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Old 24-11-2022, 08:57   #1
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St. Pete to Key West

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

We’re planning our longest passage to date for next week. We’re hoping to leave Pass a Grille in St. Pete Beach, FL next Thursday headed for Key West.

We haven’t decided yet if we’ll hug the coast or do more open water. We’d appreciate any input. Also, does anyone have current post-storm info. on marinas (for water & fuel) and anchorages (we draw 5’1”) along the route.

Thanks in advance!

Shannon & Dee,
SV Mischievous Mermaid
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Old 24-11-2022, 11:16   #2
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Re: St. Pete to Key West

I would not try the ICW post Ian, we just came from Sarasota down to Marathon with a stop at Marco Island. Marco Island is a good stop for provisioning. Win Dixey has a dock near Smokehouse bay.

Chose your weather window and I like https://fastseas.com/ for planning.

Good luck from Jamacia.
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Old 28-11-2022, 20:30   #3
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Re: St. Pete to Key West

Shannon & Dee,
So excited to here you're headed down to the Keys! It's an absolutely beautiful sail down from St. Pete and one that I have done many times. I would recommend taking an outside route, as the ICW can be pretty confusing heading down, and the operating depth is more like 7ft instead of 10ft. Get yourself a good two-three day window with a Easterly or Westerly wind and you'll have no problems following the coast. Two to Three miles of shore is the sweet spot, and for newer blue water sailors, seeing the coast is comforting.

If you want to break your trip up into daytime sailing only, you can easily do:
St. Pete -> Ft. Myers Beach
Ft. Myers Beach -> Marco Island
Marco Island -> Key West

Couple things for you:
I provided Hurricane Relief in Ft. Myers and Sanibel and can tell you that the area is more of less completely leveled and most deep draft marinas are not available. However, if you have Navionics on your phone, you can see a couple spots that are good.

My recommendations:
South Side of Sanibel , tuck behind the curve of the island after you pass the Lighthouse. Good Depth and plenty of cover from currents and wind. Sandy bottom, easy anchorage.

If you can fit under the bridge, tuck in outside of Punta Rassa Cove.

Marco Island:
Very friendly and island, and super welcoming to sailors! Head into the north side of the Island (Marco Island River) and anchor near Stingaree Island. You can Dingy over to Pelican Pier Marina for a cold one, or provisions restock.

---------------

In route to Key West, you can pretty much set it and forget it with your autopilot until you are 5 nm out. The Northwest Channel into Key West is well marked, wide and easy to navigate. It'll bring you down and around Tank Island (make sure you go AROUND as it is very shallow north of the island) , and then you can anchor anywhere around the West side of Fleming Key (10-20ft, Sand) or anywhere around Wisteria Island (5-10ft Sand).

Coming in and out of downtown Key West can be tricky because there are no public landings, but you can get a dingy permit for $8 a day and shower passes for $50 a week. If you'd rather, I run a water concierge service down in Key West that does on demand service for $10 a person each way!

See you out on the Water!
- Pat
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Old 07-12-2022, 04:52   #4
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Re: St. Pete to Key West

Thanks for the input! We’re anchored in Man of War Harbor now. It was a very interesting & exciting 1st passage for us. We had great wind & averaged 7.5 knots SOG from St. Pete all of the way to Naples, then it got interesting. In Florida Bay we had 25 - 30 knot winds and we’re taking 6 -8 foot waves on the port beam. It didn’t take long to get enough of that, so we cranked up & motored East until we got to Cape Sable and things calmed down, so we anchored the for the night. The next day we stopped for the night at Sawyer Key and finally made it in to Key West the next day. A little damage done, but a lot learned!
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