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Key West to the Dry Tortugas  Bottom

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  • We will be shooting for hitting the water 03/16/15 in Key West very early AM and sailing to the Dry Tortugas. We plan on staying to nights on Garden and completely kicking it. The plan is to return 3/18/15 to Key West. So far I have a NACRA 5.2 and will be accompanied by 2 Hobie 16's plus several other strong maybes. Able and willing cat sailors "opportunity is knocking"



    Edited by jwishart on Nov 02, 2014 - 08:45 PM.

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    Jan Wishart
    NACRA 5.2
    J24 #4305
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  • With or without a support craft?
  • Yes we are working on a support boat and but do not have a commitment yet(see bills post on 10/30/14). Wind and weather must be favorable to make the journey/crossing. Also there is a commercial ferry that makes this trip daily as well as many commercial sea plains daily. Its not like we are in the middle of the ocean all alone. The water is shallow(on the bank) most of the trip which also helps with navigation and/or dead reckoning. You will need a hand held GPS and Marine radio as well.



    Edited by jwishart on Nov 03, 2014 - 08:09 AM.

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    Jan Wishart
    NACRA 5.2
    J24 #4305
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  • One of the downsides I see is that lodging in Key West is very expensive, especially during spring break! Smathers Beach is an excellent beach to take off from. Where do you store trailers, cars etc while your gone? Support boat to carry gear, water,food, camping gear will be essential!http://www.thebeachcats.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=111662&g2_serialNumber=3 http://www.thebeachcats.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=111656&g2_serialNumber=3 On the plus side...there is probably not a more interesting and beautiful destination anywhere in America! If weather or other reasons prevent sailing there, take the ferry. Do NOT go to Key West and miss a chance to see the Tortugas no matter how you get there!
  • Yes Key West is pricey. There is a camp grounds for less money. I am checking into the Key West Community Sailing Center for storing trailers, a rigging/staging area and meeting place but have not gotten a response from the commodore yet. I am viewing this as far as supplies go as a 3 day hiking trip which can be stored in a dry bag and lashed to the tramp. Bottom line is the right wind and weather. Worst case scenario, we have cats in Key West on the beach for a week which isn't so bad at all.

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    Jan Wishart
    NACRA 5.2
    J24 #4305
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  • I'm in, with crew. From Memphis TN - hopefully I can talk Damon into going as well! I have a nice 6 person pop-up camper with great AC and a fridge if I could only find a way to get that AND my hobie 20 down there. icon_confused
    Weather conditions here:

    https://weatherspark.com/averages/30220/3/Key-West-Florida-United-States

    Watching this post over on the hobie forums as well............ would be stellar to get a dozen beachcats on board for the adventure. I lived in Key West for several years, unless there's a storm the water is pretty calm and shallow, shouldn't be an issue for guys on 16'-17' boats if they're good sailors.

    Doug!!??? Where are you at??!?

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    Tim Grover
    1996 Hobie Miracle 20
    Two Hobie 14's
    1983 G-Cat Restored
    Memphis TN / North Mississippi
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  • The real problem is that the wind tends be coming out of the east most of the month of march. Great run there but will really suck on the return. You might just consider the run from key largo to key west with an overnight in Marathon. This is one great sail. Stay inside to the channel five bridge than outside the rest of the way. Mostly a downwind sleigh ride.
  • This sounds like a lot of fun, what kind of wind can be expected? I am newly retired and looking to do some of the cool things my job kept me from the last 25 years. I also see the post about "a downhill sleigh ride" from Key Largo to Key West, am I correct in thinking then it is pretty hard coming back? Or is the idea to make it a one way trip and go back for the car/trailer?
  • If the wind is direct from the east, yes it will be a challenge to beat back and there is a strong chance it will be. But if it is from NE or SE which is also a strong chance then it changes the time on water coming back. I do like to point my cat, race it quite a bit, and enjoy the challenge. So the downhill sleigh ride could be a great time as well. I guess the question here is what kind of sail do you want. Also keep in mind that if wind and weather are not favorable then the Marquesas Islands are in just out of sight of Key West, 1/3 of the plan, and very doable. Worst case scenario, I'm on Key West with a catamaran for a week(not bad at all).

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    Jan Wishart
    NACRA 5.2
    J24 #4305
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  • Agreed, worst case scenario I'll be there a week as well. I'd be perfectly happy island hopping based on wind direction and speeds. From that weather history link I grabbed it looks like 12-17 mph winds, mostly from the east. This looks like a fun cruise, inshore, offshore whatever everyone wants to do there's no bad plan :) I'm down with an island a day for 4 days, camping overnight ect ect esp if there's campsites and supplies. The 75mile trip offshore sounds fun too. Let's see? More people might chime in, and go for it if the plan ends up being coastal and 20-30 miles a day? Attract a Hobie getaway or two? We can all meet on a certain day and head out together. What about marathon to key west( sail key west a couple days ) then back up to marathon? Just an idea.....
    Even more fun with more boats. Safety in numbers.

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    Tim Grover
    1996 Hobie Miracle 20
    Two Hobie 14's
    1983 G-Cat Restored
    Memphis TN / North Mississippi
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  • I am good with whatever happens too. Once we finish up down in the Keys, I up for sailing any where in southern Florida for another week too....... icon_cool

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    Bill 404 21SE
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  • I'm in, 99% sure. I have an 18 with SX wings and a spin. We do a lot of "roughing it" camping on the shoal islands here around, Dunedin and Caladesi Island Florida. Have just the right gear and packing containers for a water trip. Anybody have reservations in Key West yet, any suggestions? I will make sure I keep up with this forum. Jim.
  • I just booked a small cabin (sleeps Two) in Old Town on Margaret St. More than I wanted to pay but was concerned about availablilty for that week considering its spring break. Does anyone have any ideas on where we could gather and launch from Key West. we would also need a place for trailers.

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    Jan Wishart
    NACRA 5.2
    J24 #4305
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  • Looks like we now have at least one support boat coming from Clear Water and will meet us in Key West the weekend of 03/14/15. I believe more support boats will join in.

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    Jan Wishart
    NACRA 5.2
    J24 #4305
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  • Great! icon_cool

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    Bill 404 21SE
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  • Talked with Key West city office and we can gather and launch from Smathers beach. We cannot store trailers and cars over night but there is storage at the marina for $6 per day so would have to move trailers/cars before setting sail.

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    Jan Wishart
    NACRA 5.2
    J24 #4305
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  • I have a N5.2 and so much interest in doing this! I've sailed a 31 foot trimaran in the Pacific but other than that I have never done ocean sailing. What are conditions you will see? Wave height? Wind speed? I imagine near perfect!



    Edited by joejedy on Nov 22, 2014 - 01:19 PM.
  • Very happy to see another 5.2! From the research I have compiled March is the best time to pull this off. Average Temp is 75 degrees with the water temp about the same. Average wind speed is 11 MPH. There always can be a storm front roll through and you should be prepared for a blow. I will not leave the beach without a fair weather forecast in our favor. Wind prediction is 80% from the East and/or East South East. Waves can be hard to predict but we will be on the bank most of the trip to Garden Key(Dry Tortugas) with the wind at our back but on the way back to Key West we will be beating so the closer we stay to the bank the smaller the waves. All of the above stats is readily available on line.

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    Jan Wishart
    NACRA 5.2
    J24 #4305
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  • There are many different weather info sights but this one looks pretty simple. https://weatherspark.com/averages/30220/3/Key-West-Florida-United-States

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    Jan Wishart
    NACRA 5.2
    J24 #4305
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  • I am in if I can get a relief at work. I am trying to find accommodations, no luck so far any suggestions?

    Bill 404, my oldest and I might be up for a few more days of sailing as well. I will let you know.

    Jim

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    Jim
    New Orleans

    '83 H18 SX mods 2013 -
    '65 Lavey Craft 2005 -
    '69 Cal 25 1997 - 2001
    '80 P16 1980 - 1996
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