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Old 04-03-2014, 06:45   #1
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Hello, My husband and are about to sail form Jacksonville FL to the keys in about 4 or 5 days, anyone out there ever sailed all the way down on the outside? From what I have read most people go down the ICW. Any information from someone who has done it would be great!!

Thanks new member
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:22   #2
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Welcome aboard! We haven't done the outside all the way at once, but most ocean sections at one time or another. We actually prefer the ICW, except the Ft. Lauderdale to Miami section...but we're never in any hurry and prefer short days and stopping at night. You'll need stay close to the coast to stay out of the Gulf Stream...and you may actually get some current help from the eddies. There is a lot of traffic, especially near the inlets, so AIS and radar will help. Plan on the trip taking longer so that you don't try to hold any schedule. Know beforehand which inlets are suitable under what conditions just in case you need to rest, repair, or run for cover. Enjoy...happy cruising!
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:29   #3
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Re: New Memeber

Thanks for the information.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:53   #4
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Re: New Memeber

welcome and greetings to the forum --
we always run the outside from south carolina to miami -- we hate the icw --
having said that as above we know all the inlets and watch the wx closely and plan for a daylight entrance if bad wx is anywhere on the horizon - and then sit it out -

having said that you must watch the wx closely as when the fronts come off the coast it can get quite nasty and not fit for man nor beast let alone a boat

we normally 2-5nm (i think - hard to remember) off the coast except at palm beach where the gulf stream is really close to the coast and then we go closer in and at times will motor sail it -
i assume you are prepared to do a bit of overnight sailing
it is easy and we prefer it
good luck
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:06   #5
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Thanks for the information. my husband and I have done a lot of off shore fishing in the Gulf and the Atlantic going out as far as 25 - 30 miles out in a 21 foot boat I don't know why I am being a worry Wart when we will be in a 42 Ft boat that draws 6.5. I am glad to here your optimism about going down the outside my husband said he would only do the ICW if we had due to weather or .. he did not buy a ocean going vessel to ride in the ICW. He has a lot of experience on all kinds of boats. We do have all new equipment spent a fortune chart plotter, radar, radio etc.. We also went to customs and got signed up with the SVRS and our Decal. Boat is loaded and ready to go!!!! Its the anticipation that is killing me but let me say I am not speaking for my husband of course he is fine with everything. This has been our dream to retire on a sail boat.
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:52   #6
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Re: New Memeber

Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on realizing your dream. It is mostly all fun from here on out.
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Old 04-03-2014, 13:42   #7
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Re: New Memeber

only real advise -- never get in a hurry to leave until you get a good weather window

and congradulations and welcome to the cruising family
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Old 04-03-2014, 13:45   #8
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Re: New Memeber

Quote:
Originally Posted by larbar View Post
Thanks for the information. my husband and I have done a lot of off shore fishing in the Gulf and the Atlantic going out as far as 25 - 30 miles out in a 21 foot boat I don't know why I am being a worry Wart when we will be in a 42 Ft boat that draws 6.5. I am glad to here your optimism about going down the outside my husband said he would only do the ICW if we had due to weather or .. he did not buy a ocean going vessel to ride in the ICW. He has a lot of experience on all kinds of boats. We do have all new equipment spent a fortune chart plotter, radar, radio etc.. We also went to customs and got signed up with the SVRS and our Decal. Boat is loaded and ready to go!!!! Its the anticipation that is killing me but let me say I am not speaking for my husband of course he is fine with everything. This has been our dream to retire on a sail boat.
I personally would look at it as several adventures. Pick out the easy inlets and the places you'd like to see. Then I'd sail outside each day and late afternoon pull into my chosen anchorage or marina. Yes, it will add some time but get the wonderful sailing experience of outside and a restful night in between. It will be a series of great experiences. The Florida coast has so much worth seeing and the benefit of many good inlets.
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Old 04-03-2014, 17:34   #9
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What inlets would you recommend also anchorages our boat draws about 6.5
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:07   #10
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6.5' is a lot --- you need to spend some time with a cruising guide to not only get into the inlet but where to anchor - the inlet may be deep enough but to get to a protected anchorage may be a different issue

research time

as info -- we are sailing the italian croatia and albania coast this summer and i have spent several days going thur cruising guides and marking them up for possible anchorages - marinas where no anchorage exist - ect - and i have just begun --- cruising takes a bit of research on your part for stops, anchorages, ect and with 6.5' you really need to take a hard look and really mark up those cruising guides

good luck
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:28   #11
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Thanks we are doing that now. Do you know the easiest Customs entry in the Bahamas as far as them boarding and such also do we have to declare all our beer, wine etc.... we are not bringing our guns.

Thanks Laurie
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:34   #12
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Welcome aboard and greetings from SW Florida. The weather and sea conditions have never been right for us to travel exclusively on the outside. We prefer to bypass the large cities like Miami due to the bridge schedules.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:04   #13
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We usually check in at North Bimini...it's easy, the marinas are cheap, the town's kind of fun and funky, and no agents have ever come aboard. You do not need to declare "ship stores" (food, drink, etc...) and there is no limits – but you are not allowed to sell any of it. Most of the other ports are reasonably easy, too, but some are more expensive...marinas charge for tying up for check-in at West End and Chub Cay, for example.
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Old 06-03-2014, 13:13   #14
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Thanks, is that Alice Town or is there more than one customs office in North Bimini.
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Old 06-03-2014, 13:24   #15
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Yes, Alice Town. Get a slip at one of the marinas (as little as $1/ft.) and the dockmaster will give you the paperwork and tell you where to go for Customs and Immigration (a short walk away).
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