Going to sail a week in the middle of March in the keys. Want to start north and head south. Thinking of Starting in Key Largo. Thinking I should start gulf side, more camping options. How much will shallow water/channel navigation plague me? I have only sailed ocean side, how difficult to hop back and forth ocean to gulf side and back? Love some feed back from anyone who has done Largo to Key West. Open to other suggestions as well like leaving from Flamingo or Key Biscayne
since no one with first hand knowledge has added any data: here is some from someone who has never been to the keys
for the past 20 years i have heard only great things about sailing at islamarada
that is where Rick White used to have his races
so i would def contact the hotels there (i think they offer boat parking at a few of them)
I was stationed at NAS Key West for about 18 mos in the early 90s and have been back many time since. I have sailed, fished, camped, lobstered, and drank (not necessarily in that order) from one end to the other.
March is a great time of year. Always good wind mostly from the East or Southeast unless you catch a late cold front, then it will be North but only for a day or two. Temps will be perfect for tent camping on a sandbar but make sure your above the high tide line. You only make that mistake once.
Navigating in Florida Bay is no problem, especially for a boardless cat. The water is crystal clear so channels are obvious. The closer you get to Key West the smaller and deeper the sandbars get. Largo to Marathon will take 2/3rds of your time due to picking your way through sandbars. It is very easy to switch back and forth between Oceanside and Bayside.
It is only about 100 miles Largo to Key West on the inside so easily done in a week. If you feel more aggressive you may want to consider launching in Coconut Grove/Dinner Key/ South Miami to add about 50 miles to your trip and Biscayne Bay to your experience. No sandbars, straight shot to Largo, and Biscayne National Park is a must see. Anyway you do it, take your time and enjoy. There is no place else quite like the Keys.
If your going to fish get a FL saltwater fishing licence as it is aggressively enforced throughout the Keys.
Dont forget a compass as a backup to GPS. If you get in low visibility conditions one mangrove island/sandbar looks exactly like another. You can easily sail in circles for hours/days if your not careful.
One more thing: bring bug spray, sunblock and lots of water. Fresh water access is kind of a problem throughout the Keys.
No, I do not work for the Keys Tourism Development Council....but I wish I did.
Stiletto 27 on a 2 year plan.
Dont forget LOTS OF WATER!!!!!!
Edited by bradinjax on Jan 07, 2019 - 10:49 AM.
Sorry Jalex, it has been so long since I launched north of Marathon that I don't think my experience would be helpful. That said, there are tons of public and private ramps. I dont think access is really the problem. It is more where are you going to safely leave your car and trailer for a week.
+1 to MN3
I second the idea of staying in a hotel that has beach access and will let you launch from their property in the AM. They may even let you park your car and trailer for a week.
Epic trip. Post pics please!
Edited by bradinjax on Jan 08, 2019 - 05:31 AM.
Nice call Martin. Looking at their calendar they seem like serious racers hosting several national and regional events for A-cats, Moths, Lasers, Optis, Flying Scots etc...but still very down to earth with a lot of social events too.
I just put it on my to do list to stop by on a Fri eve next time I am down that way.
Edited by bradinjax on Jan 08, 2019 - 01:35 PM.