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Old 26-01-2022, 19:51   #16
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

When my 45' Morgan monohull "White Bird" was new to me and the area was also I left from Ft Lauderdale for Marathon.
My previous experience was years in the Sea of Cortez with a 34' Catalina monohull. I was poor at checking weather because the only weather was in Spanish if you could receive it. We had a few scary crossings from the Baja.
About 15 years in between had me very surprised when I left the next day from No Name and the wind rapidly built to about 30 to 35 kn. from the N. We anchored behind Rodriguez key for the next day and watched as a few boats about the same size were passing by so the next day I tried it. The wind was now from the NE. AMAZING the difference. We were showing a steady 9 KN on GPS as our paddle wheel was stuck but I believe it. It was the fastest speed we ever held. The wind was still ripping but it was not bad inside the reef. The crab pots were frequent but in the 5 years and 6 passages we never caught one and I became fairly adept at panic steering.
Wait if you are really scared but remember in those conditions Rodrigues is a good stop for many boats in rough North and South winds.
Explorer charts served us well. Incidentally we would often go to the Bahamas by way of S. Riding rocks to Chub Cay or to Nassau. In settled weather you can anchor on the banks over night. Look into it if you are interested. It can be a wonderful passage in good weather. You can leave from Rodriguez or Marathon depending on your fear of sailing in the night.
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Old 26-01-2022, 19:59   #17
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

Also, the anchorage near the entrance is very good in most conditions. Little wave action.
You can dinghy in easily.
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Old 27-01-2022, 07:33   #18
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

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Originally Posted by Scrimshaw4 View Post
Be advised that there is NO dockage available in Marathon! Based on the Windy wind forecasts it's going to be quiet windy so if you do the trip plan ahead as to where you'll anchor, outside of Boot Key Harbor. Plus even if you follow the "magenta line" you will be dodging hundreds of trap buoys that will be hard to see in the wave set. I'd recommend waiting it out in the Marine Stadium until you get a southerly. JMHO
We were there two nights before NYE. We called around while we were en route from Rodriguez Key and found a slip for 2 nights at Safe Harbor there. I think it was 120/nt incl. electricity, water, wifi.

You may get lucky.

BKH is going to be 100% full until easter.
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Old 27-01-2022, 14:36   #19
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

We just arrived at Boot Key Harbor and set anchor at Red #18. Another sailboat just arrived and took a mooring ball just across the channel from us. We plan to hang out here until the front passes. It was a foggy and gloomy day from Key West. Give the marina a call. You may get lucky.
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Old 28-01-2022, 10:04   #20
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

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Very true, but I believe his mast height is over 65’ so would have to either anchor on the bayside of Marathon or go around Key West.
A previous owner had the mast shortened to 64.5. I decided to look at it as we are always reefed



We prefer being outside on the coast because ICW bridges give me nightmares. however at one point or another we have traveled every section of ICW from Savanna GA to Ft Lauderdale EXCEPT the section between Cape Canaveral and Fort Pierce. (An active caption review of a bridge on that section claims the height is off on a bridge)
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Old 28-01-2022, 10:16   #21
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

Thanks to everyone for the info!

We anchor 99% of time and avoid marinas for multiple reasons, not just because of budget.
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Old 28-01-2022, 10:54   #22
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

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Originally Posted by Nahbrown View Post
A previous owner had the mast shortened to 64.5. I decided to look at it as we are always reefed







We prefer being outside on the coast because ICW bridges give me nightmares. however at one point or another we have traveled every section of ICW from Savanna GA to Ft Lauderdale EXCEPT the section between Cape Canaveral and Fort Pierce. (An active caption review of a bridge on that section claims the height is off on a bridge)


I think this goes back to another current thread on CF about ICW friendly mast heights, it’s not always needed but can be an absolute blessing if it is.
If you have a strong S wind the gulf side of the Keys is a fantastic place to sail and anchor as you can anchor just about anywhere outside the channel. You could go through the bascule bridge at Snake Creek to get to Hawk Channel or go under Channel 5 at Long Key or Moser Channel, both probably at low tide.
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Old 28-01-2022, 12:06   #23
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

https://youtu.be/E-WPt0igXB4

This is what I experienced in Hawk Channel in 25-30kt winds out of the east.
6-7 foot wind driven waves making it difficult to see lobster pots
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Old 28-01-2022, 12:15   #24
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VChild View Post
https://youtu.be/E-WPt0igXB4

This is what I experienced in Hawk Channel in 25-30kt winds out of the east.
6-7 foot wind driven waves making it difficult to see lobster pots
6 to 7 ft. That's funny.

It seems when someone talks about wind and sea conditions, one can normally take one third off the wind speed and one half off the sea height.
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Old 28-01-2022, 12:46   #25
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

I take a long sailing trip through the Keys every spring.


Strong easterly winds are common, not a timid sailor's imagination. I've never seen seven-footers in Hawk Channel, but I have seen short, steep waves that stop a motoring sailboat to a crawl.


Three years ago, strong winds like that resulted in me motoring wide open for nine hours from Key West to Newfound Harbor, then another nine hours the next day from there to Boot Key Harbor.
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Old 28-01-2022, 17:56   #26
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

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6 to 7 ft. That's funny.

It seems when someone talks about wind and sea conditions, one can normally take one third off the wind speed and one half off the sea height.
I’m sorry if that particular video didn’t capture the true conditions we experienced on May 17-18, 2017 in Hawk Channel. You seem skeptical. That video is the only one I had taken during that part of our sail. That was shot at 10:40am on May17. The seas continued building throughout the day. But even some “still” shots at that time show some waves over 6ft (see below). From that vantage point on my boat, any wave that is higher than the horizon is over 6ft. Camera and video tend to flatten and compress images of waves in general.
Regarding your doubt of wind speeds, please see the historical wind data below for those dates in Key West (May 17-18, 2017). There were sustained winds in the mid 20’s with gusts up to 33mph. The wind speeds were slightly higher at our location between Rodriguez Key and Marathon.
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Old 28-01-2022, 18:30   #27
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

I've seen 6ft in Hawk Channel a number of times. It's not fun at all when it's that big as the water depth makes them short and steep. I don't go out on the ocean side anymore when it's like that. I'm happy to sit in a nice calm anchorage on the gulf side. Also when it's 6ft in hawk channel it at least 8ft past the reef. In areas where the outer reefs are deeper, like inside of Tennessee reef, it gets a bit rougher as the waves from the ocean are not attenuated as much.
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Old 31-01-2022, 10:39   #28
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

In high east winds, we travel on the Florida Bay side.
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Old 01-02-2022, 06:37   #29
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

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Originally Posted by michaeld View Post
We just arrived at Boot Key Harbor and set anchor at Red #18. Another sailboat just arrived and took a mooring ball just across the channel from us. Give the marina a call. You may get lucky.
That sailboat probably was just coming back in from some sort of short trip. The mooring field is quite full, and I seem to recall hearing there is a fairly long waiting list.

Best advice is to call City Marina who will only tell you how long the waiting list is - there are NO reservations.
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Old 01-02-2022, 13:09   #30
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Re: Hawk channel- how protected is it?

Take your time until a good window appears, in the last week and a half we had too many people missing due to the cold fronts passing. If you boat long enough in south Florida, you will eventually experience the occasional “all hell broke loose” situation. A mostly tame sea can in an hour’s time turn into a washing machine, not fun. Nothing coming from the north- northeast is good for you. Wait for wither becalmed or south winds to have a pleasant crossing
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