlantic side to the Gulf and go to Snake River in the summer you might want to stay a mile off and anchor in the Gulf or if you have an enclosure with mosquito spray go on in and anchor inside. A mile off no seeums and no mosquitos and in ten feet of water. From Marathon to Key West it is about 50 miles. Start early and follow the buoys in from the Gulf side or sail the Atlantic inside the Hawk Channel the reef is between you and the really rough water. Key Largo is also along with Rodrigues Key good spots to jump off of the US Coast to head to Bimini taking advantage of the Gulf Stream a 4 knot boost in current. Conventional thinking you go to Biscayne Bay wait for weather no wind out of the North in any wind to cross the Gulf stream to Bimini. Don't forget to stop in Key West you can anchor for free west of Fleming Island or go around it to the Garrison Bight Mooring Field. Stay the month for $323.00 I think a night is around $20 a night. From here you can sail out to the Dry Tortugas to the Fort Jefferson about 70 plus miles from Key West. Cuba is 90 miles from Key West get ready.
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Old 10-03-2015, 20:52   #10
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

Monday night was my first real offshore sailing experience. I sailed 60miles from Marco Island to Cape Sable. Not realizing there's NOTHING in cape Sable. No phone service even. The offshore part was amazing. It was night and the autopilot was doing all the work. Then the power went out and things got real, real quick. Luckily I have a back up handheld vhf and my compass. Didn't expect to have to man the tiller so long. Really wore me out. Finally got hove-to and fixed the power.
It's totally an experience I'll never forget. I wasn't prepared for the mental toll being alone in the ocean at night would take on me. Not being able to see land is a whole new experience for me. I started to doubt the equipment for a bit. But i stayed the course I plotted and made it safely. Beat and drained. But I did make it.
Like I said earlier. It was my first time ever doing something like this. I feel better about my boat now. She acted like a perfect vessel. It was great.
I'm anchored In Marathon now. I'd really like to buddy up with anyone going to the Bahamas Just for safety and someone to chat it up with on the VHF

Anyhow I'm real green but I'm a good listener and quick learner.
And I'm ready to sail more.

Happy sailing.


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Old 10-03-2015, 21:58   #11
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

Congratulations on your first solo overnite sail! Great fun, isn't it?

Just a thought....

Every Wednesday at 11:30AM a bunch of cruising sailors who are also ham radio operators get together for lunch at the Lazy Days Restaurant overlooking the water on 11th Street there in Marathon. I'm sure they'd be glad to have you join them anytime, even if you're not a ham. You'll find many old salts who live in the Keys and know them well, as well as cruising destinations from the Bahamas to Maine and beyond.

The organizer is usually Larry and his wife Sue who live in Marathon on the trawler, Serengeti. Tell 'em Bill on Born Free sent you. And, be prepared for lots of radio talk as well as cruising and general boat stuff.

That's tomorrow, Wednesday.

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Old 10-03-2015, 23:09   #12
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

Awesome. I'll try to make it. The overnight solo was every feeling I could think of. It was beautiful watching the moon rise and it was amazing how she handled in the sea. I just installed a raymarine autopilot. Works amazing. Never had one till this past Monday.
Fear and panic set in when half way through the power went out. But manned it for several hours before getting tired enough to realize I had to fix the power. And I'm a true believer in the 'hove-to' maneuver now. I'm grateful that I'd been doing it while out day sailing so I'd know how when and if (like I did that night) need it.
It was all nothing short of amazing. I definitely feel beat from it somewhat but I'm recovering and I'm still headed to the Bahamas. I'll be certain to strap down my batteries a lot better.

Thanks again. I definitely want to sit down with some other sailors and really hear what they have to say and know. This is still all a learning experience for me. So I'm trying to soak up as much as I can.



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Old 11-03-2015, 05:50   #13
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

I just talked to Larry on the radio. He says they'll be on the lookout for you today and will be glad to help.

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Old 11-03-2015, 05:55   #14
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

That first overnight was an experience for me too! Couldn't believe how groggy I was at 2 am.
I'm still south of you doing some boat work, but where did you find a 12 amp fuse for your tiller pilot? I couldn't get them at RadioShack so thinking of just using a 10 amp.


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Old 11-03-2015, 08:04   #15
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Re: Sailing through the keys to Key Largo.

I couldn't either. I have a 10 amp fuse in line also.
I think I remember looking at an auto parts store. Since they deal on basically all DC stuff too.
I've gotta start the trek to that spot of I'm gonna make it. Appreciate the help. I'll be in Marathon all week.
Definitely let me know when you arrive. Thank again. I'm off to find these fellas.


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